The cattle market has been long overdue for some restructuring and, believe it or not, I think the squeaky wheel is finally being heard. I don't want to put the cart before the horse, but it seems like government officials, industry leaders and the nation's largest cattlemen associations are finally hearing the pleas from the countryside.
There is a number of things that should be done (and could be done) in order to restructure and better facilitate a fair-working market for cattlemen, but amongst the most important is the need of more packing plants and more market competition to see the high earnings of processed beef trickle down into the hands of grassroot producers.
Two weeks ago, the Livestock Market Association hosted a meeting in Arizona with the nation's largest beef associations (National Cattlemen's Beef Association, United States Cattlemen's Association, R-CALF USA, National Farmers Union and American Farm Bureau Federation) to address some of the issues that are crippling today's cattlemen. DTN's Ag Policy Editor, Chris Clayton, recently wrote about the meeting (https://www.dtnpf.com/…) and despite the associations' many differences in the past, they claimed that they had more in common than what they disagreed on. This came as a breath of fresh air to the industry as the organizations have rather lengthy track records of being unable to work together.
To add to the political developments throughout the cattle industry, last Friday's news broke that JBS was no longer going to keep its membership with the NCBA, as the Brazilian-owned packing company felt like the organization no longer advocated for its best interest (read the full article here: https://www.politico.com/…)
Change is on the horizon. I know that many of you wish these changes would have come decades ago to avoid some of the hardship endured today, but thankfully something is finally being done. I share these developments with you as I see the cattle market in its broken form day in and day out, and I want to encourage you to advocate for the change you desire.
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ShayLe Stewart can be reached at ShayLe.Stewart@dtn.com
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