The disconnect between Washington, D.C., politicians, cattlemen and the cattle market has been the forefront on every cattleman's mind here in the last 18 months as the market continues to weaken. The market hasn't only deteriorated in the sense that prices are lower for cow-calf producers and feedlots, but also in the sense that the market is losing its voice, its leverage and has even questioned its own trajectory.
We all fall guilty from time to time of having an opinion about why the market's problems are what they are, but too often we neglect to cultivate our thoughts to the next crucial step, which is finding what the solution may be. To be honest, if you're in the business long enough, it's easy to see where the problems lie, but it's hard to pinpoint what the perfect solution could be, as time, money and unforeseen consequences all play a role in the bigger picture.
Having gone through multiple black swan events in the last three years (Tyson Food's packing plant at Holcomb, Kansas, COVID-19, JBS cyber-attack), senators have heard the plea from the countryside and seem to want to address some of the underlying issues in the cattle market. On June 23, at 2:30 p.m. EST, the Senate ag committee will meet to address the cattle market specifically; they have titled this hearing, "Examining markets, transparency and prices from cattle producer to consumer." The committee has chosen to hear from Dr. Glynn Tonsor of Kansas State University; Rabobank's analyst for the protein animal sector, Dr. Mary Hendrickson from the University of Missouri; Mark Gardner, who reigns as chairman of U.S. Premium beef, and Justin Tupper, who owns and operates the St. Onge sale barn in Belle Fourche, South Dakota.
With scorching temperatures lurking around the corner, water that needs changed and hay fields that need cut, I understand that there are very few hours in the day to spare, but if you can take the time to watch and listen to this hearing, I do believe it will be well worth your time. The hearing should give great insight into what senators understand and don't understand regarding the current market and could shine light on some of the questions that Washington, D.C. still has but doesn't know how to ask. Truthfully, in order for the market's underlying issues to be addressed, it's going to take unwavering commitment from producers across the nation.
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ShayLe Stewart can be reached at ShayLe.Stewart@dtn.com
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