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Agricultural News

Cattle Industry Appeals Directly to the White House Regarding Cattle Market Crash Since the Beginning of the Coronavirus Pandemic

Thu, 09 Apr 2020 05:45:39 CDT

Cattle Industry Appeals Directly to the White House Regarding Cattle Market Crash Since the Beginning of the Coronavirus Pandemic

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said USDA's Packers and Stockyards Division will extend its investigation into the causes of a divergence between boxed and live beef prices.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Perdue said the investigation that began in the wake of last summer's fire at Tyson Foods' Holcomb, Kansas, production plant will extend to market reactions surrounding the current COVID-19 pandemic. In the tweet- the Secretary said "USDA's Packers and Stockyards Division will be extending our oversight to determine the causes of divergence between box and live beef prices, beginning with the Holcomb Fire in KS last summer and now with COVID-19."

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), which had called on the federal government to address the market volatility that has seen cattle futures and cash markets plunge while retail prices have increased sharply, cheered the announcement from the Secretary.

"Secretary Perdue's decision to examine market reactions surrounding the Holcomb fire and the spread of COVID-19 in the United States will help restore the confidence of cattle producers in the market. We also look forward to the agency's recommendations about improvements the industry can make to its markets, improvements that will ensure we have the fair and functioning markets that are so vital to cattle producers," NCBA President Marty Smith said following Perdue's statement.

The Cattle Industry Letter did not go to Secretary Perdue- but instead directly to the President. Marty Smith told farm broadcaster Tony St. James that because of a relationship that NCBA has been able to build with the President over the last three years- they felt the situation with cattle prices had gotten so bad, it was time to take the unprecedented step of appealing directly to the White House to get involved in getting multiple federal agencies involved in determining the reasons for the disconnect between cash cattle prices that cattlemen receive and the wholesale beef prices and ultimately the value placed on the product by the consumer.

In the letter signed by NCBA President Marty Smith, cattle producers said the market distortions may cause producers long term harm- " The onset of COVID-19 has resulted in the steep decline of both the cattle futures market and cash trade - resulting in significant financial challenges for our members. After weeks of striking disparity between boxed beef price increases and declines in both the cattle futures and cash price, we fear this trend could have devastating long-term impacts on cattle producers."

Click here to read the full letter- and we also have a copy of the letter in PDF that you can see by clicking on the link at the bottom of this story.

Comments from Marty Smith about the current cattle market situation and why the industry has reached out to not just Secretary Perdue but also to his boss are featured in today's Beef Buzz. Our thanks to Tony St. James of All Ag All Day Radio for sharing his conversation with Smith with the Oklahoma Farm Report.

The Beef buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.



Ron Hays Beef Buzzes with Marty Smith, President of the NCBA about cattle market conditions
right-click to download mp3


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