An array of agricultural groups met in Phoenix, Arizona last week to go over challenges facing the U.S. cattle market. The meeting was held at the request of the Livestock Marketing Association. Leaders of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, United States Cattlemen’s Association, National Farmers Union (NFU), and R-CALF USA participated in the discussion. The six organizations have agreed to work collaboratively to address concerns within the cattle marketplace.
“Unfair markets and a lack of competition in the beef industry has been extremely harmful to producers and consumers alike, especially during the last year,” said NFU President Rob Larew said in a press release. “Many sectors within agriculture, including beef, are dominated by just a handful of multinational corporations. The time for action is long overdue, and NFU is glad to be a part of this effort to bring strong, swift, and meaningful reform.”
The six groups considered the most significant challenges that producers are navigating within the cattle market. Some of the concerns discussed during the meeting include packer concentration, transparency, and discovery. The level of packer capacity and captive supply, along with oversight were also points of concern. In addition, the groups discussed better enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act. The purpose behind the meeting is to assist cattle feeders and cow-calf producers through the development of solutions to bring about positive change.
Each of the industry group members will be raising the concerns discussed during the meeting with their respective organizations. Some of the action items that the groups considered include expediting the renewal of USDA’s Livestock Mandatory Reporting. The groups are also calling for the Department of Justice to issue a public investigation status report on packer activity. Finally, the groups are encouraging better investment in new independent, local, and regional packers.