Cattle Markets – What Side Are You On?

It seems crazy that cattle producer margins are constantly being squeezed by meat packers as the herd goes to market during the pandemic.

“Between April and May, producers saw their cattle prices plummet,” wrote Jessica Fu in The Counter. “Meanwhile beef prices at the grocery store nearly doubled.”

Opaque cattle markets are a long-standing problem which Abby Finkenauer (IA-01), Dave Loebsack (IA-02) and Cindy Axne (IA-03) hope to resolve by introducing an amendment to the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Democrats’ bill is a companion to the one Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst introduced in the U.S. Senate, S3693. If adopted, it would to increase transparency in U.S. cattle markets and spur added price discovery and competition for Iowa producers using cash markets. From the text of the bill:

This bill establishes that a minimum of 50 percent of a covered packer’s daily volume of livestock slaughter must be purchased through spot market sales from non-affiliated producers.

The author is not a beef eater although many people are. For an explanation of the bill, read more at Successful Farming.

J.D. Scholten made anti-trust a central issue in his campaign. Following is a short video in which he discusses monopoly control of cattle markets. Iowa is farm country and farmers need anti-trust legislation. They need J.D. Scholten and the Democrats in the Congress.

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