JUNCTION CITY, Kan. — Cattle producers have been riding the cattle market rollercoaster for decades, but never has the producer been so disparaged by the packer. Box-beef prices have steadily produced meat packer margins of astronomical proportions per head, yet cattle prices are falling flat of the upward trend.
Kansas Cattlemen’s Association (KCA) President, Riley Robbins, issued the following statement:
“We need to stop the grinding of the rumor mill and get to the root of the issues with this cattle market. The fact is the packers are buying live cattle at around $1.20 and selling choice cutouts for $298.41. The packers have set so many records for their profits over the past 18 months, because they have captive supplies, they can import cattle and beef without labeling restrictions, and they do not have to compete in the cash market.
Everything else you hear throughout the industry is just a trail of stories and excuses the producers toss around to justify a market that is brought on 100% by the packers. There are always rumors of shutdowns, excessive cold storage, shipping issues, international conflicts, feed and water shortages, and more causing knee-jerk ripples through the market. All of that is unnecessary, because the packers have learned so much from the Tyson fire and pandemic. The packer sneezes, and we cower.
NCBA has preached long enough that independent producers need to cooperate within the market. Let’s call that what it is and admit we have cooperated ourselves out of leverage. Luckily, there are some legislators working in our favor to take back what NCBA has stolen from us. We need to rally behind solutions. The 50/14 Spot Market Protection bill and the Cattle Market Transparency Act of 2021 are answers that will move us in the right direction!
We have to unite together to regain lost ground on Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling. The injustice to the American beef consumers and independent cattle producers cannot be overlooked! NCBA should be ashamed of selling out their own industry on mCOOL. What kind of organization sells out the American people by stripping a basic sovereign right to label food with a legitimate origin? No foreign trade deals should ever limit a U.S. citizen’s right to proper recognition for their harvest. NCBA stripped us of this, and they are now fighting against producers again with negotiated trade and market transparency. I say enough!
Finally, cattle producers must bust the rumor mill, focus on the facts, and rally together for practical solutions in the fight ahead. Yes, it is a fight, and it’s on multiple fronts, but it’s a battle we can win if we fight it with a united message. I was recently entrusted with the responsibility to lead the Kansas Cattlemen’s Association. I can guarantee that under my leadership, we will keep pressing forward.”
— Kansas Cattlemen’s Association
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