Livestock groups discuss cattle chain sustainability

On May 10, member leaders of American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Farmers Union, R-CALF USA, and the United States Cattlemen’s Association met in Phoenix, Arizona.

These groups convened at the request of Livestock Marketing Association, Overland Park, Kansas, to discuss challenges involved in the marketing of finished cattle with the ultimate goal of bringing about a more financially sustainable situation for cattle feeders and cow-calf producers.

The group talked openly and candidly about a wide range of important issues facing the industry today, including but not limited to: packer concentration, price transparency and discovery, packer oversight, Packers and Stockyards Act enforcement, level of captive supply, and packer capacity.

The group also agreed to take to their respective organizations for consideration these action items: Expedite the renewal of U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Livestock Mandatory Reporting, including formula base prices subject to the same reporting requirements as negotiated cash and the creation of a contract library. Demand the Department of Justice issue a public investigation status report and as warranted, conduct joint DOJ and USDA oversight of packer activity moving forward. Encourage investment in, and development of, new independent, local, and regional packers.

This meeting brought together diverse producer organizations to identify issues and discuss potential solutions. These issues and action item lists are not comprehensive, due to time constraints of this meeting. Attending organization representatives said they were pleased to have reached consensus on many issues and are committed to the ultimate goal of achieving a fair and transparent finished cattle marketing system.