Cattle producers hit the links in Denison to celebrate importance of beef industry


by Gordon Wolf, Denison Bulletin Review (IA)

Jun 30, 2020


The 31st annual Iowa Beef Masters Open golf tournament at Majestic Hills Golf Course in Denison on Monday offered a day away from the farm for some and for others a day away from an agribusiness.


And although not on the farm, cattle producers weren’t very far away from the thought of the challenges they face, but they were also reminded how important their jobs are.


“If there is one thing that Iowans can certainly appreciate now is the important role that our cattlemen play in feeding the world, feeding Iowans and feeding our friends and neighbors,” Iowa Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg told the Denison Bulletin and Review.


“I think we also came to understand how delicate our supply chain is during this situation (the coronavirus pandemic),” Gregg added


Gregg was out on the links on Monday at the Beef Masters Open, which he said is a family tradition that goes back more than 10 years. Gregg plays with his father-in-law, Steve Rehder, a brother-in-law and a family friend. This year Gregg took along his nine-year-old son, Jackson.


Rehder, a cattle producer from Hawarden, is the immediate past chairperson of the Iowa Beef Industry Council, a position that Gregg’s grandfather, Glenn, held decades ago.


“It is nice to come, spend time with family, celebrate an industry that my family has been heavily involved in and have a little fun and say thank you to the cattlemen here today,” said Adam Gregg.


Glenn Gregg, who was also a cattle producer from Hawarden, died in August 2018 at age 93. Adam Gregg said his family is kind of out of the cattle business now but very proud of its ag heritage. The Rehder Family Farms, a Century Farm, is active in cattle and crop production.


Cora Fox, the director of government relations for the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association (ICA), pointed specifically to two challenges Iowa cattle producers are facing. One is transparency in pricing and the other is disparity in beef pricing margins during the coronavirus pandemic.


Fox said the ICA supports legislative measures that would require packers to purchase more cattle on the cash market.


She pointed out that captive markets (contracts) are more prevalent in the southern states because the cattle operations there are larger.


By comparison, Iowa’s cattle industry is composed of small operations which typically don’t sell on contract, but Iowa produces beef that consistently grades well, Fox continued.


The legislation, called the 50/14 mandate, is designed to increase competition and transparency among meat packers who purchase livestock directly from independent producers. It would require that a minimum of 50 percent of a meat packer’s weekly volume of beef slaughter be purchased on the open or spot market, according to information in a release from Sen. Chuck Grassley, of Iowa.


The cattle would have to be delivered in 14 days.


The bill...