In this file:
· Beef producers push for changes to make markets more transparent
Media Release: Hoeven Outlines Efforts to Secure Assistance
for Ranchers, Ensure Fair & Transparent Pricing
Beef producers push for changes to make markets more transparent
by Steve White, KHGI
Nebraska.TV - October 9th 2020
LAWRENCE, Neb. — Ranchers still do business with a handshake but their relationship with those who process beef is more complicated.
COVID has amplified longstanding concerns over cattle markets as cattlemen seek change.
"To make sure we have more cash trade, more transparency in the marketplace," said Marty Smith, president of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.
Smith, a Florida cow/calf producer, visited the heartland this week. Even before the pandemic, he was talking to producers about ways to improve the market.
"We had the smallest to biggest producers in country discuss, not arguing, what can we do better," he said.
Then restaurants closed and consumers stocked up on beef at the grocery store. Meanwhile packing plants curtailed production as the virus spread.
"That really affected our industry an awful lot, backed up a lot of cattle but it was helpful, governor did a bang up job in state to keep packing plants going," said Ken Herz, president of the Nebraska Cattlemen.
Herz worked with Sen. Deb Fischer. She recently introduced legislation to address market issues.
Fischer's bill would require more cash sales. The idea is to make the market more vibrant with a better picture of what cattle are worth.
"Is it the right answer, it might not be but there's a lot of right things in her bill so we appreciate what she's doing," Herz said.
NCBA prefers a voluntary approach and regulation only if there's a lack of cash trade.
Smith said, "We don't want to have mandated programs we want people to do what they do, every producer make their own decision. At the same time we've got to have more transparency a fairer marketplace and that's what we're working on."
During the first surge of COVID-19 the spread between live cattle prices and boxed beef reached record levels. Ranchers say it's a complex situation.
"A lot of producers are being rewarded for quality cattle and we got to make sure whatever we do we still reward those people for that but still have enough cattle traded cash to have market transparency," Herz said.
Cattlemen say they don't want to go the route of hogs and chickens where often packers control animals from birth to the dinner plate...
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Hoeven Outlines Efforts to Secure Assistance for Ranchers, Ensure Fair & Transparent Pricing
Senator Addresses ND Stockmen’s Association Annual Convention, Introduces USDA Under Secretary Ibach
Source: U.S. Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota
BISMARCK, N.D. – At the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association annual convention today, Senator John Hoeven outlined his efforts as chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee and a members of the Senate Agriculture Committee to:
Hoeven also introduced U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach, with whom the senator has worked to advance these priorities.
“The U.S. enjoys the most affordable, highest quality food supply in the world, and that’s due to the hard work of our farmers and ranchers, who remain committed to this critical work even in the face of the most challenging circumstances,” Hoeven said. “Our efforts are all about helping our producers to overcome the current difficulties and help ensure a fair and transparent marketplace moving forward. That’s exactly what we’ve worked with the USDA, DOJ and others within the administration to achieve, from the coronavirus assistance we’ve funded to the investigation and legislation we are working to advance to address beef price disparities.”
Securing Agriculture Assistance
Under the Coronavirus Assistance, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Hoeven secured $9.5 billion of direct funding to assist farmers and ranchers as well as $14 billion in Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) funding. Hoeven then worked with USDA to advance the initial CFAP payments and to ensure the CCC funding was used for CFAP 2. Following this, the senator secured a full replenishment of the CCC in the continuing resolution recently passed by Congress and signed into law to prevent delays for Farm Bill programs, including the Livestock Forage Program and Livestock Indemnity Program.
At the same time, Hoeven has been holding regular meetings with North Dakota’s producers and commodity groups to facilitate feedback to the administration and ensure the assistance is as effective as possible. During the most recent of these meetings, Hoeven hosted Farm Serve Agency (FSA) Administration Richard Fordyce and reviewed the details of CFAP 2, which provides coverage for non-specialty crops, livestock, dairy and specialty crops.
Specifically, under this program, ranchers will receive$55/head for the highest number of cattle in inventory between April 16 and August 31. Sign-up for the program runs until December 11, 2020. Additional information on CFAP 2 is available from USDA at www.farmers.gov.
Working to Ensure Fair & Transparent Pricing
In addition, Hoeven is advancing the following efforts to support cattle ranchers and improve pricing and transparency in the beef market:
Hoeven highlighted a USDA report released earlier this year, which details disparities between boxed beef and live cattle prices, demonstrates the need for cattle market reforms.