WHAT THE MEETING IS ABOUT…
The livestock industry is doing their homework this week as an all-day meeting in Fort Collins this Friday will bring some big hitters to the plate. According to the Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) website, this joint DOJ/USDA competition workshop will address beef, hog and other animal sectors. Likely issues for discussion are concentration in livestock markets, buyer power and enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act. This meeting is the fourth in a series of five joint workshops focused on competition and regulatory issues in agriculture. Previous meetings focused on farming, poultry and dairy. The final meeting will look at margins.
CLICK HERE to see the full agenda for Friday’s event in Fort Collins.
Folks from our region that will be sitting on the various panels do include:
- Dr. Taylor Haynes, rancher, Cheyenne, Wyoming
- Harry Livermont, rancher, Interior, South Dakota
- Gilles Stockton, rancher, Range, Montana
- Robert Mack, cattle producer/feeder, Watertown, South Dakota
Along with the scheduled testimony, there is also over 2 hours that has been set aside for public testimony.
WHAT THE INDUSTRY IS SAYING…
You can bet on the major industry groups being represented in full force Friday in Fort Collins. The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association says that they are optimistic that the DOJ and USDA have come up with fair representation that will lead to an even and balanced discussion. They will urge that the USDA stand firm on the proposed changes to the Packers and Stockyards Act, contending that the beef sector is the last remaining, least vertically integrated livestock industry and that consumers benefit from the competition and innovation that a market filled with many producers brings.
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association will also be well represented in Fort Collins. They pushed hard to get an extension to the comment period on proposed changes to the Packers and Stockyards Act. According to their Vice President of Government Affairs Colin Woodall, it is important for cattle producers to attend the workshop to express their personal concerns about the proposed rule, which suggests major changes to the way producers can market their cattle. In a release from the group, Woodall stated that, “This rule could potentially put these innovative farmers and ranchers out of business. This rule has the potential to take the beef industry back 30 years by stifling the innovative efforts of U.S. cattle producers to add value and enhance the quality and safety of their products for consumers in the United States and abroad.”
At an informational meeting in Miles City, Montana Monday evening, R-CALF USA told Northern Ag Network that they had members planning on showing up in buses and vans. R-CALF will contend that the marketplace is broken and that competition needs to be restored. Dr. Max Thornsberry, President of the R-CALF Board of Directors and Region VI Director expressed concerns that the livestock industry is going the way of the swine industry:
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