Bill Bullard, Ranchers-Cattleman Action Legal Fund (R-CALF USA) CEO, made a presentation on issues threatening the economic viability of the U.S. Cattle Industry at an event held at the Middletown Community Center last week.
A large crowd attended the event to hear Bullard’s concerns regarding what caused the late 2015 cattle decline in cattle prices.
It was noted that the historic price collapse of fat cattle went through all classes of cattle with a common $500 per head loss. This loss came at a time where forecasts projected high prices throughout 2016.
R-CALF USA is calling for a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee to investigate the causes of the price decline.
Bullard wants a formal hearing to determine if intentional manipulation of factors possibly by packers and/or the futures market participants played a role in the decline.
He showed a chart of percentages to present data on how packers are shifting “unprecedented” volumes of cattle from the cash market to their captive supply holdings, particularly in formula contracts.
Bullard also reminded those in attendance of the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921.
He discussed the leverage that is being used when it comes to the use of domestic cattle and imported cattle to meet a beef demand.
To maximize profits, U.S. cattle producers are wanting meat packers to source cattle supplies exclusively in their domestic market. Multinational meat packers are wanting to source foreign cattle to leverage against domestic cattle to lower their overall input costs. One of the many statistics presented showed 18% of U.S. beef supplies coming from imported beef and beef produced from imported cattle.
The Middletown meeting was the third stop of a three-day Missouri presentation tour.