The head of R-CALF USA says he’s hopeful an investigation into the fall of cattle prices last year will help turn things around for independent cattle producers. Bill Bullard, who held meetings with producers across Missouri this week, has requested the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee look into the matter, “They asked if I would come in and talk with their staff which I did in the middle of January to explain to them how our U.S. cattle industry is uniquely susceptible to market manipulation and antitrust activities by the dominant meat packers.”
Bullard says the committee staff is looking into both sides, “We also understand they have interviewed or are in the process of interviewing the meat packers themselves. So, they have given us no formal confirmation that a full-blown investigation will ensue but we are still hopeful that will happen.”
Bullard tells Brownfield all economic signs pointed to a continued price rally through 2018.
Louis Smith, northeast Missouri cattle producer says the fall in prices has been challenging, “When I’m selling 568-pound calves for almost $1600, I’m pretty tickled. Well, I sold some 681-pound calves the other day and they brought a little over a thousand dollars – that’s not even quite a year.”
Smith says he feels for the beginning livestock producer, “In my operation, I only run about 80 head of cows so I’m still probably making money because at my age pretty much everything’s paid for. But, for a young beginner, I don’t know how he’d get started.”
Brownfield interviewed Bullard and Smith at a meeting in Palmyra, Missouri.