Cattle group calls on USDA to address coronavirus impact

The United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) is calling on the USDA to take immediate steps to address the impact the coronavirus is having on the cattle market.

USCA board member and Nebraska cattle feeder Lee Reichmuth says developing a plan to keep packing plants up and running should be the top priority.

“The first thing we need to do is calm the markets down and put some kind of certainty in that the plants will run…in case an employee or employees get coronavirus, the last thing the industry needs at this present time is another plant to be closed,” Reichmuth says. “So we’ve reached out to USDA to look at that and kind of come up with a game plan if that were to happen and how they would navigate through that.”

USCA is also asking USDA to consider an MFP-type program for cattle producers.

“When you see Peter Navarro or Steve Mnuchin—people from the government—that talk about coming up with some kind of programs to help businesses and industries navigate through the effects of the coronavirus—as dire as the situation is for the cattle industry, it may be something we want to look at.”

Reichmuth says USDA should also step up its oversight of the cattle marketplace to prevent anti-competitive buying practices in the days and weeks ahead.

“When you have four packers that control 80 percent of the market, there needs to be a referee that really looks out for producers,” he says. “If we don’t change things rather quick, we’re going to have catastrophic bankruptcies with the industry.”

AUDIO: Lee Reichmuth
  • What we need is no foreign comany or people to own feedyards or packing plants in the US. Look at the results. Bribery in there country. Now we are shipping foreign meat In the US mixing with high quality meat and labeling as US . How right is this?. Pass the buck.To the point dont care about the value of our product
    We need to take care of our farmer and ranchers.

  • Not sure who is going to look out for us certainly not USDA, Perdue, Trump ignored us or NCBA? My guess any kind of bailout will go to the packers! We have not gotten over the tariff fiasco, then the fire now this! Packers box beef up $12 while we are down board limit for a week+. This is not our hobby we do this full time and now working other jobs to pay our expenses! That is idiotic to work this hard then have to work out to pay the bills!! We do not live extremely high on the hog!!!we drive junk, tractor old!! Seriously!!

  • I agree! But we also need the big 4 to be fair in this national emergencey. With the strain the producer is having we need companies to do the right thing and not gouge the American Consumer! We need a fair shake!

  • I want to know if they are going to “Bail Out” the little guy? The guy that has his calves on wheat and they are needing sold but there is NO way he can sell now. Talk about a loss !!!!

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