Regional differences remain obstacle as Congress works toward cattle market solutions

A U.S. Senator points to regional differences as a reason why Congress has not passed new legislation to address cattle marketing concerns.

Tina Smith is a Democrat from Minnesota.

“There’s a difference between states where there is a big focus on the producers, and states where there’s a big focus on the packers. So I think you have to make sure there aren’t unintended consequences.”

Smith is a co-sponsor of Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley’s 50/14 bill that would require a minimum 50 percent of a meat packer’s weekly volume be purchased on the open or spot market and require it to be delivered within 14 days.

Producers in the South oppose Grassley’s plan and Smith likens finding a solution to solving a Rubik’s Cube.

“But I also don’t think we should just sit around and do nothing. I was just talking to someone (recently) about bringing his beef cows to market and actually losing money on every single one of them. And that doesn’t make any sense when you have packers that are making more and more money.”

Smith took part in a recent Senate Agriculture hearing that addressed packer concentration and lack of competition, supply chain disruptions, and processing capacity limitations. 

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