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Tyson adds one-time premium to cash cattle prices

Tyson Foods is offering a one-time premium to cattle producers for all fed cattle harvested this week.  In a statement to Brownfield, the company says it will provide cattle feeders a payment of $5 per cwt live and $7.94 per cwt dressed. 

R-CALF CEO Bill Bullard says this is an unprecedented move.  “I don’t think this has ever happened before in our industry,” he says.  “Where a packer just comes forth voluntarily and says they are going to make an adjustment in prices and pay more for cattle than they actually bid for and obtained the cattle for.” But, he tells Brownfield this doesn’t fix the larger issue.  “It doesn’t make the producers whole,” he says.  “Because right now, at $110 cwt, is about $10/cwt below the cost of production.  So Tyson essentially is cut the losses to producers in half.”

There have been no indications if other packers will follow Tyson’s lead. Tyson Fresh Meats says without the pipeline of high-quality cattle it would not be able to meet the needs of customers and consumers and it’s imperative during this national state of emergency to support customers, but also cattle supply partners by ensuring the long-term sustainability of the beef business.

Last week R-CALF sent an emergency letter to President Trump asking him to implement five stopgap measures to provide relief to the cattle industry.  The letter also requested limits be placed on the percentage of cattle that packers can procure through an arrangement that undermines the competitive cash market and would preserve the integrity of the industry’s price discovery market.   

AUDIO: Bill Bullard, R-CALF USA

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