Eric Nelson: Proposed Phoenix II, Full Transparency for All
In May of this year, 6 groups representing cattle producers (AFBF, LMA, NCBA, NFU, R-CALF USA, & USCA) met in Phoenix to discuss and prioritize problematic market related issues facing U.S. cattle producers. Since then, there’s been a busy schedule of meetings, congressional hearings and the like, discussing and ruminating over what needs to be done to preserve the U.S. cattle industry as an entrepreneurial livestock sector (as compared to poultry & hogs).
Unfortunately, not much has changed for cattle feeders since May. For perspective, just this week we sold a pen of slaughter cattle for the same price we received for a pen at the time of the Phoenix meeting. The price of slaughter cattle has made virtually no progress in over 5 months. Now that the LMR reauthorization bill (coupled to the continuing spending bill) is scheduled for a vote on December 3, we know the deadline for action. And with continued deterioration of slaughter cattle market conditions, it’s clearer than ever that strong action must be taken and quickly.
I received word yesterday (Thursday, October 14) that LMA (organizer of Phoenix I meeting) would like the original participants to join together for a “round 2” meeting, sometime in the very near future.
Hopefully this “round 2” meeting can happen, but with a few changes. First, the meeting needs to be held as close to as many cattle producers as possible that are facing the end of their cattle producing careers unless historic action is taken (Sioux Falls, Sioux City, Omaha). Second, format the meeting like a congressional hearing, opening statements from 2 participants per organization with questions (pre suggested by all participants) to be asked by a moderator. And most importantly, all of the proceedings should be streamed live on YouTube for everyone to see. If cattle producers are willing to ask for full transparency from packers, U.S. cattle producers surely deserve a chance to see & hear their organizations in action.
This “full transparency” meeting should leave no unanswered questions for our elected officials that are already contemplating and negotiating policy on what needs to be done. Through this full transparency, members of organizations will see their groups in action and congressional leaders will get the direct feedback they need to remedy the anticompetitive situation facing the U.S. cattle industry.
R-CALF USA Region VII Director
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