Thune meets with Bison residents
Community members met with Senator John Thune (R-SD) in Bison, South Dakota Aug. 5, 2019.
State senator and local rancher Sam Marty, Maurine, said he asked the Senator what is being done to address packer concentration.
“I said, we have the Packers and Stockyards Act to break up the big packers,” Marty told TSLN.
Marty said Thune acknowledged the concern.
Another area rancher asked Thune what is being done to revive country of origin labeling. “I told him, when ranchers voted for President Trump, I think they were hoping he would reinstate COOL,” said Kyle Carmichael.
He reminded the Senator that just before the 2015 COOL repeal, ranchers enjoyed the highest profit margin in decades, and that cattle prices plummeted following the repeal of COOL.
Carmichael said Thune responded by telling him that Congress repealed COOL because the WTO had agreed to allow Canada and Mexico to retaliate against the U.S. to the tune of $1-2 billion in tariffs.
“What is a billion dollars when we’ve gone from $1,500 calves to $650 calves?” asked Carmichael. “Trump has promised U.S. crop farmers $16 billion just this year to help make up for losses caused by tariffs he has implemented.”
Carmichael pointed out that a ranchers are struggling to pay for cows they bought when the market was high and when market analysts were predicting it would stay high for several years, and without a bump in the market, there could be more ranchers selling out.
He also pointed out to Thune that, while cattle prices have dropped to nearly half of 2014 levels, retail beef prices remain nearly as high as they were at that time.