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Dockter: We need MCOOL

I am writing this letter to all my fellow cattle producers and consumers who enjoy eating good quality beef.

Our livestock industry, mainly the cattle industry is in a crisis. We are faced with ever rising expenses, especially when facing a year of drought and we are dealing with prices or markets basically the same as we had back in 2016 when we lost MANDATORY COUNTRY OF ORIGIN LABELING. If you are a producer who may finish your cattle and find that you can’t get a buyer to come and look at your finished product let alone give you a bid, that you don’t have any options to market your product, and then to realize how crazy the prices at the grocery have become on rib eye steaks or even burger.

Or if you are a person who likes to take your life partner out for a nice meal once in a while and enjoy a good steak, only to look at the price on the menu and quickly remember the price you sold your feeder calves for while knowing if you were lucky you may have gotten close to your cost of production costs. Meanwhile knowing that the packer that supplied the restaurant with those steaks easily realized a quick $1,000/carcass profit and may have owned those carcasses for 5-7 days.



This is not a coincidence, nor will things change unless we as producers and consumers work together to make a difference, it is time to voice your concerns.

There are two major bills being discussed right now before the US Senate Ag. Committee. One is the Rounds/Tester M-COOL bill [SB2716} also known as the American Beef Labeling Act of 2021. This bill if passed will bring back the label on Beef “Born, Raised and Processed in the USA.” As it is now the beef you buy in the grocery store will have a USDA stamp on it which doesn’t tell you where it came from. If it is imported beef from some possible 28 other countries and is brought into the US and is mixed, comingled or just repackaged it still gets the USDA stamp, and the consumer doesn’t know where it came from and as producers we lose our American identity.



The other important bill being discussed in the US Senate Ag Committee is the Grassley/Tester 50/14 bill {SB949}. This bill will make the large meat packers purchase 50% of their cattle through competitive cash bidding and must process those cattle within 14 days. This bill will help bring back price discovery in the market and establish true value and transperancy. This will also help eliminate the captive supply of cattle already owned by the big conglomerate packers and feeders and allow the same prices to be paid to the smaller family farmer feeders and ranchers so they can get a fair and reasonable bid on their product.

As of now I am proud that Senator John Hoeven has signed onto in support of the M-Cool bill [2716]. And also has co-sponsored the 50/14 bill [949]. I am asking you to help the producers and consumers alike to get fairness back into the market place. And to start by calling Senator Cramer and asking him why he won’t support these bills and and represent a state that produces some of the highest quality beef bar none and make it available to our consumers so they can identify what they are buying. Senator Cramer needs to stand up for the producers and consumers of N.D. who grew up enjoying good, delicious, and wholesome beef and want the same for their families and the next generation. It is time he represents the small family farms, ranches and small communities in which they live, and not be committed to the large powers that control our industry.

If we don’t work together the cattle industry is headed the same direction as the hog industry went to where we will be vertically integrated and will be working for large corporate owned farms and ranches which will do nothing in return for our small rural towns and N.D. in general.

Kerry Dockter, cattle producer

Denhoff, N.D.

 


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