Why Prices Are Down

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Why Prices Are Down

Postby BK9954 » Sun Oct 30, 2016 4:50 pm

Found this in a cattle group I am a member of.

Enjoy.



Open Letter to U.S. Cattle Producers

September 2016

Dear Cattle Producing Friend,

What does the rest of 2016 have in store for your U.S. cattle industry? The answer is up to us.

After 18 years of herd liquidation that started in 1996, cattle inventories fell to a 73-year low while over 171,000 beef cattle producers and 84,000 independent cattle feeders exited our industry. When the dust finally settled U.S. beef production fell to the lowest level in two decades. Responding to this incredible shortage of beef and cattle, prices for your cattle in 2014 climbed to the highest nominal levels in our history.

Amidst all of this, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), which represents large multinational meatpackers: Tyson, Cargill, JBS and National Beef, told a U.S. federal court that U.S. cattle producers don’t want their beef labeled with a USA country of origin label.

The NCBA said: “beef is beef, whether the cattle were born in Montana, Manitoba, or Mazatlán.” The NCBA claims there is no difference between beef produced from U.S. cattle and beef produced from Canadian or Mexican cattle. According to them, beef produced from cattle sourced from anywhere in the world is just the same as beef from your U.S. cattle.

With this message, the NCBA worked with Canada, Mexico and the World Trade Organization (WTO) to convince Congress to repeal country of origin labeling (COOL). And Congress did.

With COOL gone, there is now a worldwide effort to render the origins of U.S. cattle irrelevant on a global scale. The effort includes relegating U.S. farmers and ranchers to nothing more than raw-product suppliers to the multinational meatpackers’ global supply chain.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement (TPP) is being pushed by the NCBA and meatpackers. The TPP states the origin of beef is wherever the animal is slaughtered. This means when cattle are imported from Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Canada or Nicaragua and slaughtered by JBS or Tyson in a U.S. packing plant, the meat will be labeled as “Product of the USA.”

We were deceived. We now know the real reason COOL was repealed was to help multinational meatpackers steal the good name and reputation of U.S. cattle producers and put it on beef from foreign-sourced cattle for duty-free distribution to TPP countries, including the United States. Your reputation is worth billions of dollars. Our own USDA helped gift this incredibly valuable asset to the multinational meatpackers. You got nothing.

R-CALF USA is the only association that testified before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) that the TPP should be rejected because it destroys competition between the U.S. live cattle industry and live cattle industries from around the world. The ITC’s investigation reveals that even with the addition of Japan, and even after 15 years of operation, the TPP will not reverse the horrendous trade deficit the U.S. has with the 11 other TPP countries. The ITC found that the U.S. beef trade deficit with TPP countries was nearly $2.8 billion in 2015 alone. This ongoing deficit in the trade of beef is weakening the economic viability of our industry.

With both cattle supplies and beef production so low, and with steady beef demand, cattle prices were expected to remain at historical highs from 2015 until 2018, at which time herd rebuilding was projected to cause prices to gradually subside. But something went terribly wrong.

Recall June 2015 when the U.S. House of Representatives repealed COOL. Up until then fed cattle prices were steady and strong ($160.70 per cwt in May). But in June prices tumbled by more than $9 per cwt and kept tumbling through December. When the dust settled the market had lost an astounding $36 per cwt just since May. Fed cattle prices never fell so far or so fast at any other time in the history of our industry.

Calf prices fell just as hard, if not harder. In May 2015, feeder calves weighing 550 pounds were bringing $286.41 per cwt. By December, prices fell to $194.28, representing a loss of over $506 per head for U.S. cow/calf producers! This wasn’t caused by competitive market fundamentals. No, this was the result of manipulation within our U.S. fed cattle market.

In early January, R-CALF USA asked the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to investigate the cause of the 2015 cattle price collapse so we can prevent it from ever happening again. In response to our request, the Judiciary Committee in April asked the United States Comptroller General to conduct the investigation through his agency, the Government Accountability Office (GAO). In addition, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley immediately introduced legislation to ban packer ownership of livestock, which will help reduce the control that multinational meatpackers presently have over our markets.

On May 26, the GAO accepted the request to investigate the cause of the 2015 price collapse. In fact, the U.S. Comptroller General is now investigating the changes that have occurred within our markets during the past 10 years. (2005 was the last year meatpackers purchased more than one-half of their cattle supplies in the competitive cash market. Today, the volume in the competitive cash market is below 22 percent.)

This unprecedented investigation is our last best chance to stop the multinational meatpackers from capturing control over our live cattle supply chain through vertical integration. They already accomplished this capture in both the poultry and hog industries. We call the processes of capturing control over livestock supply chains “chickenization.” So, this is our last chance to stop the meatpackers from chickenizing our cattle industry. We hope you will help us.

R-CALF USA members are also dissatisfied with paying into a beef checkoff program that funnels tens of millions of dollars to the NCBA – the same organization that fights to repeal COOL, that helps meatpackers vertically integrate the cattle supply chain, and that supports free trade agreements that marginalize U.S. cattle producers by weakening their competitiveness.

During the time the NCBA-controlled, mandatory beef checkoff program has been in place, per capita beef consumption fell from 79 pounds to 54 pounds while per capita chicken consumption increased from 51 pounds to 83 pounds. Yet, there is no mandatory checkoff program for chicken growers! It is way past time for independent cattle producers to take back their beef checkoff program.

In May, R-CALF USA filed a lawsuit in federal court against the beef checkoff program. Our lawsuit alleges it is a violation of the U.S. Constitution for the USDA to allow one-half of all checkoff taxes to be siphoned off by private state entities that use those taxes to promote the message that beef from cattle produced anywhere in the world is just as good as USA beef. In July, we helped introduce two new bills in Congress to prohibit any lobbying groups from receiving checkoff dollars and to make the checkoff program voluntary.

R-CALF USA is the largest producer-only cattle association in the United States. We recently included sheep producers within our ranks. We need to continue building our producer-focused organization throughout the rest of 2016.
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Re: Why Prices Are Down

Postby Bigfoot » Sun Oct 30, 2016 4:55 pm

About the most interesting thing I ever read. Thanks for posting.
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Re: Why Prices Are Down

Postby RanchMan90 » Sun Oct 30, 2016 4:56 pm

Yep, my generation with their food comes from the grocery store mentality doesn't help anything. Same as buying Chinese tires (which most us do) cheaper is better to the majority of the population. Everybody panics in a slump, as in every election year. We'll just have to wait to see what spring brings after the election, most producers are going long right now.
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Re: Why Prices Are Down

Postby Caustic Burno » Sun Oct 30, 2016 6:33 pm

Always follow the dollar will lead you to the devil in the woodpile every time.
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Re: Why Prices Are Down

Postby True Grit Farms » Sun Oct 30, 2016 6:57 pm

BK9954 wrote:Found this in a cattle group I am a member of.

Enjoy.



Open Letter to U.S. Cattle Producers

September 2016

Dear Cattle Producing Friend,

What does the rest of 2016 have in store for your U.S. cattle industry? The answer is up to us.

After 18 years of herd liquidation that started in 1996, cattle inventories fell to a 73-year low while over 171,000 beef cattle producers and 84,000 independent cattle feeders exited our industry. When the dust finally settled U.S. beef production fell to the lowest level in two decades. Responding to this incredible shortage of beef and cattle, prices for your cattle in 2014 climbed to the highest nominal levels in our history.

Amidst all of this, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), which represents large multinational meatpackers: Tyson, Cargill, JBS and National Beef, told a U.S. federal court that U.S. cattle producers don’t want their beef labeled with a USA country of origin label.

The NCBA said: “beef is beef, whether the cattle were born in Montana, Manitoba, or Mazatlán.” The NCBA claims there is no difference between beef produced from U.S. cattle and beef produced from Canadian or Mexican cattle. According to them, beef produced from cattle sourced from anywhere in the world is just the same as beef from your U.S. cattle.

With this message, the NCBA worked with Canada, Mexico and the World Trade Organization (WTO) to convince Congress to repeal country of origin labeling (COOL). And Congress did.

With COOL gone, there is now a worldwide effort to render the origins of U.S. cattle irrelevant on a global scale. The effort includes relegating U.S. farmers and ranchers to nothing more than raw-product suppliers to the multinational meatpackers’ global supply chain.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement (TPP) is being pushed by the NCBA and meatpackers. The TPP states the origin of beef is wherever the animal is slaughtered. This means when cattle are imported from Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Canada or Nicaragua and slaughtered by JBS or Tyson in a U.S. packing plant, the meat will be labeled as “Product of the USA.”

We were deceived. We now know the real reason COOL was repealed was to help multinational meatpackers steal the good name and reputation of U.S. cattle producers and put it on beef from foreign-sourced cattle for duty-free distribution to TPP countries, including the United States. Your reputation is worth billions of dollars. Our own USDA helped gift this incredibly valuable asset to the multinational meatpackers. You got nothing.

R-CALF USA is the only association that testified before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) that the TPP should be rejected because it destroys competition between the U.S. live cattle industry and live cattle industries from around the world. The ITC’s investigation reveals that even with the addition of Japan, and even after 15 years of operation, the TPP will not reverse the horrendous trade deficit the U.S. has with the 11 other TPP countries. The ITC found that the U.S. beef trade deficit with TPP countries was nearly $2.8 billion in 2015 alone. This ongoing deficit in the trade of beef is weakening the economic viability of our industry.

With both cattle supplies and beef production so low, and with steady beef demand, cattle prices were expected to remain at historical highs from 2015 until 2018, at which time herd rebuilding was projected to cause prices to gradually subside. But something went terribly wrong.

Recall June 2015 when the U.S. House of Representatives repealed COOL. Up until then fed cattle prices were steady and strong ($160.70 per cwt in May). But in June prices tumbled by more than $9 per cwt and kept tumbling through December. When the dust settled the market had lost an astounding $36 per cwt just since May. Fed cattle prices never fell so far or so fast at any other time in the history of our industry.

Calf prices fell just as hard, if not harder. In May 2015, feeder calves weighing 550 pounds were bringing $286.41 per cwt. By December, prices fell to $194.28, representing a loss of over $506 per head for U.S. cow/calf producers! This wasn’t caused by competitive market fundamentals. No, this was the result of manipulation within our U.S. fed cattle market.

In early January, R-CALF USA asked the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to investigate the cause of the 2015 cattle price collapse so we can prevent it from ever happening again. In response to our request, the Judiciary Committee in April asked the United States Comptroller General to conduct the investigation through his agency, the Government Accountability Office (GAO). In addition, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley immediately introduced legislation to ban packer ownership of livestock, which will help reduce the control that multinational meatpackers presently have over our markets.

On May 26, the GAO accepted the request to investigate the cause of the 2015 price collapse. In fact, the U.S. Comptroller General is now investigating the changes that have occurred within our markets during the past 10 years. (2005 was the last year meatpackers purchased more than one-half of their cattle supplies in the competitive cash market. Today, the volume in the competitive cash market is below 22 percent.)

This unprecedented investigation is our last best chance to stop the multinational meatpackers from capturing control over our live cattle supply chain through vertical integration. They already accomplished this capture in both the poultry and hog industries. We call the processes of capturing control over livestock supply chains “chickenization.” So, this is our last chance to stop the meatpackers from chickenizing our cattle industry. We hope you will help us.

R-CALF USA members are also dissatisfied with paying into a beef checkoff program that funnels tens of millions of dollars to the NCBA – the same organization that fights to repeal COOL, that helps meatpackers vertically integrate the cattle supply chain, and that supports free trade agreements that marginalize U.S. cattle producers by weakening their competitiveness.

During the time the NCBA-controlled, mandatory beef checkoff program has been in place, per capita beef consumption fell from 79 pounds to 54 pounds while per capita chicken consumption increased from 51 pounds to 83 pounds. Yet, there is no mandatory checkoff program for chicken growers! It is way past time for independent cattle producers to take back their beef checkoff program.

In May, R-CALF USA filed a lawsuit in federal court against the beef checkoff program. Our lawsuit alleges it is a violation of the U.S. Constitution for the USDA to allow one-half of all checkoff taxes to be siphoned off by private state entities that use those taxes to promote the message that beef from cattle produced anywhere in the world is just as good as USA beef. In July, we helped introduce two new bills in Congress to prohibit any lobbying groups from receiving checkoff dollars and to make the checkoff program voluntary.

R-CALF USA is the largest producer-only cattle association in the United States. We recently included sheep producers within our ranks. We need to continue building our producer-focused organization throughout the rest of 2016.


Thank you for posting that, I'm going to copy that and send it with my NCBA membership cancelation notice. I'm also going to run a bunch of copies off and give them to all our GCA members at the next meeting. And if GCA doesn't like it they can pound sand. I was in on a conference call with Colin Woodard of NCBA and told him of my fears and concerns about COOL. I was for COOL then and I still am. Politics stink and playing the game is BS.
Last edited by True Grit Farms on Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why Prices Are Down

Postby Margonme » Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:14 pm

That explains a WHOLE lot. Producers always get screwed. I guess the multinational meatpackers got more influence that the producer.

This could go down hard. I could easily see meatpackers ignoring US beef when foreign beef can take its place.
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Re: Why Prices Are Down

Postby wbvs58 » Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:26 pm

The US competes with Australia in most of our premium markets such as Japan and Korea. Do you have your country of origin on the meat you sell into these markets? Australia does, and is proud of it and is a point of differentiation that gets us a premium on our meat as the public buys our meat and trusts our product. We have the most expensive processing costs in the world mainly due to the wages of meatworkers and our cattle prices are at an unsustainable height at the moment due to herd rebuilding, the exchange rate and the reputation of our product is keeping our foot in the door.

I understand your gripe and it will only be a matter of time before we are looking back at our high prices and wondering how they fell. We also have a lot of unfair practices in the purchasing of cattle at the saleyards, buyers from the processors taking it in turns to buy pens of cattle rather than competing.

All the best with your endeavours and questioning of the system, no matter where you are from the producer is certainly at the bottom of the food chain with many feeders picking on him.

Ken
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Re: Why Prices Are Down

Postby True Grit Farms » Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:28 pm

Margonme wrote:That explains a WHOLE lot. Producers always get screwed. I guess the multinational meatpackers got more influence that the producer.

This could go down hard. I could easily see meatpackers ignoring US beef when foreign beef can take its place.


I'm sure that NCBA is behind making to so difficult for the producers to sell directly to the consumer also. I want and should be allowed to sell, slaughter and then process my cattle for the consumer. I can sell my fruits and vegetables through the Georgia Grown and the Georgia Department of Agriculture.
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Re: Why Prices Are Down

Postby JMJ Farms » Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:35 pm

Best post on CT since I've been here. Doesn't beat around the bush and seems 100% accurate. I too am for COOL. But for COOL to work, the TPP also has to be changed so that the country of origin is NOT where the animal is slaughtered, but instead is where the animal was born, raised AND slaughtered. The citizens of this country better wake up and get back to some of the old ways of looking after each other rather than only worrying about what's best for themselves. 10% are greedy. 20% just want to be productive and earn what they have. The other 70% want someone to take care of them. I said it could never happen but now I can see "some form of chickenization" taking place. Probably not in a confinement type scenario but through imports from foreign countries. Anybody have any suggestions on what we as producers can do to help COOL be implemented and also get the TPP amended?
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Re: Why Prices Are Down

Postby Margonme » Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:48 pm

JMJ Farms wrote:Best post on CT since I've been here. Doesn't beat around the bush and seems 100% accurate. I too am for COOL. But for COOL to work, the TPP also has to be changed so that the country of origin is NOT where the animal is slaughtered, but instead is where the animal was born, raised AND slaughtered. The citizens of this country better wake up and get back to some of the old ways of looking after each other rather than only worrying about what's best for themselves. 10% are greedy. 20% just want to be productive and earn what they have. The other 70% want someone to take care of them. I said it could never happen but now I can see "some form of chickenization" taking place. Probably not in a confinement type scenario but through imports from foreign countries. Anybody have any suggestions on what we as producers can do to help COOL be implemented and also get the TPP amended?



Yes, I could see the whole industry being relegated to a hobby. I don't have any confidence in political solutions.
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Re: Why Prices Are Down

Postby True Grit Farms » Sun Oct 30, 2016 8:13 pm

JMJ Farms wrote:Best post on CT since I've been here. Doesn't beat around the bush and seems 100% accurate. I too am for COOL. But for COOL to work, the TPP also has to be changed so that the country of origin is NOT where the animal is slaughtered, but instead is where the animal was born, raised AND slaughtered. The citizens of this country better wake up and get back to some of the old ways of looking after each other rather than only worrying about what's best for themselves. 10% are greedy. 20% just want to be productive and earn what they have. The other 70% want someone to take care of them. I said it could never happen but now I can see "some form of chickenization" taking place. Probably not in a confinement type scenario but through imports from foreign countries. Anybody have any suggestions on what we as producers can do to help COOL be implemented and also get the TPP amended?


I wonder where Gary Black stands on COOL? Sure be nice to get him on our side. He is known for going against the establishment in a very gentle way.
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Re: Why Prices Are Down

Postby Margonme » Sun Oct 30, 2016 8:14 pm

wbvs58 wrote:The US competes with Australia in most of our premium markets such as Japan and Korea. Do you have your country of origin on the meat you sell into these markets? Australia does, and is proud of it and is a point of differentiation that gets us a premium on our meat as the public buys our meat and trusts our product. We have the most expensive processing costs in the world mainly due to the wages of meatworkers and our cattle prices are at an unsustainable height at the moment due to herd rebuilding, the exchange rate and the reputation of our product is keeping our foot in the door.

I understand your gripe and it will only be a matter of time before we are looking back at our high prices and wondering how they fell. We also have a lot of unfair practices in the purchasing of cattle at the saleyards, buyers from the processors taking it in turns to buy pens of cattle rather than competing.

All the best with your endeavours and questioning of the system, no matter where you are from the producer is certainly at the bottom of the food chain with many feeders picking on him.

Ken


We did Ken. That is a core issue. Our legislature repealed Country Of Origin Labeling (COOL) so now US beef will compete as just BEEF on the same level as beef from Costa Rica, etc.

HEY GRIT: DIDN'T THE 2014 ELECTION GIVE REPUBLICANS CONTROL OF HOUSE AND SENATE. HOW THE HEII DID THEY THINK REPEALING COOL WAS GOOD FOR US CATTLE PRODUCERS?
Last edited by Margonme on Sun Oct 30, 2016 8:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why Prices Are Down

Postby JMJ Farms » Sun Oct 30, 2016 8:17 pm

True Grit Farms wrote:
JMJ Farms wrote:Best post on CT since I've been here. Doesn't beat around the bush and seems 100% accurate. I too am for COOL. But for COOL to work, the TPP also has to be changed so that the country of origin is NOT where the animal is slaughtered, but instead is where the animal was born, raised AND slaughtered. The citizens of this country better wake up and get back to some of the old ways of looking after each other rather than only worrying about what's best for themselves. 10% are greedy. 20% just want to be productive and earn what they have. The other 70% want someone to take care of them. I said it could never happen but now I can see "some form of chickenization" taking place. Probably not in a confinement type scenario but through imports from foreign countries. Anybody have any suggestions on what we as producers can do to help COOL be implemented and also get the TPP amended?


I wonder where Gary Black stands on COOL? Sure be nice to get him on our side. He is known for going against the establishment in a very gentle way.


I don't know. But I promise you that I will call him before the sun sets tomorrow. I've always liked talking with him and I think he is a good person. He's probably well educated on COOL already but I will make sure and see what he thinks.
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Re: Why Prices Are Down

Postby WalnutCrest » Sun Oct 30, 2016 10:44 pm

Margonme wrote:
wbvs58 wrote:The US competes with Australia in most of our premium markets such as Japan and Korea. Do you have your country of origin on the meat you sell into these markets? Australia does, and is proud of it and is a point of differentiation that gets us a premium on our meat as the public buys our meat and trusts our product. We have the most expensive processing costs in the world mainly due to the wages of meatworkers and our cattle prices are at an unsustainable height at the moment due to herd rebuilding, the exchange rate and the reputation of our product is keeping our foot in the door.

I understand your gripe and it will only be a matter of time before we are looking back at our high prices and wondering how they fell. We also have a lot of unfair practices in the purchasing of cattle at the saleyards, buyers from the processors taking it in turns to buy pens of cattle rather than competing.

All the best with your endeavours and questioning of the system, no matter where you are from the producer is certainly at the bottom of the food chain with many feeders picking on him.

Ken


We did Ken. That is a core issue. Our legislature repealed Country Of Origin Labeling (COOL) so now US beef will compete as just BEEF on the same level as beef from Costa Rica, etc.

HEY GRIT: DIDN'T THE 2014 ELECTION GIVE REPUBLICANS CONTROL OF HOUSE AND SENATE. HOW THE HEII DID THEY THINK REPEALING COOL WAS GOOD FOR US CATTLE PRODUCERS?


+1 on the bolded part

I see Trump's nomination (and possible election) as nothing more than a giant middle finger of the electorate who sent people to congress to do a job they didn't end up doing ... and ... so since they didn't do it, they wanted to send in a guy who'd say (essentially), "you're fired!".
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Re: Why Prices Are Down

Postby js1234 » Sun Oct 30, 2016 11:02 pm

An awful lots of cattle people who have an awful lot of pull would have goals much more aligned with the packer in terms of COOL due to their involvement in the Mexican and Canadian cattle trade.
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