The South Dakota Stockgrowers were pleased at the yesterday’s announcement from the USDA stating they will begin an investigation into recent beef pricing margins. “If any unfair practices are detected, we will take quick enforcement action,” said USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue.
After Tyson’s Holcomb Kansas processing plant fire on August 9th, live cattle and feeder cattle prices tumbled, meanwhile boxed beef cut-out values have increased substantially. USDA data showed that beef packer profits kept climbing to 5, 6, even $700 per head. Cattle slaughter actually increased the week after the fire, according to USDA.
“The phone has been ringing off the hook the last few weeks with a lot of concerned producers over the markets”. Says James Halverson, Executive Director of The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association. “Our office has been working where we can to find answers for our members, and we are extremely grateful USDA and this administration has heard the frustrations of ranchers and is taking the time the look into this.”
Gary Deering President of The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association adds, “There is a good reason for producers to question the current situation of the markets. We have heard just last week video sales had calves selling for way less than prices needed to even breakeven. When producers are faced with the many tough decisions, that they will face under these circumstances – not to mention the frustration and additional expense last year’s weather events gave us, they truly want answers.
“We are supportive of this investigation and will stand by to help where we can to make sure we have markets that will work and remain competitive.” Says Halverson
USDA’s press release can be seen HERE.