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The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association is a grassroots organization whose individual producer members determine issues of importance to the state's livestock industry. With input into the policy development, each member has the opportunity to influence SDSGA's policy and priorities. Individual members of the Association pull together to make powerful decisions - dedicated to promoting the livestock industry and enhancing the opportunity for profitability.

SD Stockgrowers News

South Dakota Stockgrowers Appreciate Senators Introducing 50/14 Mandated Cash Trade Legislation!

On Tuesday May 12, Senator Rounds joined a bipartisan coalition of senators introducing legislation to increase market competition and transparency within the fed cattle market. The South Dakota Stockgrowers fully support this effort to restore greater price discovery for harvest ready cattle and realize the trickle-down effect this will have on the entire supply chain.

This bill as introduced will require each meat packing facility that harvests over a certain number of cattle each year and must already participate in Mandatory Price Reporting daily, to ascertain at least 50% of the cattle they buy weekly through a negotiated cash deal and take delivery of those animals within 14 days.

 “Even before COVID-19 hit our country, we had serious concerns about price discrepancies in the cattle market,” said Rounds. “Cattle prices in South Dakota are affected by the average negotiated cash trade nationwide which has dropped dramatically over the past 15 years. The decrease in cash trades has reduced price discovery. In order to establish a fair cattle market for cattle producers, real, vigorous price discovery is needed. Our legislation will provide much-needed transparency to the cattle industry to make sure producers are paid fairly for their product. This is only one piece of what needs to be fixed in the cattle market, but it’s an important step forward.”

There has been a recent grass-roots push for a minimum cash trade mandate as more people have taken note of how much the industry has moved towards private formula deals with no price reporting over the past several years. “We support this bill and have publicly supported the “30/14 push as well,” said SDSGA President, Scott Edoff, eluding the to recent push by many organizations to have a 30% minimum cash trade per plant and 14 day delivery window. “Any mandated increase in cash trade can only help our independent producers. The fact that these senators think we can get 50% is even better.” He added.

The 50/14 bill as introduced will likely get tied to the reauthorization of the Mandatory Price Reporting Act that will be up for a vote again this fall. “We understand this isn’t a done deal and will undoubtedly go through much negotiation in the Senate Ag Committee,” said SDSGA Executive Director James Halverson. “We will continue to lead the fight to get a bill passed with a mandated cash trade set as high as possible. We are fervently working with Senator Thune as well and believe he will be supportive as we move forward,” He added. Senator Chuck Grassely (R-IA), a key member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, led the introduction of the 50/14 bill.  He has been championing this issue for many years. Senator Grassley was joined by Senators Mike Rounds (R-SD), Steve Daines (R-MT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Jon Tester (D-MT). Senator Grassley commented, “The lack of transparency in cattle pricing isn’t a new problem, but the negative effects of the fire in Holcomb, Kansas, and COVID-19 have highlighted the need for additional price transparency measures to ensure producers are getting a fair price for the hard work of raising cattle. Food doesn’t come from the grocery store, it comes from tens of thousands of farmers and independent producers who work day and night to ensure families across the country have an abundant supply of food. Independent producers deserve to be paid what their worth.”

South Dakota Stockgrowers Appreciate Senators Introducing MCOOL Resolution

On Wednesday, May 13 a bipartisan coalition of senators introduced legislation urging the President and his team of U.S. trade negotiators to enter into agreements that would allow for the full implementation of Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling of beef products. The South Dakota Stockgrowers fully appreciate the introduction of Senate Resolution 575 and would like to recognize the great leadership from our South Dakota Senators, Mike Rounds and John Thune in introducing and cosponsoring this important resolution.

“A resolution is where an issue begins to garner and gain widespread support,” Said SDSGA Executive Director James Halverson. “We understand this is a critical step forward towards fully implementing Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling. This is more traction than we’ve seen on this all-important issue than in many, many years”

This resolution is nearly identical to South Dakota’s SCR 601 that State Senator Gary Cammack sponsored this past winter in Pierre. SCR 601 went on to pass both chambers of the South Dakota Legislature with nearly unanimous support. “This is evidence of how an issue can grow from the grass-roots level,” Said SDSGA President Scott Edoff. “When we helped formulate this idea and craft this legislation on the state level, we wanted to attack the barriers to implementing MCOOL. We also were hoping to begin the snowball effect of MCOOL gaining attention and support nation-wide. We saw tremendous support from South Dakota lawmakers, and we are now beginning to see it at the federal level as well.”

Senator Rounds’ team recognizes this is an important issue for producers and consumers alike and getting an MCOOL bill attached to legislation that is quickly moving forward right now as part of the phase four relief package would not only force the issue, but would also be a win for both groups. “Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (MCOOL) for beef fits within our discussions on how to improve food security, transparency for consumers and supply chain issues, all of which have been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, threatening both producers and consumers,” said Rounds. “This is not only misleading to consumers when they purchase meat at the grocery store, it puts our producers at a competitive disadvantage when marketing their products. This legislation is the broadest and strongest bipartisan support we’ve seen for MCOOL since it was eliminated in 2015, and it begins the critical and necessary discussion on food security in America. This is a win-win for producers and consumers. MCOOL proponents – including those who represent consumers and cattle producers – who are sincerely interested in moving the ball forward on MCOOL should get behind our legislation and help force the issue. Our goal should be to gain support and include it in must-pass COVID-19 legislation, both of which will encourage the president’s action.”

“Senator Rounds and his team have been working with us nonstop to bring forth much legislation that will help livestock producers.” Said Halverson. “We greatly appreciate his team’s efforts in bringing attention to MCOOL and to get it in front of the President. When the President signs this legislation, he is basically saying he will renegotiate these trade deals so that we can fully implement MCOOL. Consumers want to know where their meat is being born, raised, and harvested and this is a giant step in the right direction. We’d like to publicly thank our both of our Senators for committing to support Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling and breaking down the barriers to getting it fully implemented.” He added.