IARN — Efforts continue in Washington, D.C. to create a level playing field for Midwest cattle producers.
Questions surrounding cattle markets are a main issue being tackled by Iowa’s congressional leadership. Senator Chuck Grassley recently spoke on the Senate floor to highlight the increase in the spread between the fed cattle prices, which is the price producers are paid, and the boxed beef price, which is the price packers get paid.
A cattle market transparency bill Grassley introduced earlier this year is currently being held up by Senate Ag Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, a Republican from Kansas.
On the House side, Third District Congresswoman Cindy Axne introduced a companion piece to Grassley’s bill in July. She was asked about the legislation during an Iowa Farmers Union online forum this week.
“We are being shoved out of this market like it’s nobody’s business right now with Covid,” Axne said. “We already knew there were transparency issues to begin with and an inability for us to have the opportunity to get into some of the markets we would like to. I’m going to make sure we push this agenda.”
Axne’s companion bill would require processors to have a minimum of 50 percent of their weekly slaughter purchases from cash market sales, and require a maximum 14-day delivery period.
“Nationally, there are a lot of people who don’t agree,” Axne said. “But I am here to work for Iowa. I am going to push forth an agenda that works for Iowa. We are not getting a fair end of the stick. Our cattle producers are being left out of opportunity. The only way we will get in there is if we change the market structure. This is what we have to do.”
Iowa producers typically participate in the cash market around 50 percent, while nationwide participation has steadily been decreasing to as low as 5 percent in some states. Axne noted she continues to work with Senator Grassley on the issue, as well as other congressional members on both sides of the aisle.
Story courtesy of the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network.