ALTOONA, Iowa — Cattle producers had several things on their mind during the annual meeting of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association in Altoona Dec. 8.
Trade and market access were two of the major topics of discussion.
“Trade has definitely been something we have discussed with our members all fall,” says Matt Deppe, ICA’s chief executive officer.
Since the meeting, the United States- Mexico-Canada free trade agreement was finalized. The pact was a major priority for the ICA and other ag organizations.
Deppe says a fire at a Tyson plant in Kansas late this summer caused a price jolt in fed cattle markets. The loss represented roughly 6% of weekly U.S. fed cattle slaughter.
He says the market loss has been felt throughout the industry.
Membership approved a resolution calling for more producer input when it comes to price discovery. Deppe says the hope is there will be more negotiated trade for fed cattle.
“(USDA’s) AMS is looking for ways to get negotiated trade information to show up sooner,” he says. “Whether that is daily or weekly, we don’t know. Is the confidentiality aspect important enough to offset the slower return of information?”
The resolution calls for ICA to “work to eliminate all daily fed cattle reports and compile all price and volume data into weekly reports, that the release of the weekly fed cattle price reports be delayed at least one week, and that ICA support all national and regional negotiated trade reports for price and volume be broken into categories of 0-14 and 15-30 day delivery periods.”
An additional resolution called for ICA to “work with its membership as well as NCBA to direct packers in all major cattle feeding regions to purchase a percentage of their cattle through negotiated cash trade, based on the recommendations of livestock economists,” and encouraging members to “utilize voluntary price reporting of fed cattle prices.”
Members also discussed traceability, and Deppe says ICA has formed a task force to address potential disease issues and consumer interest in being able to identify the path from farm to plate.
“Our focus is to increase awareness and how a disease outbreak will affect producers,” he says. “We also want to see how traceability could give producers even more marketing options when selling cattle.”
Deppe adds ICA will create a task force to look into Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling after the first of the year.