NCBA requests President Trump expand USDA market investigation, examine futures markets
WASHINGTON – Today, NCBA President Marty Smith sent a letter to President Donald Trump, requesting the government to act quickly to investigate the striking disparity between boxed beef prices and cattle prices in the futures and cash markets during the current COVID-19 crisis and following the packing plant fire in Holcomb, Kan., last August.
In his letter, Smith requests President Trump to direct USDA to expand the ongoing investigation into market activity after the Holcomb fire to include current market volatility, “in the hope of identifying whether inappropriate influence occurred in the markets, and to provide our industry with recommendations on how we can update cattle markets to ensure they are equipped to function within today’s market realities.”
The letter also requests the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to study the influence of speculators on live and feeder cattle futures contracts to determine whether these contracts remain a useful risk-management tool for cattle producers.
“Fair and functioning cattle markets are vital to the sustainability of our industry,” Smith wrote. He also pointed out the importance of keeping the beef supply chain moving during this time of volatility and instability.
“The market woes for cattle producers will only grow if packing plants shut down or slow down for an extended period,” Smith stated. “As cattle producers, we are the beginning of the beef supply chain, and we need continued vigilance and oversight of all cattle market participants – for the benefit of America’s cattle producers and all Americans.”
Former House Agriculture Committee Chairman Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., and 80 of his colleagues last week introduced the Protect Farmers from the SEC Act.