Farm Bureau Urges Investigation into Cattle Markets

A fire-related shutdown of a major beef processing plant in Kansas that’s caused considerable disruption in cattle markets has prompted the Nebraska Farm Bureau to ask USDA to actively investigate the recent movements in cattle markets and to make sure provisions of the Packers and Stockyards Act are being upheld.

August 22, 2019

The Honorable Greg Ibach
Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20250

Dear Under Secretary Ibach,

On behalf of the nearly 60,000 member families of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation (NEFB), I am writing today to ask that the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) use the full authorities granted to it to monitor and address concerns steaming from the fire that has shut down the beef processing facility located in Holcomb, Kansas. The temporary closure of this plant, which represents five percent of the daily U.S. cattle kill, has caused considerable consternation to both cattle producers and cattle markets alike.

As you know, the loss of this large plant has caused considerable disruption in cattle markets as well as beef supplies. A considerable shift in slaughter to other plants has also increased the need to shift additional USDA regulatory staff to other plants. We would ask USDA to provide all of the needed grading and inspection staff that will be needed as quickly as possible. Lastly, the Packers and Stockyard Act makes it unlawful for any packer to engage in or use any unfair, unjustly discriminatory, or deceptive practice or device as they procure livestock. Given the situation in Kansas and the resulting impacts it has had on the cattle prices, we hope USDA and the Packers and Stockyards Division will actively investigate the recent movements in cattle markets. We also hope any anti-competitive activities will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

In closing, we want to thank you and your team for your time and assistance through this difficult situation. While we certainly understand rules and regulations place restrictions on what assistance can be provided, we hope USDA will use all its authority to ensure operations run smoothly and producers are treated fairly.

Thank you for your continued friendship and for everything you continue to do for Nebraska farm and ranch families.


Stephen D. Nelson
President, Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation

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