Cattle industry ponders need for mandate on cash trade
The debate over price discovery in the cattle industry reignited this week with the introduction of a Senate bill mandating a minimum level of 50 percent cash cattle trade.
Oklahoma State University livestock economist Derrell Peel says one of the issues is whether the cattle industry wants the federal government to be more involved in its business.
“When you start getting the government involved in telling people in the industry how they can do business, if you start restricting, that’s a slippery slope, I think,” Peel says. “That’s a precedent that you really want to think pretty carefully about.”
But cattle market analyst Corbitt Wall says considering the high degree of packer concentration in the beef industry, government intervention of some kind is sorely needed.
“The government is not going to break up the packer monopoly—that’s not going to get broken up,” Wall says. “So we’ve got to have it (the mandate) for a level playing field. It’s no longer fair and I don’t think we should be embarrassed about having to have the government come in there.”
Peel and Wall participated in Brownfield’s cattle markets webinar on Wednesday.
Brownfield’s Meghan Grebner contributed to this story.
Excerpt from Corbitt Wall’s comments AUDIO: Excerpt from Derrell Peel’s comments