South Dakota Cattlemen's Association represents members at NCBA summer business meeting

South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association
Farm Forum

A handful of South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association staff and leaders were in Denver the week of July 25 representing members at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s summer business meeting. A big focus of the summer meeting has always been NCBA policy development and this meeting was no exception.

Policy committee meetings on July 27 included the Cattle Health and Wellbeing Committee, where the policy was passed to advance traceability for animal disease purposes. The Property Rights and Environmental Management and Tax and Credit committees also met July 27 to review expiring policies and passed resolutions dealing with conservation programs, beef sustainability, alternative minimum tax, stepped-up basis, and a variety of other issues.

The discussion July 28 was dominated by proposals to enhance price discovery in the Live Cattle Marketing Committee, with the most contentious issue being a proposal that may lead to support a mandated level of the negotiated cattle trade. SDCA and NCBA members have long resisted excessive government intervention in the markets and, following more than six hours of committee debate, SDCA was pleased to support the eventual compromise.

SDCA President Eric Jennings said “Given the volatile cattle markets throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we expected the proposed marketing resolutions to generate a lot of discussions. Throughout the pandemic, SDCA has been a strong advocate for enhancing price discovery in a way that doesn’t dictate how producers market their cattle, and we were pleased to represent our members in keeping these priorities in mind throughout the debate. The compromise that was reached should incentivize packers and feedlots to increase negotiated trade or face the ramifications of having to conform to a business model that would force an increase of negotiated trade.”

The resolution allows time for voluntary price discovery efforts to reach regionally sufficient levels while providing a framework to develop legislative or regulatory solutions moving forward. The compromise resolution tasks the NCBA Live Cattle Marketing working group with establishing market triggers by Oct. 1. When implemented, if a sufficient level of regionally negotiated trade does not occur, the triggers will be activated and legislative or regulatory solutions will be engaged.

“We believe this will provide additional opportunity for an industry-driven, rather than a government-driven, solution to robust price discovery,” Jennings said. “While the debate was intense, it’s important to note the compromise is the result of several weeks and months of beef producers working to collectively reach a workable solution. This has always been SDCA’s priority and we will remain engaged until robust price discovery is realized.”