Ranch group unveils its plan for cattle producers
BILLINGS, Mont. — Responding to 2020’s unprecedented anomalies in the U.S. cattle market, and the lack of responsiveness from either policymakers or the beef industry to take corrective actions, the board of directors of R-CALF USA spent the last several weeks developing the first ever long-range plan for cattle producers — the Cattle Industry Long Range Plan.
According to a news release from the group, the plan sets forth a five-year roadmap for U.S. cattle producers, and provides the means to measure their industry’s success as the plan unfolds. For example, the group’s measurable goal for carrying out the strategy to “Strengthen the U.S. cattle industry’s role in achieving lasting food security for the United States” is that by 2025, the consumption of beef from cattle born, raised, and harvested in the U.S. will constitute at least 90% of domestic beef consumption. More details on the group’s plan can be found in a PDF at https://bit.ly/3gXWrr9.
The cattle industry’s plan stands in sharp contrast to the beef packers earlier released “Beef Industry Long Range Plan,” which was paid for by cattle producers’ beef checkoff dollars. That plan attempts to bring U.S. cattle producers into compliance with the beef packer’s desire to assert greater control over cattle producers through strategies that also increase production costs, according to the release. For example, the beef industry plan calls on cattle producers to increase participation in a nationwide animal identification program, in animal husbandry certification and verification programs, and in developing written grazing management plans.
The Cattle Industry Long Range Plan includes strategies that promote profitability and prosperity for family-owned and family-operated cattle farms and ranches, and America’s rural communities they support. It also emphasizes the preservation and protection of cattle producers’ freedoms and liberties by ensuring they remain free to make their own production and marketing decisions based on their personal assessments of competitive forces in the marketplace.
“The beef industry, which is dominated by highly concentrated beef packers, has been driving the direction of the U.S. cattle industry for decades, and as demonstrated by current market conditions, the outcome has not been favorable for U.S. cattle producers. Our plan elevates the cattle producer’s role in shaping a better future for our industry,” said R-CALF USA Board President Gerald Schreiber.
“Nearly everyone I talk to asks ‘Who’s going to fix our depressed cattle markets?’ and we’ve come to the realization that no one outside the cattle industry has any inclination to do so,” said Region III Director Brett Kenzy. “That means it’s up to us and that’s why we’ve stepped up to develop a realistic plan to create a more profitable future for independent U.S. cattle producers.”
“We are the supply chain to the nation’s beef industry and our cattle and calves represent the largest single commodity in U.S. agriculture. When U.S. cattle producers begin rallying around this new long-range plan, there’s no question that we can substantially improve their profitability,” said Region I Director George Wishon.
“For too long those of us at the grassroots level have thought there was someone out there watching our backs. This year has made it clear that we were wrong,” said Region VII Director Mike Jones. “So, now we can either complain about it or take meaningful steps to improve our lot. Our long-range plan provides the blueprint for cattle producers to take the steps necessary to preserve and protect our markets and our freedoms.”