Skip to Content

The Weekly News Source for Wyoming's Ranchers, Farmers and AgriBusiness Community

What’s Right or Wrong

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Published on April 11, 2020

The cattle, sheep and wool markets have all taken a hit lately, and it has been just another stress factor to go along with the COVID-19 virus. All of the experts say the next couple of weeks will be the tough ones for the virus. I’m not so sure of that, as I think Wyoming and the mountain states are behind the others. Colorado is ahead of us though.

            If we think about all of the issues facing agriculture currently, you would think life would have to get better.

            The parents in the country have it better, as they have a lot better place to turn the kids loose to play and help with the work. In town, when people go grocery shopping and if someone gets too close, they act like they want to stick a pitchfork in them. 

            Everyone is wearing masks like they are looking to rob a bank, quick stop or a stagecoach. Saying good morning to someone will get you a look that can freeze an icicle. In the past when one sneezed, someone always said, “Bless you.” Now you better run.

            I can tell you, it’s not the time to be involved in a weekly newspaper with all of the price volatilely. An article written on Wednesday is old news on Thursday morning, especially about prices. All of the commodities are getting hammered and so are the farmers and ranchers out there.

            We realize in these times of unknowns, people tend to buy more than they need, but that is human nature. This large amount of buying makes for a challenge keeping the grocery store shelves stocked. This domino effect hurts the suppliers and distribution centers.

            The next big topic is beef prices. Ranchers and feeders are not doing well, but the meatpackers are doing well. We are all asking, “How can that be?” 

            The price of beef in the grocery meat case is high and still selling well. Someone said the packers are making money because they can. 

            Are they making the profits currently because of the current laws or regulations? Are they making the profits because of the method they use to buy fat cattle? Are they doing it illegally or because they can?

            Congress is looking into the issue, hopefully something will come of it. We know the meat packing business is a hard business or we would see more meat processing plants, both medium and large sizes. Their labor issues are huge. 

            We know there are some successful medium processing plants out there with good customer loyalty and they must be profitable. 

Do we need to totally redesign the beef chain? Is labeling one of the reasons? I don’t have the answers.

It seems there isn’t one answer for everything as the livestock organizations all have different reasons and answers of what to do. Who will Congress listen to? Are we, as livestock producers, so independent we can’t agree on anything? What should our fair share look like?     

            The quality of America’s cattle herds have improved so much in recent years it has helped establish new beef markets worldwide. The producers and the genetics people deserve the credit for that and a bigger share of the market.

Back to top