The North American Meat Institute (Meat Institute) said the beef and cattle markets are complex, driven by supply and demand, and have more participants than packers and producers who add value at each step in production.

“Too often, the policy debate around the cattle and beef industry is an overly-simplified discussion limited to cattle producers versus beef packers. It is imperative policy makers remember: packers don’t buy fed cattle from cow-calf producers; nor do packers sell beef to consumers,” said Julie Anna Potts, president and CEO of the Meat Institute. “Congress and USDA should not make radical changes to the cattle and beef markets: such changes will up-end the markets, increase costs for the entire supply chain, including for consumers during this time of record inflation, and bring unintended consequences.”

Potts submitted written testimony for a House Agriculture Committee hearing entitled, “An Examination of Price Discrepancies, Transparency, and Alleged Unfair Practices in Cattle Markets.” For the full testimony, click here.

In her testimony, Potts provides a comprehensive picture of the uniquely complex, dynamic, integrated, and competitive markets in which cow-calf producers, stockers, backgrounders, cattle feeders, beef packers, processors, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, food service operators, and others operate.

“While the House Agriculture Committee is holding yet another hearing on beef and cattle market issues, its consideration today is incomplete and ignores other factors in the determination of prices for producers and consumers.”

According to USDA, in the 627 months beginning January 1970 through March 2022, packers have received the smallest share of the consumer beef dollar in all months but May 2020, at the peak of the COVID related shutdowns on slaughter which reduced beef supplies.

Source: North American Meat Institute