Iowa cattle producers met in Altoona on Thursday for the Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit. The commodity groups’ leader reflects on the past year, and looks forward to the future.
AUDIO: Matt Deppe, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association
The Iowa cattle industry looks to wrap up another relatively successful year. Matt Deppe, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association (ICA) executive director, says value-added products and exports heavily benefited producers.
“I think from a success standpoint – feedlot to cow-calf – one thing that’s kept us strong, from the producer standpoint, is our ability, interest and wherewithal to get a few bids. Value-add the livestock the livestock we produce,” Deppe said.
A variety of beef cuts performed well this past year on the export market. Deppe says the Association is calling on Congress to move forward on specific trade policy, as quickly as possible.
“If you look at export statics, we’re the bright spot in the Ag complex right now. You can see that as you trend the data on market price for finished cattle over the summer. The export market right now is plus $300 value to each finish steer we produce. So anchoring back to changing politics in D.C. has us on the wherewithal watch to get things like the USMCA ratified by Congress in a hybrid political type situation,” Deppe said.
The organization plans to discuss policies important to its members heading into the new year. Deppe reflects on a hot button issue discussed at last year’s meeting still needing to be addressed – the Hours of Service rule.
“It seems like we keep kicking the ball down the road with the exemption, which is a positive. That means our voice has been heard,” Deppe said. “We don’t want to cost producers or the trucking industry anymore dollars in regard to resting periods, unloading, loading and putting livestock at risk. We’re going to stay committed to finding a solution, and hopefully it’s legislatively.”
A new policy, to be voted on Thursday, is traceability.
“Traceability is a discussion that’s important to our industry, but a topic that we need to continue to discuss moving forward. At the very least, we have an outline of what a program would look like if there was an animal disease traceability from beef that would be acceptable to the vast majority of our producers across the state and country. That’s been a challenging discussion,” Deppe said.