Last August, Tyson Foods’ beef processing facility in Holcomb, Kansas, sustained considerable damages. Economic disruption soon ensued, leaving cattle producers, elected leaders, and grassroots organizations in search of long-term solutions for cattle marketing.
An organization dedicated to “addressing issues impacting the long-term viability of cattle farming in Iowa,” stands at the forefront of such deep-rooted issues.
Matt Deppe, Chief Executive Officer at the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, says his organization is “tip of the spear” when it comes to cattle market reform.
“At every point when there was an opportunity, we put in the time to work with other states that needed a little more awareness or had questions. We’re a state that is tip of the spear’ on a lot of these topics and continually pushes the ball forward, towards solutions that are functional and practical, but in the end, represent the producer,” Deppe says.
Deppe says, “Cattle market reform comes down to two things: Price discovery and market transparency.” Iowa Cattlemen’s Association members developed policy for both topics, and continue to seek ways to create greater opportunities for producers in the marketplace.
“(We) really started to put some pressure on price discovery and the question of mandate versus voluntary there in April,” Deppe says. “Our board passed an interim policy that uses the word ‘mandate,’ and is parallel to Senator Grassley’s 50/14 bill. Then as we came back to NCBA, we pushed the envelope again with several other states and said, “It’s time to think about some type of government intervention. Producers are struggling.’ Following that (came) another development: Working with 17 other states, like the Nebraska Cattlemen, on the Fischer bill and showing support there.”
Heading into 2021, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association staff plan to “keep the pressure on and the discussion elevated.”