The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association is asking Iowa’s congressional delegation and the US agriculture secretary to provide immediate federal assistance to cattle producers.
Matt Deppe, the association’s CEO, says the dramatic drop in the cattle futures market in the past week alone has put cattle producers in harm’s way.
“In the cattle business, we’re not one that as a producer group that typically goes out and asks for some assistance back,” Deppe says, “but certainly that swing was certainly unpredictable.”
Prices for the boxed beef that meatpacking companies sell to retailers are strong, but the contracts farmers are getting for selling live cattle at a future date have fallen to a 10-year low.
Deppe says the recent government payments to compensate Iowa farmers for trade losses did not include cattle producers and his industry needs federal supports now, “so they can live in fight another day and they can live to supply such a great product and feed the United States and others around the world.”
In addition to the price drop, cattle producers are concerned they may not be able to get enough feed for cattle without some sort of federal assistance.
“Our producers are telling us that it’s absolutely needed to maintain their seat in the chair,” Deppe says.
There are more than 25,000 cattle producers in Iowa and on January 1st, there were nearly four million head of cattle in the state.