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More transparency coming for cattle markets, meat processing

Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 7:44 AM CDT
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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) - Ongoing complaints from the livestock industry concerning too much consolidation in the packing industry, along with a lack of transparency in pricing and now the hacking of JBS plants around the world seems to have gotten the attention of the powers that be in Washington. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told the media that over the next few months the USDA is planning to make some moves to improve transparency in the cattle markets and increase meat processing capacity to relieve some of the market consolidation enjoyed by just a hand full of packers.

Meanwhile in the Senate, Iowa Republican senator Charles Grassley said last week’s cyber attack on JBS shows the risks to the industry and to farmers’ livelihoods. He has re-introduced a bill he co-sponsored in March that would require packers to buy at least half of their weekly livestock run on the open market and not through pre-negotiated contracts. Another proposed bill in the Senate would set a regional minimum cash price for cattle and increase reporting requirements for packers.

The crops are pretty well al planted across the country and now it’s time to watch ‘em grow. This week’s Crop Progress Report shows most crops are a little behind last year’s development for the first part of June. Soybeans are rated 67% good to excellent, about 5 points behind last year. Nebraska’s soybeans look the best with a rating of 86% good to excellent followed by Iowa and Illinois at 73%. Corn’s quality rating is also slightly below last year and last week as the crop is rated 72% good to excellent—down 4% from last week. Again Nebraska has the best looking corn at 84% good to excellent followed by Iowa at 77% and Illinois at 74%.

In Wisconsin, where 98% of the corn has been planted, the crop is rated 76% good to excellent—5 points lower than a week ago. State farmers now have 97% of their soybeans planted with the crop rated 72% good to excellent. This week’s report also shows 22% of the oats have headed—about 10 days ahead of last year while potato growers report their crop is 86% good to excellent. And as of Sunday farmers had made 67% of their first hay crop—about a week ahead of last year. Topsoil moisture ratings fell this week to 67% adequate to surplus.

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