Sending Office: Lucas, Frank D.
Join Letter to USDA Regarding Cattle Markets and The Ongoing Investigation Into Meat-Packer Margins
Deadline: 10:00 A.M. Friday, May 1, 2020
Please join me in the attached letter to Sec. Perdue, asking USDA to swiftly release their findings from the ongoing investigation into meat-packer margins. This investigation began in August of last year and was recently expanded to encompass the more recent
CV-19 market concerns. The letter also raises many of the market-related concerns our office has been hearing from beef producers across the country in the wake of the CV-19 pandemic.
If you would like to join the letter please
fill out this form. If you have any questions please email Alison Slagell in my office at email@example.com The deadline for co-signers is 10:00 A.M. Friday, May 1, 2020.
Frank D. Lucas
Member of Congress
May 01, 2020
Hon. Sonny Perdue
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave SW
Washington, DC 20250
Dear Secretary Perdue,
We would like to begin by thanking you for all the work that you and your staff have done to help farmers, ranchers, and consumers during the Covid-19 pandemic. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s commitment to stand with the American farmer and rancher,
whose livelihood has been threatened by this public health emergency, is a testament to the principle that American agriculture is a fundamental pillar to the strength of our nation.
Beginning in the first few weeks of the crisis, cattlemen have seen prices drastically decline, with cattle futures falling 29% between the month of January and April, all-the-while beef prices increased on market shelves. While we do recognize the complexity
of the beef markets generally, the devastating effect this has had on many of our constituents in the last few weeks is clear. This is of great concern to us for a variety of reasons but chief among them being the doubt it casts on our markets as a whole.
When market participants begin to believe that markets are not competitive or transparent that suspicion has a dangerous industry-wide ripple effect. That is why we applaud you for expanding the ongoing investigation into the cattle market’s reaction to the
2019 plant fire in Holcomb, Kansas to encompass the more recent CV-19 related market concerns. This oversight role the agency plays is an immensely important one that helps ensure that our markets are equipped to function properly.
We are encouraged by the recent steps that the Department has taken to better coordinate with the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). We hope that this cooperation yields new insights into the relationship between cattle spot and futures markets.
Producers want effective, market-based risk management tools. However, volatility during this pandemic has made market participation difficult to manage and capital intensive. The spread between futures and cash, with little convergence, has bred distrust
of these vital tools in the countryside. Producers want to manage risk and daily limit moves make this difficult.
It is because of the alarm that is being felt across the country that we write to you today asking that the findings of your investigation be released soon as possible. As policymakers, we rely on these findings to provide clarity and information to make
the most informed policy decisions going forward. We look forward to working with you to address these concerns and restore cattle producer’s confidence in the market.
Frank D. Lucas
Member of Congress
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0