R-CALF USA member Judy McCullough, a cow/calf rancher from Moorcroft, Wyo., and past president of the Independent Cattlemen of Wyoming, recently made formal presentations to 20 congressional staffers serving the U.S. House and U.S. Senate agriculture committees. McCullough addressed the need for Congress to support the swift finalization of the GIPSA rule. She told those gathered that nobody but the packers know what they are actually paying for fed cattle. She called it a gamble beyond belief.
The gamble, according to McCullough, is to lay down hundreds of thousands of dollars, put the time and feed into the cattle, and then end up taking a beating in the calf market because the packers are controlling the fed cattle market, which ultimately dictates what feeders are willing to pay calves. McCullough runs about 400 mother cows on her Wyoming ranch and her fall steers are marketed to a feeder who places them in a certified beef program, while her heifer calves are regularly purchased by a seed stockman.
McCullough explained that the GIPSA rule will benefit cow/calf producers like her because it will bring about market price transparency and market fairness. She added that with the rule in place, GIPSA will have the tools needed to begin addressing the manipulation of the market by the packers because the rule will require packers to report actual prices, and GIPSA will have access to those prices.