National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President issues industry update


In a blog post, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Marty Smith gave an update on the industry writing:

As president of NCBA, I take my responsibility to the association and its members very seriously. The past two weeks have had impacts on our business most of us had never imagined, and that’s why I am sending you this email to help explain the work NCBA has been doing to protect our members and our industry.

Since the start of the pandemic the panic that has overtaken our country, the cattle markets, and the grocery aisles has been unlike anything the current generations have experienced.

Through it all, and for what’s yet to come, NCBA has led the charge in protecting cattle producers and their families. NCBA first started communicating about Coronavirus in a Member E-Update two weeks ago. In that update, our CEO, Colin Woodall, said that “By working together, we will overcome these obstacles.” Since then, our team of staff have been working everyday to deliver wins for NCBA members.

To begin with, we knew we had to keep the cattle and beef supply chain moving. Consumers demonstrated that beef is their comfort food of choice in times of stress and uncertainty, and beef was flying off the grocery store shelves. We spent the first weekend of this crisis speaking directly to USDA Under Secretaries in order to get a commitment that USDA graders and inspectors would be in these plants, and that contingencies would be in place in the event the graders and inspectors started to suffer from absences due to sickness.

We also got commitments from the packers that they would keep processing cattle. So far, we have been able to move cattle and beef to keep the supply chain moving despite the fact that the virus is now beginning to affect rural communities where processing plants are located.

Our focus then turned to other Federal agencies. We wrote to President Trump asking for several emergency actions to help our industry weather this storm. The President has delivered on most of them, and we expect more actions to come. As we see every time there is a “black swan” event, attention turns to the packers.

We contacted the packers directly via phone calls and formal letters asking them to be active and aggressive in the market to help pass some of the increased boxed-beef value back to the producers. We have seen all four of the big packers take actions that they otherwise didn’t have to.

Since then, it has been a daily list of actions NCBA has secured from the Government, Congress, and other industry players to help us operate during this crisis, those actions are summarized below. We know the work’s not done and NCBA’s leaders will stay at their posts working to protect you throughout this crisis.

As the President of this association, it is my commitment that we will continue to deliver for you. To keep up-to-date on the work of NCBA through this crisis or to access copies of all our materials, go visit the Coronavirus response page here.