USDA releases report on boxed beef and fed cattle price spread


The USDA released a Box Beef and Fed Cattle Price Spread Investigation Report following its on-going investigation into the spread between boxed beef and fed cattle price.

“The closures of the Tyson beef packing plant in Holcomb, Kansas, after a fire at the facility, and the COVID-19 pandemic clearly disrupted the markets and processing systems responsible for the production and sale of U.S. beef,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “The report examines these economic disruptions and the significant increase in the spread between boxed beef and fed cattle prices that resulted from them. While we’re pleased to provide this update, we assure producers that our work continues in order to determine if there are any violations of the Packers and Stockyard Act. If any unfair practices are detected, we will take quick enforcement action.”

The report was prepared by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service in coordination with the Office of the Chief Economist. It summarizes market conditions, fed cattle prices, boxed beef values and the spread before and after the fire and plant closure at the Tyson Holcomb plant, and before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a release from the USDA.

The report also mentioned potential changes to forge a more transparent relationship between live cattle and the resulting product. Those changes include potential updates to Livestock Mandatory Reporting, risk management outreach/education, product improvements for smaller producers, and enhancement the Packers and Stockyards Act.

This report did not cover potential violations of the Packers and Stockyards Act.

You can see the full report here.