The Roundup -

A Steak in Ag

A monthly report by R-CALF USA


R-CALF USA may be defined as a non-profit producer organization, but our work benefits anyone who eats meat and lives in an economy that includes agriculture. We’re more than a producer organization; we’re your organization.

R-CALF USA formally requests a Senate investigation into potential antitrust and anticompetitive conduct in the U.S. cattle and beef markets.

R-CALF USA is asking the Senate committee to investigate 13 specific issues including the cause for the dramatic, unprecedented collapse of U.S. cattle prices in 2015; whether there are structural problems in the U.S. cattle market that contributed to the price collapse; and whether dominant meatpackers or other major market participants engaged in unlawful conduct that adversely influenced the cattle futures market and cash cattle market.

R-CALF USA provided documentation showing that independent cattle feeders lost more than $500 per head of cattle sold during the collapse and, consequently, the very foundation of the U.S. cattle industry’s feeding sector – its independent cattle feeders – was irreparably damaged. But as cash cattle prices plummeted and cattle futures prices fluctuated with extreme volatility, dominant meatpackers were benefiting from what one industry commentator referred to as ‘gangbuster profits.’ Meanwhile, consumers continued paying at or near record high prices for beef.

R-CALF USA also submitted a formal protest to the BLM asserting the agency overstepped its authority in approving the American Prairie Reserve (APR) request.

Recently the BLM provided notice of its proposed decision to allow the APR to graze bison on the Flat Creek Allotment located in Phillips County, Montana. Currently, the grazing permit for the allotment designates cattle as the approved species.

R-CALF USA’s also points out that only cattle, sheep, horses, burros and goats are listed as species considered livestock on BLM grazing permits.

R-CALF USA believes the BLM’s Proposed Decision is contrary to the BLM’s stated objective of promoting the improvement of rangeland ecosystems for the purpose of sustaining the western livestock industry.

Recently, R-CALF USA testified before the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC), recommending the rejection of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement because it would harm U.S. cattle and sheep producers.

The TPP adopts the mantra of the NCBA, who told a federal court that ‘beef is beef, whether the cattle were born in Montana, Manitoba, or Mazatlán.

Under the TPP’s product-specific rules of origin, the origin of beef is wherever the animal was slaughtered. This renders the origins of cattle irrelevant. It relegates U.S. cattle producers to nothing more than an undifferentiated global supply chain for meatpackers, and the U.S. will become the dumping ground for cattle, beef and lamb.

R-CALF USA was the only livestock industry representative that opposed the TPP. During the hearing, Bullard said “I don’t represent the beef industry. I represent the cattle industry. Our members sell cattle to beef industry packers. The TPP will impact the cattle industry very differently than it impacts the beef industry.”

For additional information on any of the topics mentioned, please visit

R-CALF USA is funded solely by donations and membership dues. Please consider becoming a member or giving a donation. For more info or to join, go to, 406-252-2516.


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