USDA urged to take steps to address coronavirus impact on cattle market
The United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) has called on the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary, Sonny Perdue, to take action to protect the US cattle market amid the recent coronavirus outbreak.
The United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) has called on the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to take immediate steps to address the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) is having on the US cattle market.
USCA President, Dr Brooke Miller, MD issued the following statement:
“The actions that federal, state and local government – along with private entities – are making to control the spread of the outbreak are the right decisions. We must continue to ‘flatten the curve’ to protect our loved ones at greater risk of contracting the virus.
“However, producers’ bottom lines are suffering due to the effect the outbreak has had on the cattle and beef industries. We must act expeditiously to return normalcy to the cattle marketplace. Fortunately, the USDA Commodity Credit Corporation can provide the needed programmes and funding to address these rare and tumultuous incidents.
“We call on Secretary Sonny Perdue to work in an expedited manner to provide the needed programmes and financial support. In addition, we ask for oversight of the cattle marketplace to prevent anti-competitive buying practices in the days and weeks ahead.
“USCA has created a special task force to address the market fallout as a result of the coronavirus. These are uneasy times, but cattle producers can rest assured that the industry will get through this. This is the second major market disruption and producers need to know that work is underway to ensure the future is both stable and profitable. We will overcome and continue to produce a healthy and abundant food supply; while simultaneously serving as stewards of the environment and ensuring a thriving rural and national economy.”
Within the letter to the USDA, USCA has asked that the “USDA Agriculture Marketing Service (APHIS) and Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) issue a statement regarding certainty as it links to ensuring federal inspection of meat packing facilities. Personnel need to be deemed ‘essential personnel’ that will continue their role despite changes to federal work force guidelines. Protocols are needed to ensure that plants do not get immediately shut down should an employee test positive for the coronavirus.”