For Immediate Release: May 20, 2020
Contact: R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard
Phone: 406-252-2516; firstname.lastname@example.org
Billings, Mont. – Last night R-CALF USA sent a letter to President Donald J. Trump commending his suggestion that the United States should consider halting imports of cattle from countries that have not treated American ranchers fairly.
The letter offers additional justification for Trump’s suggestion, stating that U.S. cattle ranchers have been particularly harmed by the influx of cheaper live cattle imports that produce undifferentiated beef, which effectively displaces American ranchers’ access to their own domestic market.
R-CALF USA stated that during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, importers have been displacing American ranchers’ access to their own market with tens of thousands of imported live cattle each week. The group stated this was unconscionable given that American ranchers have cattle to sell but because of the crisis, they have no market to sell into.
The group wrote that for many years live cattle imports have undercut domestic cattle prices, thus depriving American cattle ranchers the opportunity to earn a competitive income from the marketplace.
To substantiate this claim, the group pointed to testimony by both the meatpackers and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) before the U.S. International Trade Commission disclosing that 282K cattle are imported into the Northwest each year for the purpose of helping their feedlots and packing facilities run at optimal levels.
But R-CALF USA states that the data show that these 282K live cattle imports each year has resulted in a 34% decline in the number of Northwest cattle ranchers and a decline of 12% of the beef cows in that region.
“Thus, the facts show that the 282,000 annual live cattle imports (fat cattle and feeder cattle) from Canada effectively displaced about 180,000 head of beef cows and 18,831 cattle ranches, and that was just in the Northwest,” wrote R-CALF USA.
The letter also asserts that Canada and Mexico, the two countries from which the U.S. imports about 170K of live cattle each month, have treated the American rancher unfairly by their trade practices that persistently create a trade surplus for them at the expense of American ranchers; and by depriving American consumers of their right to know where their beef comes from by exploiting the dysfunctional World Trade Organization to undermine the U.S. Mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling (M-COOL) law even after the law was upheld by a U.S. appellate court as being in compliance with the U.S. Constitution.
The letter concludes by stating, “Ending live cattle imports will help reverse the ongoing contraction of America’s ranching industry.”
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R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is the largest producer-only lobbying and trade association representing U.S. cattle producers. It is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. Visit www.r-calfusa.com or, call 406-252-2516 for more information.