February 02, 2023

IBA working on behalf of Illinois producers

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The availability of a variety of feed to finish beef cattle economically has long been an advantage for Illinois producers.

“We have great availability of whether it is corn, corn silage, the ethanol products, whether it’s corn gluten or distillers’ grains. We have a great advantage in those types of products,” said Paul Walker, Danvers, Illinois Beef Association president.

Walker and Dave Duzan, Lexington, IBA vice president, recently provided an update on the state’s beef industry and issues.

“One of the main things we’re concerned about is cattle transparency in the feed cattle market and profitability in that sector,” Walker noted.

“I was on the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Working Group for cattle transparency. We came up with a list of things that we wanted legislators to include in legislation.

“There’s some legislation out there and the only thing that we’ve asked for as a committee has been a contract library. So, cattle that are priced on a formula basis we have knowledge of how those contracts are formulated.”

The proposed Cattle Contract Library Act in Congress would amend the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 and establish a library of contracts for the Agricultural Marketing Service to report terms of alternative marketing agreements between packers and producers.

Introduced by Reps. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., and Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, the bill is designed to provide cattlemen with the market data needed to make more informed marketing decisions and exert greater leverage in negotiations with major meatpackers.

The USDA library would provide producers with key details on cattle contracts, including the type and duration. A similar library currently exists for the pork sector.

“We’ve got to bear in mind that formula marketing is really not an issue in the northern part of the country, and specifically in Illinois, we’re well over 50% cash market, whether it be negotiating cash or grid-marketed cattle. So, it’s not as much of an issue up here as it is in the southern plains,” Walker added.

Promotion, Education

Duzan said the beef checkoff provides support for numerous IBA programs.

“We get 50 cents per head of the national beef checkoff, and we use that money primarily for education and promotion of beef, particularly in the urban and Chicago areas,” Duzan said.

“We also have a 50-cent per head state checkoff. We have more diversity and ability to utilize that money so we can fund applied research for production. We also do promotion and education with that money. We have a lot of programs out there in social media, advertising beef to consumers, and we’re working on education with our producers.”

Quality

IBA hosts a series of Beef Quality Assurance workshops each year. The sessions serve as the beef industry’s best source of continuing education.

Beef Quality Assurance is a nationally coordinated, state-implemented program that provides systematic information to U.S. beef producers and beef consumers of how common-sense husbandry techniques can be coupled with accepted scientific knowledge to raise cattle under optimum management and environmental conditions.

“The Beef Quality Assurance Program has been a real safety net for the beef industry, helping us ensure and assure the consumer that beef is humanely and sustainably raised,” Duzan said.

Facts

As with other areas of agriculture production, there is a myriad of information on social media, some fact and some fiction. IBA continues to disseminate the facts and rebut the myths.

“There’s so much information in social media, some that’s correct and some that’s not. We spend a lot more checkoff dollars on social media today than we did 10 or even five years ago because that’s where you make more contacts. We still do a lot in traditional media, if you will, but we’re doing more and more on the internet all the time,” Duzan noted.

Legislation

IBA also has regular communications with state legislators to inform and educate.

“One of the things in Illinois that’s always a continuing issue is the Livestock Facilities Management Act. It is continually challenged by legislators who mean well, but probably don’t have enough education to know the value of that act,” Duzan said.

“We continually work with the Illinois legislators to keep them informed as to why that act is necessary and why we have that act and how it actually helps the consumer and the environment.”

The Livestock Facilities Management Act establishes requirements for the design, construction and operation of livestock management and livestock waste-handling facilities. It also establishes specific procedures and criteria for the siting of such facilities and outlines the public information meeting process.

Tom Doran

Tom Doran

Field Editor