Late Wednesday, the United States Cattlemen’s Association sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue urging the prioritization of the U.S. beef and cattle industry over foreign product during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The letter states that the USCA “requests action be taken immediately to support domestic production to the fullest extent possible. A wartime effort is needed to continue putting American food on American plates during these historic times. To that effect, we ask that the U.S. Department of Agriculture work with meatpackers to ensure preference is given to procuring cattle that have been born and raised in the U.S.”
It went on to highlight the backlogs that the beef industry is currently facing amid the pandemic, as well as the historically low prices.
USCA President Brooke Miller issued the following statement to accompany the letter:
“If bold and immediate action is not taken in the coming weeks, we will witness a mass liquidation in the livestock sector that will take more than a decade of recovery; or instead of the recovery of our industry, we will be forced to import our food like we do everything else. As outlined in our letter, there is not a cattle shortage in this country, and we need to utilize our current domestic supply before turning to foreign beef or cattle.
“Further, we call on the President to establish an emergency work force to return to full operational capacity in U.S. meatpacking plants. With the high unemployment rates we are seeing during this crisis, as well as shortages at the meat counter due to panic-buying, a wartime-like effort is needed to keep Americans fed and to ensure the longevity of US livestock producers. While this pandemic is affecting every American today, action is needed now to ensure the ramifications won’t be felt for years to come. A safe and abundant food supply is something that all Americans have come to depend on, and we must continue to look at all possible solutions to ensure this is the case for generations to come.”
Click here to read the USCA’s letter in full.