This week, R-CALF USA applauded the efforts by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) to continue pushing Capitol Hill for additional financial recourses for cow-calf producers and backgrounders who may not sufficiently benefit from the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) in its current form.
In a news release issued on Wednesday, NCBA stated it was instrumental in securing financial relief for the nation’s cattle producers through the government’s CFAP and stated that more needs to be done. R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard said his organization agrees with the NCBA on that issue.
Bullard said “America’s cattle ranchers and America’s consumers are being hurt by the market collapse aggravated by the COVID-19 crisis that is impacting the entire beef supply chain, resulting in empty beef cases at the same time that American cattle are being denied access to the beef packing market.”
Now the middle ground that was shared by the two cattle groups was a little muddy and the hatchet used to scrape the mud off the boots was not officially buried.
In the letter that applauded NCBA’s efforts, Bullard pointed out some members of NCBA were packers and added, “We fully understand that the NCBA owes a duty to their packer members and cannot support reforms that would interfere with their packer-members’ ability to continue maximizing their corporate profits.” Bullard also said, “But that doesn’t mean the NCBA can’t continue working to provide temporary financial relief to actual cattle producers through their ongoing efforts to seek additional funding from the government,”
R-CALF, who has filed multiple lawsuits against the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said they have sought loan forgiveness, extensions of loan payments, and low- or no-interest loans for producers but added that since the government has not implemented these measures, then the NCBA’s request for direct financial payments are the only remaining option to keep producers in business.
The letter concluded with a statement by Bullard who said, “…with NCBA’s focus on needed temporary financial relief to help cattle producers through this mess, we hope that every American rancher can be sustained until such time that R-CALF USA succeeds in implementing the needed market structure reforms that NCBA cannot work on.”
CFAP is the latest assistance program for farmers and ranchers and provides $5.1 billion to the cattle industry.