AgriTalk: Smith Describes NCBA’s Marketing Committee Resolution

Discussions during the NCBA Marketing Committee meeting in Denver last were contentious at times, but Florida rancher and NCBA president Marty Smith called it an example of democracy in action.

“Every member has the right to come in and discuss the issues,” Smith told AgriTalk host Chip Flory on Wednesday. “They certainly did that last week, and during at least one of the discussions there, we had everything from the very largest cattle producer in the United States down to some of the very smallest. Each of them got the same amount of time at the podium at the microphone.”

Marty Smith

The Marketing Committee considered several proposals, each aimed at encouraging greater volumes of cash cattle trade. After intense debate, the committee and the NCBA Board of Directors unanimously passed a policy that supports voluntary efforts to improve cash fed cattle trade during the next 90 days with the potential for mandates in the future if robust regional cash trade numbers are not reached by the industry.

Smith called the 90-day time frame a “hard deadline” to see more transparency in the cash cattle market.

“The term we are using is trigger points,” he said. “If the cash trade is not adequate – as considered by regions – then there will be action taken at that point… a government type action would be what we would be looking at.”

NCBA will be watching for regional differences in the cash trade, “Specifics in the number of cattle that are traded in each region by cash sales, as opposed to some alternative marketing arrangements, some type of contract or grid, or whatever.”

Smith said NCBA will monitor the numbers and rely on marketing experts to help determine a minimum number of cash trades to establish a transparent market and a robust cash market. NCBA’s Live Cattle Marketing Committee will determine the trigger numbers and if those numbers aren’t met during a specific time and an adequate cash trade is not achieved, NCBA would take further action.

Smith remains optimistic for cattle prices in the fourth quarter of 2020 if the industry can work through the backlog of cattle that was created earlier this spring by the pandemic. He said the past several weeks have produced an increase in the cash trade as cattle feeders and packers negotiate, and he hopes that will continue.

Smith also touted NCBA’s Long Range Plan which was announced during the Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting.