At the direction of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Beef Advisory Committee, MFBF and Texas Farm Bureau spearheaded a letter addressed to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue on Thursday, outlining the dire market situation the beef industry is experiencing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We led this effort to ensure that the cow-calf producer and stocker operators receive help once USDA rolls out its programs related to the coronavirus,” MFBF President Mike McCormick said. “Congress appropriated funds to help the producers that were impacted by the markets. We fully intend to work with USDA to make sure beef cattle producers are heard as they prepare to write the rules to implement the intent of Congress.”

The letter, signed by twenty-six state farm bureaus, calls on Perdue to use all available federal authority to assist beef cattle producers in light of this national emergency.

“We respectfully request that you explore all options within your authority to provide relief during these difficult times for cattlemen and women across the country,” the letter states. “While we are pleased the CARES Act provides $9.5 billion for various agricultural industries, we must ensure struggling cattle producers receive enough assistance to help make up for the significant losses they have endured. Specifically, we ask the department to direct support to the stocker and cow-calf operators as these producers have shouldered the brunt of this market decline.

In addition, we request you thoroughly examine all opportunities within the Commodity Credit Corporation’s (CCC) existing authority to provide funding to offset losses from depressed cattle prices. Moreover, programs such as the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish (ELAP) may be a viable option given the broad flexibility provided by the program. We also ask USDA to monitor any price manipulation that may be occurring within the cattle industry.”

To view the entire letter, click here.