I want to add my support to Laurie Lickley's April issue commentary (“Merge ANCW and NCBA,” page 16). I believe the merger can be seen in the handwriting on the wall, or else we will see the end of the American National CattleWomen. Thanks, Laurie, for such a well-written article. Several of us in Kansas have favored such a merger with the National Cattlemen's Beef Association for several years.
Jeanne Clawson
VP Beef Education
Kansas CattleWomen

Price Competitiveness

In regard to your April editorial (“Johnson amendment is a bad idea,” page 4), I'm not sure exactly what would happen to the beef industry if the Johnson amendment passes. Some of the economists say it would devastate the industry, while others say it would help the price competitiveness of the industry.

I think the argument for the Johnson amendment is whether the industry still has “price competitiveness.” The studies against the amendment have all talked about the industry and the amount of equity that would be lost if passed, not if it would increase prices.

I believe that in the short-term, prices would decrease. But in the long-run, the packers would have to use the economic forces of supply and demand to bid on cattle, not the amount of captive supply they have available.

On April 4, $73 was paid in the country for live cattle by a packer who was short bought. Another packer who had several captive cattle then pulled those cattle forward so they did not have to pay the $2 higher money. The result was a $5-$6 loss/cwt. on the live bids.

The only reason I can find for this is that packers relied on their captive supplies and pressured the market. It was not the supply and demand of the market because beef has been higher through this time.
Brock J. Thurman
brockt@agvantage.net

A Good Job Rendered

Having read your April issue articles on rendering (“Wrangling Over Rendering,” page 68, and “Is Composting Viable? on page 70), Senior Editor Clint Peck did a good job of presenting the issues. Well done!
Terry Klopfenstein
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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