Here are some initial reactions from beef producers regarding the new 2002 farm bill. These are excerpted from our exclusive survey of BEEF readers conducted just after the farm bill came out of House-Senate Conference.

What do you think of the 2002 farm bill and how it treats cattle producers?

  • It’s a real rip-off. A Tom Daschle campaign tactic and a buyoff for tobacco.
  • It helps farmers and farmer-feeders. As a rancher (1,000 mother cows), we seem to miss out in that we have no price support for beef. I was in Scotland recently where the government gives a price support at the time of birth and electronic I.D. What an idea to help the cow calf man. We’re so worried about the feeder, the packer and the backgrounder but seem to not care about the one that starts the chain. As long as slaughter controls live beef prices, no one can help.
  • I like the increase in EQIP funds but the program needs to benefit the maximum number of producers. I’m concerned about the lack of payment limitations and the use of EQIP funds for large livestock feeding operations.
  • How will we label beef by country of origin and enforce it? I don’t have a problem with packers having limited ownership of cattle, such as through alliances.
  • Effect is minimal.
  • Fair as can be expected.
  • Fair to cattle producers and may help them.
  • Cattlemen and the whole livestock industry took it the shorts. The government is always worried about the grain man.
  • We got precious little considering the condition our industry is in. No help with drought at all, no packer ban. I was very pleased to see that country-of-origin labeling passed.
  • It sounds cattle friendly.
  • It appears the program is intended more for the row-crop farmer and diversified operations.
  • The money that’s being made available for conservation practices should be helpful.
  • The farm bill should keep feedstuffs cheap as the grain payments encourage over-production by farmers.
  • I don’t think it affects cattle producers, except to allow cattle to be more competitive with chicken by freeing packers to better control their inputs, as the chicken industry has done. Chicken has more than doubled on per capita consumption.
  • I don’t think it does much for the small feedlot operator.
  • It doesn’t effectively addresses the needs of meat livestock producers. I don’t see anything that helps meat protein producers capture a fair, sustainable share of the retail value of their raw product.
  • I don’t like the farm bill. It keeps farmers in a set of "golden hand-cuffs" and treats cattle producers like a red-headed stepchild.
  • I don’t want a farm bill that does anything for me. The government left out of the cattle industry as much as possible is what I would like.
  • I would have encouraged greater benefits to cow/calf producers.
  • The 2002 farm bill does very little for the beef industry.