U.S. Senate) – After Montana ranchers recently saw the steepest price decline for cattle in forty years due to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, U.S. Senator Jon Tester is demanding that U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue take immediate action to stabilize beef markets.
“Since January 1, 2020, live cattle futures lost nearly a quarter of their value. As the United States continues to take measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic, cattle prices are likely to continue to decline,” wrote Tester in a letter to Secretary Perdue. “I urge the United States Department of Agriculture to examine this urgent situation and take steps to support the domestic cattle industry.”
Tester continued: “Your actions now could make the difference between folks going broke, or staying in the industry for another generation.”
As a result of the recent COVID-19 crisis, beef markets saw the steepest price decline in forty years, with most prices dropping roughly $30 per hundredweight. Tester requested that Secretary Perdue work to alleviate market pressure using the authority granted to him by Congress under the Commodity Credit Corporation.
As the only working farmer in the U.S. Senate, Tester has consistently gone to bat for Montana agricultural producers. Last week, he secured a commitment from Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to fight against price-fixing from large-scale meat packers that is hurting ranchers. He also recently slammed USDA for their decision to lift a ban on the import of Brazilian beef, which has consistently failed U.S. import standards.