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Colin Woodall, NCBA

Beef industry looking at massive financial losses

A recent study estimates cattle industry losses as a result of the cornonavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will reach $13.6 billion. The study was commissioned by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and its state affiliated and conducted by a team of industry-leading agricultural economists led by Derrell Peel, Professor of Agribusiness and Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist at Oklahoma State University, to assist the United States Department of Agriculture in determining how best to allocate relief funds to cattle producers.

The study shows cow-calf producers will see the largest impact, with COVID-19-related losses totaling an estimated $3.7 billion, or $111.91 per head for each mature breeding animal in the United States. Without offsetting relief payments, those losses could increase by $135.24 per mature breeding animal, for an additional impact totaling $4.45 billion in the coming years.

Stocker/backgrounder segment losses were estimated at $159.98 per head, for a total economic impact of $2.5 billion in 2020, while feeding sector losses were estimated at $3 billion or $205.96 per head.

“This study confirms that cattle producers have suffered massive economic damage as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and those losses will continue to mount for years to come, driving many producers to the brink of collapse and beyond if relief funds aren’t made available soon,” said Colin Woodall, NCBA CEO. “This study also clearly illustrates the fact that while the relief funds provided by Congress were a good first step, there remains a massive need for more funding to be allocated as soon as members of Congress reconvene.”

Woodall pointed out that relief funds that were meant to provide aid directly to cattle producers were divided among multiple commodities, many of which already have government programs in place to support production. However, cattle producers have always maintained their independence from government programs, and most operate today without the safety net others enjoy.

“It’s only because of the extraordinary circumstances we face today that cattle producers need relief. While we appreciate the many members of Congress who supported the cattle industry and ensured cattle producers were eligible for relief funds, we need these same members to do more to make certain every cattle producer who needs relief can access funding. That’s why we’re calling today for additional funds to be made available specifically for cattlemen and women,” Woodall said.

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