ROCK VALLEY, Iowa (KCAU) — If you’ve been grocery shopping lately, you’ve probably noticed beef prices are on the rise. But, cattle producers say they’re not making any more money on their livestock.
Cattle prices have remained mostly unchanged throughout the pandemic. Siouxland cattle producers say that’s made it difficult to continue running a cost-effective business.
“Watching the loads of cattle leave the yard that we’re losing anywhere from two to four hundred dollars a head while the packers are making 500-600 was just, yeah, hard,” says Kurt Kooima, a cattle producer in Rock Valley.
Kooima says he’s concerned with the rise in meat prices by the packing industry. He said those higher meat prices haven’t resulted in higher cattle prices, which hurts farmers.
“Everything gets tighter, I mean, the finances have been tighter. I’d hate to see a young guy come and start feeding cattle. If it don’t get fixed, the cattle industry, as far as the independents go, doesn’t have a chance. The losses year after year just cannot be sustained, and we need a share of the pot,” says Kooima.
Iowa Rep. Randy Feenstra is taking the issue to the Department of Justice and wants to know why meat packers are raising prices.
“So we’re, all we’re asking is that we want to have pricing transparency. We want to see how the market plays out instead of having it hidden and that’s what’s causing this whole problem of boxed beef being so high,” says Feenstra.
“Listening to the consumers complain about the high meat prices and us basically having nothing to gain by what they’re paying in town because yeah, we’re just at the mercy of the packers,” Kooima says.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, the average cost of beef has jumped about 25 cents per pound since last year. Cattle producers are also dealing with the price hike in corn, which they use to feed their cattle.