State legislators working on solutions for ranchers in crisis
SOUTH DAKOTA, U.S. — For quite some time ranchers in the state and all around the country, have been struggling to stay afloat.
Extreme weather, the elimination of COOL and now COVID-19 have all lead ranchers into crisis.
Sen. Mike Rounds held a conference call this Thursday morning to address the issues.
Sen. Rounds sending a letter to senate leaders, regarding the crisis at hand.
“I’m urging them to include the new markets for State Inspected Meat and Poultry Act as a part of the federal government’s COVID-19 response effort.”
Rounds continues with, “this bill would expand markets for South Dakota producers by allowing meat and poultry products, inspected by state meat and poultry inspection programs to be sold across state lines.”
He says, at the end of last week, U.S. beef production was down 31% and cattle slaughter down 32%. The plunge affecting both local and state economies, along with individual households.
“Reality is that our cattle producers in particular are underwater. If they can’t turn a profit, they’ll go bankrupt. That impacts the ability of families to get food and the groceries that they need to feed their families,” he says.
Although the CARES Act helps preserve parts of the business, he states it won’t be enough to cover the total cost in losses.
While cattle and poultry are at the forefront of the bill, eventually, pork processing will need to be addressed.
As for pork, the process is a bit different, considering raising pigs is a much quicker process than raising cattle, but nonetheless pork profit is also plummeting.
The Smithfield pork plant was producing 20,000 head daily and the closure, has been detrimental for state pork production.
While the fight for the agriculture community has been ongoing for years, the way the state and federal governments respond to COVID-19 can either make or break ranchers around the country.