I meant to post this audio much earlier in the week. Even though it is from last week, I still think you will find Fred Wacker’s insights into our cattle markets and the meatpacking plants very interesting.

Fred Wacker is a rancher in Miles City, Montana. He’s also the president of the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA). With meatpackers hauling in high prices for the beef that they sell, and ranchers getting less cash for the beef that they sell to the meatpacking companies, he talks about why an investigation into the cattle markets is needed.

Earlier this month, the MSGA announced their support for an investigation into the cattle markets:

“We have long supported an investigation into this issue. Last August MSGA supported USDA’s investigation following the packing plant fire and again in March during the first impacts of COVID-19,” said Fred Wacker, MSGA President. “We’re hoping by joining together with other states, we can show the DOJ just how serious this issue is.”

 

Last week, I asked President Wacker a couple of questions we seem to be hearing from folks: Ranchers are wondering where they will send their animals, and consumers are wondering if there will be meat on the table. “There’s gonna be plenty of meat,” Wacker told me. The challenge comes with the employees at the packing plants, many of whom have contracted COVID-19.

What about butchering more meat locally here in Montana? One challenge is that many of the local butchers here in Montana are already at max capacity. Plus, Wacker says the big meatpacking plants elsewhere “are so efficient that in probably one hour they can take care of all the cattle that the Montana plants could take care of in an entire week.” Wacker added that as the meatpacking plant employees get back to work, he believes we will have enough meat to feed the country.

Listen to our full conversation with MSGA President Fred Wacker from last week by clicking below: