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R-CALF: Cattle Importers Control U.S. Policy

The Department of Agriculture last week issued a proposed rule to reapportion the Beef Checkoff Program’s Cattlemen’s Beef Board. R-CALF says the proposed rule reveals importers control more cattle inventories than any state in the United States except Texas.

To make its calculations regarding who controls domestic cattle inventories, R-CALF says USDA counts imported live cattle and converts imported beef into a live cattle equivalent. Importers now control about 6.9 million cattle in the U.S. market. Only the state of Texas, which controls about 12.6 million cattle, exceeds the importers’ control.

The organization says the combination of cattle and beef imports represent the largest agricultural commodities imported from Canada and Mexico. USDA data shows U.S. imported $4.1 billion in cattle and beef from Canada and Mexico in 2018. R-CALF CEO Bill Bullard claims the importers dominant control over cattle inventories “affords them extraordinary influence” on U.S. lawmakers, adding cattle and beef importers are opposed to mandatory country-of-origin labeling because “they do not want consumers to know the origins of their cheaper-sourced products.”

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