A Successful Campaign Creates Conversation

By Mayzie Purviance

35,173 represents the number of Tweets containing #FairCattleMarkets in a one-week period.  35,173 times people were concerned about unfair cattle markets.  35,173 times people cared about the cow-calf producers and independent feeders across the nation.  35, 173 times people wanted to help the hands who feed them.

President Trump may not have tweeted using #FairCattleMarkets himself, but it’s safe to say the movement is definitely on either his or Secretary Perdue’s radar.  If anything, we achieved our mission of starting a conversation regarding unfair market prices.

A question many people asked was, “what’s the solution?”

While there isn’t a single answer or simple solution, the team behind the campaign said packer regulations that are already in place must be enforced.

“We don’t need subsidies, we don’t need handouts, we just need some fairness,” campaign organizer Joe Goggins said.  Goggins is a cow-calf producer, independent feeder and sale barn owner.

“I know COOL and packer consolidation were a big part of what people were saying on Twitter, and maybe those are solutions.  But one thing’s for sure: we’ve got to get some fairness when marketing these cattle.  The key is to have a conversation and the conversation has started,” Goggins said.

Blue Grass Livestock Marketing COO Jim Akers also said he hoped to “draw attention to the problem” when he began helping with the campaign.  In his discussions with producers in the region, Akers said he often heard that a system is needed that allows open price discovery on more fat cattle trades.  He also heard great appreciation from producers.

“The producers and feeders appreciated an avenue to have a voice,” Goggins agreed.  “The producers and feeders are tired of status quo – they want profitability.  And this campaign started a conversation about this problem.”

That it certainly did.  35,173 tweets, critical discussions at the Senate Ag Committee hearing and better prices for cattle in the sale barns this week — that’s a heck of a conversation.  On Twitter alone the total exposure for #FairCattleMarkets hit the 1 million mark.

Akers said he believes the “pressure of public opinion helped the markets improve.”

“We accomplished what we wanted to – we’ve got their attention,” Goggins added.  “There’s no doubt in my mind they know these producers and feeders want something different.”

Even though the Twitter campaign is over, the conversation needs to continue, Akers said.  He suggested pushing industry trade groups to take action and “keeping the discussion going to begin formulating proposed solutions.”


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