Thank you for joining the #FairCattleMarkets campaign and playing your role in asking for fairness and competition in your markets and ultimately fighting for your bottom dollar. Below you will find a wealth of information including a press release explaining the campaign, an Opinion Editorial by Joe Goggins that outlines the issue, instructions for using Twitter and sharable graphics for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 16, 2019
CONTACT: Kayla or Mayzie at Western Ag Reporter will direct your media questions
Western Ag Reporter (406) 259-4589
Western Ag Reporter Launches #FairCattleMarkets Campaign
(BILLINGS, MONTANA) – On behalf of cow-calf producers and independent cattle feeders nationwide, Western Ag Reporter is launching a Twitter campaign asking President Donald Trump for assistance in rebalancing the cattle markets. The ever-widening gap between packer profit margins and producer’s price for cattle has raised concern across the countryside.
“We are dispersing cowherds and seeing farmers wanting to throw in the towel in our part of the country,” COO Blue Grass Livestock Marketing Jim Akers said. “Without a significant change in the markets, it looks like we are in for a brutal fall. The frustration out in the country breaks your heart.”
According to a September 9, 2019 report by David Kruse, CommStock Investments Inc., “As a result of the Tyson plant fire, beef packers are making upwards of $500 per head while feedlots are losing over $200.” Cow-calf producer, feeder and stockyard owner, said this widening gap has been an issue for the past 20 years.
“We as cow-calf producers and independent cattle feeders own these cattle anywhere from 120-210 to 365 days a year. We take all of the risk, we fight all the elements, we battle the banker to try to stay financed,” Goggins said. “And for what?”
Goggins concluded, assuming no hedging or carcass premiums, feedlots lost approximately $15 per head over the last 20 years, according to USDA data. On average, cow-calf producers have made about $68 per head before paying labor, taxes, interest or general overhead. Then, the packers who only own those cattle for around a week out of the year are profiting $200-plus per head.
“There is something really wrong with that picture,” Goggins said.
He noted packers certainly deserve to clear a profit in the business but not when it is achieved at the unfair cost of cow-calf producers and independent feeders across the nation. According to Kruse’s report, post-fire Tyson profits $12,500,000 per day – with JBS and Cargill raking in the same amount. Couple this with the final of the Big Four packers, National Beef, who earns $7 million per day when profit margins are at $500 per head, and the packers, who control 85 percent of the supply chain, are taking in $44,500,000 per day. According to Goggins figures, on a 24-day kill schedule, at present, the Big Four take home over $1 billion each month.
“What the packers have done since the Tyson plant fire in my mind is criminal,” Goggins said. “You can call it unjust enrichment, pillaging, unfair business practices, whatever… I call it criminal.”
Frustrated with market picture and looking for a change in attitude, Goggins spearheaded a campaign in hopes to reach President Trump with these concerns. He said he has made many attempts to work through Congressmen and the Secretary of Agriculture but believes going straight to the top will be the most effective route. In researching the makeup of Washington D.C. several sources told him if he wants to be heard by President Trump, Twitter is key.
The Western Ag Reporter is helping Goggins launch the #FairCattleMarkets campaign on September 23. Below are four examples of “Tweets” producers could share in an effort to make the cow-calf and feeders’ voices heard.
- @realDonaldTrump rural America helped get you elected. We need help, we need some fairness and competition in our markets. Producers and feeders own and care for cattle 365 days a year and are going broke. A packer owns the cattle about a week and gets rich??? #FairCattleMarkets
- @realDonaldTrump Producers and feeders need your help! #FairCattleMarkets
- @realDonaldTrump We need an attitude adjustment for the cattle market. What the packers are doing to us as cattle producers and independent feeders is more than unfair, it is criminal. #FairCattleMarkets
It is critical that when participating in the campaign to include the hashtag, #FairCattleMarkets and tag President Trump using his official Twitter handle, @realDonaldTrump.
This webpage also includes bullet points, graphics and more market information that can be shared on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Take action today for your cattle markets!
Click the following link to read and share Goggins’ OpEd on the current market situation.
How to create a twitter profile:
- Download the Twitter app by going to the app store, typing “Twitter” into the search bar and clicking “download.”
- Once the app is downloaded, click the blue icon with the white bird on your phone’s screen.
- After opening the app, you will be presented with a screen and a blue button that says, “Create account” — click it.
- You will be directed to a page with three fields to enter your name, phone number or email address and date of birth.
- We understand you may not want your personal information online but by contributing this data you will be recognized as an actual person and not a fake account.
- Click “next.”
- You will be directed to a page titled “Customize your experience.” Check the boxes or don’t, it’s your call.
- Click “next.”
- You will be directed to a page titled “Create your account,” which is just a review of information you have already input.
- Click “Sign up.”
- You will then be sent a verification code via text message or email, depending on which method of contact you provided. Enter the verification code in the field provided and click “next.”
- Create your password and click “next.”
- Upload a profile picture by clicking the “Upload your photo” icon in the middle of the screen. Click “next.”
- Remember, using photos of yourself instead of an image you found online indicates to other twitter users that you are not a fake account.
- Add a short bio about yourself and click “next.”
- This would be a good place to put something simple about your agricultural background. For example, Owner of John Smith Cattle Company located in City, State.
- You will have the option to sync your phone’s contacts or to skip this step. If you would like to skip, click “Not now.”
- You will have the option to pick specific topics which interest you. This will help Twitter better gauge which accounts it suggests you follow. If you would like to skip this step, click the words “Skip for now” in the bottom left hand corner.
- You will be directed to a page titled “Suggestions for you to follow.” If you would like to follow some of these people, go ahead. You can skip this step by clicking “next.”
- You will have the option to let twitter track your location. Click “OK” or “Not now.”
- You’re all set up and ready to tweet.
How to follow:
- Click the magnifying glass at the bottom of your screen.
- Click the search bar at the center of the top of your screen which reads “Search Twitter.”
- For example, type, word for word, “realDonaldTrump” without any spaces. You will then see a list of difierent twitter accounts. The top one should be a photo of the president and the words “Donald J. Trump” with a blue check mark beside the name. The blue check mark indicates his account is “verified” meaning many people created a fake account under his name but this is the real Donald Trump.
- You can follow Western Ag Reporter on Twitter by searching for “WesternAgReport” and choosing the profile with cattle and our logo in the picture.
- Click on the Donald J. Trump, Western Ag Reporter, or other profile name you searched for. You will be directed to the corresponding profile. Along the top of the screen you will see a white oval with the words “Follow” in it.
- Click the “Follow” icon.
- You are now following the president of the United States on Twitter.
How to Tweet:
- Open your Twitter app.
- Click the Feather icon in the right-hand corner of your screen, it should be right above the envelope icon.
- Type your tweet in the space provided. You may have to reword your thoughts and use abbreviates to get your tweet within 280 characters.
- Remember to @realDonaldTrump and use #FairCattleMarkets at the end of your tweet.
- We have provided sample Tweets if you would prefer to use an already drafted one.
- Ask yourself: does this tweet make logical sense? Is this tweet professional? Is it free of profanities?
- Proofread your tweet to make sure you’re not tweeting at the President of the United States with a spelling or grammatical error.
- Tap the blue “Tweet” icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen.
- Your Tweet is now live for everyone to view.
Here are examples of completed Tweets. The image on the left is a standard text Tweet while the right contains our sharable graphic.
Follow this link to view the Twitter Dictionary: https://westernagreporter.com/articles/2019/tweet-president-trump-we-need-help/