USDA considering waivers for slow pork processing lines

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Pork processing waivers

The USDA is looking at waivers for slow pork processing lines. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the USDA is working on a proposal for a waiver system for hog plants forced by a federal court to slow down their processing lines. Vilsack did not specify what those waivers would do, but earlier this year a federal judge ruled against a Trump Administration rule allowing plants to run slaughter lines without speed limits. The USDA did not appeal that decision.

  The agency is now looking at ways to allow more adequate processing speeds without endangering worker health and safety. Vilsack told a Congressional hearing that USDA is working with the pork industry and workers’ representatives on the issue.

Livestock competition

  Policymakers and producers were again on Capitol HIll talking about competition in the livestock sector. A few packers control around 80% of the market. Senators like Iowa’s Chuck Grassley thinks those companies should have to buy half of its weekly cattle on the open market. He says that would create price transparency.

  With that reform as part of Livestock Mandatory Reporting extensions, however, the National Cattlemen’s oppose that – calling it a one-size-fits-all policy that could have unintended consequences. Meanwhile, at the hearings Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack argues for more transparency and processing capacity.

“The goal here is obviously to strike a better balance between supply and demand, between processing capacity and competition, with greater transparency so we can have a stable, dependent, and fair market. At the end of the day, our department is anxious to have fair prices for producers and a fair deal for consumers.” 

The markets

Starting the week off mixed. Market analyst Jamey Kohake has more:

“Today is columbus day so a  lot of the fund money is not trading because it is a federal holiday, so it’s a little thin at times just seeing some book squaring ahead of tomorrow’s monthly WASDE report, maybe a little bit bearish for beans and more neutral on the corn side there, they key will be in the long term on the fund side as well, we are seeing funds pulling out of their longs, the soybeans they are still long, but they have pulled back last week, but managed money is adding on their longs in corn see if that can sustain too based on whatever happens tomorrow with the report. OVer in the meat complex, just a sloppy sluggish trade still think the short term trend is higher, look for kills this week to be steady as we were a year ago, and look for cash to be steady as well. Over to the hogs 50-60 lower here, not much going on at all so far this morning in hogs, really not getting much traction, even last week we had a latent selloff and even here today we’re sharply lower off the bat and we have stabilized here but the market looks like it may have a bit of short term bearishness to it.”

Salience of the lambs

The Colfax sheep and goat auction on Saturday saw a sale of 260 head of sheep. Feeder lambs fetched the day’s high average price of $2.55 per pound, while fed lambs averaged $2.30 per pound. There were 160 head of goats at the auction.. saw a high average price ranging from $130 to $420 per head.

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