South Dakota Rancher Urges Congress to Address Top Issues Facing U.S. Cattle Markets

October 8, 2021

South Dakota rancher and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Vice President Todd Wilkinson testified before the U.S. House Agriculture Committee. As a cattle producer from De Smet, S.D., Wilkinson shared his perspective on top issues facing the U.S. cattle industry. Wilkinson’s testimony centered around the need for nuanced policy solutions to address the complex issues facing cattle and beef producers, including transparency, processing capacity, price discovery, and oversight in the cattle markets. 

“Because the challenges facing our industry are so diverse, it is imperative that policy makers at all levels of government remain focused on viable and tenable solutions with vast industry buy-in,” said Wilkinson. “Let me be clear, there is no such thing as a silver bullet. We strongly urge Congress to resist one-size-fits-all policy prescriptions.”   

While South Dakota ranks in the top five states in the U.S. for beef production and has a combined impact of over $5.8 billion on the state’s economy, Wilkinson reminded Congress of the vast differences in cattle and beef production throughout the country, and that resiliency in the beef supply chain along with a more viable business climate for producers can only be achieved through a multi-pronged approach.   

Wilkinson stressed the importance of solutions that have widespread support from cattle and beef producers across the country.   

“Our role at NCBA is to facilitate a policy process that respects those differing perspectives, consults informed expertise, allows for robust discussion and debate, and ultimately arrives at policy positions that are representative of the entire industry.” 

Wilkinson’s testimony follows months of engagement between members of Congress and South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association to ensure leverage is returned to the side of the producer and promote a fair, competitive, and transparent business climate.  

"Demand is excellent, we are moving record amounts of beef,” said Wilkinson, “but the current marketing conditions have even the most seasoned industry veterans asking for changes...something has to give.”   

South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association stands ready to work with members of Congress to find practical solutions that allow cattle producers to make the best financial decisions for their operations. 

To view Wilkinson’s testimony, click here.