Beef is a $12-billion industry for Nebraska but lately, there’s much volatility in the cattle futures market.
The president of the Nebraska Cattlemen Association says she’s working on solutions with the CME, the former Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
Barb Cooksley, of Anselmo, says most producers oppose the CME proposal of cash settlements for live cattle futures contracts.
“There’s been a lot of contracting of cattle,” Cooksley says. “We’re working within the industry, amongst ourselves, talking about what is best and then moving forward with our processors and say, what is going to work for you, what is going to work for all of us.”
Cooksley says her group’s members are seeking other options.
“We’re working right now to come up with policies and resolutions and hopefully we’ll be bringing that forward to the public,” Cooksley says. “We’re meeting amongst ourselves about what needs to be done and how it needs to be done and treat everyone fairly.”
Cooksley says it’s confounding that cattle prices have dropped more than 50% from the record highs of just two years ago.
“We don’t really understand why it continues to fall every week,” Cooksley says. “You may have a day of your prices hitting the limit up and within that same day they may hit the limit down. It makes it very hard to know how to market and how to plan.”
Cooksley says her group wants fair and open markets and for the CME to address the volatility issue.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton