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Farmers and ranchers voice frustrations at beef forum in Moody, Mo.

(KY3)
Published: Jun. 25, 2020 at 9:57 PM CDT
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Local farmers and ranchers voiced their concerns about the cattle industry in an open forum with state representatives.

"There is not a shortage of beef in our country, nor pork or chicken. They are out there. The problem is getting them processed some place besides our four big packers," Organizer and local rancher Stephanie Guffey told KY3.

Nearly 50 farmers, ranchers and local beef producers from both Arkansas and Missouri, voiced their frustration with how things are currently working in the beef industry.

"We're losing. I'm losing money everyday on cattle," rancher Robert Fair said in front of the crowd.

There seems to be three main issues: one with the packers, two with the labels and anything from price gouging to legislative issues.

"We need to have several small packing facilities built or money added to the small packer and deregulate a little bit.," Guffey said.

Dana Bennett like everyone else wants to see local beef labeled USA Beef.

Not mixing imported beef with domestic beef and labeling it as USA Beef.

"The consumer in general does not realize when they go to the grocery store, if they see a product of USA label on the beef, they think it's a product of the USA and generally it's not," Bennett added.

State Representative and Senate candidate Karla Eslinger says she was at the forum to listen.

She says she will look to work with groups like the Cattlemen's Association to find solutions that benefit Missouri.

"What can we do for our small farmer. We can talk all day but we've got to be able to put together a solution and a focused approach on what we can do to help these folks," Rep. Eslinger explained.

All the farmers and ranchers say they work to hard not to get a fair deal.

"We're getting thirty and they're (meat packers) getting seventy percent. I think there needs to be a little closer to the middle on this," Guffey said.

It's unclear when the next forum may happen.

Organizers and law makers say they were pleased with the turnout and discussion.

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