USDA error results in $42 million to $54 million loss to cattle industry

WASHINGTON – Cattle producers suffered a $42-54 million loss because of errors in USDA’s price reporting system, according to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

“The economic estimates show that American cattle producers lost between $42 and $54 million between April 27 and May 18, because of a government reporting error,” said Chuck Lambert, NCBA chief economist. “While there is some question concerning when the injury actually occurred, it is clear that there were significant losses to many individual producers because of an inaccurate price formula.”

The errors resulting in the loss occurred when prices were inaccurately calculated, under the USDA mandatory price reporting system that went into effect April 2. On May 16, USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service announced that prices for “no-roll” products had been incorporated into Choice and Select product prices reported nationwide. Price reports have been accurate since May 16.

Following the announcement of the error, NCBA commissioned two economic studies simultaneously, without consultation, by economists from Virginia Tech and Kansas State University.

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