Fellow members, we are in unprecedented times. I first approached the coronavirus epidemic with a certain disbelief. Who would have thought it would have the impact it is having on people, businesses and our industry? Let me assure you that your volunteer leadership team and the KLA staff are doing everything possible to try and lessen the blow to agriculture.
Staff and leadership have been in continual contact with each other, NCBA, our congressional delegation in Washington, DC, and regulatory agencies, including USDA. The KLA team has been influential in the development of a stimulus package that will help provide some relief to livestock producers and ensuring USDA’s commitment to keeping graders and inspectors in packing plants and that those transporting livestock can continue to do so without deterrence. The market reaction has been painful and unexplainable, to say the least, with big cash market drops, while boxed beef prices rose steeply. In response, KLA joined with NCBA in asking USDA to monitor market activity.
However, those of you who know me know I’m an eternal optimist and will work to find a silver lining. The cattle market has come back a bit and retailers have sold record amounts of beef domestically. For the week of March 15, fresh beef sales increased 376 million pounds, up 73.1% compared to the same week in 2019. People are continuing to buy beef and are preparing it at home. In response, the Kansas Beef Council has been providing consumers with nutrition information, recipe ideas, cooking tips and budget-friendly beef options. Their efforts have generated more than 600,000 impressions on digital media. Perhaps with the meat aisle being empty, there will be a new appreciation that those of us in agriculture are very essential to this country and the world.
We have survived challenging times before and have come back stronger. We will do so again. Our product is one of the best protein sources on the planet, and we raise it efficiently and abundantly. If you have any questions or concerns about the current situation, don’t hesitate to call the staff or one of the officer team members. Your association will continue to do its best for you, our members, and for the Kansas livestock industry.