Study: Pandemic could cost beef industry $13 billion

Photo courtesy USDA/MGN.  Generic shot of cattle being cattle.
Photo courtesy USDA/MGN. Generic shot of cattle being cattle.(KKTV)
Published: Apr. 20, 2020 at 8:53 AM CDT
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A new study commissioned by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic, cattle losses could reach $13.6 billion.

The study shows cow-calf producers will see the biggest impact with losses totaling an estimated $3.7 billion, or $11.91 per head for each mature breeding animal in the U.S. Dakota Radio Group reports without offsetting relief payments, those losses could increase to $135.24 per animal.

NCBA Policy Division Chair and South Dakota cattle producer Todd Wilkinson of DeSmet says says those type of losses are shocking.

"Those losses don't stop if coronavirus went away June 1st, which we all know won't happen that quickly," Wilkinson said. "Those losses are going to continue to be compounded. That's why it's so important that the market facilitation payments that were out there for corn and beans last year, that there be something done for the beef industry."

Wilkinson says federal relief is needed immediately as the U.S. cattle industry is currently experiencing a national disaster.