Supply Chain Worries Possible for Livestock

Still-Possible Rail Strike Threatens Inputs Cattle Feeders Need This Winter


By Victoria G Myers, Progressive Farmer/DTN



It could be a couple of weeks before anyone knows whether freight workers will accept a tentative agreement that's on the table now or go on strike. This is despite reassurances coming from the White House that a potentially major economic setback has been averted.


The National Cattlemen's Beef Association Executive Director of Government Affairs Allison Rivera called the potential strike "very much a fluid situation" as she reached out to update members on what is going on.


"There was the possibility of two major unions going on strike on Friday (Sept. 16) and causing major supply chain disruptions and major concerns for cattle producers across the country," she said in a recording released to members and the media. Currently, she said, the biggest issue would be around inputs that are shipped by rail within the beef industry.


Rivera noted that conversations between companies and unions have been going on for months. She said a Presidential Emergency Board was created, leading to a set of recommendations that NCBA hoped the unions would take under consideration and possibly accept.


"If Congress has to force them (the unions) to follow these recommendations, they are able to do that, and it might come down to that. But we are obviously in a place where we are trying to figure out what happens next," she said.


For cattle producers right now, Rivera said the two biggest concerns should a shutdown take place are feed and fuel, especially critical for parts of the country where drought has taken a toll on forages.


"We already have high input costs," she added. "The last thing we want to see are supply chain disruptions and further increases to those inputs."


Rivera noted that NCBA had signed multiple letters pushing Congress to stay in town and make sure they push forward with the Presidential Emergency Board's recommendations, implementing them if it becomes necessary to keep a strike from occurring. "We have continued to stay in the fight," she added...