Ranchers in Saskatchewan are calling on the federal and provincial governments to begin investigating meat pricing. The Saskatchewan Stockgrowers Association has shared that their members are losing money while meat packing companies and retailers are seeing strong profits, all while beef is being sold for a higher price than ever before.
On July 5th, the SSGA released a press release asking government officials to take action on this issue.
The SSGA reported that ranchers and feedlots are losing money, leading them to reduce their cattle numbers or sell their herds. Domestic and export beef prices are affected by this trend.
The beef industry has been greatly impacted by the severe drought in the Canadian Prairies. Many regions continue to lack grass, and feed grain and forage prices have doubled in the last two years. The historical drought on the prairies has increased the cost of raising cattle and led to a significant downsizing of cattle numbers in Canada, according to SSGA President Garner Deobald. Cattle for slaughter are now more readily available as a result.
“Many producers and feedlots are feeling challenged by increased costs due to inflation, fuel and record-high feed costs. Our members are sharing their frustrations with us. There is a disconnect between what producers are receiving for their animals and the high prices consumers are paying for beef products. Producers are feeling exploited,” Deobald said.
Although packer margins have tightened, retailers and packers still report substantial profits due to strong consumer demand. Many producers are tired of working so hard for so little return shares the SSGA release.
Representatives from the association shared that they will advocate aggressively for their members on this issue.
The Saskatchewan-based association requested this investigation shortly after class-action lawsuits were filed in Quebec and BC earlier this year on behalf of consumers who say they are paying too much for meat.