Negotiated cash fed cattle trade remained mostly undeveloped through Wednesday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend in any region.
There were 1,068 head offered in the weekly Fed Cattle Exchange auction, but no takers.
Midwestern fat auction prices were less than encouraging: $1-$2/cwt. lower at Sioux Falls, a touch lower at Tama. Yet, logic suggests packers need to be somewhat aggressive given the upcoming mid-week holidays.
Despite the lack of cash direction, Cattle futures closed higher Wednesday.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 60¢ higher.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 78¢ higher (47¢ higher at the back to $1.15 higher toward the front).
Wholesale beef values were lower on light demand and moderate offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.84 lower Wednesday afternoon at $218.65/cwt. Select was $1.63 lower at $203.72.
Corn futures closed 4¢ to 5¢ lower through Jul ’20 and then mostly 1¢ to 2¢ lower.
Soybean futures closed 5¢ to 7¢ lower through Nov. ’20 and then 3¢ to 4¢ lower.
Major U.S. financial indices edged higher on Wednesday. Support included the Federal Reserve’s decision to leave interest rates unchanged. Further, economic projections of Federal Reserve Board members and Federal Reserve Bank presidents suggest little to no change next year.
“Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) met in October indicates that the labor market remains strong and that economic activity has been rising at a moderate rate. Job gains have been solid, on average, in recent months, and the unemployment rate has remained low,” according to the FOMC statement. “Although household spending has been rising at a strong pace, business fixed investment and exports remain weak. On a 12‑month basis, overall inflation and inflation for items other than food and energy are running below 2%. Market-based measures of inflation compensation remain low; survey-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations are little changed.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 29 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 9 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 37 points.
U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, introduced the Real MEAT Act on Tuesday to end deceptive labeling practices for alternative protein products. The bill would clarify the definition of beef for labeling purposes, eliminate consumer confusion resulting from misbranding, and ensure that the federal government is able to enforce the law.
“Beef is derived from cattle—period. Under USDA, beef undergoes a rigorous inspection and labeling process, but plant-based protein products that mimic beef and are sometimes labeled as beef are overseen by the FDA instead. These products are not held to the same food safety and labeling standards as beef. Americans deserve to know what’s on their dinner plate. The Real MEAT Act will protect consumers from deceptive marketing practices and bring transparency to the grocery store,” Fischer explains.
Senator Fischer cited a study by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) that found 55% of consumers did not understand that “plant-based beef” wasn’t beef at all. This bill would help to clear the confusion by codifying a definition of beef for labeling purposes and allowing the USDA to take action against misbranded products, she explains.
“It’s clear that fake-meat companies are continuing to mislead consumers about the nutritional merits and actual ingredient composition of their products,” says NCBA president Jennifer Houston. “We commend the efforts of Senator Fischer on introducing this legislation, which would end deceptive labeling of fake meat products and allow cattle producers to compete on a level playing field.”
The Senate bill is a companion to H.R. 4881, which was introduced by U.S. Representatives Roger Marshall (R – 1st Dist., Kansas) and Anthony Brindisi (D – 22nd Dist., N.Y.) in October.