29 CALF News • December 2021 | January 2022 • Continued on page 30  said, noting that added slaughter capacity and more produc- tion from current facilities should raise capacity numbers to 490,000 to accommodate about 499,000 cattle in 2022. And by 2023, slaughter capacity is expected to surpass 505,000, while fed numbers will likely drop to about 494,000. With help from about $500 million allotted for new or expanded packers from the federal government, there are 11 new plants or plant expansions in the works for completion by late 2023. New plant capacity will help serve more U.S. and foreign beef lovers, Blach said. “U.S. beef exports are now about $410 per head in value or about 23 percent of the value of fed cattle,” he added, with hide and offal values at $125 per head and cuts used for variety meats equal to about $55 per steer. Blach maintained that government-mandated negotiated cash trade would hurt – not help – cattle prices. He said pre- miums paid to producers and feeders for Choice cattle ranged from $20 to as much as $85 per head over the negotiated cash price. If there is a mandatory negotiated cash trade, premiums will likely be reduced. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Jerry Bohn noted that the voluntary negotiated cash trade system supported by the national association is working. He added that NCBA is close to obtaining non-disclosure agreements with packers to report their negotiated trade and formula-based pricing numbers. NCBA is among a cross-section of livestock and producer association groups that support legislation for a new Cattle Contract Library. It is designed to provide more price transpar- ency through a cattle contract library with the U.S. Depart- ment of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service. The American Farm Bureau Federation, U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, National Farmers Union and the Livestock Mar- keting Association also support the library. There are questions about privacy within the new system, but TCFA, NCBA, Kansas Livestock Association and other cattle groups will work to maintain privacy among cattle sellers and buyers, Bohn said. Blach warned that if privacy is not maintained within the library, packers could have more leverage and the market “can be dumbed down. If we open the can of worms and show all the details, I think we will regret it. It will take margin away from producers.” Bohn pointed out that NCBA remains opposed to new efforts to revise the failed Mandatory Country-of-Origin Label (MCOOL) program and new or revised environmental regula- tions. Cattle traceability, the Beef Checkoff and other issues are also on the radar. Anderson, manager of CRI Feeders in Guymon, Okla., said voluntary negotiated cash trade, packer supply, drought, industry sustainability and other issues are on TCFA’s watch list for the coming year. He said the Beef Checkoff remains a valuable tool to help educate consumers about the importance of beef in the diet and how it is sustainably produced.“We were sustainable before Service • SaleS • partS Dodge City, Kan. 1501 South Second 800-280-7150 Scott City, Kan. 40 East Road 160 800-280-7251 Service on all mixers and electronic sales – all makes and models . Highest Standards in Product, Service and Customer Satisfaction! located in the Heartland for all Your cattle Feeding Needs. product liNeS Harsh • Kuhn Knight Laird Mfg. • Kirby Mfg. Scott City Parts 1006 West 5th 620-872-7007 Strategically located in the heart of the cattle-feeding industry, we provide over 100 years of combined experience and knowledge.