Inaccuracies in the reporting of beef cutout values by USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service are unfortunate. As we understand the problem at this point, the error occurred due to a software problem that has been identified and corrected. Mandatory price reporting of meat and livestock is the law and we will do everything possible to ensure that this new system operates as effectively as possible.
At this point, it is impossible for us - or anyone who does not have the complete, revised data at hand - to determine the scope of the problem or its financial impact. Numbers quoted in some news reports are based largely on speculation. We understand that AMS intends to issue actual, corrected numbers as early as May 21.
Although producers may have been underpaid for their livestock as a result of this error, meat packers also may have not received full value for their beef based on the problematic data and may also have suffered economic losses.
We hope to meet with USDA next week to learn in greater detail the degree of error and to participate in the development of a reasonable and workable solution for all parties. We also hope to work with USDA to prevent software problems like this one in the future.