Back in 2014, all the experts, referred to as specialists nowadays, were predicting fantastic cattle prices through 2018. Years of low cattle prices, extended drought and ranchers retiring or just giving up, had reduced the cow herd to near 70-year lows. Farm and ranch publications were packed with rosy predictions by everyone who thinks they are someone. Ranchers, farmers, beginning young couples, independent cattle feeders, and most importantly, bankers, all bought into this prosperity propaganda.
Then bang, three years ahead of schedule, markets plunge precipitously to unbelievable ranch and feedlot foreclosure levels.
The experts now softly whisper mundane excuses like cattle got too high, it’s cyclical, heavier carcasses. Well really, preposterous, have any of these experts ever invested in the machinery, vehicles, technology, structure or real estate that comprise a modern day feedlot, farm or ranch? Whoever saw a cattle cycle go from cow herd lows to surplus in 12 months? Heavier cattle, true. But if this extra beef is cause for this crash in prices, why does the United States remain the largest beef importing nation in the world? Why would USDA open the door to import up to 60,000 tons of fresh beef from Brazil? That’s equal to over 1,300,000 head of 950# carcasses.
Why did we eliminate COOL at home while exporters use it to control enormous premiums on U.S. beef in world capitals, business and leisure centers of the wealthy?
I don’t buy any of the flimsy reasons given for this total meltdown, equity consuming, and independent feedlot bankrupting crash in 12 months time frame.
I believe this has been a carefully planned, deliberate economic crash to vertically integrate and corporatize the cattle industry.
From my vantage point of age, participation in, and yes, victim to the corporatizing of poultry, hogs and dairy, it’s plain as day.
Remember, we took our eggs and cream to town on Saturday night and used the proceeds to buy family necessities. Between Tyson and government regulations, the four competing produce houses were reduced to one and eggs were 13 cents per dozen. We quit!
Remember the dairy buyout? This was concocted by the USDA, Farm Bureau and those groups taking the dairy “check of money” and ostensibly representing the dairymen. This eliminated thousands of dairy families and took the cattle market “Limit Down” day after day. When that failed to get the desired corporate results, government stepped up the attack through sanitary rules and regulations. Suddenly, the milk this nation grew up on became no good unless you spent a small fortune upgrading facilities and equipment. I quit!
Most states, in an effort to protect family farms, had enacted anti-corporate farming laws. These laws came under massive direct attack in the 1980s, but guess who, yep, those organizations purportedly representing family farms and ranches. Led by the Kansas Farm Bureau, the NCBA state affiliates, KLA and Pork Producers, all the commodity groups or others affiliated with agriculture joined the effort to open doors to corporate takeover. The first open corporate doors opened to poultry, rabbits and ratites. No I’m not kidding, rabbits and ratites! They painted visions of huge corporate rabbitries, processing plants, jobs galore, i.e. economic development.
The visions of center pivots of wheat being grazed by thousands of ostrich even drew gullible corporate investors. I later rented deer hunting to two of these Omaha, Nebraska scammed investors. Corporate chickens drew little opposition since family poultry was already eliminated by economics.
Corporate dairy was a tougher sell, but eventually the vision of huge dairies, processing plants and jobs carried the day.
Remember 1998? Hog prices plunged to $9.00 a cwt and exposed as lies all the testimony presented by our farm, ranch and ag organizations in 1994, when they finally passed corporate hogs in Kansas. The thousands of family farms raising hogs, “mortgage lifters” are now gone.
Beef is next! There’s no precedent, no logical reason for calf prices to drop $100.00 per cwt, for independent feedlots to lose up to $800.00 per head, for young families investing in cows of bred heifers to find their income halved or two-thirds declined. In 12 months!
All the while, beef prices in stores remained at record highs, while imports of beef and live cattle continue unabated. Unbelievable, no planned and deliberate.
Don’t believe for a minute all the U.S. beef supply can’t be outsourced just like our manufacturing. The years ago prediction by the Poppers and the present dream of the Enviros, a Buffalo Commons, may be closer than we think. The Demopubs and Republicrats have put on a good show this election cycle, keeping the common man equally divided; but the insiders, the globalists of both parties are keeping us headed for a one world government.
Whoever controls the food controls the nation. Vertical integration of the cattle industry is just another step in corporate control of food.
Forget all this crap about U.S. farmers feeding a hungry world; it’s propaganda for dummies. Aren’t we awash in wheat, corn, beans, beef, pork and chicken; all priced below the cost of production? Yet, there’s millions of starving or malnourished around the world! Why? It’s all about money, control, greed, politically correct speech, globalism. Study History.
When the independent feedlots are gone, competition ceases, auction markets disappear; then the rancher becomes a corporate captive just like the piggery, hen house or milk barn.
Thanks to the sellout by all our ag organizations.
Stephen Anderson, Alma, Ks.