March 25, 2020
By Jim Mundorf
“If demand is up why are prices down?” It’s the question the anchor asks. It’s the obvious question that any idiot would ask after taking one look at what is going on in the beef industry. The answer given by NCBA’s Ethan Lane is, “We’ve struggled to realize those gains in the live cattle and feeder cattle sectors.” Which is actually not an answer at all. Mr. Lane works in D.C. so he answers questions like a politician. What I mean is he doesn’t answer them. He knows damn well why cattle prices are down. Its because four beef packers that control the entire industry work together to keep cattle prices down, and screw over ranchers as hard as they can, for their own record profits. Those beef packers also just happen to be members of the NCBA, which is why Mr. Lane refuses to state the obvious.
What Mr. Lane has no problem doing is dropping to his knees and begging the federal Government for a handout to go to the ranchers. The ranchers that the packers are screwing. “ We are asking for some assistance and direct payment as well.” Direct payments from the federal government to ranchers, when last week beef packer profits, per head of cattle went from $170.65 to $580.70, a record increase and record profits. If that doesn’t make your head explode, I don’t know what will. Maybe a Cattlemens organization that flat out refuses to call out packers that are bankrupting its members, but has no problem groveling to the government for money.
The men and women of cattle country are a proud bunch. Rugged individualists that take pride in self reliance. Many become members of the NCBA hoping that their dues and checkoff dollars will go towards fighting for a fair market. I highly doubt many would want an unfair market ignored and government handouts begged for. It is truly sad to see, and its downright embarrassing.