Photo courtesy: https://www.facebook.com/mikecallicrate
Q: What are the major issues standing in the way of fair cattle markets?
Meatpacker power, specifically their political power that has come along with “big money.” The cattle industry is facing abusive market power of a shared monopoly in the packing sector.
Q: What solutions need to be made to address the highly concentrated meatpacking industry?
The meatpacking power has to be broken up by placing these companies under a set of rules where they no longer exploit, lie, cheat, steal, and ruin rural America with the scheme of extraction.
Q: Do you think there is any chance we will get MCOOL reinstated?
MCOOL is needed within our industry, however it will not be the big solution that many think it will be. The meatpackers will still have the power to dictate price at whatever level they think they can get away with. If MCOOL is reinstated, the meatpackers hold enough power that they will punish cattle producers.
One thing our industry clearly does not need is imported beef. The U.S. needs to keep our wealth within our borders and focus on feeding ourselves. Global business is needed, just not to the determent of societies in general and to the betterment of a handful of powerful corporations.
Q: Do you think the cattle industry is in danger of becoming vertically integrated?
Our industry is already vertically integrated. Tyson has “chickenized” the beef industry, producers are now fighting for their fair share, along with a competitive market that will lead to a fair share of the consumer dollar. Competition has been absent from our cattle markets for twenty plus years; our markets have been this way since NCBA merged with the checkoff.
Q: Is there a chance America’s beef could someday become completely foreign supplied?
America most likely won’t have the funds to import beef. If our country continues to lose farmers and ranchers at the rate we are today, we will no longer have our wealth-creating base.
Q: In one sentence, what does the cattle industry need most today?
The cattle industry needs cooperation amongst its members. Our cattle industry groups need to check their egos and put their prejudices aside.
Q: In your opinion, do you think our major cattle industry groups can get on the same page and work together?
Our cattle organizations don’t necessarily have to agree, but they do need to realize that the consumer is our friend and ally. This realization would at least get these groups all working in the same direction.