Top issue is food security
To the editor:
The latest headline in the news is that food has become a leading indicator of inflation in the U.S.
Although true, the authors of these articles have missed the real story, food security.
Being actively involved in the cattle industry, I have seen the untold stories of deception and misinformation during the past 18 months that have driven many ranchers to retire. In the last 19 years, the U.S. has lost more than 75,000 farmer feeders. These are the small operations finishing out cattle for harvest. While corporate feedlots expand in numbers to satisfy their corporate packing partners, the smaller family-run feedlots can’t receive bids on their cattle, forcing them to sell at below break-even prices. But cattlemen are a relentless and persistent group driven by commitment and passion in producing the best and safest product in the whole world, beef.
During the last 12 years the mergers and acquisitions within the beef industry have left four companies with more than 85 percent control of the sales in this country. These are the same companies in the news ordered to pay millions of dollars in fines for price fixing allegations. The same four companies that during the height of the pandemic had combined profits approaching one-half a billion dollars a week. News stories showing empty shelves or limited supplies only cause panic buying driving prices higher. Rest assured there is no shortage of beef in this country — only an oligopoly control that has squeezed out the smaller regional packers for the benefit of its shareholders.
The independent farmers and ranchers in this country need your help now, and in doing so would also be of benefit to you. Please call your two senators (leave a message) and ask for their support on Senate Bill 2716. This bill would bring back country-of-origin labeling. Right now beef is entering the country being unpackaged then repackaged with a product of USA label.
We would also like support on Senate Bill 949. This would make the big four packers purchase 50 percent of their cattle off the cash market. These bills would bring prosperity back into the cattle markets and stability in the beef industry that is being manipulated by four corporate packers, two of which are foreign owned.
“He who controls the food controls the people.” — Henry Kissinger