For years, cattle ranchers across the country have had to tolerate rock-bottom prices paid for the cattle they raise, even as the cost of beef at grocery stores kept climbing. This has moved some cattle ranchers to affect change.
A group of independent cattlemen is embarking on a project to bring beef processing back to an independent state, raising funds to construct a cooperative that would supplant the behemoth beef processing industry.
The ranchers cite the consolidation in the beef industry stretching back to the 1970s. This consolidation resulted in four companies slaughtering over 80 percent of the nation’s cattle. This gave the processors more power to set prices while ranchers struggled to make a living.
USDA data show reveals that for every dollar spent on food retail, the share that goes to the ranchers and farmers dropped from 35 cents in the 1970s to 14 cents recently.
This has served as a catalyst for a number of independent cattlemen to raise over $300 million from fellow ranchers to build a plant for their own independent use, putting their future in their own hands.
The question is whether smaller, independent plants can pay ranchers more and still make a profit. An average 1,370-pound steer is worth about $1,630, but that price-point is divided between the slaughterhouse, feed lot, and the rancher, the latter of which typically bears the largest expense of raising the animal for more than a year.
The national consolidation of meatpacking – the shift to larger more centralized facilities in comparison to local plants and independent butchers – started in the mid-1970s. Data cited by the USDA reveals the number of livestock slaughter plants declined from 2,590 in 1977 to 1,387 in 1992; big processors going from processing only 12 percent of cattle in 1977 to 65 percent by 1997.
Currently four companies – Cargill, JBS, Tyson Foods, and National Beef Packing – control over 80 percent of the US beef market with cattle slaughtered at only 24 plants.
Crews for the independent cattle ranchers will start work this fall building the Sustainable Beef plant on nearly 400 acres near North Platte, Nebraska, and other groups are making similar surprising moves in Iowa, Idaho, and Wisconsin.
Why This Is Important
This story is a perfect example of how centralization – or central planning – never results in the people being best served.
Where the processing of the Big 4 in the meatpacking industry may be more streamlined and efficient, the 80 percent consolidation of the market share has facilitated middleman profiteering, higher prices, and today a supply chain bottleneck that is denying product to customers even as cattlemen are forced to cull their herds.
Listen to this interview we did with Bill Bullard, CEO of the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund and the United Stock Growers of America:
The consolidation of the meatpacking industry was a direct attack on not only the local independent ranchers but the local butcher shops as well. It is for that reason finding a local butcher is now a novelty.
This illuminates the topic of centralization, or “central planning.”
In economic terms, a centrally planned economy is an economy in which decisions on what to produce, how to produce it, and for whom are made by the government through a centrally managed bureaucracy. Central planning is also referred to as a “Command economy” or “Communist economy.”
Examples of centrally planned economies come to us as those of the former Soviet Union (1917-1991) and Soviet Bloc, China (until the late 70s), Cuba, and Venezuela. The common denominator here is that each of these countries and governmental systems collapsed economically because central planning leads to the end of Capitalism, which always – always – leads to totalitarian rule, economic exploitation and enslavement, and genocide.
So, why is the Fascist-Left pushing as hard as they can to facilitate a centralized US economy? Why are Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, and SEC Chairman Jay Clayton so hell-bent on economic centralization? For that matter, why is decentralized blockchain-based cryptocurrency so threatening to the federal establishment?
The answers are plain to see.
A centrally planned economy allows the powers that be at the federal level to manipulate the worth of our currency even as they execute crony politics – or cronyism – to reward their supporters and punish their detractors, i.e. “picking winners and losers.”
A decentralized cryptocurrency – and for that matter, a decentralized economic system, which is the exact definition of pure Capitalism – removes the manipulation factor, removes the economic middleman, and establishes true market prices for goods and services.
A decentralized economy and decentralized currency remove politics and ideology from our economic system. They neuter power-hungry ideologues and political activists from their ability to use money and monetary value as a weapon against a non-compliant population. They crush the dreams of totalitarian elites like the greed-merchants of the World Economic Forum and the International Monetary Fund.
A decentralized economy and decentralized currency – such are cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum and their spin-off altcoins – crushes the Great Reset, hedges against inflation, and executes pure peer-to-peer financial transaction devoid of government manipulation and interference.
Now, we say bravo to decentralization to the point of petitioning our state governors to invoke nullification against unconstitutional federal government overreach – legislated or not. Further, we support the restructuring of how federal taxes are remitted to the federal government, establishing a tax remittance flow line that moves from the individual and corporate headquarters to the state government and then to the federal government in bulk remittance.
To that end, we should support these cattlemen in their quest for true Capitalism and decentralization in the marketplace.