Usually you hear a commentary here that I’ve written about whatever’s bugging me the most on a given day. I want to offer up a note I got from a gentleman I met a long time ago…and it affects anyone listening who likes to sit down to a plate full of food at dinner…especially if you like meat in your meals. For the vegans out there…sorry, our food just ate your food…sorry for the trouble
“Lars, It’s been a long time but I met you at an auction I was conducting years ago. I still own and operate the Central Oregon Livestock Auction in Madras, Oregon as well as the business of selling purebred cattle, feeding market ready cattle to finish, and cow/calf production. I am writing to you to shed light on a very important issue that the public needs to be aware of.
I am writing to you to provide notice of a movement that you are probably currently aware of, allegations of non compliance to U.S. Antitrust laws for price fixing among meat packers. Currently the nation’s food supply is severely compromised. This is all of our problems now. Protein in general is and will be in shortage due to the current Covid 19 crisis that has upended the workforce in meat packing plants all over the United States. The problem goes much deeper than coronavirus. We are far too dependent on a very limited supply of packing plants that are reaping huge gains at everyone else’s expense. They continue to drive prices down on market ready fat cattle all the while skyrocketing the price of boxed beef to consumers. Their profit margins have been over $1000.00 per head. We harvest 600,000 cattle weekly. This business is devastating for producers. If swift action is not taken those shortages will continue for decades to come with the onset of bankruptcy among livestock producers nationwide. Unfortunately we have placed yourself in a very frightening situation. Our county is dependent on four major meat packers for our nation’s protein supply. Not good business for its producers and certainly not secure business for our nation’s food supply. This nation needs protein. We need more packing plants, more negotiated trade and transparency within the protein complex.”