Posted on June 15, 2022
You don’t need to be a vegan to know that livestock and poultry aren’t “harvested,” the squeaky clean verb that’s become fashionable among farm and ranch groups to minimize the end–as in The End–of most animals their members grow.
Soybeans are harvested; pigs are slaughtered. Wheat is harvested; cattle are slaughtered.
It’s not a minor point, insists […]
Posted on June 15, 2022
Despite spending every day of my southern Illinois youth on what at the time was a very large dairy farm, I never really had a clue of what made one Holstein cow or calf better or worse than the next Holstein cow or calf.
Most of that inability lay in my complete disinterest to show any […]
Posted on August 13, 2021
In a sweeping, 72-point executive order on competition, the Biden Administration announced it was taking dead aim at the heavily concentrated “multinational companies (that) increasingly dominate markets for crops, chemicals, seeds, and meat,” reported Bloomberg.
The competition order–that “reach(es) from the FDA to the Pentagon”–includes “directives… such as rules that would help chicken farmers and ranchers… […]
Posted on June 11, 2021
On May 17, six farm groups joined voices to call on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Congress, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to ensure a “more financially sustainable situation for cattle feeders and cow-calf producers.”
That’s make-nice farm talk for “Meatpackers are skinning U.S. cattlemen so badly now that we six, not-usually-friendly groups ask the federal government—swamp […]
Posted on June 14, 2018
Forty years ago Waylon and Willie asked the nation’s mamas not to “let your babies grow up to be cowboys” because “… they’ll never stay home and they’re always alone, even with someone they love.”
That sage advice is even more true after a spring cattle market that’s been too wild to forget and too brutal […]
Posted on February 14, 2018
Maybe it’s a sign of our fast-changing times, but paradox and irony seem as common today as lunch and supper. For example, the world’s largest taxi company, Uber, owns no taxis and the world’s second largest air force is the U.S. Navy.
The same is true of the American beef sector. As of mid-January, the owner […]
Posted on November 16, 2016
The more the American meat and milk sectors industrialize—via integrated contract production, fewer bigger players, machine-centered scale—the more these key parts of American agriculture resemble industry itself: commoditized products, razor-thin margins, and extended periods of steep losses.
This shift from what we once quaintly called animal husbandry has also shifted economic and political power to a […]
Posted on September 21, 2016
As the food industry continues to consolidate into fewer, bigger players, the price risk it once hedged in Chicago and New York futures markets is being pushed back onto the very farmers and ranchers it buys from.
The reason is simple: the Big Boys have the market power to do it.
After decades of Big Ag’s talk […]
Posted on September 18, 2014
Farmers and ranchers have a well-deserved reputation for straight talk. Saying what you mean and meaning what you say, after all, were essential elements in the handshake deals that were the hallmark of rural business for generations.
They still are.
Now, however, some folks outside the nation’s fields and fences are working overtime to wash—and, in many […]