Sunday, October 24, 2010

How does your beef get to your table?

I ran across an article in USA TODAY that talked about the market for beef, and the fact that there really is basically one buyer for beef in each market. 

This means that if you're a rancher you'll end up selling the majority (or all...) of your beef to a single company, and that other companies don't appear to be competing to buy your beef.    My impression from the article is that the beef packing companies divvy up various cattle ranchers and don't seriously bid for their products; one rancher describes being known as a "swift yard" -- a brand name of JBS meatpacking, and having other packers stop buying his product when that became known. 

This is troubling because when there's only one real market for your product, the buyer calls the shots and the price. 

If you eat beef, take the time to figure out who's producing it.  And if you don't know their name, perhaps you should. 

You'll find the original USA TODAY article here.


Mike said...


jason said...

It's about time that somebody talks about ways to mix realities with idealities. Too many people are looking to be idealistic and not worrying about the realities of life. And this applies to many more situations than just farming. I have been studying and working to start my own farm, and even as a beginner in the pasture based market I am dumbfounded by the amount of complaining by some people who are failiing because of their own idealities.

Are their other industries where people try to point fingers this much when their business fails?

I have a lot of respect for anybody willing to take on the life style of a pasture based farmer. I respect TLC for everything they have done and the success that they did have. But, I can't help but notice their lack of self criticism in why their farm failed.

jason said...

woops, i scrolled down too far for my comment post. That was supposed to go on the postmortem.