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Don't blame corn for low beef prices

MCKENZIE, N.D. -- The beef cattle industry could learn a lesson from the corn industry instead of blaming corn for falling beef prices. The corn industry created markets for their product, therefore putting competition back in the market. Corn gr...

MCKENZIE, N.D. -- The beef cattle industry could learn a lesson from the corn industry instead of blaming corn for falling beef prices. The corn industry created markets for their product, therefore putting competition back in the market. Corn growers don't owe us a cheap source of feed. The rising corn price is just one symptom of falling cattle prices. Blaming corn for everything is like putting lipstick on a sow; underneath you still have a pig.

Let's examine the beef industry and find out who the pigs are. The packing industry has destroyed the pork and poultry industries and intends to do the same to beef. Perhaps the live cattle imports from Canada and Mexico have something to do

with falling prices. Last year, live imports were the second largest in 32 years. These imports are largely packer-owned, therefore, captive supply. No need to bid more; they own enough to depress the market. Take a look at why Canada has sent all of its feeder cattle down here, gotten them fat and slaughtered as fast as you can. One more calf crop through the system before Sept. 30, that way this beef is ahead of the country-of-origin labeling.

For years, the U. S. Department of Agriculture, National Cattlemen's Beef Association and all of their state affiliates have been enablers, helping pave the way for the packers to throw the screws to the cattle producers. The largest packers now control approximately 80 percent of the cattle kill. Competition is gone. Now, all of a sudden, it

may be too easy for big packers to get bigger. JBS wants to take over our third-, fourth- and fifth-largest packers, making it the largest the world. NCBA is starting to catch on to what kind of a monster it helped create. It appears to me the stab wounds in our backs are from USDA, NCBA and their affiliates, not the corn industry.

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We now must all call our senators and representatives and urge them to fund COOL and return competition to our markets by banning packer ownership. Now would be a good time to reiterate the fact that COOL and National Animal Identification System have nothing to do with one another. Let's not allow USDA to tie them together.

Editor's Note: Heaton farms in McKenzie, N.D.

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