As a fourth generation cattle rancher and a longtime member of North Dakota Farmers Union, I’m proud to see NDFU standing up for the cattle producers of the state in these extremely stressful times for the beef business.

Cattle producers have always wanted to make their living by getting a fair profit in the marketplace. For that to happen, we need a fair marketplace with multiple purchasers competing for our product without collusion or lopsided consolidated control. We need local and regional options to process and cut beef so we can market and sell closer to home, and to regional customers who appreciate what we raise. This is especially important when public health challenges put strain on the long distance supply chains we’ve relied on because the downstream end of our business has become overly concentrated and distant.

There are good reasons for us all to support North Dakotans who raise cattle and sell beef with the policies laid out by NDFU for fair markets, truth in labeling and local beef processing. Ranchers are the backbone of many rural economies and small town Main Streets in our state. Ranchers make beneficial use of our state’s grassland and rangeland — an ecosystem that is as critical to our world as the rainforests and oceans. Grazing, rest, rotation, and the presence of cows as big herbivores on the prairie keep that ecosystem functioning well and contributing to the water and carbon cycle for the benefit of us all.

Thanks to NDFU and all who see the value of cattle ranching and the raising of beef and what it takes to keep that business viable. For more on what you can do to lend a hand, go to www.ndfu.org .

(Taylor ranches at Towner, N.D.)