In this file:
· Rally to Stop the Stealin’ promotes ranching way of life
· Corbitt Wall: Ag producers the ‘Cornerstone of America’
· OCM Pressuring Administration And Congress To Fix Markets And Replace Ag Secretary
Rally to Stop the Stealin’ promotes ranching way of life
Deanna Nelson-Licking, The Fence Post
October 4, 2019
OMAHA, Neb. — Over the past decades the American public has stood by and watched the destruction of the family owned poultry and pork producers. A few large processing companies controlled the price and broke every one of the independent producers. Today the American cattle producer is standing on the brink of oblivion. If something isn’t done soon the ranching way of life will be gone and anyone raising cattle will be doing it for one of the multi-national companies who will control all beef from birth to plate.
This was the wake-up call issued at the Rally to Stop the Stealin’ held in Omaha, Neb., on Oct. 2 in the Ramada Inn ballroom. The event was sponsored by the Organization for Competitive Markets. A variety of other groups were invited to attend and participate, incuding R-CALF USA, Family Farm Action, Farm Aid and a score of other groups and organizations. Close to 400 cattle producers and feeders from close to a dozen different states came to listen and learn. A number of OCM board members spoke stressing the need for reimplementation of Country of Origin labeling, and for the government to step in and investigate the fat cattle market manipulation and to take additional action to save the cattlemen. They are urging people to continue calling Washington, tweeting President Trump and using social media to let their voices be heard.
OCM board members David Wright, Mike Callicrate, Wes Shoemyer and Vaughn Meyer all spoke about the six issues that OCM has outlined as most important and in need of President Trump’s immediate attention.
Fred Stokes, the founder of OCM is a small purebred cattle producer from Mississippi. “I retired from Army Military Intelligence in 1972, having grown up on a small farm all I ever wanted to do was raise cows. At that time cattle markets were at record highs, money was easy to borrow and I borrowed a bunch. The bottom went out and they were worth 30 percent of what I paid for them. I owed more than everything I owned was worth. I worked years to get out of debt, I did it but I’m still mad.
“I’m 85 and I don’t have any skin in the game anymore but I feel that with the beef check-off we have been funding our own demise. People say, ‘Someone should do something but I’m all tied up.’ We all have to come together and put aside our differences to do something. We must preserve our independent, domestic cattle industry,” Stokes said. “We supported President Trump and now we are calling on him to fulfill his campaign promises.”
OCM board members Chris Petersen of Clear Lake, Iowa, and Jonathan Buttram of Alabama related their own experiences as hog and poultry producers who were bankrupted and warned that the same fate is coming for cattle producers if things don’t change.
Bill Bullard, CEO of R-CALF USA, spoke at length outlining the issues faced by cattlemen...
Corbitt Wall: Ag producers the ‘Cornerstone of America’
Carrie Stadheim, Tri-State Livestock News
October 4, 2019
“What’s the price of hogs today?”
Corbitt Wall asked the participants at the Omaha cattlemen’s meeting.
The room was silent until Wall answered his own rhetorical question. “Who gives a sh##?”
“We’re eventually going to get there, guys,” Wall told a group of over 400 cattle ranchers and feeders gathered in Omaha, Nebraska, Oct., 2, 2019, to rally for President Trump’s attention to the current cattle market situation.
Wall, a Canyon, Texas, commercial cattle manager and livestock market analyst for DV Auction, was the first main speaker of the day.
He told the group that because so few fat cattle sell in a negotiated or cash market situation, cattle feeders have very little leverage or control over the value of their cattle.
In an interview with TSLN, he said, “I want to show people where we are going to head if we don’t start getting some more negotiated trade and start getting some competition for those selling fat cattle.
“When I started with USDA, I traveled around the country, a lot of people raised hogs. It helped pay the bills, it was something they could do to diversify,” he remembers.
“Who can survive on 8 cents per pound for a hog when it costs about 30 cents to produce them? Nobody can. They all went broke. It was sad, they took them out,” he said.
In the late 1990s, the pork processing industry “had this kind of hold on the hog industry,” he said. “Now they are basically totally integrated to where now you have nothing, nobody cares what the hog market is anymore. You have people who contract to raise the hogs but basically they just work for the pork processors.”
Wall believes the beef processors – particularly the “big four” desire for the cattle industry to integrate in the same way.
“If they get it their way, there will be no room for commission men, sale barns, video auctions, they will take it all,” he said.
“The only reason the cattle industry hasn’t gone completely that way already is because it takes a lot of country to run cows. People have lived on their ranches forever. Someone has to keep these places up, someone has to be the steward of the land.”
The quality of the end product will suffer greatly by taking the independent rancher out of the equation, he believes.
While some say “bigger is better,” that vertical integration is the way of the future and those who refuse to get on board will be left behind, Wall says corporate owned equates to an “industrialized” and probably tasteless product.
“Whenever you take people out of the equation so there is no pride in what they are doing anymore, you lose that quality where they want to see the fruits of their labor and feel a sense of ownership in it.”
“There is nobody who loves cattle more than a cattle rancher. They risk their own lives, health, and happiness to take care of their own. If you take away that sense of accomplishment and pride of ownership, you are going to lose a certain level quality.”
Some industry spokesmen and economists would believe that eliminating the commission paid to a salebarn, just means more dollars in the cattleman’s pocket.
But the formula pricing in the fed cattle market has served as an example to help the cow-calf producer see that, without a significant number of cattle sold on an open, bidding, atmosphere, the value of the cattle will not be fully realized.
“The reason we need competition is to keep the price of a cattle high enough at every level where people can afford to raise them. I don’t want to live in a world where all the ranches are owned by big government or big corporations. It will dry your little towns up. Basically rural life in these small communities ceases to exist, and you wake up one day and we’re living like the Chinese, stacked on top of each other and riding bikes everywhere we go.”
Wall said that if corporations begin to own cattle ranches, in the same way that the larger cattle feedlots and hog confinement operations are owned and managed, “We’ve lost that rural community that has…been the cornerstone of America. And a lot of them are drying up as we speak, even as regular farms get bigger, we see our small ag communities drying up.”
“It’s a way of life that we’re trying to preserve”...
OCM Pressuring Administration And Congress To Fix Markets And Replace Ag Secretary
Radio 570 WNAX (SD)
Oct 4, 2019
A group of around 400 farmers and ranchers rallied in Omaha this week to voice concern about the low prices paid to cattle producers while packers enjoy higher prices. Organization for Competitive Markets Executive Director Joe Maxwell says the rally goers and his group don’t feel the Ag Secretary is backing policies to help them. He says their next step is to rally support at the states and outline their concerns to the President and Congress.
He says the Ag Secretary needs to go because he’s failing America’s farmers and ranchers.
Maxwell says it’s time for the Ag Secretary to be replaced. He also says the President doesn’t likely understand what’s happening with either the Ag Secretary or the economic stress cattle producers are under.
Maxwell says it’s imperative that Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling be reinstated...
more, including audio [1:23 min.]