NOTEBOOK – ONE GOOD READ: Cattle ranchers taking on meatpackers
KATHY A. BOLTEN Mar 23, 2022 | 3:47 pm
1 min read time161 wordsAll Latest News, Manufacturing & Logistics, The Insider Notebook
A group of western Nebraska cattle ranchers and feedlot owners plan to begin construction this spring on a $323 million processing plant they say will boost competition and livestock prices, writes Patrick Thomas for the Wall Street Journal. Thomas’ article does a thorough job of explaining the rocky relationship between the cattle ranchers and the four companies that process 85% of the cattle in the U.S. While cattle production grew substantially between 2014 and 2019, the number and size of slaughtering plants changed little, agriculture lender Don Close told Thomas. That shifted market power toward meatpackers that weren’t able to process the oversupply of cattle, and the recent plant disruptions and labor shortages exacerbated the issue, Close said. Those constraints plus the renewed demand for beef from restaurants sparked the surge in wholesale beef prices. Cattle producers, though, have not benefited from the rising prices. The Nebraska cattle ranchers hope the new processing plant, called Sustainable Beef, helps change that trend.