NCBA & Meat Packer Economists Promote The Big Lie: A government study isn’t needed to prove big packers and retailers are fleecing cattlemen and consumers

NCBA & Meat Packer Economists Promote The Big Lie

A government study isn’t needed to prove big packers and retailers are fleecing cattlemen and consumers


By Mike Callicrate
August 20, 2002

The August issue of Beef Magazine ran a story entitled Reality Gap, in their periodic Fact or Fiction series, examining industry misinformation. In a total affront to the truth, the piece written by contributing editor, Wes Ishmael, downplays the obscene profits in the packing and retail segments of the beef industry and attempts to confuse the issue.

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) economist Chuck Lambert presents a very misleading economic analysis using a 1000 pound finished animal, compared to last week’s actual average live animal weight of 1255 pounds. It costs the same to box a 1255-pound animal as it does one that weighs 1000 pounds, plus the offal income is at least $15 per head more on the heavier animal. Packers, in driving heavier more profitable finished weights, haven’t processed cattle averaging 1000 pounds for at least 30 years. According to USDA, the average live finished animal weighed 1049 pounds in 1970, forty-nine pounds heavier than his example.
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