Twenty-one years ago, in responding to the question of why producers were receiving so little for their livestock, Dr. John Helmuth (economist, meat industry expert, and longtime critic of meat industry consolidation) said, “There’s an economic term to describe this phenomenon: It’s called stealing.”
A fire in a slaughterhouse on August 9, 2019, in South West Kansas, turned the cattle and beef industry upside down. Live cattle plummeted and boxed beef prices skyrocketed, while meatpackers raked in massive profits. The so-called market that the big packers and retailers had been managing to their advantage for at least the last thirty years revealed that there is really no market at all, just a price – a price, that sellers and buyers will tolerate.
Today, price is not determined by supply and demand, or any semblance of competition, but by a new mechanism called, “Non-Market Price Discovery”.
Under the shared control of the big retailer/meatpacker cartel, some of the factors that now determine price are:
- Market touts – Pushing the big lie, “It’s supply and demand!”, by Beef Checkoff-funded groups like NCBA, Cattle Fax, university professors, beef publications, etc.
- Manipulation of the Futures markets to mentally condition sellers to accept lower prices.
- Appeals to shareholders
- Social media campaigns
- Tomi Lahren and Corbitt Wall advocating for the cowboys