May 28, 2021
Since the formation of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) in 1996, the big meatpackers have been invited to join NCBA and routinely gather in the same room along with NCBA’s members, leadership, and lobbyists – a perfect venue to collude, price-fix, manage the market, and capture the cattle producer, shaping the cattle industry in their favor and reducing the cost of their greatest input – cattle.
Unlike the darkened smoke-filled rooms of the Stanhope Hotel where IBP, the New York Mafia, and corrupt retail and union bosses once met to rig the east coast meat market, JBS, Cargill, Tyson/IBP, and National Beef were now meeting openly in the best hotels, with all they could eat and drink, paid for with beef checkoff dollars from the very cattlemen they were cheating.
After paying billions in recent price-fixing settlements and massive fines for bribery, are the gangsters at JBS worried about the optics, which could be seen by antitrust cops as clear and indisputable evidence of ongoing collusion, enabled and facilitated by the NCBA? Might JBS be thinking its time to leave the room, after all, during the last 25 years, JBS and the other big meatpackers have accomplished everything they could have hoped for – making billions more than a competitive market would have ever allowed, gaining full, and possibly permanent, control over the price of cattle?
Has NCBA served its purpose in leading cattle producers to their demise, into the same indentured servitude as pig and chicken growers, suffering at the bottom of the big meatpacker/retailer cartel supply chain? Probably, that may be what JBS was thinking last year when they canceled their membership, and their decision was reinforced when NCBA showed signs of weakness in failing to quiet the cries of angry cattle groups in Phoenix a couple of weeks ago.
Yep, it looks like NCBA, as with America’s cattle producers, has become a liability on the JBS balance sheet. It’s time to move on.