Herman Schumacher and Johnny Smith were fearless defenders of fair, open, and competitive markets, risking everything in the battle to protect their auction market customer – the cattle producer.
The following presentations were part of the June 2, 1996 South Dakota Auction Markets Grassroots Cattle Producer’s Forum held in Ft. Pierre. The meatpackers were manipulating the markets. The fight for fair markets was raging. IBP as the price leader, shocked the industry in the spring of 1994 with a $17/cwt. price drop, followed by other serious price declines into 1996. The USDA, and newly formed and checkoff-funded NCBA, along with their gang of meatpacker defending economists, were telling producers all was well.
Herman, Johnny, and other speakers of the day called BS. Over 1,000 very unhappy cattle producers were in the room.
Will today’s young leaders find inspiration from the words of Herman and Johnny and fight aggressively for real solutions, or will they compromise what’s left of the cattle industry, following the path of exploitation and modern day slavery like poultry and pork?