McPeak: We are not overproducing beef

Lonnie McPeak
Driscoll, ND

I believe it is time to give thanks to people who in the past few years have done some deeds for the cattle industry. First let’s thank the North Dakota Beef Commission, North Dakota Corn Growers, North Dakota Soybean Council and the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association, as they all lobbied for a increase in the beef checkoff at the ND legislature 2 years ago. We were told for every dollar invested we would get an $11.20 return. It didn’t happen. In fact our market has dropped by nearly 60 percent since the increase. Not only did the new dollar not help, neither did the first dollar we were already paying. So one can only conclude we were lied to. But, we should also point out the beef commission has taken our money and bought even more seats on the Federation of State beef councils. The federation for the most part is nothing more than a pay-for-play, money laundering, ponzi scheme, and to top it off a non-legal entity. Therefore, since it is a non-legal entity, the checks are made out to the National Cattlemens Beef Association — the same NCBA the NDSA is affiliated with. Isn’t that just cozy.

When this increase was passed, we as ranchers were selling into a very good and competitive market, but as I stated before, our market has since dropped by nearly 60 percent. This again is where I have to hand out the thanks. Thanks to NDSA and NCBA for lobbying to get rid of Country of Origin Labeling and North Dakota congressman Kevin Cramer for voting to repeal COOL. That was the start of our market collapse. The four big packers who control 85 percent of the beef no longer had to differentiate our meat from the meat that comes from some 20 other countries around the globe. Then the same packers brought in enough beef from other countries to flood our market and bust it. Why not lower our market? After all we set the market for the world so the lower ours is, the lower the global market is. Works great the imports that are used to hold our market down are now cheaper also. How convenient. In fact the market collapse has even had devastating effects on Canada, many of their biggest feedlots are going out of business because of this. Maybe they shouldn’t have taken us to the kangaroo court at the World Trade Organization, with the help of NCBA and the packing industry. And of course congressman Cramer to this day says he had no choice but to vote for the repeal of COOL, as we were told Canada and Mexico would retaliate with tariffs of approximately $1.2 billion. Congressman, when are you, NCBA and NDSA going to catch on that was much cheaper than the $16 billion lost in our industry alone, not to mention all the other times money would have turned over in the economy and at the tax counters.

Now, I know someone will try to tell you it wasn’t imports that made a surplus of beef, in fact NDSA and NCBA are both good about telling you it was the fact we increased our cowherd here and over supplied the market. Not true. Even with bigger carcasses we still are producing less beef than a year prior. And furthermore, not since the 1950s have we produced enough beef to meet our domestic needs. Not once in my lifetime have we produced enough beef, let alone too much, for our own needs. You can’t overproduce what you can’t produce enough of. F