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A little balance from Montana.

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TimH

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This article is from the Billings Gazette, March 17/05. It's good to see a paper publish views from both sides of an issue. Congrats!! :D

Guest opinion: R-CALF members sell beef on both sides of border
By J. PATRICK BOYLE
American Meat Institute

It's been nearly two years since Canada diagnosed its first case of BSE and the United States shut its borders to Canadian beef and cattle. Initially, most agreed the border closure was prudent government action intended to protect American agriculture. Fortunately, like the United States, Canada had been systematically implementing a series of overlapping, preventative steps to contain and combat BSE when it was found. That's why, on March 7, USDA was poised to restore beef and cattle trade with Canada.


That was, until Montana-based Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund obtained a preliminary injunction that blocked the reopening of the Canadian border. In court, R-CALF alleged that restoring cattle trade with Canada presented significant risks because BSE infected cows would stampede into the U.S. and co-mingle with United States cattle, harming both consumers and cattle.






Profiting from Canada's woe



But all is not what R-CALF would have us believe. While R-CALF alleges in court that meat from Canadian cattle is unsafe, some R-CALF members were caught with their hands in the cookie jar when it was revealed that they purchased cheap feeder cattle in Canada (cheap because of R-CALF's protectionist policies) and then sold the finished cattle – no doubt at a profit. This behavior begs the question: If R-CALF members believe their rhetoric that Canadian cattle are unsafe and pose a health risk justifying excluding them from the United States, then some R-CALF members are either self-centered profiteers, looking to buy, and ultimately sell, what they contend are "unsafe" Canadian cattle at rock-bottom prices to line their own pockets, or they don't believe the unsubstantiated rhetoric and scare tactics used by R-CALF to perpetuate the beef ban. Either way, they are profiting from the misery of others and feeling no shame in the process. When asked by Canadian press about the inconsistency, R-CALF's president commented "I don't see anything ironic about it." Indeed.


R-CALF's move to keep the border closed under the banner of food safety is causing long-term, adverse structural changes in the North American beef industry. There are not enough cattle in the United States to meet American meatpacking needs, which led to importing Canadian cattle for years. Those plants, cut off from the Canadian cattle they have been processing for decades, have laid off workers or shut down completely. Unfortunately, working families who depend on these jobs may have lost them permanently.


Yet, because of the R-CALF injunction, Canadian cattle may not enter the United States, based on arguments laden with scare tactics about food safety that have no scientific foundation. Indeed, Canada has taken every step the United States has to prevent BSE. Both countries require removal of specified risk materials. Because BSE is not in the meat we eat and because SRMs are removed, Canadian beef is as safe as American beef.






Protectionist campaign



Sadly, what this dispute is really about is protectionism. Rick Fox, an R-CALF member from South Dakota, recently revealed on PBS's "Newshour with Jim Lehrer," that the real motivation behind the beef and cattle ban was that reopening the border could adversely affect the bank accounts of American ranchers. "They open that border up, and you're going to hear a giant sucking sound again, just like with NAFTA. All that meat is going to come down to the U.S. to be slaughtered. All the excess feeder cattle in Canada will probably end up in the United States, in feedlots," said Fox. Mr. Fox says that in 2004, with the border closed, he enjoyed "some of the best prices he's ever had" for his cattle adding that "When that Canadian border shut down, our market went up." It sounds like Mr. Fox is afraid of the competition.


The problem with R-CALF's protectionist, fear-based campaign is that economic competition engendered in the American free market system is a fundamental strength that has made the United States a world leader in agricultural production and exports. Competition makes us smarter, faster, and more efficient, while providing new opportunities for growth of exports to the world's 6 billion consumers. If we build a trade wall around the United States to keep out foreign competition, producers might see profits rise in the short term, but that same policy keeps beef prices high for consumers and encourages Canada to grow its processing capacity, harming the whole industry's long term prosperity.





J. Patrick Boyle is the president and CEO of the American Meat Institute, an organization of beef and poultry packers.




Copyright © The Billings Gazette, a division of Lee Enterprises.
 

rancher

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I don't have time to read it all right now. But this statement doesn't make sense. "some R-CALF members were caught with their hands in the cookie jar when it was revealed that they purchased cheap feeder cattle in Canada (cheap because of R-CALF's protectionist policies) and then sold the finished cattle – no doubt at a profit" Who did they sell them to for a profit? Did the packers give them more money than they gave you? Is this the same packers talking that gave you a screwing?
 
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Anonymous

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"Who did they sell them to for a profit? "

I caught that too.
 

Kato

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Actually they got caught with their hands in the cookie jar because they bought them thinking the border would open, and it didn't.

Then they were 'outed', and some found it to be quite a challenge to have the cattle slaughtered. :shock:
 

TimH

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If they bought feeders cheap enough, they could have turned a profit even at 60 cent fats. There are also rumors about some of these people having some fats custom slaughtered and the beef exported to the USA and sold at US prices. I don't know if thats true or not.Seems hard to believe that R-calf/LMA members would go for retained ownership ,but then again, they WERE up here buying "dangerous and deadly" Canadian cattle,so anything is possible.

The REAL issue is the fact that some r-calf members bought Canadian cattle at all after all of their badmouthing of CDN. beef.
Just plain old blatant hypocrisy. :roll:
 
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Anonymous

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I talked to and had a toddy or two this afternoon with a buyer from Billings that knows some of the people that had owned cattle up there last year-- he says they lost bigtime.... I say GOOD... If Canadians hate the US dollar that bad, let these investors spend it on US calves, which it sounds like they will do next time... Why invest in a foreign country when you can't even play on the same level of playing field? Where you are discriminated against because of your opinion or political backings?

I am glad that many of these investors have come to reallize that we are not a North American Nation-- that laws that protect US citizens in the US, do not exist in Canada.... Every dollar less spent on Canadian calves is another dollar spent on US calves........
 

mwj

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Oldtimer
Do you have the same opinion on those us dollars going for Canadian oil? That could affect the profit in the cattle industry more than a border opening to live cattle!
 
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Anonymous

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mwj said:
Oldtimer
Do you have the same opinion on those us dollars going for Canadian oil? That could affect the profit in the cattle industry more than a border opening to live cattle!

The bucks going for Canadian oil almost ruined Montanas oil and gas industry---Its only since the price went up again that it has picked back up......Almost everything Canada exports to the states competes with Montana-- beef, lumber, gas and oil, hydro power-- and with our enviromental and labor laws, many times there is no ability to compete........
 

Silver

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Oldtimer said:
mwj said:
The bucks going for Canadian oil almost ruined Montanas oil and gas industry---Its only since the price went up again that it has picked back up......Almost everything Canada exports to the states competes with Montana-- beef, lumber, gas and oil, hydro power-- and with our enviromental and labor laws, many times there is no ability to compete........

Thats too narrow minded to be believed. Canadian labour and environmental laws are second to none.
You don't see coal bed methane projects making a mess of things up here. And the folks I know in Montana never dreamed of making the equivilant of $28/hr CAD to drive a truck in the oilfield, with time and a half after 8 and double time after 12 hrs.
The oil and gas from Canada sells on the same world market as that of Montana. If you can't compete you should become more efficient.
 

Bill

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Oldtimer said:
mwj said:
Oldtimer
Do you have the same opinion on those us dollars going for Canadian oil? That could affect the profit in the cattle industry more than a border opening to live cattle!

The bucks going for Canadian oil almost ruined Montanas oil and gas industry---Its only since the price went up again that it has picked back up......Almost everything Canada exports to the states competes with Montana-- beef, lumber, gas and oil, hydro power-- and with our enviromental and labor laws, many times there is no ability to compete........

What a pathetic bunch of drivel. Once again either your ignorance about Canada is overwhelming your senses or you choose to mislead.
 

Bill

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Oldtimer said:
I talked to and had a toddy or two this afternoon with a buyer from Billings that knows some of the people that had owned cattle up there last year-- he says they lost bigtime.... I say GOOD... If Canadians hate the US dollar that bad, let these investors spend it on US calves, which it sounds like they will do next time... Why invest in a foreign country when you can't even play on the same level of playing field? Where you are discriminated against because of your opinion or political backings?

I am glad that many of these investors have come to reallize that we are not a North American Nation-- that laws that protect US citizens in the US, do not exist in Canada.... Every dollar less spent on Canadian calves is another dollar spent on US calves........

Why invest in a foreign country when you can't even play on the same level of playing field? Where you are discriminated against because of your opinion or political backings?

An R-calfer whining about a level playing field. I thought even you would be above comments such as those Oldtimer.

You must have had more than a toddy or two.
 

Manitoba_Rancher

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OT,

I think you need to get out of your soddy down there in the boonies and come up here for a hot toddy We'll show you whats going on and Im sure you ll get your eyes opened up. Murgen and I will be your tour guides...lol Hows the weather down your way OT?
 

Murgen

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Hey that sounds like a lot of fun, we could ride around and blow the whistles on our new straw cowboy hats!

Tour around the feedlots, and we could even take you to see some new fangled packing plants. Bring Haymaker too. He'd probably like to see some plants that aren't owned by the "big" boys!

We'd stop by Wendy's for some chilli, I heard it's different than the US chilli, we're not as short of beef, so we don't add fingers!
 

rancher

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Manitoba_Rancher said:
Good Post murgen,Next time Im in the US I think I will go with the fingerless chili.

MRJ says most of imports goes to food service , so guess it could be a imported finger. :lol:
 

Murgen

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Rancher, if it was a Canadian finger, does that mean we will soon have to deal with injunctions from "R-finger". I guess that's what they've been showing us already! :shock:
 

rancher

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I bet it was a middle digit, you guys were flipping us off and got to close to the guy with the knife.
 

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