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Downwards Price Pressures Of Cash Basis Contracts

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DiamondSCattleCo

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Since I haven't appeared to be all that successful at explaining why Cash Basis Contracts are bad news for all producers, I figured I'd try and beat my head against a brick wall some more. I am nothing if not persistent. Having a hard head also helps.

Lets take a market over 3 days. Demand would be stable, as would supply, feed costs, everything that could possibly influence a market. In other words, hold all market pressures constant. I don't think this is unreasonable given our time frame. Feedlots will limit themselves to $X to spend over those three days. Once again, not unreasonable given that they supposedly price cattle based purely on feed prices and cattle futures.

Day 1 - No cash basis contracts signed, so all buyers have stumbled into the barn to buy. Lets say average 8 weight steers sold for a buck. We'll use this as our price discovery day.

Day 2 - Deliveries were made on cash basis contracts signed days/weeks/months ago that effectively took care of 1/2 the demand for that day. The producers were given a 2 cent premium on the their average animals to woo them away from the sale barn, so they got a $1.02. So that leaves 1/2 of the demand to be filled at the auction market, but now feedlots have less than 1/2 of their money left. So they fill the remaining orders at 98 cents/lb. No seller is going to yell NO SALE over a couple pennies. The average cash value market has now been pushed down 2 cents/lb.

Day 3 - Deliveries were made on cash basis contracts days/weeks/months ago that once again fulfilled 1/2 demand. Producers received a 2 cent premium again, however since yesterday's cash market was averaged at 98 cents, they only got a $1.00/lb. When the buyers head to the market, they've got $1.00/lb to spend, since the contract purchases didn't cost as much, BUT they also had a new price discovery yesterday that the market was willing to bear 98 cents instead of $1. So the buyers will attempt to pressure the market to stick at 98 cents. They may not be successful, and may end up spending 99 cents, or 99.5. Heck they may end up spending $1, but they still exert more downwards pressure than they did on Day 1 of true price discovery. This is what a buyer is going to attempt to do. Its a fundamental concept of capitalism and free markets.

Now I know people are asking how it is that cash markets are often higher than the contract markets. Simple demand. Lets say on Day 4 demand doubles. If the buyers were able to buy at 98 cents on Day 3, the cash basis contract guys still get a buck (the 2 cent premium is written into the contract). Only 1/4 of the market demand was fulfilled. Who knows what the new cash market price is going to be, but demand would still be lower at the barn due to 1/4 of the demand being fullfilled through contracts. Even in the face of a great increase in demand, we still have downwards price pressure from the contract.

Rod
 

pknoeber

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OK, well, I'm 100% certain that the buyers only having X dollars to spend is the biggest flaw in the whole thing. But that's not what I'm going to spend time on.

OK, Day 1, X number of cattle bought & X number of cattle sold.

Day 2, 1/2 X number of cattle bought by contract. Following the previous logic that would mean that 1/2 X number of cattle would now be sold also. Now that leaves 1/2 the number of cattle needing to be bought but also 1/2 the number of cattle needing to be sold. So yes, the buyers don't have to buy as many, but by the EXACT same token, there aren't near as many to buy from so they have to stay competitve with their bids.

Why not sell 1/2 your cattle one way and 1/2 the other & see which one makes you more money?
 

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pknoeber said:
OK, well, I'm 100% certain that the buyers only having X dollars to spend is the biggest flaw in the whole thing. But that's not what I'm going to spend time on.

OK, Day 1, X number of cattle bought & X number of cattle sold.

Day 2, 1/2 X number of cattle bought by contract. Following the previous logic that would mean that 1/2 X number of cattle would now be sold also. Now that leaves 1/2 the number of cattle needing to be bought but also 1/2 the number of cattle needing to be sold. So yes, the buyers don't have to buy as many, but by the EXACT same token, there aren't near as many to buy from so they have to stay competitve with their bids.

Why not sell 1/2 your cattle one way and 1/2 the other & see which one makes you more money?

Efficient markets arbitrage the differences so that they are not there or are minimal in value differences. Pickett showed that this was not happening with competition in the cash market. The fact that Tyson did not produce in discovery or in testimony that they were actually offering in the cash market at least what they were offering in the captive supply market for essentially the same time period shows that they discriminated against the cash market. That is the question I asked to the people who knew the case. The appellate decision actually addressed this issue and tipped their hat to the plaintiffs on that issue. The appellate court went on to say that the plaintiffs had to prove more than that. The law does not say that they do. Each of the enumerated prohibitions are separated by "or"s, not "and"s. The court did not read the law and give a literal interpretation, they changed it in their decision.
 

DiamondSCattleCo

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pknoeber said:
1) OK, well, I'm 100% certain that the buyers only having X dollars to spend is the biggest flaw in the whole thing. But that's not what I'm going to spend time on.

2) 1/2 the number of cattle needing to be sold. So yes, the buyers don't have to buy as many, but by the EXACT same token, there aren't near as many to buy from so they have to stay competitve with their bids.

3) Why not sell 1/2 your cattle one way and 1/2 the other & see which one makes you more money?

1) The $X to spend isn't a flaw for a couple reasons:
a) I've been told that feedlots and packers only spend money based on feed prices and cattle futures. If feed prices and cattle futures don't move, then they won't spend any extra money.

b) Feedlots and packers aren't going to increase the amount of money to spend unless they can either decrease costs elsewhere or ensure they can sell for a higher price. They can't do it, because then they'd increase their spending too much, driving themselves out of business.

2) Its makes no difference. Day 1 was price discovery day, and an equilibrium price was reached. You halve supply and you halve demand, its pretty safe to say the same equilibrium price would be reached, especially over such a short term. But since the feedlots don't have anymore money to spend, they can't reach the same equilibrium price as Day 1.

3) It makes no difference which way you make more money SHORT TERM, you still have a long term downwards price pressure. Even if one producer is able to increase profits with cash basis contracts every time, he's doing it at the expense of other producers. So then you say all producers switch to contracts? Fine, but in order for there to be full price discovery, it has to be an open bid system. But now we're getting into a debate from another thread that really can't be quantitatively proven.
 

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It isn't quite that simple Rod.

Number 1 just because the price was $1 on 8 wts at auction, does that mean that is the break even of all lots?

SH had pointed out feed costs and fat futures are the base for what feedlots will pay, and that is correct. However, feedlot A buys it's grain so pays freight in the price. Feedlot B grows their own grain so their cost of grain could be feedlot A minus freight.

Right now if I lay in a load of Barley I will pay $2.44 a bushel. The same broker if he buys a load from me will pay me $2.20 at the bin.

Feedlot A made money on calves last year, enough that if he doesn't buy feeders, he is in the top Canadian tax rate of 46%. For every $1000 in cattle he buys before year end, he saves $460 in taxes. Suddenly he can lose money and still be better off.

Feedlot B has some good men hired if he doesn't buy cattle, he will lose the workers, but he needs them for his farming operation in the spring. He calculates a new hire will cost him $15,000 in training costs the first year. Messes with the numbers doesn't it?

As a producer you have the ability to know the fat futures, you have the ability to know the price of corn. You estimate a break even(maximum price) on your 8 weight steers will be $1.01 based on your numbers. Do you assume the buyers are idiots for paying $1 or do you think they are greedy trying to get that 1 cent?

With the first point, the price discovery being not as accurate as you thought, does that change your mind about the other points?

All feedlots are not the same size, some might have been filled at day 1, some might have bought none.
 
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Coman,

Dropping your price in the cash market when you have met your needs in the formula market is supply and demand, not market manipulation.

Pickett proved that cash prices were lower than formula prices. They did not prove market manipulation. There is a big difference in the two.

Phil has it exactly right. If you think one market is superior to the other, SELL TO THE BETTER MARKET rather than forcing everyone to sell in the same "socialized" marketing system.


~SH~
 

agman

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DiamondSCattleCo said:
Since I haven't appeared to be all that successful at explaining why Cash Basis Contracts are bad news for all producers, I figured I'd try and beat my head against a brick wall some more. I am nothing if not persistent. Having a hard head also helps.

Lets take a market over 3 days. Demand would be stable, as would supply, feed costs, everything that could possibly influence a market. In other words, hold all market pressures constant. I don't think this is unreasonable given our time frame. Feedlots will limit themselves to $X to spend over those three days. Once again, not unreasonable given that they supposedly price cattle based purely on feed prices and cattle futures.

Day 1 - No cash basis contracts signed, so all buyers have stumbled into the barn to buy. Lets say average 8 weight steers sold for a buck. We'll use this as our price discovery day.

Day 2 - Deliveries were made on cash basis contracts signed days/weeks/months ago that effectively took care of 1/2 the demand for that day. The producers were given a 2 cent premium on the their average animals to woo them away from the sale barn, so they got a $1.02. So that leaves 1/2 of the demand to be filled at the auction market, but now feedlots have less than 1/2 of their money left. So they fill the remaining orders at 98 cents/lb. No seller is going to yell NO SALE over a couple pennies. The average cash value market has now been pushed down 2 cents/lb.

Day 3 - Deliveries were made on cash basis contracts days/weeks/months ago that once again fulfilled 1/2 demand. Producers received a 2 cent premium again, however since yesterday's cash market was averaged at 98 cents, they only got a $1.00/lb. When the buyers head to the market, they've got $1.00/lb to spend, since the contract purchases didn't cost as much, BUT they also had a new price discovery yesterday that the market was willing to bear 98 cents instead of $1. So the buyers will attempt to pressure the market to stick at 98 cents. They may not be successful, and may end up spending 99 cents, or 99.5. Heck they may end up spending $1, but they still exert more downwards pressure than they did on Day 1 of true price discovery. This is what a buyer is going to attempt to do. Its a fundamental concept of capitalism and free markets.

Now I know people are asking how it is that cash markets are often higher than the contract markets. Simple demand. Lets say on Day 4 demand doubles. If the buyers were able to buy at 98 cents on Day 3, the cash basis contract guys still get a buck (the 2 cent premium is written into the contract). Only 1/4 of the market demand was fulfilled. Who knows what the new cash market price is going to be, but demand would still be lower at the barn due to 1/4 of the demand being fullfilled through contracts. Even in the face of a great increase in demand, we still have downwards price pressure from the contract.

Rod

You missed and important element. While packers have a portion of their needs filled as you say producers are left with that much less to sell. Are supply and demand not in balance if all other factors remain static? History and market knowledge weigh in on the fact that a packer has less time to wait than the producer due to his need to keep the plant running. How much does it cost per head to shut a plant down for one day as opposed to feeding cattle another week? Do you know?
 

DiamondSCattleCo

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agman said:
You missed and important element. While packers have a portion of their needs filled as you say producers are left with that much less to sell. Are supply and demand not in balance if all other factors remain static? History and market knowledge weigh in on the fact that a packer has less time to wait than the producer due to his need to keep the plant running. How much does it cost per head to shut a plant down for one day as opposed to feeding cattle another week? Do you know?

But now we're getting into something a little more qualitative. You have a valid point about shutting down the plant so lets try and apply it over the model. On Day 2, there are not going to be many producers yelling NO SALE over 2 cents. So the 98 cents is likely going to stand. MAYBE you'd get a couple guys yelling no sale, so the price could be driven to 98.5. Either way, we have downwards pressure on the cash market. On day 3, and this is where speculation gets even heavier: We're going to have downwards price pressure from the new price discovery point. You correctly point out that they still need to fill the feedlot to prevent expensive downtime. Which pressure is greater? Are the buyers going to go all the way to $1, overspending their budget (assuming a 98.5 cent basis from yesterday?) Maybe, but then they'll have blown their budgets for 2 days. So if they blew their budgets on Day 2, we'll have even more pressure to bring down prices on Day 3 to get back on budget. They can only blow their budgets for so long, and then they go out of business, empty feedlot or full.

Edit: On further thought, and this is also speculation, the producer is probably going to exert less upwards price pressure on day 3 than the buyer exerts down. If he only has a hundred 8 weights at the sale, we're talking $1600 on 2 cents. He's paid a trucking bill of around $600 to get them to the barn, he'll have to spend $600 to get them back home, and another $600 to get them back to the next sale. So he'll take the 2 cent reduction. This assumes a cattle liner and a 100 mile trip one way.

Jason, I understand your points, however what you spoke of are demand factors that I've held constant. On day 1, feedlot A likely knew about his tax situation, so it wouldn't affect his demand on Day 3. Remember, I said all demand was met on Day 1. Feedlot B's situation was covered by my response to Agman.

Lets toss something else into the fray. I've assumed that all feedlots had 1/2 demand met by the contracts on Day 2 and Day 3. What happens if we only have 2 equal sized feedlots, and feedlot #1 had their entire demand met by contracts? Then all thats left to bid at the sale barn is feedlot #2 who no longer has any competition. Even more downwards price pressure.

Rod
 

DiamondSCattleCo

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~SH~ said:
Pickett proved that cash prices were lower than formula prices.

There's what I was looking for. Cash prices were lower than formula prices. If next weeks formula prices were based the lower cash prices, wouldn't that mean that they'd be lower than this weeks? Manipulation or not, formula prices based on past cash market prices are bad news. As more and more producers go to the cash market basis contracts, there is even less and less competition at the cash market level, further depressing the formula.

SH, as producers we need to be concerned about the market, not restrictions on our freedoms. I understand the need for risk management tools, and how attractive contracts are, but there are better ways to manage risk.

Rod
 

Sandhusker

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Agman, " How much does it cost per head to shut a plant down for one day as opposed to feeding cattle another week? Do you know?"

You could answer that question with a definite dollar figure for each party and you still have not learned or solved a dang thing.
 

Econ101

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~SH~ said:
Coman,

Dropping your price in the cash market when you have met your needs in the formula market is supply and demand, not market manipulation.

Pickett proved that cash prices were lower than formula prices. They did not prove market manipulation. There is a big difference in the two.

Phil has it exactly right. If you think one market is superior to the other, SELL TO THE BETTER MARKET rather than forcing everyone to sell in the same "socialized" marketing system.


~SH~

The choice between the two markets was a Nash equation. If one of the choices kept the price the same during each sale and took off supply of the price setting market, there is possible manipulation. The key would be to look to see if there was a statistical difference in prices paid in the two markets. If buyers were doing that, they could drive the price down below normal market equilibriums of supply and demand. That is what was looked at and the evidence of the actual data from Tyson showed this to be the case. There should never have been this strategic buying in the market. It drives the markets down. It is market manipulation. Will you have times when the cash market is higher than the formula market? Absolutely. The key here is to have a sum of the prices in the individual weeks as a comparison and see if there is a statistical difference over longer time periods. Not all time periods, just longer time periods.

Tyson learned this tricky formula from their chicken business as it is the formula they use in it to calculate grower pay. You are short on math SH, so you would never understand it. It is not that hard, however.
 
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DSCC: "If next weeks formula prices were based the lower cash prices, wouldn't that mean that they'd be lower than this weeks? Manipulation or not, formula prices based on past cash market prices are bad news. As more and more producers go to the cash market basis contracts, there is even less and less competition at the cash market level, further depressing the formula."

ROD, LISTEN!

Nobody is forced to sell to only one packer and nobody is forced to sell under only one marketing alternative.

Sellers that sell on the formula price know that the base price is a weekly weighted average of the cash market the week prior to delivery BEFORE THEY AGREE TO SELL THAT WAY.

If they don't like that, they can sell to Angus Gene Net's grid and BID THE GRID BASE PRICE.

If they don't like that, they can sell in the cash market.

If they don't like that, they can buy a futures contract.

If they don't like that, they can forward contract direct to the packer and let the packer take the basis risk.

If they don't like that they can feed their cattle another week.

If they don't like that they can sell to another packer with a multiple of other marketing alternatives.

NOBODY IS FORCED TO SELL THEIR CATTLE TO ONE PACKER OR TO ONE MARKETING ALTERNATIVE.

There can be no market manipulation with WILLING PARTICIPANTS and OTHER MARKETING OPTIONS.

If they don't like that THEY CAN GET THE HELL OUT OF THE CATTLE FEEDING BUSINESS.

Don't you think it is ironic that the feeders who actually sell to the packers are not the ones complaining but rather packer blaming conspiracy theorist producers that don't even sell to the packer but rather to the feeder?

You guys act like there is only one packer with only two marketing options (formula and cash) available. If ibp has dropped their cash bids due to having their needs fulfilled in the formula market, SELL TO EXCEL OR SWIFT OR GREATER OMAHA OR USPB. Good grief! How elementary!



Conman, as always, you don't have a clue what you are talking about so I'm not going to waste my time correcting your garbage. Funny how you claim not to read my posts but yet respond to every one of them once again revealing you for the phony liar you are.


~SH~
 

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How many of those options that you just listed are tied to the reported cash price?
 

agman

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Sandhusker said:
Agman, " How much does it cost per head to shut a plant down for one day as opposed to feeding cattle another week? Do you know?"

You could answer that question with a definite dollar figure for each party and you still have not learned or solved a dang thing.

Your response shows just how little you know about the market for both producers and packers.
 

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DiamondSCattleCo said:
~SH~ said:
Pickett proved that cash prices were lower than formula prices.

There's what I was looking for. Cash prices were lower than formula prices. If next weeks formula prices were based the lower cash prices, wouldn't that mean that they'd be lower than this weeks? Manipulation or not, formula prices based on past cash market prices are bad news. As more and more producers go to the cash market basis contracts, there is even less and less competition at the cash market level, further depressing the formula.

SH, as producers we need to be concerned about the market, not restrictions on our freedoms. I understand the need for risk management tools, and how attractive contracts are, but there are better ways to manage risk.

Rod

Did you not read from the Appellate Court decision the footnote #7 on page 13?

One question: If you are correct with your assumption then why do prices go up over time as opposed to down?
 

Econ101

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~SH~ said:
DSCC: "If next weeks formula prices were based the lower cash prices, wouldn't that mean that they'd be lower than this weeks? Manipulation or not, formula prices based on past cash market prices are bad news. As more and more producers go to the cash market basis contracts, there is even less and less competition at the cash market level, further depressing the formula."

ROD, LISTEN!

Nobody is forced to sell to only one packer and nobody is forced to sell under only one marketing alternative.

Sellers that sell on the formula price know that the base price is a weekly weighted average of the cash market the week prior to delivery BEFORE THEY AGREE TO SELL THAT WAY.

If they don't like that, they can sell to Angus Gene Net's grid and BID THE GRID BASE PRICE.

If they don't like that, they can sell in the cash market.

If they don't like that, they can buy a futures contract.

If they don't like that, they can forward contract direct to the packer and let the packer take the basis risk.

If they don't like that they can feed their cattle another week.

If they don't like that they can sell to another packer with a multiple of other marketing alternatives.

NOBODY IS FORCED TO SELL THEIR CATTLE TO ONE PACKER OR TO ONE MARKETING ALTERNATIVE.

There can be no market manipulation with WILLING PARTICIPANTS and OTHER MARKETING OPTIONS.

If they don't like that THEY CAN GET THE HELL OUT OF THE CATTLE FEEDING BUSINESS.

Don't you think it is ironic that the feeders who actually sell to the packers are not the ones complaining but rather packer blaming conspiracy theorist producers that don't even sell to the packer but rather to the feeder?

You guys act like there is only one packer with only two marketing options (formula and cash) available. If ibp has dropped their cash bids due to having their needs fulfilled in the formula market, SELL TO EXCEL OR SWIFT OR GREATER OMAHA OR USPB. Good grief! How elementary!



Conman, as always, you don't have a clue what you are talking about so I'm not going to waste my time correcting your garbage. Funny how you claim not to read my posts but yet respond to every one of them once again revealing you for the phony liar you are.


~SH~

And miss all the fun arguing with you, SH? You might have had a point that I didn't read. I was giving you the chance to catch that possible oversight. I guess you had no valid point so it was just garbage.

It is enjoyable arguing with you, SH. It might be more fun seeing you as it is done. I can just imagine the expressions as you try to make your point with force. It would really be a sight. Then again, you might just drool or something like that.
 

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agman said:
Sandhusker said:
Agman, " How much does it cost per head to shut a plant down for one day as opposed to feeding cattle another week? Do you know?"

You could answer that question with a definite dollar figure for each party and you still have not learned or solved a dang thing.

Your response shows just how little you know about the market for both producers and packers.

Really? I think your response shows how little you can see the big picture, and your packer-backer bias.

How much it costs either the packer to feed an extra week or Tyson to shut down a plant for one day means very little if you don't know their checkbooks - it's all reletive. Can the feeder feed another week without getting pinched? How much will it effect his bottom line? What about Tyson? SH donating that $100 to R-CALF may of done him more financial injury than somebody else losing a $10,000 bet.
 

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SH, "There can be no market manipulation with WILLING PARTICIPANTS and OTHER MARKETING OPTIONS."

Who told you that, the grinning cat or the white rabbit? Maybe the little guy in the big top hat?

What about when the Hunt Brothers tried to manipulate the silver market? Everybody trading silver were willing and certainly could of traded any other contract. What about that? Doesn't count because it wasn't cattle?

What about these pump-n-dump stock hawkers that buy some lightly traded penny stock, "recommend" it to others so they buy and drive up the price, and then sell. Everybody buying the stock were willing participants and could of bought another stock. I supposed that doesn't count, too. Is the cattle market dynamics totally different than any other market?
 

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agman said:
DiamondSCattleCo said:
~SH~ said:
Pickett proved that cash prices were lower than formula prices.

There's what I was looking for. Cash prices were lower than formula prices. If next weeks formula prices were based the lower cash prices, wouldn't that mean that they'd be lower than this weeks? Manipulation or not, formula prices based on past cash market prices are bad news. As more and more producers go to the cash market basis contracts, there is even less and less competition at the cash market level, further depressing the formula.

SH, as producers we need to be concerned about the market, not restrictions on our freedoms. I understand the need for risk management tools, and how attractive contracts are, but there are better ways to manage risk.

Rod

Did you not read from the Appellate Court decision the footnote #7 on page 13?

One question: If you are correct with your assumption then why do prices go up over time as opposed to down?

Agman, the packers are still middlemen as you well know. Their market manipulation tricks are limited. As they go further down the line (towards the cattleman) by getting rid of the feeders or having them under their control, they will be able to differentiate and discriminate (hence SH's little "who asked you to save the feeders" quote). A cattleman can always get the results from the local auctions. If there are no feeders to buy at those auctions, and only a few packers, the auction results will be less indicative of the real value. Packers will be able to hide what they really paid to producers for their cattle and the packers will be able to do what is done in commodity markets: They will be able to differentiate and discriminate. That is how they will get more of the producer surplus and hence make more money for themselves. The markets will go to the theoretical place where monopsonist go. Where their marginal revenue equals their marginal costs.

I have already explained how they can and have played poultry profitabilty against beef profitability to run out competition in both markets. It will consolidate the industries further and make even the little players go along with the big boys.

The place where the marginal revenue equals the marginal cost for a monopsonist is below what a competitive market would pay for a producer's goods and less goods on the market. It is bad for the economy and good for those who control it. It creates deadweight losses in the economy and is one of the main economic reasons the Mexican economy is poor compared to the U.S. economy.

Price discrimination will take even more money out of the producer's hands. Tyson already manipulates the income streams of its poultry producers (because GIPSA has allowed them to operate each area as a seperate geographical monopsony or oligopsony instead of following the literal interpretation of the law) to allow new entrants in a particular area and then allow inflation or their incessant demand for upgrades take away the producer surplus because of the lack of bargaining power poultry farmers have after they invest in barns and equipment. The integrators are able to manipulate the inputs of the farmers like feed and especially chicken quality. There are no checks to these frauds right now. GIPSA has been run by a bunch of quacks. Maybe JoAnn went on a migration. She has a few others to go with her.

Of course, Agman, how can anyone expect you to know any of this. You don't know JoAnn, McBride, Vukina, or even Goodhue. You don't even know the difference between quantity demanded and a shift in the demand curve.

As far as you citation on the case and the footnote, Agman, Judge Strom wouldn't know how to do an appropriate calculation of the difference of the cash vs. the formula market if he had to. The appellate court made their judgement "independent" of that conclusion and changed the "or"s into "and"s, saying that the PSA was meant to insure that there was competition only on the oligopoly side of the packers, not the oligopsony side. Probably too many hundred dollar words for them to swallow at one meal. And yet, you argued both of these arguments of Daubert issues and that the PSA was meant for oligoposonies.

Agman, you know better than to get these issues mixed up as you have done and as you have let your minions do. Anyone asking you anything more than your use as a calculator with industry specific knowledge is a fool, or someone who needs to migrate with JoAnn.

I always did like duck and goose hunting.
 

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Sandhusker said:
SH, "There can be no market manipulation with WILLING PARTICIPANTS and OTHER MARKETING OPTIONS."

Who told you that, the grinning cat or the white rabbit? Maybe the little guy in the big top hat?

What about when the Hunt Brothers tried to manipulate the silver market? Everybody trading silver were willing and certainly could of traded any other contract. What about that? Doesn't count because it wasn't cattle?

What about these pump-n-dump stock hawkers that buy some lightly traded penny stock, "recommend" it to others so they buy and drive up the price, and then sell. Everybody buying the stock were willing participants and could of bought another stock. I supposed that doesn't count, too. Is the cattle market dynamics totally different than any other market?

Funny you should mention the Hunts, Sandhusker. I had a neighbor once who claimed she was their secretary. Very interesting lady. Don't know that I believed everything she said, but she sure was entertaining. I had a Nubian milk goat that got lost and 3 months later nearly scared her to death as it walked into her living room while she was asleep in the chair.

SH can't see. He doesn't want to. He will remain blind. It is kind of interesting to see who will follow the blind. Cattle markets are "special".
 
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