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R-CALF in Iowa

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R-CALF USA CEO Speaks to Iowa Producers

(Dedham, Iowa) – Multinational beef packers have shaped the industry the way they want, and U.S. cattle producers must work to gain back their share in the industry, according to R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard, who spoke to a large group of area cattlemen here recently.

"A few years ago, R-CALF set out to develop a plan to steer the U.S. cattle industry away from its present course – a vertical integration model not unlike the poultry and hog industries – toward a course that would allow the markets to function without interferences caused by undue influence exerted by the market-dominant packers," said Bullard.

Bullard said R-CALF USA's four-point plan ensures fair competition in the marketplace:

1) provide producers with the tools necessary to compete, such as Mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling (M-COOL);

2) anti-competitive practices, such as captive-supply cattle and packer-owned cattle, must be eliminated from the marketplace;

3) safeguards should be incorporated into all free trade agreements;

4) the U.S. must maintain the highest health and safety standards to encourage the upward harmonization of those standards worldwide.

"Your share of the profits in this industry is not an entitlement," Bullard told the crowd. "You must fight to keep it, and the 18,000 members of R-CALF USA have clearly demonstrated the opportunities available to you to strengthen the profitability and viability of your industry – opportunities to keep independent producers independent."

Bullard explained that back on May 20, 2003, when Canada announced its first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), that R-CALF USA's four-point plan "lined up like tumblers in a lock and unleashed the competitive forces of the U.S. cattle market."

He said one element of the plan was that eight percent to nine percent of the available beef supply was shut off with the closure of the Canadian border.

"The second component was that Japan and South Korea called for a country-of-origin guarantee that the U.S. would not send them Canadian beef," Bullard continued. "Lastly, the U.S. demonstrated to consumers around the world that it was serious about maintaining the 'gold standard' of quality assurance for its beef products, and U.S. cattle producers finally began to receive their fair share of the dollar on the cattle they had raised."

R-CALF USA Iowa Membership Chair Eric Nelson, one of the organizers of the occasion, said it was exciting to see the passion and interest of R-CALF USA members who attended the event.

"This is a strong pork-producing area, so local ranchers want to know how to stop vertical integration from happening in their industry, as it has in the pork industry," said Nelson.

"The people who came told me they were pleased with the talk Bill gave," said Ed Danzer, another event volunteer and R-CALF USA member.

R-CALF USA member Dave Vainreb, with the assistance of Danzer, recruited local businesses to sponsor a meal served before the program, cooked by the Carroll County Cattlemen.

Contributors for the meeting included: Creston Livestock Auction; Dunlap Livestock Auction; Comstock Investments/David Kruse; Denison Livestock Auction; United Bank of Iowa; Koster Grinding; Lynn Pudenz; Gary Rupiper; Farm Credit Services of America; and, First Bank and Trust of Glidden.

On hand to represent the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association were Kenny Fox, Allen Badure and Bob Hutchison.
I disagree with Bill, you can't leave the processing of our product in the hands of the multi-national packers and expect a different out come. Vertical integration is the model for the future, but there are two directions...bottom up like USPB and several small branded programs or top down like Tyson, ConAgra, Cargill, and Smithfield. If we as producers choose the later, we will sooner or later be in competition with every low cost producer around the world...as soon as more FTAs are implemented. That is the nature of a commodity industry in the global economy.
If producers don't want forward contracts why do they sign them. Haul their cattle to the auction? If R-CALF has so much support they can break the hold of the packers.
Big Muddy rancher said:
If producers don't want forward contracts why do they sign them. Haul their cattle to the auction? If R-CALF has so much support they can break the hold of the packers.

If Canadian cattle and beef are so good- why do you have to send it south?- Why does the packers have to take off the "Product of Canada" label and put on the USDA stamp and pass it off as a US product :???:

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