Cattle ranchers in the U.S. are struggling to make a living while consumer beef prices are rising rapidly. Since 2011, the price of sirloin steak has risen from $6.81 a pound to $12.28 a pound in 2021. However, (in that same 10 years), the price of live cattle has stayed flat. The price of live cattle (per 100lb weight) was $110 in 2011 and now it ranges between $120 and $160. Ranchers have no control over how much they can sell their animals for.
What is going on? It’s not the cattle ranchers who are getting rich selling U.S. beef. 4 meat packers are making all the money. Together, Cargill, JBS, National Beef and Tyson control 80% of the market. Two of these meat packers are in Brazil. Unfortunately, (for consumers of U.S. beef), loopholes in country of origin labeling rules, don’t make it clear where our beef is coming from. Some beef from foreign countries is blended with U.S. beef and then packaged in Styrofoam containers that are labeled ‘Made in the USA’. The consumer of that beef has no way to know that it is actually beef from countries like China and Brazil.
WATCH this clip from Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson as Lisa Fletcher interviews cattle ranchers from Oklahoma to get the real story on the U.S. beef industry.
Source: Full Measure with Sharyl Atkisson and Lisa Fletcher, October 31, 2021
The Truth Behind the U.S. Beef Industry
Recently, the Vice President of the U.S. Cattle Men’s Association told members of the Senate Agriculture Committee:
Since 2015, corporate packers’ gross margin has ballooned from an average of $100 to $200 a head to well over a thousand dollars a head. Packers have enjoyed unbelievable profits harvesting around 120,000 head per day while cattle ranchers go out of business and consumers pay double or even triple at the meat counter.