Plight of Livestock Farming & Anti-Trust

Niklas Blanchard:

Ironically, any accusation of anti-trust should be levied against the Federal government itself, who since at least the 1930’s, has structured subsides in ways which favor large farmers and heavily monopolistic competition. What does the Justice Department do instead? Impose costs on consumers.

grassfed_cow

As an awesomely awesome friend of mine, Ulla Kjarval, mentioned, non-corporate livestock farmers  are steeped in trouble. They don’t get anywhere near their lion’s share of the price of food–especially if they’re grass-fed-based livestock farmers instead of corn-fed.

For one, the meat packers have the upper hand. Meat packers are not simply a road block to the market or store that can not be bypassed, they are in a powerful bargaining position with a lot of push back, partly because of that unassailable position. This road block exists primarily because the government has demands for high quality meat processing. Meat packers take the lions’s share of the prize.

@kubileya: Quarter million lbs of liveweight chicken = $11K to #farmer. Fair system? http://bit.ly/9fyRGb #profood

Meat packers actually have a hand in this as well. You’d think meat packers would want less regulation but, on the contrary, the stringent regulations allow them to drive out competition–including the farmers themselves. Granted, the ones who would benefit from less regulation are the corporate meat farmers instead of the individual family farm since they’d have the resources to pack their own slaughtered meat. Then there’s the problem where meat packers would very readily cut corners with lower regulation in order to maintain their profit margins. Cutting corners leads to lower quality meat at the store, which can very easily lead to what we saw just a year ago and many times over during the last decade: fecal matter in our food, among other things.

Then there’s the corn subsidy. I’m sure Ulla Kjarval could go on all day about the benefits of grass-fed beef compared to corn-fed and there’s a wealth of information on that–too much to go into here. I will mention, however, that subsidizing corn leads to cheaper corn-based feed for livestock which is good for some farmers but the taste and health benefits of grass-fed beef outweigh the cost-effectiveness of corn-based mass production of livestock. This is just one of the many travesties that are the result of the corn subsidy.

I’m not going to even touch Monsanto.

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