EMAIL: shepherdess (at) harmonyfarms.blog
Until 1998 the hog market functioned similar to today’s live cattle market:
A host of independent hog ranchers, both small and large scale, would grow pigs and haul them to auction. At the auction house, processors and packers would bid against one another for the supply they needed to satisfy consumer demand.
This meant that large or small, each producer would receive a fair market price for their pigs.
And this is because of the competition on the buying end. Buyers bidding against one another will drive the price of the goods up according to consumer demand.
However, in the pork market, the large packers began to bypass the open market and establish private buying contracts with select number of pork producers. With fewer buyers in the public market, live hog prices began to decline.
This monopoly finally culminated in 1998 when the large pork packers no longer needed to bid on the open market. They had secured a sufficient supply of hogs via contract and as such, they were no longer bidders.
What happened next was a dark and final chapter in the history of independent American hog farming. The absence of buyers drove the price of hogs on the hoof down from 56cents per lb to 8cents per lb in just one weekend.
Being that a “breakeven” point for hog farmers was 32 cents per pound, nearly all of the independent American hog growers went out of business in just a matter of weeks.
The beef market is following suit, but on a timeline that is lagging 30 years behind. In fact, 70-80% of the beef that is funneled through our food supply chain is already being purchased via private contract. And the reality that live cattle prices are down 50% from 1990-2022 reflects this fact.
We are truly on the brink of history repeating itself.
Mr. Wall advocates for measures such as the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act to preserve what remains of the free market. I have put a link below to where you can contact your senator to endorse the act.
And I am looking at you the consumer: go to Eatwild.com and find your local farmer. The monopoly that is destroying the American rancher will soon destroy the American consumer, and I would argue that it already is. In 2020 there were no food shortages. Price spikes and empty shelves were caused by the fact that the processing facet of our meat supply is too big to operate under the pressure of national emergency.
What we have experienced over the past few years is a drill, a taste of what is coming down the pipe. And it is going to get really ugly.
Find your local farmer. You do not have to buy 100% of your groceries from them, but I challenge you to buy one of your grocery items from them on a weekly or monthly basis: whether it’s beef, or pork, or veggies… start small and source at least one food item from your local farmer.
And if you are interested in growing your own meat, tap this video on how I grew and locally processed 1000lb of beef as an absolute beginner… I’ll see you there!