(PatriotWise.com) — The supply of beef in the United States was the lowest in almost a decade last year. In 2022, the number of cattle bred for red meat was down 4% to 29 million cows. A report by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) predicts that this is likely to continue over the coming few years. It also said however that pork supply will increase. “Total red meat and poultry production in 2023 is forecast to decrease for the first time in nearly a decade,” the report said.
The US is the world’s largest beef producer, primarily high quality and grain fed, but is also a prolific importer of lower standard beef. In 2022, the nation produced 28.29 billion pounds of the meat. The market, particularly packing, is controlled by a few companies, and in 2021, President Biden sought to break the stranglehold and increase competition. There is also a grey cloud of climate change alarmism hanging over the industry.
The meat-packing business is dominated by four big companies, who between them control 80% of the market. These are Tyson, JBS USA, Cargill, and National Beef. Their dominance began in the 1970s when market conditions led to an oversupply of grain and a few beef producers took advantage and invested in feedlots. Together with the development in genetics, antibiotics, and the size and number of feedlots, the market boomed and a few companies boomed with it. They are still dominant today. President Biden however has sought to rein them in.
The President signed an executive order in 2021 to increase competition across the board in the food industry, as the global pandemic had revealed supply chain fragility. The White House also noted at the time that the percentage earned by farmers was dropping. The order detailed 72 initiatives and involved a variety of federal agencies. The order required the USDA to create a plan to “increase opportunities for farmers to access markets and receive a fair return, including supporting alternative food distribution systems.”
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