Some feedlots, meatpackers closing after US ranchers sold off cattle amid widespread drought

  • Article by: ROXANA HEGEMAN , Associated Press
  • Updated: February 24, 2013 - 12:15 PM
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MN's loneliest REPFeb. 24, 1311:49 AM

This situation is a direct result of the failed policy of 'food for fuel'. When 70% of your input cost is corn, and that commodity more than triples in cost...you can't sustain it. With so many alternative forms of protein for consumers to buy beef is just not going to be able to compete with chicken, pork and to a lesser extend fish.

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splinedFeb. 24, 1312:46 PM

The billions in subsidies and investment/profit guarantees the government is targeting to the growers of select grain crops are capitalized into extremely higher land and equipment prices. This extreme inflation in the cost of land and equipment has basically prohibited new and younger blood from becoming involved in the beef production business. We can depend on governmment to screw up just about everything that they touch.

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hammarhead1Feb. 24, 13 1:39 PM

I buy my beef from a local farmer. It's much better quality, much cheaper, and the animals are humanely treated. Haven't bought beef at the store in years.

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mnpls123Feb. 24, 13 1:42 PM

"This situation is a direct result of the failed policy of 'food for fuel"-------it sounds nice but it isn't true. The first engines and the first cars ran on ethanol. Ethanol provides a stable revenue source for farmers which encourages them to plant more corn, which keeps prices down. Cut the demand for corn by 60% by getting rid of ethanol and I guarantee you the supply will go down more than that. That would cause corn AND gas prices to both sky rocket.

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davehougFeb. 24, 13 2:15 PM

This situation is a direct result of the failed policy of 'food for fuel' - - - Be careful what you subsidize. Suppose we use grass instead of corn for ethanol. All good right?.....until you do the math and figure the additional acreage needed for the same feedstock + truck trips needed for lower btu / pound source.

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lars1074Feb. 24, 13 3:26 PM

Drought is the cause of fewer cattle. Cows and calves live off grass and hay which isn't growing in a drought. The cost of buying hay is so high it doesn't pay to buy it. Cattle feeding is moving north to take advantage of the cheaper feed which a lot of the time are byproducts of making ethanol.

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jcinmnFeb. 24, 13 3:53 PM

MN's loneliest REP "This situation is a direct result of the failed policy of 'food for fuel'. When 70% of your input cost is corn, and that commodity more than triples in cost...you can't sustain it. With so many alternative forms of protein for consumers to buy beef is just not going to be able to compete with chicken, pork and to a lesser extend fish" That's a crock! The corn they're talking about is not even edible by humans. What's more, corn is not digestible unless the cow is given a drug. There are other types of feed, such as sorghum that are drought resistant. It's just that the corn growing industry has been so successful at selling both cattle ranchers as well as the government on the virtues of corn that, when the corn supply started dropping, everyone was caught off guard. Minnesota is the only corn producing state that not only survived but prospered from the current drought.

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jcinmnFeb. 24, 13 4:01 PM

When you consider what the corn growers association accomplished they are more successful than Barnum & Bailey and every snake oil salesman in history combined. They convinced the soft drink industry that high fructose corn syrup is a suitable sweetener in soft drinks, corn is the most cost effective food for cattle even though their stomachs cannot digest it, and the government that corn is the best source for ethanol. Like it or not, they are better marketers than detroit and the oil producers combined.

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richardheimFeb. 24, 13 4:27 PM

and the country is broke! more money for corp farmers, see what you get..

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lars1074Feb. 24, 13 4:29 PM

Cattle can digest corn without the use of drugs.

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