Cattle rancher calls for packer break up
An Arizona cattle rancher says cattle producers have been at the mercy of large meat packers for too long.
“Calves that we’ve not retained ownership on have never recovered from that crash that began in 2015,” Jay Platt said.
Jay Platt runs a cow-calf operation with his two sons, but he says the family business hasn’t been the same in the last six years.
“We’ve had some incremental improvement over the last two years, but we are by no means where we were before this market crash,” he said.
Platt said he went from getting about $1600 per head before the crash to around $900 now. Platt points to what he calls the John D. Rockefeller Standard Oil business model for the drop in cattle price.
“He didn’t use the term collusion, he called it cooperation,” he said. “He said that’s the new way of doing business. In my view, these meat packers have taken a page out of his playbook and while they don’t ‘collude’ in that sense of the term, they cooperate.”
Platt said the solution is the same for meat packing as it was for standard oil saying the large packers JBS, Tyson, Cargill and National Beef need to be broken up.