Without Any Legal, Affordable Place to Process Their Beef, Ranchers Raise $300 Million to Build Their Own Plant

November 29, 2021 at 9:45 pm

Nebraska ranchers are banding together to cut out the middlemen – the Tyson/Cargill cartel – who underpay them and under-nourish us

Beef shortages during the plandemic highlighted a problem that’s already existed in the industry for decades… slaughterhouse shortages.

And the reason for slaughterhouse shortages? Consolidation of the industry that’s shuttered around half the nation’s 2500 smaller beef processing plants since the 1970s and replaced them with a couple dozen giant ones.

Today, just four companies (Cargill, JBS, Tyson Foods and National Beef Packing) control more than 80% of the beef production in the country in just 24 plants.

While the price paid to the processing companies continues to surge, the inflation-adjusted prices paid to the ranchers by the beef packaging cartel continues to plummet.

For every dollar spent on food, the share farmers and ranchers get to keep has gone from 35 cents in the 1970s to 14 cents today, according to the USDA.

Fed up, ranchers from around the country have banded together to build their own processing plant in Nebraska called Sustainable Beef.

Building a USDA-approved plant will be no small venture, as regulatory costs are extremely high– too high for almost any independent rancher to build his own.

That’s why dozens of them have teamed up to raise $325 million dollars to build a plant they can all share and take ownership in.

Construction of the Sustainable Beef plant in North Platte, Nebraska, has already begun and should be finished in two years. It will process about 1,500 head of cattle a day, a quarter of what a Nebraska-based JBS plant processes.

Sustainable Beef’s founders believe they can make a much better living by cutting out the middle-man-meat-packing industry.

In addition to getting paid more per head of cattle, share-holding ranchers will also get a cut of the processing profits.

They say they’ll pass on the savings to the consumers in higher-quality beef.

Similar small, non-cartel-owned beef processing plants are being built in Iowa, Idaho and Wisconsin.

“We’ve been complaining about it [the beef cartel] for 30 years,” co-founder Rusty Kemp said. “It’s probably time somebody does something about it.”