GFM Network News


A team of economists has been analyzing U.S. Mandatory Price Reporting data, as well as extensively interviewing cattle feeders and packers to find out how the meat packing industry operates.

Dittmer: Natural progression, voluntary adjustment and coercion

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

There is much discussion down here about the negotiated cash market, alternative marketing arrangements (AMA), the “30/14” idea and proposed federal legislation to force more negotiated cash sales (50/14). With the percentage of cash market sales in the 20 per cent range, cattle feeders who often sell cash and those who use AMAs (like formulas), […] Read more

Nationwide, weekly harvest that had kept up in March and dipped only a bit going into April, was suddenly running two-thirds of prior harvest and year-ago levels.

Dittmer: Uncharted waters

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

Evidently, you all in Canada experienced some similar difficulties to ours. The meat supply that kept up with oversized demand in March and early April suddenly fell short in the second half of April into May. Our local meat cases in Colorado went days with virtually nothing in the way of steaks and roasts. Ground […] Read more


A key part of R-CALF’s WTO-compliant proposal is forcing mandatory country-of-origin labelling for all food service beef and processed or prepared beef dishes.

Dittmer: R-CALF still considers mCOOL salvation

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

It is astonishing, really, that R-CALF does not exist in a Communist country, because they seem totally ignorant of free market economics. They do not understand any other segments of a production chain besides themselves but really prefer a command-and-control economy, directed by… themselves, of course. They have not given up on mCOOL, despite a […] Read more

North American countries have a key advantage over the other major advanced economies – access to both the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean.

Dittmer: The interplay of politics and economic growth

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

Economic growth can come from many places and politics can shape it in different ways. A recent article examined the ways immigration has contributed to economic growth in Canada, especially given that much of your immigration is screened to boost productivity. Another column examined how the uproar in Canada uncharacteristically has escaped the borders of […] Read more


Now that Brexit has happened, the U.K. can negotiate a trade deal with the U.S.

Dittmer: Surveying the field of international trade

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

Okay, the web says Canada is a “constitutional monarchy” with a “Westminster-style parliamentary democracy.” Exactly how do Canadians expect mere Americans to savvy all that? The question occurred to me reading that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump appear to have the same respect for the rule of law, when it comes to […] Read more

R-CALF has been busy suing major packers and getting help from trial lawyers to sue the beef check-off and USDA.

Dittmer: From the Golden Globes to R-CALF

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

Hollywood’s Golden Globe awards telecast is mostly about movies I haven’t seen and actors I don’t know. But my wife came and got me for something disturbing.The very first award winner, before thanking anyone, thanked the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for making the pre-show dinner all-vegetarian to demonstrate how critical climate change is to the […] Read more


Dittmer: Why the U.S. wants to reform the WTO

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

Being an export-oriented beef industry and veteran of the mCOOL fiasco, Canadian cattle producers know what the initials WTO stand for (World Trade Organization). The mCOOL deal boldly illustrated one of the major problems with the WTO — it takes forever to get anything resolved. Our joint experience with mCOOL was not the worst example. […] Read more

Dittmer: China back on the plus side

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

In the last couple of columns I had referred to speculations that China lifting its ban on Canadian beef and pork might be tied to Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou’s preliminary hearings in September or extradition hearings in January. After all, the alleged discovery of ractopamine residues in a shipment of alleged Canadian pork accompanied by […] Read more


Stagnant access to Chinese markets will put more incentive on Canada’s exporters to develop new markets available to them through the CPTPP.

Dittmer: Exporting commodities is not always easy

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

The problems for Canada over Huawei’s Meng situation have grown more complex. The preliminary hearing, which was already scheduled for eight days, has morphed into a multi-week, perhaps multi-month, legal extravaganza. Arguments about possible co-ordination between the U.S. and Canada, possible violation of her legal rights and the possibility of her extradition even being dropped […] Read more