GFM Network News


The uproar over the last set of dietary guidelines pushed Congress to authorize a million-dollar study to examine the guideline development process.

Dittmer: Good and bad news about U.S. dietary guidelines

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

When evaluating the final U.S. Dietary Guidelines Report, it’s kind of a glass half-full, glass half-empty situation. From one viewpoint, this year’s advisory committee evidently didn’t toy with removing red meat completely from the recommended list, as the 2015 committee contemplated. On the other hand, they leaned on blaming meat consumption for several health problems, […] Read more

U.S. Meat Export Federation reported earlier this year that U.S. beef and beef variety meats were down three per cent by volume and five per cent by value.

Dittmer: U.S. exports uneven but showing strength

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

How is the export situation for U.S. beef into China and Asia? In general, Japan, our number one market and South Korea, our number two, are countries that have been pretty successful at containing the novel coronavirus. Japan has dealt with some flare-ups this summer and South Korea likewise but their numbers are very small […] Read more


The overriding bone of contention at this year’s NCBA mid-year meeting came down to one word — legislation.

Dittmer: NCBA hashes out negotiated cash marketing

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

The last year’s events had converged by this year’s NCBA mid-year meeting, ensuring drama for the Live Cattle Marketing Committee meeting. Folks from across the country and all industry segments were disturbed about market disruptions from the Tyson fire; market disruptions, processing problems and shutdowns due to COVID-19; government market investigations and the reintroduction of […] Read more

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