GFM Network News


Dittmer: U.S. beef business and politics

Dittmer: U.S. beef business and politics

Economics and politics in the States this spring has boiled down to bottlenecks, tax and spending bills and meat processing struggles.   Most of the grocery stores seem to be maintaining meat supplies, even as packers struggle to get close to rated capacity harvest. With currentness slipping in feedyards, the last thing the industry needed was a major plant […] Read more

Negotiated cash report, packer struggles

Negotiated cash report, packer struggles

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) reported on the first quarter of monitoring the share of U.S. cattle bought through negotiated cash vs. other procurement methods. Not too surprisingly, there was good news and bad news, for those favouring more negotiated cash sales. The regions that customarily sell more finished cattle through negotiated cash sales […] Read more


The more government piles on regulations, the bigger the advantage for bigger operators with deeper pockets leaving smaller operators disadvantaged or driven out of business.

Are we headed for government-run packers?

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

You folks up north might remember when President Obama and the labour unions took over General Motors. People started referring to GM as Government Motors. Well, we’ve got folks who want to turn our packers into quasi-government packing companies. After all, if the government is going to tell packers how to buy cattle, how many […] Read more

U.S. President Biden made earlier comments indicating he’d be tough on China, but those actions have yet to materialize.

The Chinese situation: Questions but few new answers

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

The new administration down here started off with a rush. Incoming President Biden early issued a record number of executive orders (50+), nominated and got confirmed a few top officials and then everything else stalled while Congress wrangled over a $1.9 trillion (yes, that’s a T) supposed COVID-relief bill that mostly wasn’t. Clear messages were […] Read more


President Joe Biden signs the American Rescue Plan in the White House Oval Office, March 11, 2021.

Dittmer: New sheriff leans way left

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

As you’ve heard, there’s a new sheriff in town down here. The political, economic and regulatory direction has been turned 180 degrees overnight. Unfortunately, Canada was one of the very first victims of President Biden’s wrath of the leftists. A sorry occurrence for you and for us. The only people likely to be happy that […] Read more

It’s unlikely that President Joe Biden will push trade as hard as former President Donald Trump.

Dittmer: U.S. political outlook for 2021

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

Government bureaucrats and politicians tend to interfere with our lives when it is not necessary, harming our livelihoods, and then refuse to get involved when we need them, to defend our rights, uphold the law or make hard decisions. A long held conservative principle is that the government closest to the people governs best, e.g. […] Read more


(Photo courtesy Architect of the Capitol, VisitTheCapitol.gov)

Dittmer: The state of affairs in the United States

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

Though there may be Supreme Court cases still pending when you read this, it’s looking like Joe Biden will be our next president. The foundation of our constitutional republic is our ability as citizens to direct our government through representatives we elect. With tens of millions of citizens lacking confidence in the outcome of a […] Read more

Dittmer: A framework and the lack of patience

Dittmer: A framework and the lack of patience

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

NCBA’s task force subgroup on cash marketing released a proposal, A Voluntary Framework to Achieve Robust Price Discovery in the Fed Cattle Market, in October. The framework delineates both minor and major triggers, with weeks where either the negotiated trade or the packer participation does not meet their obligated targets designated as minor triggers. Three […] Read more


CattleFax CEO Randy Blach predicts beef production in the U.S. will peak in 2021 and then decline for the next half decade.

Dittmer: The short and long of it

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

Randy Blach, CattleFax CEO, gave the Texas Cattle Feeders Association an update on U.S. market and industry conditions during an unprecedented year in history. The corn supply looks strong this year, with ending stocks up 13.9 per cent. Beef cow numbers were up slightly in 2019 but will end 2020 down by around 375,000 and […] Read more

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