GFM Network News


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

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