GFM Network News


Processing capacity is not the issue

Prime Cuts with Steve Kay

Beef processing capacity and plant capacity utilization are two different subjects. So I have been fascinated in recent months how some in the U.S. beef industry have equated the two. Their argument is that temporary plant closures and slowdowns in April and early May revealed that the industry needs a lot more capacity, mostly through […] Read more

Masks, face shields and plastic barriers between work stations are examples of the health and safety protocols at Cargill to protect workers from COVID-19.

Pandemic-battered beef industry may still be in for a rough ride

While Cargill has improved its pandemic protocols, the union representing plant workers wants to see more changes as they head into contract negotiations this winter

Cargill’s Canadian meat plants have made some progress in rebounding from the initial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, but a possible strike in the new year may pose a major setback for the company and the beef industry. “The company has to fix the structural problems that led to the outbreak,” says Michael Hughes, the […] 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

Beef plants cannot operate efficiently without a steady supply of cattle from ranch to feedlot to plants.

Beef producers get a raw deal

Prime Cuts with Steve Kay

North America’s cattle producers were the first in the beef chain to be impacted by the spread of the COVID-19 virus from epidemic to pandemic. Yet they are getting a raw deal from their national governments in terms of financial or other aid. The Canadian and U.S. governments were quick to declare that meatpacking was […] Read more


A northern Ontario cattle processing plant could lead to more cattle production in the region.

Halal market focus for new northern Ontario plant

Packers: News Roundup from the November 2019 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

A new federally inspected processing plant in North Bay, Ont., will target the local and international halal market, Stew Slater reports in Farmtario. The new plant, which will only process carcasses at this point, is expected to open in December. The plant is owned by Canada Meat Group Inc., and the company’s owners also operate […] Read more

A variety of factors produced record profits for all processors of fed cattle last year.

Beef packers enjoy purple profit patch

Prime Cuts with Steve Kay

North American beef processors are enjoying an extended period of profits that is unprecedented in the industry’s history. Packers on both sides of the border are seeing margins that would have been unthinkable five years ago. U.S. packers racked up record profits in 2017, surpassed them in 2018 and are on track for more records […] Read more


To veer away from producing beef that the consumer wants is the fastest way to lose even more.

The attempted resurrection of a horrible idea

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

As is often true with proposed regulation, it helps to consider the source in evaluating the origin, impetus and motivation. With the attempted resurrection of then GIPSA administrator J. Dudley Butler’s so-called “GIPSA Rule,” the cast of proponents is very similar to mCOOL, with which Canadians are all too familiar. R-CALF, the Organization for Competitive Markets […] Read more

Klassen: Feeder cattle prices stabilize

Western Canadian feeder cattle prices found some footing this past week trading at similar levels to seven days earlier.  Auction market volumes consisted of stragglers and late bloomers with minimal numbers on offer; buyers on hand continue to promote the scarcity principle which caused the market to stabilize. Feedlots operators were quite aggressive on 800 […] Read more


Beef packers struggle for supply numbers

Beef packers on both sides of the border are struggling to buy cattle to run their plants efficiently

Few producers shed a tear when they hear of beef packers’ struggles. U.S. producers for years riled against packer consolidation, captive supply and any other perceived evil they thought packers perpetrated on the industry. Canadian producers remember only too well the large profits packers made after BSE crushed live cattle prices across the country. I […] Read more

The new plant located in Boise, Idaho, is expected to attract some of the cows and bulls exported out of Western Canada.

A welcome new cow plant for North America

It’s a rare day when plans are unveiled for a new beef-processing plant in North America. But that’s what happened in early January when two well-known U.S. entities announced plans to build a US$100-million plant near Boise, Idaho. Even more interesting is that it will be a cow plant, the first new one in 10 […] Read more