Letter to the Editor - Our commodity markets are broken
Last updated 3/23/2020 at 9:02am
During this crisis the American people instinctively knew what they needed: food.
News showed empty store shelves as politicians warned not to hoard and promised plenty of food.
If our market system were functioning, demand would increase the value of food and everyone would share in the profits. But the price the producer received plummeted while the consumer paid more. (National Cattlemen’s Beef Association) acknowledged in a letter to the Whitehouse, that domestic beef supply remains steady while retail demand and boxed beef prices are increasing, yet the panic has resulted in a free-fall for cattle markets with cash prices steadily decreasing.
Obviously, if the producer gets less and the consumer pays more there is price gouging in the middle. Americans were rightfully outraged by individuals that purchased excessive amounts of sanitizer in order to profit personally. We should be more outraged by corporate greed.
Coronavirus has forced our leaders to take bold and drastic measures altering the lives of Americans. If our leaders forced ag processors not to take advantage of producers and consumers, farmers and ranchers would survive without governments subsidies and consumers would still enjoy some of the safest and cheapest food in the world.
Montana Farmers Union President Walter Schweitzer