By Joe Goggins
Cow-calf producers and independent cattle feeders, it is time to be heard and it is time to fight. Very seldom do I get the notion to write an opinion in our newspaper, however after reading these comments early this week, my blood began to boil:
An Excerpt from a Monday, September 9, 2019 Report by David Kruse, CommStock Investments, Inc.:
“As a result of the Tyson plant fire, beef packers are making upwards of $500 per head while feedlots are losing over $200. That is crazy. Tyson will likely do some remodeling that will extend the downtime of the plant, making things worse for feedlots. I learned that their insurance pays the workers, not Tyson, so the profit is real. JBS and Cargill are the ones cleaning up. Remember that Cargill sold its feedlots, so they are not losing money on the cattle to dilute their processing profits. Tyson reportedly had an 28,700 daily kill capacity before the fire. They reportedly were not killing at the 5,000 head day capacity at the plant before the fire. If they are killing 25,000 head per day now they are making $12,500,000 per day. Same for JBS and Cargill which are both of similar size.”
(If all three packers are making $12,500,000 per day the total profit is $37,500,000 per day. On a six-day kill schedule, that’s $900 million per month. Well over half of that profit will be lost equity within the cattle sector that we will probably never see replaced.)
“Typically, when the cash cattle market tanks so does the beef market and therefore lower beef price helps benefit demand. Not this time, as packers ran the beef market sky-high claiming a beef shortage as a result of the lost production so retail demand was hurt as cattle prices fall. That is a terrible combination. The markets are way out of position in relative terms. Beef prices are now falling, choice losing 2.11 quoted 227.31. That is way too high relative to cattle price so both consumer and feedlots are being screwed. Investigations will be worthless unless Trump would show up in Garden City, Kansas and tell packers to knock the pillaging off. Feedlots are going to have to pay less for feeder cattle so the crap rolls downhill…”
We as cow-calf producers and independent cattle feeders own these cattle anywhere from 120-210 days a year to 365 days a year. We take all of the risk, we fight all the elements, we battle the banker to try to stay financed… And for what? So we can lose around $15 per head as feedlot operations (assuming no hedging or carcass premiums) according to USDA data? And as cow-calf producers make on average $68 per head before even paying our labor, taxes, interest and general overhead? Compare this with the packer making $200-plus per head this year and even more right now and they only own the cattle around three days.
There is something really wrong with that picture. I’m not saying the packer doesn’t deserve to make good money. I am saying they don’t deserve to make $12.5 million per day at the cost of the cow-calf producer and independent cattle feeder.
What the packers have done since the Tyson plant fire in my mind is criminal. You can call it unjust enrichment, pillaging, unfair business practices, whatever… I call it criminal.
There’s been letters sent, phone calls made to many Senators, Representatives and the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture with very seldom even a response. I made a phone call on Monday to a very knowledgeable person in the make-up of D.C. and said, “I want to get ahold of President Trump, maybe he will get something done for this industry.” That person’s response was, “President Trump watches and pays attention to Twitter.”
Perhaps the most effective way to garner President Trump’s attention is through Twitter. Don’t roll your eyes, I didn’t know how to set up a Twitter account either. But you have to do it. Get your kids or grandkids to set it up for you. Following are easy instructions provided by our WAR editorial staff as well.
In the coming days and weeks, I hope to see an industry-led movement where cow-calf producers and independent feeders across the nation join forces to TWEET the President and Vice President over a two or three-day period for help. So, you need to get ready.
Create a Twitter account so we, as an industry, can bombard President Trump and Vice President Pence with Tweets asking for help. I can’t stress the timeliness of this issue enough. The fall run is only four to six weeks away and this industry needs a change in psychology. I really feel President Trump could be that shot in the arm this industry has been looking for.
Our dad always told us there are five keys to a successful family, business, and industry:
- Faith in God and the people you entrust with your livelihood;
- Work Ethic;
- Fairness; and
We as an industry, cow-calf producers and independent feeders, have continued to keep the FAITH. We have continued to have unbelievable WORK ETHIC. We continue to FORGIVE those folks that continue to take a real run at us.
Where we have really failed as an industry is in COMMUNICATION with those folks that make policy on our behalf. Where we have really failed is demanding FAIRNESS in the marketplace. Go get your Twitter accounts ready and we will provide further details as to the message to send and when to send it in the following days. The time is NOW and we must fight for our industry – no one else will.
We must all remember we produce and feed the highest-quality, safest food product in the world. We as an industry supply food for a good portion of the people in this world. We need to be proud of that and fight for fairness in the marketplace. This market will get better, we just need to change the ATTITUDE!
Twitter for Dummies
By Mayzie Purviance
Social Media can be a great tool to reach political and public figures. Per day, President Trump tweets/retweets anywhere from 10-25 tweets and gets thousands of mentions. If we want to be heard, we’ve got to make our tweets stand out and need everyone to participate. We will provide further details in the coming days, but in the meantime here’s a crash course in Twitter and step-by-step instructions to create your account.
A social media service and website used to connect and network with other twitter users.
Your twitter profile is unique to you. You can customize your profile picture and bio. When someone clicks on your username, they are directed to your profile and are able to view any tweets you have interacted with.
The photo that will be associated with your twitter account. If you look in the left-hand corner of your twitter at any given time you will see your profile picture. Be sure to use photos of yourself so other twitter users don’t suspect you are a fake account.
Short information about yourself which is displayed at the top of your profile. This would be a good place to put something simple about your agricultural background. For example, Owner of John Smith Cattle Company located in City, State.
Following someone on twitter means you will see content they tweet or retweet.
Twitter posts. Tweets are limited to 280 characters in length.
The act of reposting another user’s tweet. Indicated by the square made of two arrows on each specific tweet.
The act of liking a tweet by pushing the heart icon on a tweet. All liked tweets are archived on your specific profile.
The act of commenting on a user’s tweet, always began with an @
The home page where tweets are presented. Sometimes referred to as “TL.”
Tweets which are connected. Often used when users want to tweet something that is longer than 280 characters.
The @ symbol is used to directly mention another twitter user, simply type @ and the person’s username with no space between the characters. When you @ someone, they get a notification. When tweeting about this specific issue, be sure to @realDonaldTrump
The # is used on social media as a “hashtag.” Hashtags are great for social media marketing. If you use a hashtag on a tweet, this tweet is categorized with all other tweets using said hashtag. There will be a specific # to include when we tweet the President regarding cattle market issues.
Twitter Buttons and Icons:
Along the bottom of your screen are four icons: a house, a magnifying glass, a bell and an envelope. The definitions and functions of these icons are as follows:
House or “Home”:
When you click the House icon, you will be directed back to your timeline. If there is a dot next to your Home icon, that means more tweets have been tweeted since you last updated your timeline. To view new tweets, click the Home icon again.
Magnifying Glass or “Search”:
When you click the Magnifying Glass icon, you will be directed to a page with a search bar. Here, you can type anything in the search bar to see tweets with specific words. You can also search different twitter users through the search bar.
Bell or “Notification”:
When you click the Bell icon, you are directed to a page with a list of all the times other users have interreacted with your tweets (like, retweet, mention/comment).
Envelope or “Inbox”:
When you click the Envelope icon, you are directed to a page with lists of direct, private messages between you and a twitter user.
How to create a twitter profile:
- Download the Twitter app by going to the app store, typing “Twitter” into the search bar and clicking “download.”
- Once the app is downloaded, click the blue icon with the white bird on your phone’s screen.
- After opening the app, you will be presented with a screen and a blue button that says, “Create account” — click it.
- You will be directed to a page with three fields to enter your name, phone number or email address and date of birth.
- We understand you may not want your personal information online but by contributing this data you will be recognized as an actual person and not a fake account.
- Click “next.”
- You will be directed to a page titled “Customize your experience.” Check the boxes or don’t, it’s your call.
- Click “next.”
- You will be directed to a page titled “Create your account,” which is just a review of information you have already input.
- Click “Sign up.”
- You will then be sent a verification code via text message or email, depending on which method of contact you provided. Enter the verification code in the field provided and click “next.”
- Create your password and click “next.”
- Upload a profile picture by clicking the “Upload your photo” icon in the middle of the screen. Click “next.”
- Remember, using photos of yourself instead of an image you found online indicates to other twitter users that you are not a fake account.
- Add a short bio about yourself and click “next.”
- This would be a good place to put something simple about your agricultural background. For example, Owner of John Smith Cattle Company located in City, State.
- You will have the option to sync your phone’s contacts or to skip this step. If you would like to skip, click “Not now.”
- You will have the option to pick specific topics which interest you. This will help Twitter better gauge which accounts it suggests you follow. If you would like to skip this step, click the words “Skip for now” in the bottom left hand corner.
- You will be directed to a page titled “Suggestions for you to follow.” If you would like to follow some of these people, go ahead. You can skip this step by clicking “next.”
- You will have the option to let twitter track your location. Click “OK” or “Not now.”
- You’re all set up and ready to tweet.
How to follow:
- Click the magnifying glass at the bottom of your screen.
- Click the search bar at the center of the top of your screen which reads “Search Twitter.”
- For example, type, word for word, “realDonaldTrump” without any spaces. You will then see a list of different twitter accounts. The top one should be a photo of the president and the words “Donald J. Trump” with a blue check mark beside the name. The blue check mark indicates his account is “verified” meaning many people created a fake account under his name but this is the real Donald Trump.
- You can follow Western Ag Reporter on Twitter by searching for “WesternAgReport” and choosing the profile with cattle and our logo in the picture.
- Click on the Donald J. Trump, Western Ag Reporter, or other profile name you searched for. You will be directed to the corresponding profile. Along the top of the screen you will see a white oval with the words “Follow” in it.
- Click the “Follow” icon.
- You are now following the president of the United States on Twitter.
In the coming days we will have information on the message we want to send President
Trump. At that point, we will also provide detailed instructions for creating your Twitter post. Watch our newspaper, website and social media outlets for more details.BACK