R-CALF Op-ed: Nevil Speer Deserves Our Gratitude – Speer and Bob Peterson truth …

Nevil Speer must be suffering the same delusion as IBP’s Bob Peterson:

“That is called importing.” https://youtu.be/FuYxM8laGCI?list=PLmT23RdkRk0oJbJ-7IlHmPBLgj40bDmt7&t=3409

R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America
Fighting for the Independent U.S. Cattle Producer
Contact: R-CALF USA CEO Bill BullardPhone: 406-252-2516; r-calfusa

View and share this news release on Facebook here or view the web version here.

Below please find an op-ed by R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard regarding the Nevil Speer Opinion: Speer: Limestone vs Protectionist Brimstone, published April 16, 2024, in Drovers.
Op-ed: Nevil Speer Deserves Our Gratitude
In his April 16 Drovers opinion, “Speer: Limestone vs Protectionist Brimstone,” Nevil Speer continues to criticize R-CALF USA’s beef trade position and further his own, which is indistinguishable from that of the multinational beef complex. I’m grateful he’s providing this opportunity for producers to take a probing look into cattle and beef trade.In our April 23, rebuttal of his first opinion, “Bullard: Alas, A Genuine Discussion on Beef and Cattle” we pointed out Speer’s glaring omission. He pretends beef from imported cattle is not imported beef. Consequently, his analysis understates the volume of imported beef in the U.S. market.

While ignoring beef produced in the U.S. from foreign-born cattle, he nevertheless claims, “There’s simply no evidence that ‘suggests’ beef producers are being ‘displaced’ by beef imports – nor being unduly damaged in the marketplace.”

Speer is not alone in this subterfuge. We’ve long criticized the USDA for understating beef imports by failing to account for imported beef derived from imported cattle. Then, in 2012 the USDA published a study stating, “Over the last decade, imports of [beef] into the United States and [beef] produced in the United States from foreign livestock have accounted for roughly 18 percent [] of US beef [] supplies (emphasis added).”

This study helps prove that if you don’t include beef derived from imported cattle, you will grossly understate the volume of actual beef imports, period.

Speer tries to belittle our trade concerns by labeling us as protectionists motivated by emotion. Indeed, he states “international trade is an emotional issue.” No, it’s not! It’s business, and if in business you persistently buy more than you sell, your business will eventually fail.

We’re fighting to strengthen the business we represent – the U.S. cattle industry – and we’ve advanced facts showing the volume of beef our industry buys is grossly understated and far greater than the volume of beef our industry sells.

Speer acknowledges that even without including all imported beef, there is already a discrepancy between import and export tonnage, which he dismisses on the grounds that there is an “ever-widening advantage to U.S. producers in trade dollars.” But he cannot make that claim if both the value of beef and value of cattle are properly included in the discussion. This fact is borne out in the value-based trade chart included in my previous opinion linked again here.

Below is an informative example of how the cattle industry has changed in the Pacific Northwest, which is penetrated by hundreds of thousands of imported cattle each year. Importantly, this real example is immune from any hypothetical assumptions that often distort reality by eliminating causal factors.

During a U.S. International Trade Commission hearing in 2018 regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association testified that, “Especially in the Pacific Northwest,” imports of Canadian and Mexican cattle “have supplemented seasonal shortages in our herd and helped our feed yards and packing facilities run at optimal levels.” The North American Meat Institute testified that those imports numbered about 282,000 head each year. The following chart depicts a shrinking Pacific Northwest cattle industry since NAFTA.

These facts show that 94 percent of the Pacific Northwest’s beef cow numbers were displaced by the 282,000 head of annual imports that penetrated the region each year, and that is associated with the loss of 36 percent of the region’s beef cattle operations. In other words, the calves produced by 300,000 cows are no longer needed because the calves those cows once produced in the United States are now being produced in foreign countries.Due to its relative remoteness, the Pacific Northwest is a microcosm of the national cattle and beef industries, replete with its own import and domestic cattle supply chains, feedyards, and packers. Thus, it serves to inform us as to how the remainder of our nation’s cattle and beef industries are functioning while confronted with excessive imports.

**Note to editors: This op-ed first appeared onDrovers.com.

Bill Bullard is the CEO of R-CALF USA, the nation’s largest non-profit trade association exclusively representing U.S. cattle producers in the multi-segmented beef supply chain. Bullard’s photo isavailable here.

# # #
Ranchers Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) is the largest producer-only lobbying and trade association representing U.S. cattle producers. It is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle and sheep industries. Visit www.r-calfusa.com or call (406) 252-2516 for more information.