A system with centralized power in an oligarch of corporations that have profit instead of longevity in mind may be leading us down the path towards a collapse… heard that story before?

According to one estimate, 90% of the global grain trade is done by 4 major corporations. As they begin to adopt similar practices and pursue similar revenue streams, their businesses will look more and more alike, which may make a single shock to the global food system that much more catastrophic. Unexpected financial or meteorological events can upend not one, but all of their businesses, leaving a huge whole in the market for necessary goods.

This global picture can be painted with American characters as well. In the meat industry, 4 companies alone control 84% of the beef cattle slaughter. Those companies would be JBS USA, Tyson Foods Inc., Cargill Inc. and National Beef Packing Company. As they begin to push out small meat producers in the market, our meat food supply becomes more and more fragile - susceptible to shortages and collapses more than ever.

To make our system more resilient, we need more competitors in the market who operate independently of one another. Competition drives prices down, but it also diversifies the network so that a shock to the system doesn’t cause a domino effect. Unfortunately, the small, independent farm and ranch is not as prevalent as it once was. In fact, well over 100,000 independent farms and ranches have closed in America in the last 10 years. 

Al Davis, a Nebraska cattle producer and former state senator said, “Farm and ranch families are facing a great extinction. If we lose that rural lifestyle, we have really lost a big part of what made this country great.” These farms and ranches were pushed out by the low prices of imported, foreign goods and the difficulty of making a profit due to the price controls put in place by the big four corporations. We need to reestablish these independent players in the meat industry to solidify our unstable and unsustainable system.

As demand rises for more and more beef/meat production, countries are incentivized to create more grazing land for cattle. Many of them adopt unsustainable practices that drive deforestation and poor land management. In America, we have less untouched land or forests to push into, which means we use Regenerative Agriculture to rotate pasture lands to let them recover and stay healthy. All of our partner farms and ranches aim to let the land recover after use to keep it viable in the long run. This is a sustainable practice that ensures we will have ample farming and ranching land in the future.

Are Brazilian corporations like JBS, one of the big four, using regenerative agriculture or creating deforestation in South America to export more beef than ever? One study looks at how the increased production of soy and other commodities may be pushing pasture land deeper and deeper into once protected Brazilian areas. We certainly hope they are focused on restorative agriculture instead of performative. Our food supply depends not only on diversifying practices and returning power to more players in the market; it relies on us planning for the food supply ahead and not only producing for the food supply now.

We are currently seeing the low stock of essentials caused by shocks to our food system. If our meat & seafood supply collapses like the 2008 bank crisis, do you know where you will shop? If beef becomes the next baby formula, are you confident you’ll have enough or that you’ll even find it in stores? Our sustainable system of independent farms and ranches is ready to meet your meat needs. We are strong and built to survive the challenges ahead. Count on us - we’ll always deliver. In fact, we’ll deliver beef, chicken, and seafood right to your door for free. Take a look at our shop of American Meat & Seafood today!