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Bulled Over? Reform-Minded Cattle Ranchers Disappointed With Prices

Article-Bulled Over? Reform-Minded Cattle Ranchers Disappointed With Prices

Ranchers hoped for better cattle prices, but politics are getting in the way.

Ranchers like Ressa Charter, disappointed with the prices offered for cattle, had hoped President Barack Obama might ride to their rescue by reforming cattle markets after the 2008 election.

Instead, what they got was more like a six-second ride at the rodeo — a fast, furious round of hearings before getting bucked into the dirt.

Although voters have given Obama another term, ranchers expect they won’t be getting another chance.

“The water is so churned up with so many things. There’s a dozen life-or-death struggles between Republicans and Democrats,” Charter says. “I just don’t know how we would.”

What Charter and others wanted was better policing of the nation’s big meatpackers, of which there are only four. The companies — Tyson Foods, JBS, Cargill Meat Solutions and National Beef — control 80% of U.S. beef slaughtered.

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