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Ranchers tackle cattle industry issues in Deadwood

Published: Aug. 21, 2020 at 5:55 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Ranching, South Dakota’s biggest moneymaker, is taking a major hit.

“Here in South Dakota we have five cattle for every one human being that lives in this state, it’s a huge driver of our economy,” says rancher and region three Director for R-Calf U.S.A. Brett Kenzy. “The market right now is terrible.”

Ranchers from across the nation are in Deadwood to talk about how the cattle industry is doing with imports and exports, what’s driving trade and why cattle ranchers are experiencing hardships.

According to the South Dakota Beef Industry Council, agriculture is a major contributor to South Dakota’s economy, generating over $25 billion dollars in economic activity every year.

“It’s hard when you are operating a business and you’re just continually operating on either a narrow or negative margin,” says Kenzy. Kenzy believes it’s due to an uncompetitive market and a lack of country of origin labeling.

“This has nothing to do against Canadian producers, Mexican producers or foreign producers,” says rancher and Country of Origin Chairman for R-Calf U.S.A. Mike Shultz. “It’s about marketing opportunities for the U.S. cattle industry to market our beef in a global market and we have to know for our consumers where their beef comes from.”

And it could be from any of the 22 countries the U.S imports beef from.

“We import a lot of meat in this country that people are unaware of that consumers eat and aren’t aware that they are eating foreign meat,” says Kenzy. Some ranchers say beef from the U.S is held under a higher standard than many of the other countries, leading to a more top quality product.

Country of Origin Labeling on beef products in the United States was repealed back in December of 2015. Since then, there have been several attempts to reinstate the requirements, including a bi-partisan resolution sponsored in part by Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds.

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