U.S. Senator John Hoeven says it’s a challenging time to work in agriculture, especially for cattle producers in the state. On Saturday, the Senator from North Dakota spoke with ranchers about their concerns with the cattle market.
“We are kind of at a tipping point right now in our industry. So is it going to get better,” said Dwight Keller, North Dakota rancher.
65-year-old Dwight Keller is one of many ranchers asking that same question. And by the look of things, a lot of changes will have to be made.
“It’s a great way to raise a family and be independent of being out and being your own boss,” said Keller.
Born and raised in Beulah, Keller grew up farming and ranching and made a living off of it.
“I would like to see my children be able to carry on this way of life,” said Keller.
But it’s an industry that has it’s ups and downs. Many cattle producers feel controlled, and limited by the nation’s four largest beef packers, especially since two are from outside of the US. They’re also concerned that foreign competitors are not being truthful in labeling products. Ranchers say many foreign competitors are putting U.S tags on products that are not from the United States.
Ultimately taking money out of the pockets of producers.
Hoeven is on a mission to make sure all producers get better trade deals to have access to markets and most importantly get treated fairly.
“One of the things we are trying to help with is having the department of agriculture USDA look into the market and see if it’s working the way it should so our cattle producers are getting a fair deal when they sell their animals,” said Hoeven.
But it’s organizations like the Independent Beef Association of North Dakota that are trying to change it. And each year they bring the issue to the forefront at this meeting.
Keller says there’s hope for the future.
According to the USDA, Cattle production is the most important agriculture industry in the U.S. It racked up 67 billion dollars in 2018.