This year’s focus was, Freedom to Market, “Building the Infrastructure for our Future.” Our conference objective was to point to the independent beef supply chain. We believe that no matter how much money the Biden administration devotes to small processing, without connecting the supply chain of live cattle all the way to retail, 1.5 billion in grants could all be for naught. To ensure this is not our Country’s fate, OCM showed examples of supply chain connections made in the southeast that can be replicated nationwide. Such efforts organized by OCM were highlighted during panel discussions. Also, during the conference, speakers including farmers, ranchers, policymakers, researchers, and organizers shared their expertise and experiences in their endeavors for fair and competitive markets.
Gilles Stockton, a recent congressional hearing testifier, opened the conference and set the stage. Mid-morning, Andy Green from USDA spoke to efforts to promote fair and competitive markets. At Lunch, Scott Blubaugh, Oklahoma Farmers Union President, shared his meat processing success with the Oklahoma Native American tribe. Friday afternoon featured David Smith, Independent Grocer CEO, speaking to supply chain logistics. Gary Genske, NDPO board director, shared the 100% USA Beef trademark and its marketability. Wrapping up our day, Peter Sykes speaking from Australia addressed the recent JBS acquisition just approved and the effects of market concentration globally.