American Ranchers Just Happy to Sell their Beef

Interesting article from a recent Houston Chronicle telling things from the U.S. rancher’s perspective.

Per the article:

U.S. cattle producers facing skyrocketing costs and stagnant domestic demand say they need overseas markets like South Korea in order to avoid substantial dips in their bottom lines….

Before reacting to the first U.S. case of mad cow disease by banning its beef in 2003, South Korea was the third-largest export customer with $815 million in sales. Officials with cattle groups indicate a larger middle class in South Korea could push that value to close to $1 billion.  (Emphasis mine)

Almost a billion dollars!  That’s a lot of 소 고기…

  • Netizen Kim

    One gets the sense here that the American cattle ranchers are sensible folks. Surely they must have been following the latest current events happening in the world’s 3rd largest market for US Beef. Yet you don’t detect any sort of defensiveness, endless handwringing about anti-Americanism, or how Korean ingrates are spitting on The Alliance. They’re just happy that the negotiations were realized and business can go on.

    In an ideal political-economic utopia of Ricardo, land-scarce Korea would relinquish having any pretense of having a viable cattle industry and the US would relinquish having any pretense of a viable car industry.

  • Jerry

    I recall reading an article last year that some 7,000 S. Korean cattle farmers went to Seoul to protest. In S. Korea there are many small cattle herd owners and issues like this hits them on a very personal level.

    In the US most of the cattle ranchers are large corporations, like Harris Ranch. The owners are just looking at the bottom line and not “how am I going to feed my family” or “how will I afford to send my kids to school”.

    I’m pro-trade but also think countries should protect their agricultural and food production industry. If you depend too much on foreign food imports, and something happens (major natural disaster?), your people will be starving.

  • The Goat

    Major flaw there is that beef would have to be considered necessary from being a staple part of the diet. Due to the complete inefficiency of production here, beef is neither necessary nor common for most people.

    Also, where would Aussie imports fit into your reasoning?

  • J

    I bet only few consumers will buy US beef in Korea.

  • Chopsticks


    “I bet only few consumers will buy US beef in Korea.”

    It will be relabeled as “Hanwoo” and sold anyways.

  • matthew

    I agree with J.
    The protesters have poisoned the market for US beef here, and erected a Non-Tariff Barrier to Trade.
    Even if Korea lets in ALL US beef with no restrictions, the overwhelming majority of Koreans now fear the product.

    Retaliation, against Hyundai, LG, or another Chaebeol is the only options America to rectify the situation.

    Either that or completely renegotiate the FTA, with terms more favorable to America. But as fruitless years on negotiations with Koreans have shown us, this it almost impossible.

  • globalvillageidiot

    Eventually, provided EMart and the other outlets actually start selling it again, American beef should have plenty of buyers. If it tastes good and the price is right, a lot of people will probably look beyond the recent hype.

    I’m just looking forward to the demos petering out. Starting to get hot and humid out there, so I’m somewhat optimistic. Besides, aren’t we about due for a West Sea naval skirmish to take peoples’ minds off killer beef?

  • Cal

    Bull. Koreans will be falling over themselves to get their hands on American beef when it finally gets on the shelves again. The price will be the determinant. Perhaps it will begin slowly, but within a few months the terror will be forgotten. There are no immediate negative effects from eating anyone’s beef, regardless of what the purported vCJD risk is, so the bottom line will rule. Their typical melodramatic hyper-emotionalist fits out of the way, Koreans will move on with their lives. A few with a more intellectual bent will poke around online and discover that the supposed “risks” of eating American beef were grossly overstated with those who had agendas to promote.

  • David

    I dunno. Those with the agenda still have “power.” The market is poisoned. Even though the Korean public will know of PD Notebook’s treachery, the thought will always be in the back of their minds from now on: “Is this safe?” The MSM (Main Stream Media) did their jobs effectively. A few people might resign (I won’t hold my breath for that) but that’s it. The sacrafices were made and they ground their axe so to speak. I don’t see it turining back to the way it was before the fiasco.

  • aaronm

    How about relabling it “ESL Beef”: Make you tall and speak the English like whitey? There’ll be nary an adjuma who won’t be hording the stuff down at the local Homeplus.

  • slim

    How much of the huge price gap between imported beef and domestic meat gets passed on to the consumer in such a rigged economy? Could this merely be a windfall for importers and middlemen?

  • WangKon936

    # 10,

    Hahaha… that’s a good one. We have a product in the Korean American community called “Smart Grow,” (or “Grow Smart” I forget) a supplement given to kids to make them tall and do well in school. You should see the commercial. Korean kid dunking a basketball and his parents cheering in the bleachers and the next scene has him acing the SATs.

    How about ESL Cheese? A boone for Kraft!

  • cmm

    People are going to buy it. probably even a lot of the waxbrains… And they are going to love it.

  • WangKon936

    The lure of cheap and good miguk soh gohgee will conquer all. It will start slow at first, but expect American ranchers to get their billion dollars (or more) per annum in two to three years.

    Korean ranchers? Should raise something else on their land other than cows. Pigs… goats… emus… ostriches, whatever.

    I recommend goats. Good substitute meat in boshingtang.

  • The Goat

    Goats can get TSE as well. Oh wait, I am sure they won’t regulate that industry either.

  • Jim

    Chopsticks is most accurate, retailers have much to gain from relabing, it pushes up their profit margins.

  • aaronm

    #12, actually the idea came to me because when I was first here in 2003 I kept seeing this product on dairy case shelves in the supermarket; ESL Milk. Stupidly, this wayguk thought that this product was aimed at young mommies who wanted their kids to acquire the extra brain power to learn English, until someone set me straight and told me that ESL stood for Extended Shelf Life! Still, it’s funny, having lived in several countries in Asia, I’ve noticed there is a definate theme running through kiddy’s milk advertizements linking growth, scholastic achievement and their products.

  • aaronm

    #14, There is at least one ostrich farm I know of in Korea. When I used to take the bus from my old abode in Cheongju up to see friends in Goyang si, there was one on the highway that swings around the back of Suwon and south western Seoul. I remember doing a double take the first time and thinking I had consumed too much soju the night before. Still, I would recommend kangaroo farming. They have a low environmental imapact as they don’t tear out grass from the root, nor do they have hooves that damage the land. Oh yeah, and they taste like lean beef.

  • Jonathan Quick


    Jerry, I wonder what those numbers are? There are plenty of small ranches where I come from but I don’t know if they sell to the Int’l market or not.

  • WangKon936

    # 18,

    Oooooh… that’s what I want! I wanna eat some roo meat. Roo burgers, roo jerky, roo galbi… Where can I get me some of that in the states?

  • bumfromkorea

    They should raise ducks. I love 오리삼겹살!

    I really want to try kangaroo, but really can’t find the avenue around here… I found out that they were edible only a few months beforehand (prior to that, I thought it was some joke made at the expenses of the Aussies).

    I can’t see restaurants not use American beef… lower price conquers all.

  • aaronm

    #20-#21, I am sure there would be a gourmet export market in the US, but apart from suggesting that you google it, I wouldn’t know where to begin. I do remember that when living in London in the Mid 90s, I would often see roo steaks on the shelves at Tesco Metro, the inner-city supermarkets for yuppies on the go. If you have a similar chain that caters to city types, I would suggest starting there. Finally, just imagine a chain of roo-galbi joints across Korea, the US and Australia. I think you are on to a winner there!

  • WangKon936

    We’ll call it ESL Roo 고기…!

  • aaronm

    한호 불고기 루 even?

  • disinterested

    One day not too long ago I was smoking a cigarette with 4 of my co-workers. Each of us having his own cigarette of course, except for the one guy that doesn’t smoke and looking to the one other ‘country boy’ I said did you ever notice that they protest ‘mad cow’ and ‘downer cows’ but all the cows they show and all the costumes they wear are of Holsteins? If you get this then you know how mis-informed everyone seems to be.

  • H. J. Hodges

    Yeah, Disinterested, you’re right. The Holstein are dairy cattle. I used to help my best friend about once a week on his parents’ dairy farm — from the 8th to the 12th grades.

    Also, everybody keeps talking about “mad cow,” but wouldn’t “mad steer” be more correct? Most beef comes from steer anyway, doesn’t it? I’m not actually certain about that last point, for I left the Arkansas Ozarks and farming far behind at 18.

    At any rate, “mad cattle” . . . which, of course, don’t exist in America…

    Jeffery Hodges

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  • Skookum

    Aren’t male Holsteins slaughtered for meat?

  • dogbert

    And 30+ month old dairy cows who stop producing milk aren’t given a gold watch and sent out to pasture…

  • seouldout

    Some dairy web site sez:

    More than four million bull calves are born to dairy breeds each year in the U.S. Since only a few are needed for breeding, these calves represent great potential for meat production. Until recently, most dairy bull calves were sold for veal. Beef and dairy cross calves are also valuable for beef production.

    Holstein beef production has the advantage of being relatively easy to enter and exit compared to other enterprises. Holstein beef accounts for about 5 percent of the total beef produced in the U.S.

  • Jerry

    Brazil had surpassed US and Australia as the world’s largest beef exporter in 2004. I wonder why there isn’t protests against Brazilian or Australian beef? hehehe.

    No, small cattle ranchers aren’t economically efficient, but I don’t think they should be bulldozed over with imports. If the government isn’t willing to subsidize them, then at least fund them to switch raising some other livestock (oink?), or become farmers.

    Another possibility is switching to premium beef. The Japanese Wagyu cattle is one example. The same cows can be raised and massaged daily and fed beer in Korea just as well.

  • WangKon936

    “The same cows can be raised and massaged daily and fed beer in Korea just as well.”

    True, but Korean cattle farmers would rather not do the extra work. Nooooo… they would rather throw dung at U.S. beef in the Homeplus Marts or murder their families because of the depression they have over U.S. beef.

  • gbnhj


    Besides, as the folks at PD Diary have helpfullly explained, ‘dairy cow’ actually translates to ‘mad cow disease-infected cow’ in Korean, so the use of images of dairy cows is entirely appropriate.

  • H. J. Hodges

    Good point gbnhj (#32). I’d forgotten that lesson in bovine science from the ‘cow-herdly’ folks at PD Diary. I’d better brush up on my studies or I might simply drink a glass of milk . . . and just die!

    Jeffery Hodges

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