In the March 2014 issue (of Progressive Cattleman), Jim Gransbery’s article “Producers have a farm bill loaded with blessings and burrs” represents a perspective that is unfortunately too common in the “leadership” of our industry.

When subsidies and government handouts are labeled as “blessings,” and a program in COOL that allows the consumer to know which country their beef comes from is called a “burr,” it is evident that we are no longer in the industry of our grandfathers.

Those “blessings” are a weight that my children and other taxpayers will have to bear now and in the future. I realize that many producers find themselves in a bind and look to these government programs as a way out.

However, I believe that in the long run, government subsidies have not proven beneficial to the industries that get them and have proven detrimental to the character of the people therein.

Gransbery states regarding COOL, “This is a line at the borders …” Did I miss something? Does a label of origin somehow create a tariff, quota or sanction?


I have been labeled a protectionist and an isolationist because of my position in favor of COOL. From an economic definition, COOL would not qualify as protectionism, as it does not create a quota, tariff or restrictions on foreign competitors.

On the other hand, if protectionism means that I believe in U.S. sovereignty, and that U.S. beef is the best product raised by the best producers, than I am proudly a protectionist.

Gransbery states, “Yes, consumer surveys indicate a preference for COOL.” I would say that we must pay attention to our valued U.S. consumer, even if that means not heeding the directions given out by NCBA, which represents 100 percent of major packers and 3.7 percent of U.S. cattle producers.

I am not willing to tell the best consumers (U.S. consumers) that we cannot honor them because they play second fiddle to Canada, Mexico, the WTO and the meat packers.

I could be all wrong. Maybe I should just take the subsidies, let the government gobble up the West, let one packer gobble up all the competition, and I will sit back and enjoy an ultra-lean steak from Brazil, as my services are no longer needed.

Austin Snedden
Maricopa, California   end mark


This Letter to the Editor was published in the May 2014 issue of Progressive Cattleman.