Beef Glut

A move that cows the ranchers

Recent years have not been kind to cattle ranchers. Partly because of growing health questions about the advisability of eating an abundance of red meat, per capita annual beef consumption fell from 94.4 lbs. in 1976 to 79 lbs. in 1985. As the price that cattlemen received for choice steers dipped, ranchers trimmed the size of their herds, from 50 million head in 1982 to some 45 million now. To help firm up prices, they were planning to cut an additional million head this year.

But now the cattlemen face a new threat: the U.S. Department of Agriculture has launched a...

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