Kansas beef industry losing business to foreign producers

LAKIN, Kansas– There’s a shortage in cattle production in Kansas, and it’s in part because of the drought, and less farmland.

“We’ll fix it,” said Lakin Feed Yard owner Steven Landgraf.  “We’ll overproduce, the prices will come down, and we’ll work hard,”

Since the shortage, farmers have had to change the way they operate to become more efficient so they can get more cattle in the pins and more quality product on the shelf.  Farmers say they have to use hormones and antibiotics in the feed to fatten the cattle up faster, as they rebuild the herd.

“It’s still nutritious, it still tastes good,” Landgraf said.

However, companies like Chipotle, who insist on organic meat, don’t see it that way.

So what could it mean for the Kansas beef industry if chains like Chipotle take their business elsewhere?

It turns out it may be worse for the consumer than the Kansas cattleman.

“Say they don’t want United States beef… there’s plenty of other people that would be glad to eat United States beef,” said KSN’s Agriculture expert John Jenkinson.

His bigger concern is the lack of USDA approval.

“Just remember it’s coming from a foreign country.  The inspection service here is second to no other country,” Landgraf said.

The United States cattlemen do an outstanding job of mitigating any disease in their cattle to make sure the consumer has top-notch, first class, safe food,” Jenkinson said.

As for the shortage leading to a significant loss of business?  Landgraf has faith in his operation and others’.  “We’ll work extra hard to get more of it out there.  Give us a little time, we’ll fix it,” he said.

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