Glaring problems

A recent reading of Robert Arnason’s article, Beef group to introduce bankruptcy insurance (WP Nov. 17), triggers a number of glaring problems with the position of the Manitoba Livestock Marketing Association as detailed by feeder and feedlot specialist Michael Buchen.

While I appreciate the shrewd advice Mr. Buchen offers my fellow cattlemen and I, to sell only to “reputable” buyers, he doesn’t outline a process to determine reputability.

I know that you can’t count on the Livestock Dealer and Agent License document as posted on the Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives website, because although the producers were defrauded in January 2011, G & M Livestock could still be found on this government listing as legitimate buyers as late as June of 2011.  

What really is distasteful in the comments of Buchen and an order buyer, as quoted in Arnason’s article, is that they point the finger of blame at the 12 cattlemen, the victims of crime. This kind of rhetoric does what it is intended to do. However, it keeps us from looking at the bigger picture, from asking the important questions.  

What individual at MAFRI was responsible for leaving G & M listed as a legitimate buyer up to six months after the producers were defrauded?

How many dealers or order buyers were defrauded by G & M Livestock in this fiasco? Why does the Manitoba Livestock Buyers Marketing Association object to producers empowering themselves on market day?  

And, most importantly — how can we fix it?

I guess I was lucky. I sold my cattle and I got paid. This time. I am not one of the 12 producers who were thrown under the proverbial bus like a lump of frozen manure. And, I guess, like most producers, I will keep looking for answers.

Google “livestock sellers beware” on the internet and you will find a lengthy dissertation on the evils of farmgate marketing.  At the bottom, a Michael Buchen, Feeder/Feedlot Specialist at the Livestock Knowledge Centre, promises to answer all our questions. That seems like a good enough place to start.

Steve McMechan, Pierson, Man.

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