Dear Mr. Vetter:
As a beef producer I have always felt fortunate that there are ten or more packing plants operating in the upper Midwest. They are a huge asset to the dairy and beef producers in the region. It is because of these mostly independent plants that the North Central States have one of the best cow markets in the country. Logic dictates that the cattle procurement range of the packing plants of the northern United States and southern Canada extend across the border. The shrinking of cattle production in the upper Midwest has increased the need for this border trade. Without the Canadian cattle, will these northern plants be able to assemble enough of the classes and grades of cattle necessary to best meet the needs of their customers and still remain efficient? Due to the delay in the border opening we are going to find out. When the dust settles on the border issues, we may need buyers from packers in Canada to fill the front row seats of our livestock markets.
COOL is another trade issue that could backfire. You don't have to talk to a Detroit auto executive to learn that today's consumer could care less about where a product is made, just look at the name plates of the cars and pickups in the parking lot of your local shopping center. For those of you who think the discriminating shopper will make purchases based on country of origin, I suggest you take a closer look at the label in your shirt.