Meat+Poultry - April 2021 - 20

years
SOSLAND PUBLISHING

time. The former heavyweights that once
ruled the industry, no longer were factors and
even asked to have the consent decree lifted
because they could no longer compete in the
new business.
" All of this had a big impact on the Corn Belt
and the way people raised livestock and how
they calculated the value of grain, " Ogle said.
Most of the legacy companies went through
numerous ownership changes in hopes of
finding their way back in the industry like the
good ol' days, to no avail.
" They were these big entities that were built
for another time and place, " Ogle said. " They
were really out of date especially because
they had built so much of their infrastructure
around railroads and stockyards and by the
1950s, they were just begging to be released
from this consent decree. "
Some of the former giants, like Swift and
Armour, attempted to survive other ways,
including becoming poultry feeders when the
broiler industry became a growing segment.

INSIDE THE BOX

A handful of companies,
including Swift &
Co., dominated the
meat industry until
the early 1920s.

" The stockyards just kind of fell to pieces
in the 30s and 40s because there just wasn't
a place for them anymore in the system, "
Ogle said.

FEEDING FRENZY

20

MEAT+ POULTRY | 04.21 | www.meatpoultry.com

National Archives; North American Meat Institute

Kenneth Monfort would grow his operations
to eventually include processing facilities for
lamb and beef as well as adding a distribution
and transportation company. Monfort
was also a pioneer in the industry for first
introducing the concept of shipping boxed
beef to customers, another departure from the
previous era of meat processing. Monfort Beef
ultimately became publicly traded and was
renamed Monfort of Colorado Inc. ConAgra
would go on to acquire Monfort in 1987.
In the post-WWI period feeding operations,
like Monfort's and others, the packing
operators were doing business directly with
each other, eliminating the once crucial role of
the stockyards. Reliance on the railroads was
replaced by trucking, which was unregulated
for shipping of agricultural products at the

After the 1950s, newcomers to the meat and
poultry processing industry benefitted from
the extinction of the top-heavy structure and
big names that dominated 40 years earlier.
They were not limited by the consent decree
and didn't have to operate under the scrutiny
of labor unions, which wielded significant
influence in meat plants starting as early as
the 1880s and for most of the next 30 years.
Add to the equation that well after World War
II and especially starting in the 1950s, the
US Department of Agriculture was charged
with the mission of pushing beef production
as much as possible, peaking when cattle
production topped 132 million head in 1975. US
per-capita consumption of beef would peak the
following year.
One example of the next era of meat
industry giants was Iowa Beef Processors
(IBP), which was founded in 1960 by Andy
Anderson, a pork processor, and Currier
Holman, a cattle buyer. The duo opened a beef
plant in Denison, Iowa, in 1961, with a modest
operation that processed about 800 cattle per
day. Their philosophy of building plants in
rural areas where livestock already were being
produced was an attempt at making the system
more efficient by cutting transportation costs,


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Meat+Poultry - April 2021

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Meat+Poultry - April 2021 - 1
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