Meat+Poultry - April 2021 - 21

securing cheaper, initially non-union labor and
processing carcasses into smaller cuts, making
boxed beef its focus.
With an industry background working
in California and Idaho during the '20s and
'30s, Anderson established IBP using a new
and different lens, which didn't include
accommodating labor unions. That first plant
was evidence of the new approach and was
based on a single-story facility design to be as
simple as possible and use as little physical
labor as possible without union oversight. Like
Monfort, IBP purchased livestock directly
from feeders, pushing feedlots further
into obsoletism.
" There was no way he was
going to build according to the old
model, " Ogle said. " He wanted to
do exactly the opposite of the old
model because that's the kind of
business he'd grown up in, on the
West Coast. And so, Denison, Iowa,
got this very state of the art and very
different kind of operation than Armour
and Swift had started. "
IBP's model of building new-school,
non-union processing plants and utilizing an
unregulated trucking industry to ship its fresh
products paved the way for others.
" Anybody who was a new packer by then,
was trying to build a plant that didn't involve
union labor, " Ogle said. " It didn't mean the
union wasn't going to show up and try to
organize the workers, but the unions just didn't
play a part in the mindset of anybody who
was thinking about opening a packing plant
from say 1930 on, whereas Swift and Armour
and Wilson were just stuck with them; they
couldn't get rid of them. "
After several rounds of corporate
reorganizations, ownership changes and
numerous lawsuits brought by the old
guard, they were finally allowed to run some
operations without union labor by the 1970s.
By then, Swift had built a new beef plant in
Grand Island, Neb., that started up in 1965
while investment companies were buying up
the fledgling remaining properties of Swift,
Armour and Wilson and terminating union
contracts as part of many of those deals
through the 1970s.
" And of course, by then, they're still
saddled with all those old facilities, " Ogle said,

Leaders with legacies
Some longtime industry leaders from decades past recalled
some of the shifting tides in the meat industry. Rosemary
Mucklow, the 88-year-old director emeritus of the North
American Meat Institute (NAMI), spent most of the second
half of the 20th century leading industry trade organizations
and lobbying for its stakeholders. When the industry began
to make the transition to boxed beef after its introduction
in the 1960s, Mucklow recalled the symbolic significance
of Miller Packing Co., then based in Oakland, Calif.,
removing its rail system used to move carcasses.
She estimated it was in the 1980s when its
owner, Frank deBenedetti realized meat
shipments would soon be exclusively made via
vacuum-packed primal cuts, making carcass
deliveries obsolete. She credits deBenedetti for
his vision.
" He took the rails out of Miller Packing
Rosemary
before
other people were recognizing the
Mucklow
change [to vacuum packaging] was coming, "
she said.
Mucklow also said the company that pioneered
vacuum-packaging technology, Cryovac, the food
packaging division of Sealed Air, deserved more credit for
the shift to boxed beef.
" Because of Cryovac, we were able to ship vacuumpackaged meat, which has a longer shelf life, and that
development drove enormous change in this industry, "
Mucklow said.
Barry Carpenter, the retired chief executive
officer and president of NAMI who also
served as Deputy Secretary of the US
Department of Agriculture's Agricultural
Marketing Service, dedicated his 45-plus
year career to agriculture.
In the early 1970s, Carpenter
supervised meat graders in the Northeast,
Barry
for processors in Boston, New York and
Carpenter
Philadelphia, where railcars and trucks
delivered " swinging beef. " However, when
boxed beef became the norm in the early '80s, graders
were cut drastically.
" The whole industry changed, " Carpenter said. " They no
longer could come close to competing, " as more cattle were
sent to big processing plants. " Since the early '80s, I think
the percentage of the 'big four' was somewhere in the high
70s and it's probably still there right now, it really hasn't
changed, " he said.

www.meatpoultry.com | 04.21 | MEAT+ POULTRY

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Meat+Poultry - April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meat+Poultry - April 2021

Meat+Poultry - April 2021 - 1
Meat+Poultry - April 2021 - vdg - 1
Meat+Poultry - April 2021 - vdg - 2
Meat+Poultry - April 2021 - 1
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