U.S. farmers hit hard by labour strife at West Coast ports

A Handbook for Ranch ManagersAccording to Carl Marx, the rich get rich while the poor get kids until there is finally a “revolt of the proletariat.”

Today, economics professors are fond of strutting around in front of their classes while lauding the genius of Marx. But, they are usually quick to add that he (Marx) “failed to see the emergence of a strong labor union” and that is why his prediction didn’t pan out. Then they quickly apologize for him by saying that he had no way to foresee such a thing.

Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference ManualI say “bullshit!” The emergence of a strong labor union WAS the “revolt of the proletariat” and we all see how that turned out for the old USSR. In fact, the early “labor movement” in the uSSA was dominated by card carrying communists.

Labor unions are NOT about “freedom of association.” They are nothing but government protected monopolies that could not exist in the absence of government violence and force (the threat of violence). – jtl, 419

PS We cowboys have been lucky, so far, in not having as much of this kind of thing to deal with as the sod busters do.



Environmental & Natural Resource Economics: The Austrian ViewBy Steve Gorman via the Canadian Cattlemen

Los Angeles | Reuters — Protracted labour strife and shipping disruptions at U.S. West Coast ports have hit farmers especially hard, posing a major barrier to perishable goods headed to overseas markets and resulting in losses estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars a week.

The Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other Misfits    Foreign Pacific Rim customers facing chronic delays in shipments of U.S. food and farm products are turning to other countries for produce ranging from citrus and apples to beef and pork, the Washington-based Agriculture Transportation Coalition (AgTC) has reported.

Combat Shooter's HandbookMany frustrated U.S. suppliers are deciding to forgo exports and scrambling instead to find domestic buyers for their produce, driving down prices, said Wendy Fink-Weber, a spokeswoman for the Western Growers trade organization.

Industry experts say the longer-term concern is that export business lost to other countries, and other ports, may not return once the U.S. West Coast crisis is over.

The Essence of Liberty: Volume I: Liberty and History: The Rise and Fall of the Noble Experiment with Constitutionally Limited Government (Liberty and ... Limited Government) (Volume 1)  The Essence of Liberty: Volume II: The Economics of Liberty (Volume 2) The Essence of Liberty: Volume III: A Universal Philosophy of Political Economy (Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic) (Volume 3) “They’re losing their buyers and they’re losing their markets,” Fink-Weber said.

Precise figures on the extent of damage are hard to come by. The AgTC has estimated that total U.S. agricultural export losses — for fruits, vegetables and meats shipped by container — were running roughly US$400 million (C$498.8 million) a week in December, the latest month for which industry data was available.

Because the dislocation at the ports directly involves containerized cargo only, bulk shipments of grain and soybeans have largely been unaffected, the group said.

Height of citrus exports hit

Mounting waterfront cargo congestion and partial shutdown of the 29 ports last weekend and again on Thursday come as the California citrus industry reached its season of peak demand for exports of navel oranges and lemons to Asian countries.

California growers typically export a quarter of their annual US$500 million citrus crop to markets in Asia, Australia and New Zealand. But bottlenecks at the West Coast ports have reduced that by about 25 per cent, or roughly US$125 million, since October, according to the trade group California Citrus Mutual.

The head of overseas marketing for one major citrus grower, LoBue Bros Inc. of Lindsay, Calif., in the Central Valley heartland, said his company’s exports are off by about half.

The company normally gets 60 to 80 loads of citrus — 40,000 pounds of fruit per load — shipped overseas each week this time of year, but “right now I’m having trouble getting 20 out,” co-owner Joe LoBue told Reuters. “In 40 years, I haven’t seen it quite this bad.”

Industry officials said they expect losses to grow as the port slowdowns go on.

“Fruit is rotting on the docks, sales are being canceled by the customer, and our industry has slowed its harvesting so as not to place matured fruit into the marketplace,” Citrus Mutual president Noel Nelsen said in a statement.

Although some shipments arrive at warehouses and ports in refrigerated containers, “we’re not sure the containers are being stored in places where they have power, or that they’re getting plugged in,” said Dusty Ferrence, director of growers services for the agency.

In January alone, cherry growers in Oregon reported lost export sales of US$250,000 directly related to disruptions at the West Coast ports, according to the AgTC.

On Friday, more than 200 Washington state agriculture and forest products companies and organizations delivered a letter to their state congressional delegation urging their help in pressing the two sides in the labour dispute to quickly settle the dispute.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, representing 20,000 dock workers, has been negotiating for nine months on a new labour contract with the Pacific Maritime Association, the bargaining agent for shippers and terminal operators at the 29 ports.

– Steve Gorman is a general news correspondent for Reuters in Los Angeles.


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A Handbook for Ranch ManagersA Handbook for Ranch Managers.  In keeping with the “holistic” idea that the land, the livestock, the people and the money should be viewed as a single integrated whole: Part I deals with the management of the natural resources. Part II covers livestock production and Part III deals with the people and the money. Not only would this book make an excellent basic text for a university program in Ranch Management, no professional ranch manager’s reference bookshelf should be without it. It is a comprehensive reference manual for managing the working ranch. The information in the appendices and extensive bibliography alone is worth the price of the book.

You might be interested in this books supplement: Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference Manual.


About Land & Livestock Interntional, Inc.

Land and Livestock International, Inc. is a leading agribusiness management firm providing a complete line of services to the range livestock industry. We believe that private property is the foundation of America. Private property and free markets go hand in hand—without property there is no freedom. We also believe that free markets, not government intervention, hold the key to natural resource conservation and environmental preservation. No government bureaucrat can (or will) understand and treat the land with as much respect as its owner. The bureaucrat simply does not have the same motives as does the owner of a capital interest in the property. Our specialty is the working livestock ranch simply because there are so many very good reasons for owning such a property. We provide educational, management and consulting services with a focus on ecologically and financially sustainable land management that will enhance natural processes (water and mineral cycles, energy flow and community dynamics) while enhancing profits and steadily building wealth.
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5 Responses to U.S. farmers hit hard by labour strife at West Coast ports

  1. p says:

    Thank you for sharing Jimmy, agree with your comment. It’s up to people who market their crops when facing difficulties, to find new markets they can ship to. Maybe they need to be looking more at US markets. Or creating new products with their produce. A well run business will take such events into account and make it work for them. Change is the only constant in the universe.

    That monopoly you spoke about needs to be put out of business.


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