Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Environmental Studies

Department or School/College

Environmental Studies Program

Committee Chair

Neva Hassanein

Commitee Members

Josh Slotnick, Christianne von Reichert


Beef market concentration, organizational positions, Montana, beef industry, concentration of market power


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Social Influence and Political Communication


Beef market concentration continues to be a highly contentious issue; especially in the culture-­‐rich ranching industry of Montana. The agriculture industry, specifically the beef sector, has experienced a tremendous amount of integration and consolidation over the past 50 years. This amount of industry restructuring has crafted a beef backgrounding and processing sector with the highest rates of concentration ever witnessed, with a Concentration Ratio (CR4) reaching nearly 82%. This research aims to qualitatively investigate ranching organizational positions, on the topic of beef market concentration and potential impacts this has had on the organization and their members who are located and work in Montana. Attention from multi-­‐disciplinary organizations and industry leaders are contributing to the conversation of food production and consumption. Organizational positions lend insight to constituent concerns and the political and economic landscape of the day. Research findings suggest that the negative impacts of beef market concentration not only impact those who engage in the beef production chain, but are negatively impacting the beef industry as a whole. Challenges of beef market concentration, highlighted by Ranchers-­‐Cattlemens Action Legal Fund United States of America (R-­‐CALF USA), Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC), Montana Farmers Union (MFU), Northern Plains Resource Council (NPRC), and the Montana Cattlemens Association (MCA), focus on exercise of meatpacker market power and elimination of market opportunities among small and mid-­‐scale beef producers, feedlot operators, and processors. Benefits of beef market concentration, expressed by the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSA), Montana Cattlewomen (MCW), Montana Beef Council (MBC) and Montana Farm Bureau (MFB), include market opportunities and improved quality and safety standards through vertical integration, and improved efficiency decreasing overall negative environmental impacts.



© Copyright 2015 Katie Marie LeBlanc