Steven Stuebner's recent article "Global market squeezes sheep ranchers" (HCN, 11/19/01: Global market squeezes sheep ranchers) has to rank as one of HCN's worst articles of the year, or silliest. What might have been an informative report on the situation of the sheep industry, if only Stuebner would do a little research, turns into a biased quickie interview piece with what this reader surmises are a few of Steve's ranching buddies. Nowhere in the piece is the educated reader alerted to the size of the operations in question. Two of the ranchers featured, Brad Little and John Peavey, head up multimillion-dollar operations, exploiting literally hundreds of thousands of acres of federally leased lands, or used to. These guys are not some small family operators, as Stuebner would have us believe, with his carrying on about how many generations these corporations have existed. They are large agribusiness, raising an anachronistic, unwanted product with federal tax dollars at huge environmental expense.
Rancher/CEO Peavey perhaps summed it up best. "It's crazy. But it's in our blood." Unfortunately, it's also in the public's wallet, which really is crazy. Too bad Stuebner had the wool pulled over his eyes. Instead of a poorly written pity piece, how about some real information on these large corporations? Then readers like me wouldn't have to ask "Where's the beef?"