Inflation spurred on by the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Biden administration's economic policies have caused the price of nearly everything to increase, including popular food items like beef.

John Hannah is a Crimson Tide and New England Patriot football legend. Now he raises beef cattle in Blountsville, and he said inflation could put him out of business if it continues at its current rate.

"Being a cattle producer, I see my costs of production doubling all the time," Hannah said on a recent episode of "1819 News: The Podcast."

He said everything from fuel to fertilizer had risen dramatically in the last year, which drives up the end product's price.

Hannah said, "You got all these costs that have gone up, and then you see an increase of 20 cents a pound on your beef. I'm going to go out of business."

Aside from inflation, Hannah said the problem with the beef industry in America is that it's controlled by four major companies, or "oligarchies," as he calls them.

"What you got now is you got four oligarchies that control 85% of the beef processing in America," he said on the podcast. "What they do is … they got the law changed where if you go to the grocery store and it says 'packaged in America,' that beef can come from anywhere in the world, but it's not American-raised."

Hannah said, whether it's labeled or not, as much as 40% of beef on store shelves is from foreign sources; 60% when it comes to hamburger meat.

"What we'd like to do is make a true labeling law," he said. "I'm not saying stop imports; just label it right. If it's born and raised and harvested in America, that's American beef. That other stuff ain't American beef."

He also wants to get back to having live cattle auctions — which he said is the best way for "market discovery" to determine the true value of beef — and make it easier for smaller businesses to break into the beef industry.

"I'm trying to get into the market right now, and the guy I'm using up in Geraldine, Alabama, has gone out, filled out all the forms with the USDA about 60, 70 days ago, done everything he was supposed to do … they still haven't got back and given him his paperwork," he said.

The delay could cost him business with customers who he's marketed to in New England, Hannah said.

"They want to buy my beef direct. Heck, let's go, USDA! They get the vacations for the meatpackers, you know, paying them off," he said. "They're against the competition. They need to open that up, enforce the antitrust laws and do the things they need to do."

While issues with the USDA and the beef industry are national, part of the solution is to start locally by electing good leaders.

"As far as local, Alabama is one of the most corrupt states there is," he said. "I think if we get good people locally, we'll get good people nationally. The problem is, we focus so much on the national, we get the crooks, and they're the ones who's trained to go to Washington."

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