" It was a Darwinian struggle across the open range, as it often is in a capitalist society. A struggle to survive, to outcompete, to adapt on the fly, to changing circumstances brought on by new technology, emerging monopolies, changing regulations, fluctuating markets, and fickle weather. From one angle, the story of the Great Beef Bonanza is a record of remarkable human ingenuity and technological advancement. From another, it's a case history of the calamities that befall those who ignore economic or ecological realities in a single-minded pursuit of the American dream. The open range cattle era and its role in shaping America deserve to be more broadly known if only as an instructive cautionary tale."
That is a passage from "Cattle Kingdom: The Hidden History of the Cowboy West" by Christopher Nolton. That is going to be the basis for today's very special history episode about an interesting and pivotal time in American history, but also in the history of industrialized agriculture. Joining me for this is the person who recommended "Cattle Kingdom" to me, and someone who has been a regular on the show, Janette Barnard.
This book is both instructive about how bubbles form, but also some really pivotal beginnings to what we know today as agriculture, especially on the meat side of the business, which is what Janette covers in her wonderful weekly newsletter called Prime Future.