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Database Provider




9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Social Studies, Economics, Civics

Resource Type

  • Videos, 14 minutes, 25 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Midwest


YouTube Video

How 4 Companies Control the Beef Industry

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  • This video takes students through the entire process of producing beef, from birth to store shelf.
  • It highlights the lack of competition in the United States cattle market, resulting in more ranchers going out of business and higher prices for consumers. 
  • This video is part of a series of videos by Vox about the costs associated with meat production.
Teaching Tips


  • It provides an example to help students visualize the effects of a lack of competition and monopolies.
  • This explains why small ranch businesses have disappeared over time and how enforcing regulations to prevent monopolies is required for a market-based economic system to function. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • It includes some business and economic terms that may require clarification.
  • Presenting information about the effects of agriculture and diet on climate change before this video would be helpful to connect the content to climate change. 
  • There are ads before and during the video, and the last minute is sponsored content.


  • This is ideal for lessons in an economics class to illustrate some of the challenges of not enforcing or weakening anti-trust laws and government regulations.
  • Students could research other consolidating industries and companies that affect climate change, such as genetically modified seed companies that also produce pesticides to apply to those seeds, that also make plastics, other chemicals, or pharmaceuticals. 
  • Science classes could connect this resource to lessons about agriculture, land use, deforestation, methane emissions, and nitrous oxide emissions.
  • Social studies classes could use this video when discussing the effects of large companies on small businesses within the same sector and the safety concerns associated with food production being highly consolidated (contamination issues, production issues, etc.).
Scientist Notes
The video spotlights activities in the cattle production cycle, measures to reduce competition, and ways to sustain human and environmental health through enforcing antitrust laws to reduce contract sales. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • English Language Arts
    • Language (K-12)
      • L.9-10.2 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases in grade-level reading and content; use context clues, analyze meaningful word parts, consult general and specialized reference materials, and apply word-solving strategies (for meaning) as appropriate.
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • SL.11-12.3 Understand and evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
  • Social Studies
    • Economics
      • SS.Econ2.b.h Differentiate between supply and demand and the resulting impact on equilibrium prices and quantities produced. Compare and contrast various degrees of competition in markets (e.g., perfect competition, monopolistic competition, oligopoly, monopoly) and how the extent of competition in various markets can affect price, quantity, and variety.
      • SS.Econ4.d.h Evaluate the intended and unintended costs and benefits (i.e., externalities) of government policies to improve market outcomes and standards of living. Analyze the effectiveness of how people, government policies, and economic systems have attempted to address income inequality and working conditions both now and in the past.
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