April 17, 2024

Taylor Daily Press

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Photographer Kadir van Lohuizen traveled across America to map the food industry.  The sheer scale of food production there is sometimes breathtaking.

Photographer Kadir van Lohuizen traveled across America to map the food industry. The sheer scale of food production there is sometimes breathtaking.

As far as the eye can see, cows stand on an endless sheet of yellowish sand. In Hereford, in the heart of the state of Texas, American company TD Beef raises 350,000 to 400,000 beef cattle annually.

According to photographer Kadir van Lohuizen, the production scale of DD beef – 'a gigarange' – is hard to fathom. “Definitely for us in the Netherlands.” However Van Lohuizen's fact that he was from the Netherlands ensured that he was allowed to visit the 'beef capital of the world'.

DD Beef is run by American Mike de Groot, who, like many farmers in America, has Dutch roots. “I'm a third-generation dairy,” de Groot says. “My grandfather moved from Friesland to California when he was eighteen. He celebrated his nineteenth birthday on a boat. Upon his arrival in the western United States, Mike's grandfather became good friends with another Dutch immigrant. “His grandsons, Jake and Jason Tulz, are now my business partners.”

Before founding DD Beef in 2019, de Groot worked with his father in the dairy industry for twenty years. In addition to meat, TD Beef also produces dairy products: thousands of dairy cows, which must be pregnant to produce milk, give birth to about a thousand calves a day, which are then fattened for slaughter. According to de Groot, his company is 'one of the four or five biggest players' in the beef market, although it is not well-appreciated in the US. “Organizations of this size are not unique here.”

The enormous scale of agriculture and ranching in the United States has its origins in the 1970s. “Be big or disappear,” Agriculture Minister Earl Butts advised farmers. They have to work; Production tripled between 1948 and 2019, despite increasing scarcity of agricultural land due to urbanization and fewer institutions.

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