Food processing monopolies work to eliminate independent North Dakota ranchers.

These students from LaMoure Public School produced a fantastic documentary to help expose the nature of this beef with beef. It's a must-watch six-minute film that throws light on the challenges faced by producers in North Dakota. It's certainly not exclusive to beef producers, market control continues to be collected in a small number of corporate entities.

Since 2004, C-SPAN has hosted a student documentary competition.

The competition is called StudentCam, and since its inception, it's awarded over $1.2 million dollars to winning participants. Each year has a theme and this year it was "How does the federal government impact your life?"  Students in grades 6-12 were tasked to create a 5-6 minute video documentary related to that theme.

Most North Dakotans could easily give a six-minute tirade about the federal government.

But that's not the angle from which students Rose Wendel, Makayla Jones, and Molly Musland approached the question. Instead, the LaMoure teens made the case for an increase in government oversight of the monopolistic behavior of these large companies that are trying to gain as much control as they can.  North Dakota, for a moment can we agree that some of the time governance isn't always a bad thing?  President Teddy Roosevelt, who is beloved by our state, was a serious trust-buster. Not sure if he really spoke softly, but surely a lot of monopolies got a big government stick upside their head.

The documentary is titled "Vertically Challenged: Our Beef Industry and Their Struggle"

Sure we all think of vertically challenged as being short in nature, but in business, it carries another meaning...

vertical integration is the degree to which a firm owns or controls the actors within its value stream, its supply chain component and its distribution channels.

The documentary shows the desire of North Dakota producers to arrange their own vertical integration.  It's a very interesting watch and a nicely edited piece by these students from LaMoure, North Dakota. The competition field over 1,500 entries.

The LaMoure students won 3rd-place and will receive a $750 prize.

How any teenager has even heard of C-SPAN baffles me but please do take six minutes now or over the weekend to give the documentary a watch. Great stuff!  You'll find it with just one click here on

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