Forget SCOTUS, This Is What’s Important

Yeah, I heard about the retirement of Associate Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. And, yes, I know it’s kind of a big deal, though I dread listening to the political spin from both sides as the process evolves.

But something else happened this week that may be more important to your cattle business. It’s Amazon, again, making news. Amazon just bought online pharmacy start-up PillPack for $1 billion. CNBC reports that Wal-Mart and PillPack were in negotiations – until Amazon swooped in with a higher offer.

Amazon also announced its new Delivery Service Partners program — designed to let entrepreneurs run their own local delivery networks of up to 40 vans emblazoned with Prime logos.

According to a report on CNBC, each delivery unit will start its day at one of 75 current Amazon stations in the U.S. where parcels ordered from are picked up by drivers wearing Amazonblue-collared shirts with an Amazon logo and black hats. Algorithms will determine which packages are sent to these delivery stations, and which are sent to other delivery partners, like FedEx and UPS.

And if those two announcements weren’t enough, Amazon announced Wednesday, Amazon Prime members can expect an additional 10% off sale items at Whole Foods, the grocery chain Amazon bought last year. There are also big ticket items such as meat that Whole Foods calls “Prime Member Deals,” offering additional discounts.

Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, supplanted Bill Gates this year as the world’s richest man. Bezos net worth is growing so fast it will be outdated by the time you read this, but somewhere in the neighborhood of $112 billion. Gates is worth $90 billion.

Bezos’ business, unlike Gates, has a much greater influence on the food industry, and therefore the beef industry. As his empire continues to grow, that impact will also increase. Is that good or bad for beef? Time will tell. But one thing is certain, when Bezos enters an industry he’s not looking to be one of the small players. He’s looking to own it.