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Steve Kay, Contributing Columnist

Livestock Industry Opinions
Aug 2, 2013
The numbers never did add up for Northern Beef Packers (NBP) in Aberdeen, SD. Around the time that plans for its new plant were getting off the ground, the national cattle herd had completed three years of extremely modest expansion and then returned to contraction mode.
Livestock Industry Opinions
May 31, 2013
One weekend does not make a market. But the beef industry was hoping for a beef sales bonanza over the Memorial Day holiday. Alas, Mother Nature decided to rain on the beef parade. Instead of warm, sunny weather that would have encouraged more grilling, it was wet and cool in parts of the Midwest and Northeast.
Livestock Industry Opinions
May 3, 2013
Weather extremes have played a huge role in American life from the time the republic was founded. From earthquakes to hurricanes or tornadoes, cities and towns from coast to coast have felt the full force of nature and been reshaped by it. Weather has also been a huge influence in shaping agriculture and modern food production.
Livestock Industry Opinions
Mar 29, 2013
Batista’s optimism, and that of his family, transformed JBS from being a mid-sized beef processor in Brazil to being the world’s largest meat and poultry company. The company now harvests every commercial species of animal, including goats. Its global revenue in 2012 was 76 billion reais (roughly $38 billion), up 22.
Livestock Industry Opinions
Mar 1, 2013
I recently had the pleasure of enjoying a Prime rib dinner with Scott George and J.D Alexander, respectively the incoming and outgoing presidents of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). We were attending the 10th annual Alberta Beef Industry Conference held at the majestic Banff Springs Hotel in the Canadian Rockies.
Livestock Industry Opinions
Feb 1, 2013
Plainview was the sixth largest plant on the Southern Plains and its idling causes 4,650 head of daily slaughter capacity to be lost to cattle feeders. But the market grossly over-reacted and Plainview’s absence will have little impact on Southern Plains’ live cattle prices this year.
Livestock Industry Opinions
Jan 4, 2013
It’s startling to realize that the U.S. has lost 14.5 million cattle since 1996. The beef industry has adjusted to the loss of these millions of cattle, notably by improving productivity per animal, better red meat yields and record heavy carcass weights for steers and heifers.
Livestock Industry Opinions
Dec 1, 2012
The U.S. faces a beef “deficit” in the coming year that will challenge every sector of the beef industry. I use the term “deficit” in that per capita beef consumption will decline relative to how much beef people would like to eat. USDA’s latest forecast is for available beef supplies in 2013 to be 54.
Livestock Industry Opinions
Nov 2, 2012
Much has already been written about the impact of the 2010-2011 Texas/Oklahoma-based drought and this year’s most widespread drought in 59-plus years. Drought has forced cow/calf operators to cull cows, retain fewer heifers than expected, and thus reduce their herds for another year.
Livestock Industry Opinions
Aug 10, 2012
Beef producers face the most widespread drought in their lifetimes. This means their drought management options are fewer than in years when droughts might have been just as severe but much more local. Take the historic Texas-Oklahoma drought that finally broke this spring.
Livestock Industry Opinions
Jul 6, 2012
We may be a ground beef nation but steaks still put the sizzle in wholesale beef prices and underpin fed cattle prices. That’s what occurred this spring, as beef cutout values responded to aggressive retail featuring of steak items for the Memorial Day weekend and throughout June.
Livestock Industry Opinions
Jun 1, 2012
Exports are a key contributor to the economic health of the U.S. beef industry. They allow the industry to maximize the value of certain cuts and by-products that have a much lower value at home. And they provide a counter-balance to the domestic market. The result is that exports boost cattle prices.
Livestock Industry Opinions
May 4, 2012
How much Americans spend on beef and how much they buy is how the industry determines domestic beef demand. Because all wealth to the industry comes from consumers, demand trumps everything else. This will be especially important the next two months as supplies of market-ready cattle start to increase seasonally.
Cattle and Beef Industry News
Mar 2, 2012
I ’ m a great fan of Costco, especially the way the warehouse chain sells beef. From the moment I see the giant “USDA Choice” banner above its fresh meat case, my pulse quickens as I anticipate finding a great beef deal. True to form, a visit last week produced not one but two terrific buys (although one wasn’t in the fresh case).
Cattle and Beef Industry News
Feb 3, 2012
Industry leaders have rightly focused on the shrinking U.S. cattle herd as one of the industry’s biggest issues. While a smaller herd means higher prices for cow/calf producers, it means small or negative margins for everyone else in the beef chain. And it’s not healthy for only one sector to be making money.


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