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Steve Kay, Contributing Columnist

Opinion
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.
Opinion
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.
Opinion
Mar 30, 2012
The gutter press appears to be alive and well in America. How else can one describe the appalling media disparagement of lean finely textured beef (LFTB) and Beef Products, Inc., (BPI) one of the two companies that make it? I’m not a conspiracy theorist.
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).
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.
News
Dec 30, 2011
Cattle producers the world over are great survivors. The beef industries in most of the major beef-producing countries have endured everything from BSE to drought to floods in the past decade. These and other calamities forced some producers out of the business.
News
Dec 2, 2011
Food safety is the beef industry’s second most critical issue after demand. In fact, the two are inter-connected. So no one will quibble with the need to spend whatever it takes to make beef as safe as possible. But an examination of the years after the Jack-in- Box E.
News
Nov 4, 2011
Americans still love their beef. But they’re not eating anywhere near as much as their parents. This seems a contradiction, but the dramatic decline in per capita beef consumption over the last 35 years has little to do with preference. It’s all about available supplies.
News
Sep 30, 2011
This should be the best of times for beef producers. National herd numbers have fallen each of the past four years, yet domestic and global beef demand has improved steadily since the end of the 2008 recession. The U.S. has reclaimed its position as the world's leading beef exporter.
Opinion
Sep 2, 2011
Cow/calf producers and stocker operators in western and northern states are enjoying one of their best grass seasons for some years. Contrast this with the dire conditions in Texas, Oklahoma, parts of surrounding states and all the way to Florida.
Opinion
Jul 29, 2011
Although we export only 12-14 percent of our production, strong global demand has raised beef prices and has partially offset spluttering demand at home. Exports have significantly raised cattle values. The export boom is adding more than $200 per head to the value of fed cattle.
Opinion
Jul 1, 2011
I recently had the privilege of addressing California beef producers at their midyear meeting. The state has had one of its best spring grass seasons in years, so everyone had a smile on his or her face. I hope what I told them made them feel even better.
Opinion
Dec 3, 2010
The continued strength of the feeder and fed cattle markets makes a mockery of claims that the market is broken. Just a month or so ago, some analysts were forecasting that fed cattle prices would fall to $90 per cwt. or go even lower. Yet cash prices topped $100 again the week before last and went even higher last week.
Opinion
Oct 29, 2010
Here's a simple question to start. Why do you think live cattle prices shot above $100 the week before last? I'm sure you know the reasons, but let me offer another. Packers are throwing money at cattle feeders in a brazen attempt to bribe them into opposing the proposed Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) rule.
Opinion
Oct 1, 2010
The Great Recession might be over, but that's little comfort for the millions of Americans still out of work or working reduced hours. In fact, our nation of conspicuous spenders has become one of extremely cautious spenders, and this new attitude continues to show up in food spending.
Opinion
Sep 3, 2010
Livestock producers have long had an ambivalent attitude about meat packers. They complain that packers make profits at their expense. Yet when producers own meat companies, the results have often been disastrous. Producers have discovered that operating a successful meat plant or company has unique challenges not understood by outsiders.
Opinion
Jun 4, 2010
When I think of Greece, I think of lamb, from kebabs to kleftiko.I dont think of beef because the country produces only 56,000 metric tons (MT) of beef per year. Yet Greece is currently having a big impact on the U.S., the largest beef producer in the world (12.
Opinion
Apr 30, 2010
“Tough news if you’re a meat lover,” said the headline on my Internet news page last Monday. Oh no, I thought, not another negative story about how eating meat is bad for you and the planet. Turns out I was wrong, but the reasons for the headline are what’s got everyone in the industry buzzing right now.


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