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Steve Kay, Contributing Columnist

Cattle and Beef Industry 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.
Livestock Industry Opinions
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.
Livestock Industry Opinions
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.
Livestock Industry Opinions
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.
Livestock Industry Opinions
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.
Livestock Industry Opinions
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.
Livestock Industry Opinions
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.
Livestock Industry Opinions
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.
Livestock Industry Opinions
Apr 2, 2010
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Is in Japan this week to promote U.S. farm exports to that country. Beef is to be featured prominently, both in the promotions and in private discussions with Japanese government officials. Both countries realize that Japans age limit on U.
Livestock Industry Opinions
Jan 29, 2010
Money talks, but apparently not loud enough to get the Obama administration to take a fresh approach to getting Japan to relax its restrictions on U.S. beef imports. Perhaps it is because the beef industry hasnt screamed enough about how much money the industry is losing because of the severely limited access to the Japanese market.
Livestock Industry Opinions
Dec 31, 2009
Why is it that packers disclose so much information about their business, but beef cattle producers so little? The contrast has fascinated me ever since I started surveying the industry’s largest packers, cattle feeders and cow/calf producers back in the late 1980s. Packers were initially reluctant to provide slaughter capacity or annual slaughter or sales data. But they soon realized
Livestock Industry Opinions
Dec 4, 2009
The authors did not cite meatpacking, but they could have. In 1988, the top three packers (IBP, ConAgra and Excel) shared 67.1 percent of fed steer and heifer slaughter, according to my data. Their market share climbed as high as 73.8 percent in 2001, but then declined and has remained below 70 percent ever since.
Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Nov 6, 2009
Cattle feeders and packers are learning how to live with market volatility of historic proportions. It wasn’t so many years ago that most commodity futures prices were only allowed to rise or fall by a maximum 150 points per trading session. Any moves up or down the limit in the futures market caused shockwaves throughout the cash markets for livestock and meat.


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