Home / Articles / by Steve Kay, Contributing Columnist
Search:inAuthors List
 

Steve Kay, Contributing Columnist

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.
Opinion
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.
Opinion
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.
Opinion
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
Opinion
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.
Opinion
Nov 6, 2009
Most folk in the cattle/ beef industry will be happy to see the end of one of the most challenging years in history. You have to go back to 1973, when President Nixon imposed price controls on beef, to find one as challenging. The market was in uproar the rest of the year.
Opinion
Nov 6, 2009
Next time you pull your boots on, reflect for a moment about how the leather business affects the price of cattle. You might be surprised at how much. That's because hides, which are turned into all types of leather, make up two-thirds of the value of all the byproducts that come from each animal.
Opinion
Nov 6, 2009
US Premium Beef (USPB) remains a remarkable model of how beef producers can work with, not against, packers and put more money in their pockets. USPB began operations in 1997 with a minority ownership in then Farmland National Beef and has gone from strength to strength.
Opinion
Nov 6, 2009
The U.S.s shrinking cattle population is becoming a huge concern for the beef industry. The main reason for the declining numbers is lack of profitability. Cattle feeders in particular have lost billions of dollars in equity in the past two years. The main reason for this is high input costs and weak beef demand due to the recession.
Opinion
Nov 6, 2009
Fed cattle processors enjoyed their best August operating margins since 2003. The real story, though, is that they achieved this not at the expense of cattle feeders. In fact, the opposite occurred. Cattle feeders enjoyed a strong and much-needed rally in prices.
Opinion
Nov 6, 2009
Go into any supermarket and youll find that most poultry items are branded with a company name. These include Tyson, Perdue and Pilgrims, which is soon to be majority-owned by JBS. Branded beef is much harder to find. There are niche brands such as Harris, Maverick, Lauras Lean and Coleman.