“We either have to maintain, or retain ownership in some heifers, and build the cow herd back, or we lose infrastructure, and we’re getting on the cusp of starting to lose some infrastructure in our business. Packing plants, feed lots, will go out of business because we don’t have enough numbers to keep them open.”
Ron Gill is a livestock specialist with Texas Agrilife Extension.
“That’s troubling, because as the population and demand grows, as the economy recovers, we won’t have enough to supply that, and so we may lose customers to other products, just because we can’t supply them at an economical price.”
Randy Blach is a cattle marketing consultant.
“Once we lose that market share, or that per capita consumption level, obviously we open the door for pork and poultry to increase their market share, and that would be my big concern.”
Demand for beef is still good.
“We’ve seen people buying good steaks and taking them home and cooking them, because it’s more economical to do so, so the economy has shifted where it’s prepared, and one of the problems we have is some of our good steak houses are really struggling, and that’s another part of that infrastructure we don’t want to lose, because that adds value to our product.”
Blach is optimistic.
“We’re going to have twenty seven million more people in the U.S. to feed in the next decade. We’re going to have seven hundred million more people to feed globally in the next decade, so when you look at that for beef getting it’s share, particularly as we see consumers around the world see their per capita income start to rise, that’s a great opportunity for the U.S. beef industry.”
I’m Bob French tracing the journey our food makes from the ranch to our tables, From The Ground Up.