The U.S. has been blessed by the size of our country, and the broad change of environments and climates that we have that allows beef production all over the country. That’s part of what makes the U.S. such a fierce competitor in global markets. David Anderson is a Texas A&M Agrilife economist.
“We produce cattle in every state from far north to far south and because of that our production process and the size of our country allows us to produce a lot of beef, which means that we have a year round supply of basically the highest quality beef available. If a buyer in another country wants to buy a box of rib eyes, we always have a box of rib eyes to sell.”
Anderson says that another thing that helps U.S. beef compete is a very successful quality and grading system.
“And by that I mean the USDA grades that we see, USDA Prime, Choice, and Select means something in world markets. Everybody knows if you’re buying USDA Choice, this is what you’re going to get, and it has a reputation behind it.”
Anderson notes that the beef industry almost became a victim of its own success.
“In fact, it wasn’t so long ago that there were a couple of countries that considered filing a trade dispute suit with WTO with us over our grades because they were recognized as a quality that maybe their grading system couldn’t match.”
Anderson also points out that in the mid to late nineties, a couple of countries worked to make their grading systems equivalent to ours.
“That their grade, if it was, whatever, number one, that that meant this is comparable to U.S. Choice Beef because we’re recognized as having that grading system in place, because all of our calves go through feed lots, and they’re going through those feed lots that produce a high quality consistent product.”
And that benefits not only us, but consumers all over the world.