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Beef economist sees bullish times

Randy Blach, CEO of CattleFax, Centennial, Colo., delivered a message of optimism to Missouri beef producers. The beef industry economist shared his latest outlook on the state of the U.S. beef industry at the 2010 Missouri Cattlemen’s Association meeting in Columbia.

“In 12 to 24 months, many of you will wish you had bought more cows in 2010,” Blach told the audience of cattlemen and cattlewomen. He also said he believed Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and Oklahoma are in a competitive part of the country for beef cow production.

Key Points

CattleFax CEO speaks at the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association convention.

Randy Blach said it’s an opportune time for the beef industry.

Cattle market prices will outrun the rising costs of production.

“Cow slaughter has been at extremely high levels, considering the size of the U.S. inventory. There has been good demand for hamburger as consumers trade down from steak,” Blach said.

Blach came to CattleFax in 1981 and served as director of market analysis for 15 years, becoming CEO in 2001. He has been a keynote speaker at hundreds of cattle and beef industry conventions, meetings and seminars nationwide. CattleFax is an organization focused on helping member-cattle producers make more profitable marketing and management decisions. It is also a beef industry leader in providing timely beef cattle-market information, analyses and research.

“Every sentence Blach spoke had optimism in it,” said Eldon Cole, a University of Missouri Extension beef specialist who was also in the MCA convention audience to hear Blach’s presentation. Cole summarized Blach’s main points for his region’s beef producers, adding it is recommended reading for all Missouri beef producers.

CattleFax outlook high points

Here’s a review of Blach’s main points:

It’s still not too late to expand your cow herd, but do it as soon as possible.

The strong prices for cow and bull beef are due to the economy as consumers are trading down to leaner, less expensive cuts.

Our cow herd reduction has been possible due to good husbandry practices and carrying cattle to heavier carcass weights.

It’s been 30 to 40 years since there was a better time than now for young people to get into agriculture. Farmers nearing retirement should be looking for young people to partner with as they enter farming.

Global beef supplies have declined for four straight years, and the United States has downsized too much.

China will probably open up to U.S. beef in 2011.

Costs of production of beef will go up, but prices received will outrun them.

Don’t be a plunger — just be satisfied with solid profits.

This article published in the February, 2011 edition of MISSOURI RURALIST.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2011.