A study designed to help the Beef Checkoff Program in its future decision-making has been completed. Taken every 10 years, the "U.S. Beef Demand Drivers and Enhancement Opportunities" study is a report card on Beef Checkoff Programs. One of the report's authors, Dr. James Mintert at Kansas State University, says there is no single dominant beef demand driver that the industry should focus all of its attention on.
Mintert called the beef industry dynamic, flexible and responsive to many outside influences. He says it's even more necessary for the Beef Board and state beef council leadership to monitor and adjust to change, and to work with every vertical segment along the way.
The biggest concern right now is financial. Mintert points out that when the economy turns around and beef demand recovers, we will do so with a tight supply base. The Ag economist says cow-calf producers need to get through 2009 and possibly 2010, and then things may really bounce back as the U.S. economy recovers. He recommended investing in risk management to manage downside risk.
Mintert predicts the equity drain on cattle feeders will continue for a while longer. Feeders need to rationalize what's taking place and might end up ratcheting down the price we pay for feeder cattle. He said feeders didn't anticipate demand dropping so drastically and that's what this market has been about: demand, not supply.