Letter from Leadership

by Mike Miller, Senior Vice President, Global Marketing and Research, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff 

The end of a year seems to always provide a period of reflection. For beef producers, thoughts typically revolve around weather and markets, and 2015 provided a lot to consider. The year began with a historically high market, strong export demand and very tight supplies. Spring moisture followed by good growing conditions led to lots of grass and a large corn harvest, providing producers with generally adequate resources. However, that good news has been offset by a cattle market that has been under pressure since the summer due to growing protein supplies and challenging export markets.

We’ve talked about the expansion of the U.S. cowherd for the past couple of years. Our reality is that the expansion has now arrived and beef supplies will continue to grow for the next several years. At the same time, pork and poultry supplies are expected to grow as well. Strong domestic demand along with robust exports will be necessary to support cattle and beef prices going forward.

It’s no secret that retail and foodservice professionals have been challenged for the past several years with high beef costs. The market change will afford them the opportunity to feature beef more regularly at retail and increase beef’s footprint on the menu. Domestic demand remains strong and we believe that opportunity abounds for beef as we remind consumers about beef’s place in healthy diet and lifestyle.

The challenges for beef exports revolve around two main issues: access and the strong U.S. dollar.  Market access is always front of mind for the beef community. Headway is being made given the recent global agreements that have been reached and action taken in Washington D.C.  Direct access to China remains a common goal for the beef community, and work continues to open this critical market to U.S. beef.  

As we look back at 2015, we would be remiss by not thanking you. It’s through your investment in the beef checkoff that we are able to meet our challenges together and identify future opportunities. There are no shortage of difficulties that our community faces, and yet I feel ever confident that we are equipped to meet them. As we move into 2016, please take the time to reflect and read some of the Beef Issues Quarterly year in review stories that highlight the major discussions that took place in the beef industry. We hope this reminds you of both the challenging and rewarding year that we had and that it inspires confidence in you, the same way that it does us, that this is just the start of good things to come for the beef community as we move into the new year.

 

Tags: Beef Issues Quarterly, Letter from the Editor, Winter 2015

December 21, 2015