Beef Talk: The changing face of beef production

US - An article, “Economics of Animal Agriculture Production, Processing and Marketing,” authored by Michael Boehlje, was published by the American Agricultural Economics Association in its online “Choices” journal (Volume 21, No. 3, 2006, . The article focuses on issues the beef industry finds hard to accept, or at least the conclusions probably don't mirror our hopes.
calendar icon 26 October 2006
clock icon 1 minute read
Beef producers have known for a long time that production operations are getting bigger. The associated advantages of scale simply outweigh leaving things the way they were. The solution will not be found by burying our heads in the sand or by a constant call to arms.

While the review of facts is unsettling, future business planning is essential. History has shown us that the future slowly becomes the present. Trends based on facts generally become the norm.

The beef industry is changing. Beef cattle production is only one part of a very large food industry. As Boehlje noted in the article, the beef industry “continues to undergo major structural change due to rapid evolution in product characteristics, worldwide production and consumption patterns, technology, size of operation, and geographic location.”

These changes are not unique and beef cattle producers are not immune. The article cites statistics from the USDA's Cattle on Feed report of February 2006. The report notes that in 2004, 48.4 percent of the cattle marketed were sold by feedlots of fewer than 16,000 head, while feedlots of more than 32,000 head marketed 33.6 percent.

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