by Henry Kempfer
It’s hard to believe that December is already here. 2014 is nearly over and it’ll be 2015 in a blink of an eye. We have seen unprecedented prices in the cattle business this year. This isn’t the result of just one event causing extremely high prices. It’s my opinion that the increase in ethanol production sparked the beginning of this trend, taking some of the country’s best pastureland and putting it into crop production. Then, we had the drought that plagued a large percentage of the U.S., forcing cattlemen to shrink or liquidate their herds. U.S. farmers sold $8 corn in 2014, and then had record yielding crops in 2015, driving corn prices down to where cattlemen could enjoy lower feed and supplement costs. This enabled the feeders to be profitable on the high cost cattle being placed on feed.
Our domestic consumers continue to buy beef, and our foreign market is consistently growing. Proceeds from our national beef check off are wisely used to promote beef and assure consumers that our beef is the safest and most flavorful in the world.
We, in Florida, now have our own intrastate traceability rule that officially went into effect on November 4th. It will aid in the process of controlling the spread of any foreign disease throughout our cow herds. Understanding this may not be a “perfect” rule, it’s much better than what we previously had in place. I encourage you all to become more familiar with this rule and to appreciate its true purpose. This adoption, along with the Federal Interstate rule, go a long way to build consumer confidence on a domestic and global level.
Ranchers are holding back more replacement females and the U.S. Cowherd will be on an uphill climb. It will take several years and good rainfall across the country to build our numbers back to normal. However, I believe if we continue to be aggressive in promoting and improving our product, there will always be an abundant demand to meet our supply.
I look forward to seeing you at our next quarterly meeting. It will be in Melbourne on December 4-5.
I hope you all enjoy December and the Christmas season. Let’s all remember the true meaning of Christmas.