Ag Tidbits

Recently, I’ve read some ag industry updates that I want to share with you.

For starters, Dr. Lindsay Chichester, who blogs at Agriculture with Dr. Lindsay, posted about where our food comes from. Dr. Lindsay shared that The Washington Post put up an interactive map where you can see and guess if you know where food is raised in the U.S. I found this quiz interesting and educational. I passed with flying colors 12 out of 12 correct!

February 5

SimTalk is a publication put out by the American Simmental Association. In every issue they have a section called “Industry Update.” I think it’s important to be aware of what is going on with agriculture issues and the beef industry. ” (found between pages 90-116 in the January 2015 issue.) where they share tidbits from across agriculture. Here are a few things that caught my eye:

1. A study conducted by Cornell University reports that for every $1.00 beef producers pay to the checkoff $11.20 is returned to the beef industry. Due to active marketing of beef, demand is healthy in the US and there has been a 6.4% increase of beef exports.

2. Oklahoma State University did a survey of Consumer Trends. The survey results stated that food at home expenditures averaged $93.20 from May 2013-April 2014. Consumers spent $45.82 on goods away from home in the same time period.

The survey also evaluated the average price consumers are willing to pay. They found that consumers are comfortable paying $6.75 per pound of steak; $4.12 for ground beef; $4.92 per pound of chicken breast; $3.67 for pork chops and $2.34 for a pound of ham.

February 5

3. Greenhouse gasses is a hot topic in politics. Agriculture contributes 9% of total greenhouse gasses; public utilities generate 32% of greenhouse emissions; transportation 28% and “other” industries 20%.

4. Cattle inventory has been another topic that the beef industry is watching closely. The current US inventory is 95 million head, according to the mid-year cattle report. This is the lowest total cattle inventory since 1973, when the industry started keeping inventory records. Total number of cattle and calves is down 2.8 million head in the same time frame as 2012.

The 2015 calf crop forecast is at 33.6 million head; one year ago the head count was 33.9 million. The 2014 calf crop is the smallest since the late 1940’s. Calf crop numbers have decreased every year since 1995.

5. California is a huge ag state. They contributes 15% of total US cash farm receipts for crops and 7% of revenues for livestock. California is experiencing major drought conditions and 94% of farms and ranches are experiencing issues do to lack of moisture.

February 5

I think it’s important to be aware of what is going on with agriculture issues and the beef industry. I find the studies about how consumers accept beef interesting. Keeping track of beef inventory numbers is a great way to better understand marketing and pricing calves on our ranches.

What type of industry updates to you think are important? How did you do on the “Where Our Food Comes From Quiz?”  

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4 Responses to Ag Tidbits

  1. Kerrie K says:

    Good info Robyn, thank you for posting

  2. Kim says:

    Good food for thought this morning, Robyn! I am not sure I would have gotten the 12th question on the quiz without a spoiler alert in the comments on Lindsay’s blog, so I’m not sure I can count that one. (I love that last photo with the cattle lined up. It would be the perfect “3” photo for a counting book. Can you tell I have one of those on my mind?)

  3. Thanks for including me Robyn! This past summer I took about 45 livestock producers on a tour to Western Nevada and North Central California – and it was terribly dry. It was quite an eye opening experience for these Eastern Nebraska producers to hear agriculture was/is so prolific in California, and that farmers/ranchers there face the same concerns we do in Nebraska (i.e. water, taxes, generational transitions, consumer perceptions, etc.).

  4. Gwen says:

    9/12 … ooops.

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