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The Weekly News Source for Wyoming's Ranchers, Farmers and AgriBusiness Community

What’s Ahead

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

To say those involved in agriculture are positive is an understatement. We all realize to be involved in agriculture, we have to be optimistic.

The products of agriculture are cyclical, influenced by supply and demand, and in the case of cattle and beef, there is an 11-year cycle. But, those with years of experience watching the current cattle cycle are not so sure of the timeline. 

Cattle markets and beef prices are very good today, better than a month ago. So far this year, bred heifers have lagged behind other cattle, so much so, it was hard not to notice the concern of others in the business. 

In the last couple of weeks, the bred heifer prices have turned around, and we hope they stay higher. 

Some have said bred heifers are finally selling for well over what a cattle producer would have invested in them. There would be money to make in selling them now.

When cattle prices are this high, with higher projections running rampant for at least the next year or two, one starts to hear cattle producers are on a “bubble.” This tells us to enjoy the higher prices, but it’s also time to be cautious – all bubbles pop.

We all remember the high cattle prices in 2014 and the huge market crash of 2015. Some predictions were saying high prices were going to last a couple years or more.

I think there are always risks in the cattle business, so what is happening with high prices today has happened before. We do have some new concerns today, some of which are not going to be solved soon.

One of these is high inflation. This inflation has really hurt food and housing costs. 

While there is still demand for beef in grocery stores, higher-priced cuts have less space on the meat counter than usual. I’m seeing more lamb, chicken and pork on the shelves, along with canned meats. 

Demand for beef is still high because America’s beef keeps getting better due to genetics and care of the animals. Also, consumers are trusting ranchers for a safe, nutritious product which has been cared for since birth and has zero impact on the environment. 

We need our Beef Checkoff now more than ever to develop new beef products and tell ranchers’ stories.

Another large concern is the national debt affecting America. We are almost spending the same on interest as our defense budget. We have to stop printing money to fund all of the do-good programs out there. 

This may help get votes for those in power, but it is hurting America badly. 

Some other concerns are political – the inability of our national government and state legislatures to pass good legislation is becoming hard to accomplish. There is a lot of yelling and finger pointing, but that’s about it.

For security purposes we need to get a handle on the immigration issue – one can’t just open the gates and walk away with threats against America. We have to take care of our nation first. 

You can’t throw money toward agriculture with one hand and come up with new regulations with the other. It’s uncalled for government overreach with no other purpose than to put ranchers and farmers out of business.

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