My View From The Country

What’s The Middle East Got To Do With Hamburger Demand?

It is undeniable just how important oil is to the world’s economy, and even the impact that the price and availability of oil has on overall beef demand.

The one thing that seems to be a constant in today’s world is the geopolitical nightmare that is the Middle East. There was some hope that the so-called Arab Spring created when democracy came to Iraq would alter the region, but it’s turned into a total quagmire instead.

Pick the country – Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Syria – and it looks like the needle is heading in the wrong direction in all of them. Even the promise of Palestinian/Israeli peace talks got sidetracked before they even began.

We don’t export a tremendous amount of beef product to the region, so it would be easy to shrug off all the problems in that part of the world. Surprisingly, despite all the turmoil, oil continues to flow from that region.

The threat of an impact on the oil trade presents a serious economic risk to the world. It is undeniable just how important oil is to the world’s economy, and even the impact that the price and availability of oil has on overall beef demand.

In fact, since the advent of ethanol in the U.S., the corn price today is dictated as much by fuel prices as by feed demand. That’s made the cattle industry, all agriculture really, pay a lot more attention to what’s happening in the most volatile region of the world.

I can’t help but wonder if the whole problem with the Middle East is a lack of beef consumption. I haven’t taken the time to do the research, but I can’t imagine that the citizens of any country that are comfortably eating a couple of tasty steaks each week would commit themselves to killing each other.

So, instead of expending millions on weapons, maybe we should air-drop in a couple of million grills. My experience is that a man with a good steak or hamburger sizzling on his grill isn’t likely to stop grilling to war with his neighbor.


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Discuss this Blog Entry 5

Doug (not verified)
on Aug 30, 2013

I hope I don't start the sheep / cattle wars all over again, but you do know they eat a lot of mutton. What if we have an Affordable Beef Consumption Act? I do think it is a right of the citizenery to have acess to good affordable steaks.

A Vega (not verified)
on Aug 30, 2013

Troy seems to be fascinated with politics. I think he should write in another magazine, no in the Beef Magazine/Site, perhaps in the socio-political-economical arena.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 30, 2013

This article had no useful information. Was it an attempt at humor?

Tracey A. (not verified)
on Aug 30, 2013

Troy, I wish it were that simple. I might also suggest it's too much caffeine...I used to sit around in the Cairo cafes with Egyptian friends and drink way too much coffee way too late into the night. But, I realize your suggestion and mine, are of course, simple tongue-in-cheek solutions to some fairly large problems. My wife and I still have a number of friends in the country whose lives are in absolute turmoil these days. A good steak might not solve their problems but grilling and eating a good piece of beef could at least take their minds off their situation for a few minutes. Thanks for your contributions. Always enjoyed.

on Sep 3, 2013

I sure hope that was a "sad" attempt at humor.
In a world where 3/4 of the population have to eat on less than $2/day... I don't see many people buying steaks.

Of course, only having enough food to feed 30% of your population (without imports) is a recipe for disaster (as we see). 50% unemployment rate in the youth... economy in shambles.

Pathetic if we make light of their situation, as we sit with our abundance.

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What's My View From The Country?

As a fulltime rancher, opinion contributor Troy Marshall brings a unique perspective on how consumer and political trends affect livestock production.


Troy Marshall

Troy Marshall is a multi-generational rancher who grew up in Wheatland, WY, and obtained an Equine Science/Animal Science degree from Colorado State University where he competed on both the livestock...

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