For BEEF magazine's state-of-the-industry issue in June 2008, we asked a panel of industry analysts to comment on their prognosis for the U.S. beef industry. Since that article appeared, some significant watershed happenings have transpired in the beef, national and global economies.

For instance, stock market losses in 2008 alone have tallied more than $6 trillion; one in every 10 house mortgages was said to be in arrears or in foreclosure at the end of September; and anxious consumers are cutting back on spending. While the U.S. agriculture industry is in a better financial and capital shape than the general economy, prices are trending down and all sectors are concerned about the fallout of a tighter and downtrending economy.

There's an old adage that states that in adversity comes opportunity. So what are those “silver linings” to the dark economic clouds now shading the world economic picture? We asked three of the four June issue panelists — Bill Helming, Tom Field and Bill Mies — to provide their views on the opportunities offered in today's economic and market situation.