Here are the highlights of the U.S. cattle industry’s long-term outlook, according to officials addressing the “CattleFax Outlook 2009” session in Phoenix on Thursday.

“Per-capita beef supplies will decline 1.5-2.0 lbs. during 2009. Supplies are expected to continue to decline into 2011.
“Per-capita meat supplies (beef, pork and poultry) are expected to decline nearly 4 lbs. during 2009. This will be the largest year-to-year decline since 1981-82.

“Demand will be the biggest wildcard during 2009-2010, both domestically and globally. The magnitude of the current recession suggests this will be the longest and one of the deepest of any time in history. Demand is expected to remain soft through 2009, but exports are still expected to grow compared to 2008.

“Production costs will moderate during 2009 compared to last year. Costs will remain elevated but should decline slightly for the year in total.

“The single biggest opportunity for the U.S. beef and cattle industry is expanding market access for U.S. beef products.

“Opening the Japanese market to product less than 30 months of age could add nearly $4/cwt. to the fed market and $10/cwt. to the calf market.

“Mexico and Canada are two of the largest export destinations for U.S. beef. Non-tariff trade barriers, like mandatory country of origin labeling, are short-sighted legislation for an industry trying to compete in a global marketplace. If the U.S were to lose access to Mexico and Canada, it would negatively impact the market by nearly $50-$60/head on all classes of cattle.”