Beef demand is still going up. Consumer spending for beef set a record the first half of 2000, and projections are that the trend will continue for the second half.

Cattle-Fax says consumer spending for beef during the first half of 2000 totaled nearly $26.2 billion. That's up nearly $2 billion (or 8%) from a year ago, despite record beef production. Second quarter spending of $13.4 billion is the largest quarter on record and the first quarter to exceed $13 billion.

In addition, per capita beef consumption for the first half of 2000 increased 0.6 lbs. (or 2%) to 35.1 lbs. compared to a year ago.

Randy Blach, Cattle-Fax chief operating officer, anticipates more good news in the year ahead. He expects beef's share of total meat spending to grow in 2000 for the first time in 20 years.

It's expected to grow by about 0.5% to 40.3% and will be the largest share since 1997. Total beef spending in 2000 is expected to grow by more than $2.6 billion and total about $52 billion. The growth in market share is expected to come at the expense of pork, he says.

Consolidated Beef Producers (CBP) has surpassed its minimum goal of 750,000 head, according to Paul Hitch of Guymon, OK, chairman of the board of directors of the new venture.

CBP is a non-profit marketing association that is open to cattle feeders in the U.S. with emphasis on the major cattle feeding states.

Hitch says cattlemen considering membership in the new marketing venture need to get on board quickly. CBP will continue enrolling members and selling marketing rights until the cutoff date of Oct. 1. Producers can join by paying a $3,000 membership fee and purchasing a minimum of 5,000 marketing rights at $1/head.

True value-based negotiated pricing is the ticket to optimizing the value of cattle, according to Hitch. "We intend to present the right cattle at the right time at the right packer to optimize value."

Now that CBP has reached its goal, a search will be undertaken to find a general manager. CBP is a non-profit agricultural marketing association incorporated in April 2000. It is a one-member, one-vote organization.

Feedyard customers can participate through a member feedyard, by forming a partnership with other customers or by purchasing the minimum number (or more) of marketing rights on their own.

Cattle feeders interested in joining CBP can send their check for the membership fee and marketing rights to Consolidated Beef Producers, Inc., 5501 I-40 West, Amarillo, TX 79106. Or, call 806 / 358-3681 for more information.