A turnaround in profitability for Tyson Foods underscores improved conditions for not only meat processors but also cattle producers, who are enjoying their first profitable year since 2007.

Tyson, the nation's largest meatpacker, Monday reported a $780-million profit for the fiscal year ending Oct. 30, compared with a $457-million loss last year when it charged off about $560 million on the value of its beef business.

Prices for live cattle have risen from about $86/cwt. a year ago to $101/cwt. recently. Feeder cattle have risen in price from $102/cwt. at the beginning of this year to $118/cwt. this month.

Cattle producers lost money steadily in 2008 and 2009 because of slack demand, overpopulation of herds and high feed prices. But they have earned profits of as much as $165.86/animal in May and $56.16/animal in September, according to an Iowa State University survey.

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