So what's the projected impact of the financial crisis on ranchers? The value of the U.S. dollar is going to be a major driver of beef exports, and beef exports will greatly impact slaughter-cattle prices. Ranchers will need to keep one eye focused on the value of the U.S. dollar and its impact on beef exports.
Per-capita consumption of beef may drop as the beef industry downsizes. Lower beef-cow profit margins will result in beef-cow liquidation, already underway. The downsizing in production, however, will correspond with lower per capita consumption figures, which will negate much of the negative price impact.
Credit will be higher priced for ranchers and will require more documentation to obtain. Ranchers are encouraged to pay down as much debt as possible and postpone taking on new debt. A ranch with little or no debt should be able to ride out about any economic storm that the national economy throws its way.