Must Reads

“Knowing where you stand is the first step in managing a beef cow through tough economic times.” When the economic profit of a beef cowherd turns negative, it suggests that the operation's resources aren't being employed to their highest and best use. That should be a red flag to any manager. In “Costs & returns: Part 1,” on page 14, “Market Advisor” columnist Harlan Hughes provides information on an easy process for keeping tabs on a cow-calf operation's financial performance.

“With the green movement more fervent than ever, it's imperativefor agriculture to demonstrate how they care for the land and natural resources entrusted to them.” And for the past 18 years, the beef industry's Environmental Stewardship Award Program has been one of the top vehicles for getting that story before the public. In “Caring For The Land,” on page 24, BEEF Managing Editor Alaina Burt provides some insight into the stewardship accomplishments of the seven finalists vying for the 2008 national award.

“The world population is somewhere around 6.5 billion people and is projected to grow to 8.5 to 9 billion by 2050.” That means that by the year 2050, humanity will have to produce twice as much food every year, year after year, than is currently produced, says technology guru Alex Avery. In “Feeding The World One Technology At A Time,” on page 72, BEEF Senior Editor Burt Rutherford tells how the key to meeting this health and environmental challenge lies in technology.

Brazil surging

Brazil's Ministry of Agriculture expects its domestic beef trade to continue to grow at 5%/year for at least the next decade. That equates to 14 million tons of beef production by 2018, compared to today's 9.5 million tons.

Unlike Argentina's per-capita consumption rate of 74 kilos (163 lbs.) of meat annually, primarily beef, Brazil consumes large amounts of pork and poultry. That leaves far more beef available for Brazilian export.

Plus, government officials believe the introduction in 2009 of micro-ID implants in all calves will resolve all issues of traceability that led to restrictions on Brazilian imports into the European Union in 2008.

Korean chains on board

South Korea's three major discount retailers — E-Mart, Home Plus and Lotte Mart — resumed sales of U.S. beef on Thanksgiving Day in Seoul. The three chains consist of 119, 113 and 63 stores, respectively.

Phil Seng, U.S. Meat Export Federation president and CEO, says U.S. beef export numbers have been strong since U.S. beef shipments commenced to South Korea in late July. However, sales have been limited to small outlets due to reluctance by major retailers and foodservice operations to sell U.S. beef because of lingering consumer anxiety and weak economic conditions.

The three retail chains say the move is due in part to the slow economy and daily financial difficulties facing Koreans. The companies say their sales of U.S. beef will provide value and convenience, as well as help stabilize consumer prices, and added there is no longer any reason for them not to carry price-competitive U.S. beef.

Seng says the timing of the large retailer re-launch is expected to lead other retail and restaurant chains to feature U.S. beef before the lunar New Year peak consumption period in late January.

Horse study

The issue of unwanted horses will be studied via a nationwide initiative of the Unwanted Horse Coalition (UHC) with help from equine associations, veterinarians, breeders, state and local law enforcement, horse owners, rescue/retirement facilities and other facilities using horses.

While reports abound regarding unwanted, neglected and abandoned horses in the U.S., little accurate data exists about their number, age, sex, breed, recent use, value or long-term disposition. Thus, UHC is conducting an online survey to gather “input, observations, opinions and suggestions from anyone and everyone involved with horses.” It's available at survey.ictgroup.com/uhcsurvey. For more on UHC, go to www.unwantedhorsecoalition.org.

Top steakhouses

Gayot Restaurant Travel Guide's (gayot.com) annual rundown of the top U.S. beef restaurants includes:

  • Gruet Steakhouse, Albuquerque, NM.
  • Kevin Rathbun Steak, Atlanta, GA.
  • Finn & Porter, Austin, TX.
  • The Prime Rib Restaurant, Baltimore, MD.
  • Mastro's Steakhouse, Beverly Hills, CA.
  • Peter Luger, Brooklyn, NY.
  • David Burke's Primehouse, Chicago, IL.
  • Elway's Cherry Creek, Denver, CO.
  • Doe's Eat Place, Greenville, MS.
  • SW Steakhouse, Las Vegas, NV.

ILC coming

The 2009 International Livestock Congress (ILC)-USA is Jan. 13 in Denver. Attendees will hear firsthand how the world's largest retailers are meeting the protein demands of their consumers and, in turn, what those retailers are demanding of the suppliers of protein.

The program kicks off with futurist Lowell Catlett's insights into beef globalization, followed by a panel discussion on global market drivers by speakers representing some of the world's largest food retailers. Additional sessions will address: “Complying with COOL,” “New Generation Growth Technologies — Where Do They Fit?,” “Places to Save; Places to Spend at the Ranch,” and “The State of Global Trade.”

Visit www.theisef.com or call 303-777-5662 for more information.