Thursday, August 06, 2020
Cattle producers continue to struggle with 'absurdly low prices' as the four major meatpackers make record profits
Cattle producers generate more than half of U.S. farm revenue, but they've been dealt a bad hand: cattle prices dropped this spring as meatpackers had to shut down, but farmers had to keep their farms running with less income and, in many cases, continue to house and feed cattle they couldn't ship to slaughter. But during the height of the plant shutdowns in April and May, beef packers' profit margins reached historic highs, Jessica Fu reports for The Counter. That has a lot of cattle farmers upset.
Meatpackers are operating at high volumes again, but the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank estimates that farm revenues could still decline this year because of the earlier disruptions, Chuck Abbott reports for Successful Farming.
The Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute "has estimated an 8 percent decline in livestock revenue this year, compared with 2019, with lower average hog, cattle, and poultry prices," Abbott reports. "Per-capita meat consumption would decline this year and take years to recover, said the University of Missouri think tank in June. Overall, it projected a 3% decline in farm income, thanks to record federal subsidies that would largely offset big losses in farm receipts."