Sunday, April 1, 2012
Where's the beef?
Take a drought in the south add a dash of mad cow and ecoli scares and a speculator or two and you have a recipe for an inedible dish of beef stew. And now pink slime is added to the mix for the piece d resistance. Cattle farmers here had dumped a goodly portion of their herds last summer rather than face a total economic loss. But the drought hit them from both sides driving up the cost of feed and slashing access to much needed water. It's created a rather unusual situation in supply and demand economics. As prices rise beyond a certain point for any product the demand falls usually causing the price for the product to follow. However when the costs to produce the product start to exceed any profits a farmer is faced with either dumping the product at a loss or finding a new career. Many here have done just that over the last ten years calling it quits. We are reduced to either very small specialty markets or massive factory farms. There seems to be no in between. I'm hearing that farmers are adding stock but it will take a year or two to see any change in the current situation and that will also depend on the weather. At any rate they'll have to find a new market for beef by products as they have grossed us out with their pink slime. Maybe had they chosen a more appetizing name this might not have been such a problem. Funny but in my trade the term has a totally different meaning referring to a colored bridging encapsulant used to seal asbestos.
To add insult to injury we're seeing higher fuel prices something farmers aren't happy to see as their operations depend on it. What more could be added to this perfect economic storm for our nations farmers and beef producers? I'm sure the Blog Fodder could give us his take on the subject as that is right up his alley. I can only dig out the bits and pieces of info on the subject. One thing is for certain and that's that prices are due to increase yet again this year with some estimates at between 4 and 6%.
Make mine the chicken sandwich. But then again you might have to hold the chicken if that gets too expensive.