Economics

Beef Industry Loses Valuable Forecasting Tool

BY Kim Souza, The City Wire | | Comments (0)

While beef packers like Tyson Foods and Cargill were spared any major setbacks from meat inspector lay-offs, following the federal sequestration budget cuts, they did lose a forecasting tool when the U.S. Department of Agriculture suspended its July Cattle Report.

The semi-annual report surveyed the head count of the nation’s herd and provided the first glimpse of the calf numbers, which is deemed a forecasting tool used by cattle marketers, packers and producers that are price sensitive, said Travis Justice, spokesman for the Arkansas Beef Council.

“Its unfortunate, because it was a mid-year check-up following the January report and it provided a snapshot view of the state of the industry.  Smaller Arkansas cattlemen may not directly miss the report but the analysts, feed yards, and packers will have less visibility in forecasting,” Justice said.

Justice said local cattlemen rely on those services up the chain so there is an indirect impact coming at a time when the industry itself is volatile.

The July Cattle Report was one of the several agriculture accountings to be suspended.  The USDA said the decision to suspend the reports was not made lightly, but it was nevertheless necessary, given the funding situation.

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