World issues

Tastes and Preferences

     We usually think about demand in the two dimensional way that we are restricted to visualizing it in with a graph.  That is, the amount demanded is a function of price.  In actuality there are several other factors which determine demand that are embedded in those graphs but not visualized.  For instance, we know that the level of income influences demand as does the availability and price of substitutes and something called tastes and preferences.  For instance, if you hate carrots, lowering the price is not likely to induce more quantity demanded, though we might show the demand curve for carrots for a group (like people in the U.S.) as a function of the price.

Russian Roulette with Three or Four Chambers Loaded

     The pig production business has always had its ups and downs but developments over the last few years have resulted in the structuralization of increased levels of price and financial risk.  By structuralization, I mean that these factors are now regular, recurring added risks that are no longer random, isolated events which no risk management process can adequately predict or mitigate effectively.  The factors include the predicted and now realized reduction in the average level of the stocks-to-use ratios for corn and soybeans placing feed prices in a continuing, annual, heightened state of price risk volatility.  Bob Wisner, retired crop extension professor from Iowa State University told World Pork Expo attendees that we will end up the soybean year with as little as 2.2 weeks of the supply remaining.  The cold, rainy corn belt conditions which delayed the corn planting period in the U.S.

You've Been Branded!

Nope, I don’t mean that someone has physically placed a hot iron in a conspicuous place in order to lay claim. What I do mean is that you may very well have branded yourself regarding your career choices. Generations of managers from just about any industry (especially agriculture) have pigeon holed - and been pigeon holed because of degree, or experience of their career early on. Today, I’ll take a break from the normal conversation of career options - and talk about something much more important. Developing your personal brand.

One Bit of Good News in a Sea of Disappointment

We are seeing something almost as destructive as a limited terrorist attack in terms of producing fear, panic, overreaction and economic injury.  Media misinformation and paniced responses from some world governments (like Egypt deciding to cull every pig, some 400,000 of them) has produced a sensationalized reaction from what at the end of the day will very likely be a very mild flu virus spreading around the world (,0,3606923.story) but monitored like it was the bubonic plague.  Of course these scientists could be wrong and it is the fear of being wrong that has set the world in motion. 

The Crystal Ball is Opaque

     Unfortunately, we are at a time not only in the meat industry but also in the general U.S. and world economy when what little anyone had to make a forecast for the future has largely disappeared into an opaque soup of uncertainty.  There is little doubt that demand for meat, both in the United States and worldwide, is tied to among other things, per-capita income and a behavioral variable related to perceived and actual wealth (although there is some controvery about the wealth effect).  Both are down with rising unemployment and plummeting asset values. 

Jerry Roell - Equipping Animal Agriculture in a Changing World

Equipping Animal Agriculture in a Changing World.

Jerry Roell, Sales Branch Manager, John Deere Columbus.

NIAA 2009 Annual Meeting The Changing Face of Agriculture, March 31 - April 1, Louisville, Kentucky, USA.


     The price outlook to producers can be summarized as I have said before by observing "which falls faster, supply or demand".  It is clear that both are falling, nationally and domestically, and the price responses still seem to suggest demand is falling faster than supply but a slowing is beginning to take place.  There seems to be some traction developing and as everyone in this business knows, spring is the beginning of the annual reduction in supply as various biological factors begin working their way through the production complex and summer demand for certain cuts begins to increase, at least domestically.  We have experienced years when the season price pattern for spring does not develop so it is not a sure thing.

Phil Seng - The World's Changing Views of U.S. Livestock Agriculture

The World's Changing Views of U.S. Livestock Agriculture.

Jon Caspers (Chairman of the Board, United States Meat Export Federation) speaking on behalf of Phil Seng, United States Meat Export Federation Service.

NIAA 2009 Annual Meeting The Changing Face of Agriculture, March 31 - April 1, Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

For full screen, click on player below.

Cooperatives - A Great Career Opportunity in Agriculture

Recently, many people have been asking my advice on where the greatest opportunity for jobs in the agriculture industry is. Over the next several weeks, I will attempt to break down several areas of the industry that are working hard to recruit top talent. In this economy, you might find it hard to believe that certain sectors of the industry are in high need, but believe it or not, its true. As we face many baby-boomers coming up for retirement, almost all sectors of agriculture will experience a shortage of well qualified workers. This week we’ll take a snap shot of the Cooperative system - where job openings seem to abound these days, and we’ll examine why.

SwineCast 0402, NIAA - Are They Getting The Right Message?

SwineCast 0402 Show Notes:

  • Registered Dietician Lisa Katic shared with attendees at the National Institute for Animal Agriculture's annual meeting information on who has the ear of your legislators and Washington's policy wonks and the message being sent.  Full presentation here.
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