Good news for Kansas livestock producers, not so great for consumers

MANHATTAN (KSNT) – A new USDA projection on food production for the next ten years has a mixed bag of news for Kansas farmers and livestock men.

“Beef has a unique flavor, tenderness, juiciness profile that can’t be replaced with any other proteins,” USDA Cooperative Extension Service meat specialist, Travis O’Quinn.

And that love of beef, prompted a seven percent increase in demand, according to a new US Department of Agriculture Report. But there was also an increase in prices at the store. That’s because the economic hit in 2008 and years of drought have forced ranchers to reduce their herds pushing up prices. That will continue, says the report, this year and into next year.

“Higher yet prices, in 2015 for beef products because we’re going to have less available and we have that positive demand story,” says Dr. Glynn Tonsor of the Dept. of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University.

Officials say beef prices will remain the same or rise over the next two years but by 2017 you’ll a decrease in the price and are projected to stay low until 2025.

Tonsor says with the increase of demand for beef Kansas ranchers are expected to increase beef production by 16% over the next decade.

Because it takes time to rebuild herds to meet the demand, the challenge for cattlemen is to hold on to their customers when chicken and pork can be raised more quickly.

Still, the experts say there’s a constant demand for beef, no matter what the price is.

“Does meet all the expectations that consumers have when it ones to eating meat products. and so that’s why it will continue to be the number one meat product that consumers demand and want,” says O’Quinn.

For those who can afford to pay the price. One positive note for ranchers, cattle prices are at the best they’ve been in years.

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