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Demand for high quality beef continues to boom

The cattle industry is seeing historically high demand for high-quality, American-raised beef.

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Beef exports are expected to increase by 20% in value. Photo taken in 2021 in Spiritwood, North Dakota.
Emily Beal / Agweek
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It’s no secret that the past couple of years have been quite volatile for the cattle industry. Today, demand for high quality beef continues to be on the rise.

Cattle ranchers have faced turbulence in recent years when dealing with Mother Nature. From the record setting drought in 2021, to the historic spring blizzards that plagued the region in 2022, producers have been fighting tooth and nail to keep their herds fed, watered and healthy. Input costs and inflation continue to rise; but demand for beef goes up with it.

“We have historically tight supplies, with historically strong demand. We’ve never seen a demand for high-quality beef — upper-two-thirds choice, prime — that we have seen here now. I think it’s a really exciting time for the cattle industry,” said Troy Marshall, director of commercial industry relations for the American Angus Association.

During the COVID-19 pandemic , a lot of high-quality beef entered the retail case that would normally go to fine dining or other outlets. According to Marshall, consumers got a taste of high-quality corn-fed American beef and couldn’t put their knives down, even after the pandemic. Due to this, demand for the quality beef is as high as ever.

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The number of cows going to slaughter is far above the five-year average. Attendees of the annual Cow Calf Days tour in Minnesota heard the latest on cattle trends.

In terms of exports , transportation problems, the dwindling value of a dollar and slumping international markets have made it a difficult time. However, there is still a great want for American-raised beef, according to Dean Meyer, chair for the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

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“Interestingly enough, our exports have been great. Beef exports, we’re looking at a 20% increase in value,” he said. “We’ve got great opportunities in beef exports. The demand is going to stay there with markets, southeast Asia just emerging from COVID. Some still have a zero COVID policy, but yet we’re still able to sell that product.”

With demand on the upward swing, Marshall believes cattle producers may finally catch a break in the coming months.

“It’s a real exciting time for cattle producers, because we’re going into a time where we’re going to get rewarded from a market price standpoint,” he said.

Related Topics: CATTLEMARKETSAGRICULTURE
Emily grew up on a small grains and goat farm in southern Ohio. After graduating from The Ohio State University, she moved to Fargo, North Dakota to pursue a career in ag journalism with Agweek. She enjoys reporting on livestock and local agricultural businesses.
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