How do you expect Canada's mad cow scare to affect you?
Published July 1, 2003 | July 2003 issue
Editor's note: Interviews were conducted in early June.
At this point we haven't seen direct impacts. Futures are down slightly,
but that can't exactly be attributed to the outbreak in Canada, since
the stock market as a whole is down. Ranchers are guardedly optimistic.
For the short term, prices are strong. The big question is what will happen
when he borders are reopened. We know that Canada has a lot of cattle
they've been stockpiling. The impact
that will have is anybody's guess.
Beth Emter, Communications Coordinator
Montana Stockgrowers AssociationHelena, Mont.
It's increased our prices that we've had to pass on to our customers,
and they're not too happy about it. But they're still buying. We've maintained
our steady pace of business, going at 110 percent all the time. We haven't
seen a dip in sales. This time of year is our usual increase in middle
meats, such as rib eyes, New York strips, tenderloins or T-bones. They
normally increase about 50 to 75 cents per pound
due to summer salesnot to the extent of $1 per pound as it
is now. But that's what happens when you take 5 percent of the beef supply
out of the market.
Doug Smith, Owner
Geneva Meats and ProcessingGeneva, Minn.
Initially I was nervous. At this point, I don't see that it's affected
me at all. If there was a positive effect, it was very short term and
it's over already. Any effect that it did have was because of the press.
I'm not a believer in closing the borders. I don't believe that Canadian
cattle have a big impact on our market. We ship more beef cattle to Canada
than they ship to us.
Brad Bonhorst, Farmer
Beef Cow and Cow-Calf Operations/Corn GrowerPierre, S.D.
Board Member of South Dakota Corn Utilization Council
300 head of cattle
It has had both a positive and negative impact.
Trade has picked up as far as cows, bulls and fat
cattlesteer and heifer. When they do open the border back
up, there's going to be a rush on cattle to market. That'll impact prices.
It'll be a two-way street. Short term it's nice. Long term it's negative.
Right now, with the market as such, we're going to capitalize on the situation.
We're at the lowest levels of beef cattle numbers for quite some time,
due to drought. I feel for the farmers up there. I have no beef with [Canadian
farmers]. The border doesn't separate us from being fellow farmers and
Kory Sorby, Manager
Central LivestockWest Fargo, N.D.
It hasn't had too much of an impact because we're a cow-calf and yearling
operation, and we send cattle to market in the fall. Our primary problem
is bovine tuberculosis, which has infected four deer herds in the Lower
Peninsula so far this year. It has not been found in the Upper Peninsula,
but as a result, we haven't been able to ship cattle outside of the state
for the past three years. For many producers, they're taking a loss of
$50 to $100 per head of cattle. There are roughly 54,000 head of cattle
in the U.P., so bovine tuberculosis is costing over $1 million per year
for producers in the western U.P. That, combined
with the mad cow incident, creates a lot of uncertainty in the industry.
Beef prices are really fluctuating as a result of mad cow. About 4 percent
to 8 percent of the beef we consume [in the United States] comes from
Canada. I sure hope they find only one infected cow in Canada. If they
have the backlog of cattle entering our markets in the fall, it could
Clarence Wilbur, Cattle Farmer
Cow-Calf OperatorOntonagon, Mich.
600 head of cattle
It's really just hit. The most impact I feel is right now. Our own U.S.
beef prices have gone through the roof. In a way, today, I noticed people
didn't order as much because of the price. I don't see that customers
are that concerned about not eating meat. Meat has roughly gone up $1
per pound in the past three weeks. I predict we'll have a strong market
for the next month or so. Perhaps after the Fourth of July then people
may start taking it off their menus.
Larry Stenz, Manager
Northwoods Foods Inc.Minocqua, Wis.
Wholesale and retail meatpacking