North Dakota Cattle Sales Are Way Up For All The Wrong Reasons
2020's pandemic lock downs devastated the retail/hospitality business sectors in North Dakota. One bright light was some of the gains made last year in agriculture. Many crop prices made substantial jumps. Yet when it came to ranching side of the coin- we all saw the substantial meat price increases at the stores, but unfortunately those price increases never made it to the livestock producers. Supply chain issues like processing plant shutdowns, really limited North Dakota producers ability to truly take advantage of demand. But of course, others did...this from North Dakota Living
The retail beef price composite (the average retail price of beef products) was $6.67 in May – up 80 cents or 13.6 percent from April, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) figures.
Bad news for consumers but you would think a windfall for North Dakota ranchers.
Yet, the rancher’s share of that pound of ground beef was decreasing. USDA ERS data reveals the farmers’ share of retail beef sales fell over 9 percent from February to May.
One would only presume when demand is exceeding supply...those possessing the supply would be reaping the benefits. Seems that's not always the case when you have to rely on the supply chain to move your meat.
Even when retail prices rise, livestock producers often miss out on the benefit.
In 2021, the pandemic is far from over, but with less stress on the supply side, it should have been a bounce back year for North Dakota Ranchers. Until of course drought conditions come early and continue to stick around with no end in sight.
Winter brought no soil moisture. Spring showers were few and far between. Our sweltering summer now threatens to burn every last bit of accessible feed available.
Selling becomes the only option for many livestock producers across the state.
The Associated Press reports that long time sales ring, Kist Livestock in Mandan, has seen a 30% increase in sales activity over the past week.
"weekly sales are up by 1,000 head over a normal year, an increase of one-third.
Some cattle stay in the state, said Matt Lachenmeier, the auction barn’s field representative. But, there’s demand for cattle in nearby states as well, including Minnesota."
Troubling times bring little reason to rejoice. Long term breeding programs mean it's crucial to keep younger animals in the genetic mix. It makes clear economic sense- but as Matt tells the Bismarck Tribune, there's sentimental value as well...
Lachenmeier said ranchers are selling replacement heifers or older cows first and trying to hang on to younger cows. He said it’s hard to lose animals that have been part of a long-term breeding program... “Selling feeder cattle is easy. You don’t fall in love with them.”
Fall in love? Well, they can be pretty cute and lovable..
Unless of course you're just one of them feeder cattle...
Maybe you and some family and friends can pool some resources and buy a whole cow! Might be just the time to give it a try.