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Nearly all U.S. cattle imports originate from Canada and Mexico

Friday, September 21, 2012

The United States imports significantly greater numbers of cattle than it exports. U.S. cattle imports contribute an estimated monthly average of 8.1 percent of production to the U.S. beef supply. Because of concerns with animal health issues in originating countries, the United States restricts cattle imports from most countries. Cattle imports to the United States originate, almost exclusively, from Mexico and Canada because of these countries geographic proximity to U.S. markets and the complementarity of their cattle and beef sectors to that of the United States. Cattle imported from Mexico tend to be lighter-weight cattle intended for U.S. stocker or feeder operations, while at least three-fourths of cattle imports from Canada are destined for immediate slaughter. Cattle imports from Mexico have increased year-over-year since 2008, while imports from Canada have trended downward. Total cattle imports have also trended downward since 2007 due to a declining total North American cattle herd. The data for this chart come from ERS's Livestock and Meat International Trade Data.

Beef exports reached record high in 2011

Monday, February 27, 2012

U.S. beef exports posted strong gains in 2011. Total beef exports were 2.79 billion pounds, 21 percent higher than the previous year's total. The strongest gains were to Russia (up 85 percent) South Korea (37 percent), Japan (30 percent), Canada (27 percent), and Hong Kong (21 percent). Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Korea were the top four export destinations for U.S. beef. Together, these countries imported 65 percent of total U.S. beef exports. U.S. beef exports for 2012 are forecast to decline slightly, to 2.76 billion pounds. This chart is found in Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook, LDP-M-212, February 2012.

Retail beef prices and farmers' share up in 2011

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Retail prices for Choice beef and for all fresh beef set records in December 2011. For the fourth month in a row, the Choice price set a new nominal high, reaching $5.02/lb in December, and an annual average $4.83/lb for 2011. Farmers' share (net farm value divided by retail value) was 49.9% in 2011; the last time it was this high was in 1994 when it was 51%. The data for this chart are found in the ERS data product Meat Price Spreads, published January 19, 2012, on the ERS website.

Beef, fats and oils, and eggs led food price increase in 2011

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Grocery store food prices were up 4.8 percent in 2011, as food inflation picked up again for the first time since 2008. 2011's higher food-at-home price inflation reflected higher energy and commodity prices, combined with a weaker U.S. dollar that boosted international demand for U.S. foods. Specific food categories posted especially large increases: beef up 10.2 percent, fats and oils up 9.3 percent, and eggs up 9.2 percent. Beef prices were up in 2011 due to higher input costs, low inventories, and strong international demand. Drought conditions throughout the South contributed to higher 2011 egg prices, while the jump in prices for fats and oils was due in large part to surging soybean prices. More information on ERS's analysis and forecasts of food price inflation can be found in the Food Prices, Expenditures and Costs topic on the ERS website.

U.S. beef imports from Mexico continue to be strong

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

U.S. beef imports from Mexico have at least doubled in each of the last 2 years, continuing an upward trend that began in 2003. Beef imports from Mexico in 2010 totaled 107 million pounds, making Mexico the fifth largest exporter of beef to the United States. Through November 2011, imports of beef from Mexico increased by 46 percent over the same period in 2010. There are two reasons for the increasing exports of Mexican beef to the United States: (1) an increase in the number of Mexican slaughter plants meeting inspection standards similar to those in the United States, and (2) an increase in production of grain-fed beef in Mexico, the quality of beef that most often meets the tastes and preferences of U.S. consumers. This chart comes from the Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook, LDP-M-211, released January 19, 2012.

U.S. cattle numbers have declined while beef production has risen

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The U.S. cattle and calves inventory as of January 1, 2011 was the lowest since 1958. When evaluated on a year-over-year basis, the inventory has continued to decline through 2011, with declines fueled by drought in the Southern Plains and Southeastern United States. Beef production, however, has trended upward over the past several decades. Higher slaughter weights and efficiency gains have resulted in increasing beef production even as cattle inventories have declined. However, beef production too is expected to decline in 2012. This chart appeared in the June 2011 issue of Amber Waves magazine.

U.S. beef production and exports

Monday, July 11, 2011

As a percent of production, U.S. beef exports are expected to surpass levels set in previous years. In 2011, U.S. domestic production is forecast at nearly 26.3 billion pounds. Even at higher year-over-year production levels in 2011, U.S. beef exports are expected to be about 9.9 percent of production this year. U.S. beef exports are forecast at 2.52 billion pounds in 2012. This graphic comes from the Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook, LDP-M-204, June 15, 2011. Older farmers' 28-percent share of all farms includes the 18 percent of farmers classified as older who operate retirement or residential/lifestyle farms. Since these farmers produce only 2 percent of U.S. output, their impact on U.S. agriculture as they leave farming entirely should be minimal. Their 14-percent share of assets does not contribute substantially to their own production, although they may rent land to other operators. About 22 percent of the land they own is rented out, and another 13 percent is enrolled in land retirement programs. Most production by older farmers occurs on large-scale (annual sales of $250,000 or more) farms and nonfamily farms. Older operators on these farms account for 12 percent of U.S. production but only 2 percent of farms and 6 percent of assets. However, some of these farms are multiple-generation operations, with at least 20 years' difference between the ages of the oldest and youngest operators. The large-scale and nonfamily farms with no apparent replacement operator account for 4 percent of all farm assets, which would have to be absorbed by other operations as the current operators exit. This chart appeared in the ERS report, Structure and Finances of U.S. Farms: Family Farm Report, 2010 Edition, EIB-66, July 2010.

Expanding the ethanol industry may influence long-term trends in the livestock industry

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Access to distiller's wet grains (a derivative of ethanol processing used as a feed supplement for beef and dairy cattle) could spur increased concentrations of beef and dairy herds near ethanol processing facilities. Spreading manure on energy feedstock crops and potential use of animal waste for onsite power generation provide additional incentives for herd expansion near processing facilities. Ethanol's reliance on corn as the primary feedstock and the high concentration of ethanol processing facilities in the Corn Belt could slow or reverse the recent shift in animal concentrations from the Midwest. In fact, current and planned ethanol production capacities appear to correlate strongly with the presence of livestock and, in particular, with livestock's capacity for distiller's grain consumption. This map is from the ERS research report, Ethanol and a Changing Agricultural Landscape, ERR-86, November 2009.

Cattle exported from Mexico to the United States, 1989-2009

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cattle production provides vital economic activity for the large expanse of nonarable land in Mexico, and the United States is the primary export market. Cattle raised for export in Mexico represent, on average, more than half of all U.S. cattle imports. In 12 of the years between 1989 and 2009, Mexico exported over a million head of cattle, mostly steers and heifers for feeding, to the United States. In 1995, large numbers of cattle were exported from Mexico due to drought conditions. Over half of Mexican cattle imports to the United States are lightweight feeder cattle (less than 400 pounds). Exports of Mexican cattle to the United States have declined in recent years due to a decreased cattle inventory in that country. This chart originally appeared in Cow-Calf Beef Production in Mexico, LDP-M-196-01, November 2010.

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