The key to improving prices and profits for both grain and livestock producers is increasing demand. U.S. exports of grain and soybeans continues to lag. A sluggish world economy and strong U.S. dollar have hurt demand for US commodities on the world market.
USGC CEO Tom Sleight said building demand is their top priority, “The top priority for the Council right now is making sure we are developing demand for U.S. corn, sorghum, barley, and their co-products in any way that we can. We work hard for U.S. farmers by going out there every day and meeting with both the customers and the competition in order to sell this big crop.”
Sleight said, not only are they focusing on growing demand for corn and soybeans, they are also focusing on demand for US ethanol, “There is a good deal of demand in Asian markets for U.S. ethanol. Almost overnight China has become the No. 2 export market for U.S, ethanol.” He said China’s air pollution problems are forcing it to turn to ethanol.
For the U.S. beef industry, getting approval of the TPP is the key to growing beef exports, says NCBA President-Elect Craig Uden, “The TPP will help us be competitive on the world market with beef.” He noted that U.S. cattlemen lost $100 million in 2015 because Australia signed a trade deal with Japan and their import tariffs were, thus, lower than those of the U.S.
For Pork producers, the focus is building demand here at home. Patrick Fleming, Pork Checkoff director of market intelligence, says a more stable supply and completive prices will lead to a good year for pork, “With a more stable supply of pork, retailers can plan further out and thus offer special promotions to producers.” He added these promotions mean consumers will pay less for pork in 2016, and that should help sales.