US Beef Producers Encounter International Headwinds in 2015- But Anticipate a Better 2016Sun, 03 Jan 2016 07:23:04 CST
For a lot of reasons, the beef cattle industry is glad that 2015 is now in the proverbial rearview mirror. Cattle Prices fell during the year for calves, yearlings and market ready cattle- and one of the reasons for the weakness were weak exports for US Beef. Heather Buckmaster with the Oklahoma Beef Council cites several reasons for the pullback in beef exports- both in the value of the product shipped internationally as well as in the actual tonnage. She tells Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays that a combination of a slowing global economy, particularly in Asia a top export destination for U.S. beef along with a stronger U.S. dollar makes U.S. beef less competitive than beef from Australia or Brazil, two of our largest competitors in the global marketplace. In addition, c commodity prices around the world are under pressure and volatility in the global financial markets spread to the commodity markets over the course of the year- and cattle producers, like others in the agricultural arena, took a hit economically.
The good news for 2016 in the international marketplace is the expectation that US beef exports will grow in the coming year, according to the current forecast from the US Meat Export Federation.
Buckmaster says that domestic beef demand remained relatively strong in 2015- and that helped temper the damage done to the cattle industry. One of the positives for the beef sector has been consumer response to the digital marketing campaign beef producers have embraced with their beef checkoff dollars.
She tells Hays that "the Beef Checkoff is working to promote consumer-facing resources such as the Beefitswhatsfordinner.com website through amplified Google search results to position beef for searches such as “family meal time solutions” or “economy meals.”
"BIWFD continues to be one of the industry’s best resources for reaching consumers, helping to promote beef as the “go-to” protein for consumers. BIWFD received more than 3.7 million visits resulting in 8.7 million page views in the past year.
"BIWFD also continues to grow its social media footprint, making it an important source of information for millennial consumers. The BIWFD Facebook page currently has more than 925,000 followers who see regular updates including recipes, beef images and menu solutions which provide meal time solutions to this important target audience. Social media engagements reached a high of 2.87 million during the past year.
"Promotional efforts in social and traditional media channels are ongoing and play a significant role in keeping beef on the minds of consumers and in the center of plates. Given that many consumers are unfamiliar with beef cooking methods, those efforts include an increasing number of videos which demonstrate popular recipes and cooking techniques which help consumers choose beef. Video views reached 23.3 million in the past year, an increase of 347 percent over 2014."
Heather Buckmaster was Ron's first guest for 2016 for his In the Field Segment- click on the play button in the VIDEO BOX below to see their conversation that was seen this past Saturday morning on KWTV News9 in Oklahoma City. Ron and Heather also talked off camera about the ups and downs of 2015 for the beef industry- and what 2016 may have in store for beef promotion- you can hear that conversation by clicking on the LISTEN BAR at the bottom of this webstory.
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