Tough times hit livestock sector

Buckeye Farm News 

The health of the livestock industry is linked to the health of the broader economy, and producers of beef, hogs and chicken may have to wait for the global recession to end before they can expect any significant price improvement.

Chris Hurt, a Purdue University professor and Extension economist, said livestock producers were hit with the “double whammy” of a recession and high feed costs in 2008. In 2009, lower feed costs will benefit livestock producers, but the recession will continue to hurt demand.

“We’re going to see another year of struggle for the livestock industry,” Hurt said during a seminar on the livestock market outlook at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual meeting.

For the past two years, meat production has declined in the United States due to higher feed costs. And because of the recession, Hurt expects another year of decline in 2009. The recession will hit beef cattle producers harder than poultry or hog producers, he said.

Lynn Snyder 

Lynn Snyder is senior director of communications for Ohio Farm Bureau.