How the pandemic altered global beef consumption patterns
- According to Rabobank’s Beef Quarterly Q4 report, Covid-19 has disrupted beef eating patterns around the world.
- Despite a 20 to 30 percent reduction in casual and fine dining sales, U.S. beef demand has been excellent.
- Grilling and outdoor dining supported consumption through the summer. Additionally, consumers have more disposable money to spend on beef since they are spending less on travel.
- Even though China has been experiencing softer pork and poultry prices, demand for beef has remained strong. Also, the country is almost back to near-normal food service sales, which has also helped beef demand.
- In the first nine months of 2020, Chinese beef imports reached 1.57 million metric tons, up 39 percent from the same period a year ago.
- Brazil has dealt with weak economic conditions, abnormally strong beef exports and the temporary closure of restaurants and hotels, which has all led to a 9 percent decline in domestic beef consumption during the pandemic.
- Consumption is expected to return with warmer weather right around the corner and improvement in the economy.
- Europe is currently dealing with a second lockdown, which means eating out is either restricted or completely closed in most countries.
- Beef consumption will drop because of this, and increased retail sales have yet to compensate for food service losses.
- Restrictions are expected into 2021.
- In Australia, independent butchers account for about 20 percent of fresh meat sales. Through the pandemic, they have gained about 2 percentage points of market share in the country due to consumers looking to purchase their beef from smaller outlets in hopes of limiting their exposure to crowds.
- These butchers have evolved through the pandemic offering new services such as home delivery, selling prepared meals and branded products.
Bill to curb rural suicides heads to President
- Senator Chuck Grassley, R-IA, and Senator Jon Tester, D-MT, have effectively included their Seeding Rural Resilience Act as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, which is now headed to the President’s desk.
- The Act is intended to curb the rising rate of suicides in rural areas.
- In rural America, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the suicide rate is 45 percent higher than in urban areas.
- Those in rural communities face isolation, distance from basic health care services, lack of broadband access, stigmas against receiving counseling and financial burdens due to tough cattle and crop prices.
- All of these factors contribute to higher rates of stress for American farmers and ranchers.
- This bill isn’t a silver bullet, but its an important step to breaking down the stigmas surrounding mental healthcare and providing rural communities with the resources they need to thrive so they can continue feeding the world, stated Tester.
- The Seeding Rural Resilience Act creates three initiatives aimed at curbing the growing rate of suicides in rural America:
- Implements a Farmer-Facing Employee Training Program that requires USDA to provide voluntary stress management training to Farm Service Agency, Risk Management Agency and National Resources Conservation Service Employees;
- Forms a partnership between the Department of Health and Human Services and USDA to create a $3 million public service announcement campaign to increase public awareness of farm and ranch stress and destigmatize mental health care in rural communities; and
- Directs the Secretary of Agriculture to work with state, local and non-governmental stakeholders to collaborate and determine best practices for responding to farm and ranch mental stress.
Biden administration will pay for farmers to plant cover crops
- Conservation efforts in rural America will be a key issue as the Biden administration takes office in January. Tom Vilsack, Biden’s agricultural secretary, will carry out Biden’s ‘Rural Plan’, which includes being the first country to achieve net zero emissions.
- The plan also aims to create new sources of farm income. The administration plans to pay farmers to put their land into conservation and plant cover crops to capture carbon in the soil.
Boxed beef prices;
- Choice boxed beef: $208.82 (+0.87)
- Select boxed beef: $192.20 (+0.10)