by | Feb 18, 2021 | 0 comments

Where’s the beef? Cattle, money missing

  • In late 2020, the Thomas County Sheriff’s Office in Alabama received a complaint from a stockyard regarding bad checks they had received from a gentleman residing in Hartford, Alabama.
  • The gentleman, Brent Edward Bennett who was doing business under Bennett Cattle Company, is a regular customer at the stockyard.
    • He purchased cattle from the stockyard with a check for $248,000. The feedlot later realized that the funds were not available to cover the $248,000 check.
      • A second check to the stockyard for $149,000 also bounced.
    • When investigators met with Bennett and his lawyer, he said that he writes checks and wires the money the next day, however he refused to provide the requested bank documents and wired money for the $149,000 check that was no good.
    • It was also discovered that along with these checks, Bennett has other invoices at the stockyard that are unpaid; in total, Bennett owes the stockyard $383,000, according to records obtained by the sheriff’s office and USDA.
    • Bennett, 37, is being charged with theft by deception.
      • He was released from the Thomas County Jail on a $10,100 bond.
    • Bennett purchased the cattle and then turned around and sold them to feedlots. The whereabouts of the cattle are unknown.
    • As of Tuesday, the U.S. Secret Service had entered the investigation.


The world will pay more for meat as food inflation deepens

  • Over the past year, food inflation has impacted everyone around the globe.
    • Consumers have seen prices increase for everything from peanut butter to fresh fruit, and it’s about to get worse, specifically for meat prices.
  • Farmers and ranchers are feeling the pressure of increased feed costs as corn and soybean prices have climbed to heights not seen in seven years.
    • Since December 1, corn futures in Chicago have risen 28 percent and soybeans 18 percent.
      • This has resulted in feed costs increasing by 30 percent or more.
    • Around the world, livestock producers are feeling the impacts of increased feed costs.
      • According to Embrapa, a state-owned agricultural research agency in Brazil, the country’s largest poultry shipper saw the cost of producing chickens increase 39 percent in 2020.
      • According to Rabobank senior analyst Chenjun Pan, livestock operations in Europe are being hit incredibly hard by high feed costs. They are also seeing decreased demand due to Covid-19 lockdowns.
        • Pan said that there is a chance smaller hog farmers may be forced to exit the market because of these factors.
      • Despite their large profits, Tyson Foods are increasing their prices to deal with increased costs in the supply chain. Those increases from Tyson will be felt in the coming months with higher price tags on beef, pork and chicken throughout the world.
      • Another contributor of rising meat costs is the animal disease outbreaks, African swine fever and avian influenza, that continues to roll through Europe and Asia.


Corn boom sends farmland value up most since 2012 in Midwest

  • In 2020, agriculture land values increased 6 percent, according to the Chicago Fed’s latest AgLetter.
    • This is the largest gain in land values since 2012 across the Seventh Federal Reserve District, which encompasses most of Illinois and all of Iowa, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.
  • Lower interest rates and a rebound in revenues from corn and soybeans helped shoot farmland prices upwards.
  • All the states in the Seventh Federal Reserve District saw increased crop production compared to the year before, except Iowa who suffered $11 billion in losses due to the derecho storm that hit in August.
  • A poll conducted with 137 agricultural bankers revealed that 58 percent predict farmland values to increase in the first three months of 2021, 42 percent expect land worth to remain stable, and none of the banks see it declining in the near future.


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How did we get here?

From the Holcomb Tyson fire to COVID-19;
Click to see a timeline of events that have brought to light the profit and pricing disparity in cattle markets.


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