America’s biggest owner of farmland is now Bill Gates
- The fourth richest individual in the world, Bill Gates, is also the top private farmland owner in America owning 242,000 acres of farmland across the nation.
- According to Forbes, Gates’ net worth is almost $121 billion.
- Gates has land spanning across 18 states with his largest holdings in Louisiana (69,071 acres), Arkansas (47,927 acres) and Nebraska (20,588 acres).
- In addition to this farmland, Gates also has a stake in 25,750 acres of transitional land on the west side of Phoenix, AZ, which is currently being developed as a new suburb.
- Gates’ involvement in agriculture goes beyond purchasing farmland. In 2008, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced $306 million in grants to promote high-yield, sustainable agriculture among smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
- Since then, the foundation has invested in the development and proliferation of “super crops” resistant to climate change and higher yielding dairy cows.
CattleFax; Drought and feed costs.
- Bred cows averaged $54/hd. higher in 2020 compared to 2019. Bred heifers were $22/hd. higher and pairs were $38/hd. higher year-over-year.
- This comes as a surprise to many considering the volatility in the cattle market throughout 2020 and the relatively stale calf prices over the past few years.
- There is clearly some optimism from cow-calf producers for better calf prices in the coming years, the main reason being tighter supplies.
- In 2020, the beef cowherd declined 375,000 hd., and it is expected to decline another 300,000 hd. in 2021, as of January 1 inventories.
- The resulting smaller calf crops should equate to higher prices and better demand.
- Many producers are running at maximum inventory levels, but drought and higher feed costs are proving to be a challenge. As of today, it looks as if Mother Nature is going to stand in the way of producers being able to maximize numbers during a time when prices are expected to move higher.
CattleFax; Slaughter cow update.
- Slaughter cow prices in the month of December averaged $55.36/cwt., compared to $57.94/cwt. in November. Last year in December, slaughter cows were averaging $56.29/cwt.
- Beef cow slaughter in 2020 was up 2.5 percent at 3.27 million head. Dairy cow slaughter totaled 3.06 million head, down 4 percent from 2019.
- A seasonal rally for slaughter cows is expected to develop over the next few months due to tighter supplies and stronger 90 lean trim values.
- Slaughter cow prices are expected to reach a high near $70/cwt. by late winter or early spring, the majority of the rally will come by the end of February.
Staggering decline in hide share of cattle value
- Historically, an animal’s drop credit (non-meat by-products of beef production) has made up 8-10 percent of the animal’s value.
- The hide has made up the majority of this share receiving 6-8 percent of the total value of the animal.
- Between 1989 and 2011, hides averaged 58.3 percent of the total value of cattle by-products for a steer weighing approximately 1,000 lbs.
- In 2000, this reached a high of 67 percent.
- In 2015, the hide value dropped to 48 percent of total by-product value.
- When 2019 came around, hides only made up 37 percent of the total drop credit.
- Today, hides only make up 15-20 percent of the total by-product value of the animal, down almost 50 percent from a few years ago.
Beef. It’s what’s for dinner. Launches “MBA Next Gen”
- The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has launched MBA NextGen, a series of updated advocacy training modules for the Masters of Beef Advocacy (MBA) program.
- MBA NextGen will make it easier for a new generation of farmers and ranchers to share their story and advocate intelligently for the beef industry.
- These new training modules will be a free, self-guided online course that will provide tools and resources for anyone to become a beef advocate.
Boxed beef prices
- Choice boxed beef: $212.92 (-0.45)
- Select boxed beef: $203.08 (+2.01)