Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Pork vs. Beef: Swine Production Expected to Surpass Cattle for First Time since 1950s

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Pork vs. Beef: Swine Production Expected to Surpass Cattle for First Time since 1950s

Article excerpt

OKLAHOMA CITY - The pork industry has found itself in unfamiliar territory: U.S. production is projected to surpass beef for the first time in 62 years.

It's a potential cultural tipping point for consumers, industry officials said. As cattle ranchers struggle to grow their herds following years of drought, swine operators could make a big marketing push to take advantage of openings in the grocery store meat aisle.

"We're going to see consumers shift away from the more expensive cuts of beef into alternatives, pork and chicken," said Roy Lee Lindsey, executive director of the Oklahoma Pork Council. "We certainly wouldn't wish on the beef industry the drought and other things they've been dealing with. But, yes, there is very likely to be a change in consumer sentiment.

"Will it be a permanent trend?" he said. "That's hard to say. We're going to continue to promote pork and encourage consumers to give pork a try, and it will not be in a way that's disparaging to other products. But I don't know how much more resources we have to increase marketing of our product. There's only so many dollars we can utilize for that purpose."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently raised its commercial pork production forecast for 2015 to 23.9 billion pounds, a 5- percent increase over 2014. The USDA's monthly World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates report also projected beef output next year at 23.8 billion pounds, a 2.3-percent decline compared with last year.

The nation's cattle herd has been shrinking because so many ranchers simply could not provide enough water and feed while drought ravaged the land. Even hay supplies have been down, and hauling cattle far afield to graze is an expensive proposition.

Cattle ranchers have been cutting their losses by selling off their herds at the same time demand and prices for beef have been rising. …

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