(Jamie) Welcome back! K-State’s Dr. Glynn Tonsor shares insight into North American beef’s advantages and disadvantages.
(Bob Cervera) Compared to the rest of the world: the North American beef community has a distinct advantage… (Tonsor) We are the center, globally, of grain-finish beef production. So we do compete globally with a lot of grass-finish, and there’s some growth of grain-finish elsewhere, but in aggregate around the world, U.S. and Canada combined are the core of that. (Bob) Looking toward growth, we have the ability to get that high-quality beef to market, too. (Tonsor) We also have a lot of infrastructure here that’s not in existence elsewhere, whether it is the feed-grain base, but you know, modern and large, economies of scale, feedlots, packing industry, well-recognized safety institutions. For the most part, you know, we have well-working trains, rivers, roads–all that kind of stuff that a lot of times we take for granted, but it is here, and compared to other parts of the world, is relatively maintained, we can rely on it, we can build our industry from it. (Bob) But our grain-finished beef is among the most expensive options—among all proteins—and even when compared to other beef suppliers. (Tonsor) So that gets at the point of the value, right? So, the eating experience, the story with the beef, other points of differentiation than on price are critical, because we’re never going to have an absolute price advantage. (Bob) The economist says other countries are making inroads and the only way to keep ahead is by increasing information flow throughout the chain. (Tonsor) U.S. beef industry is less coordinated and communicates a little bit less effectively both vertically in the industry as well as horizontally to each sector than our competitors in other meat sectors as well as other competitors around the world. So that’s a huge challenge because it limits the ability to make changes. (Bob) Tonsor expects these trends to intensify, not tail off, in coming years and urges the entire cattle industry to respond. I’m Bob Cervera.
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