A long-overdue return to profitability

Five to Remember: "We couldn't sustain an industry, let alone grow it."

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While “nothing stays the same forever,” market analyst Anne Wasko is confident high beef prices will stick around for at least another year.

“The cow-calf sector was long overdue for some profitability,” said Wasko, president of Cattle Trends and a market analyst with Gateway Livestock Exchange in Taber.

Anne Wasko
Anne Wasko

“We couldn’t sustain an industry, let alone grow it. We were liquidating it because of lack of profits. At the end of the day, profitability is of the highest importance.”

Tight cattle supplies on both sides of the border will remain the driving factor in 2015, she said, even though herd liquidation slowed this year and there’s good evidence the U.S. herd will begin to expand in the coming one.

But while keeping a close eye on U.S. markets is paramount, cattle producers should watch the international scene.

“From a price perspective and a demand perspective, we’re more global today than we have ever been — our price signals will come from far and wide,” said Wasko.

She also predicts that 2015 will see a return of something not seen on many ranches for a decade or more — optimism.

“I do think that confidence will return,” she said. “We still have lots of other issues: demographics, aging producers, competition for land use. But the bottom line is that cow-calf producers have to be profitable. That’s what’s changed.”

About the author

Reporter

Alexis Kienlen

Alexis Kienlen lives in Edmonton and has been writing for Alberta Farmer since 2008. Originally from Saskatoon, Alexis is also the author of two collections of poetry, a biography, and a novel called "Mad Cow."

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