Upbeat Message From CattleFax Analyst Improves Joy of Season For Cattlemen

CattleFax analyst Randy Blach sees long period of good news for cattle producers; predicts 2011 prices in $100 to $110 range

There were a lot more smiles in the room at Thursday's opening day of the Kansas Livestock Association annual convention, as members celebrated 10 consecutive months of profitability for all segments of the cattle industry, from cow-calf producers to processors.

And analyst Randy Blach from CattleFax told the group to expect more of the same in the coming months, as supplies continue to draw down and demnad is showing strong signs of a comeback.

It was a major turnaround for the crowd, which last year was coming off the worst three years in memory.

Blach warned the group, however, to watch out for the volatility of feed prices and to "stay awake" to opportunities to contract supplies and cattle sales to take advantage of swings in the market.

Also on the day's panel of speakers was Keith Blanks, Cargill foodservice vice president, who told the group that after being hard hit by the recession, food service is starting to see customers return to the restaurants and business is slowly picking up in all segments of food service.

Blanks said he doesn't see a huge impact of the new FDA Food Safety bill on the meat industry because proteins continue to be regulated by USDA, not by FDA.

However, he said, the new health care law, which requires restaurant menu labeling of nutrition content and and calories has the potential to have a huge impact and will mean higher prices for consumers as restaurants absorb the cost of the labeling requirements.

And Steve Kuntz, Dillons director of meat and seafood, said beef continues to the number one commodity for the food retailer.

He said innovations in packaging, in fabrication, in consumer education and in customer service continue to help push the sales of beef. The market is especially strong for value cuts, including Flat Iron steaks, and for speciality meats aimed at the Hispanic population.

Watch for January's Kansas Farmer for more details on the KLA Convention, committee meetings and policy decisions.

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