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2013 Poses A Lot Of Producer Challenges

2013 beef industry challenges

The year 2012 will go down in the books as the year of record prices, record costs and widespread drought. Meanwhile, 2013 is expected to promise record price levels yet again, but the major unknown is whether continued drought will boost feed prices even higher, or will we get the moisture needed to allow for increased margins and perhaps even herd expansion?

Weather is definitely the wild card in this new year. The most difficult part of 2013 from a planning horizon standpoint is that the supply and demand fundamentals look so solid and undeniable that we know those are in our favor and will continue to be. Unfortunately, the big drivers are things that we have no control of and are far more difficult to predict.

Energy prices look to be headed in a positive direction, but the overall economy continues to sputter. Without concrete action on the deficit, which doesn't look promising at this point, the long-term effects will be dramatic. Even if we are mortgaging our future, the major bust appears to be at least a decade or more away.

Another Perspective: Consultants Review 2012 And Look Ahead To 2013

Barring a major health scare, a war in the Middle East, or some other outside drivers, the direction of 2013 seems set in stone. As one producer said, "Everything from more government regulation to higher taxes are almost assured. All I have to do is figure out how to position my operation for what will likely be seen as the Golden Days of the cattle industry. If Mother Nature cooperates those Golden Days should begin in 2013."

A few years ago, the late comedian George Carlin published a long, thoughtful and humorous piece about how technology was allowing Americans more leisure time today, but less of that available time was being spent on celebrating the truly important things in life. It ends with these thoughts, which I think are good advice for everyone in the new year, regardless of your profession, financial status or religious inclination:

  • Spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.
  • Say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
  • Remember to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.
  • Remember, to say, "I love you" to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.
  • Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.
  • Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
  • And always remember that life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Best wishes for 2013.

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