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What’s The Middle East Got To Do With Hamburger Demand?

The one thing that seems to be a constant in today’s world is the geopolitical nightmare that is the Middle East. There was some hope that the so-called Arab Spring created when democracy came to Iraq would alter the region, but it’s turned into a total quagmire instead.

Pick the country – Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Syria – and it looks like the needle is heading in the wrong direction in all of them. Even the promise of Palestinian/Israeli peace talks got sidetracked before they even began.

We don’t export a tremendous amount of beef product to the region, so it would be easy to shrug off all the problems in that part of the world. Surprisingly, despite all the turmoil, oil continues to flow from that region.

The threat of an impact on the oil trade presents a serious economic risk to the world. It is undeniable just how important oil is to the world’s economy, and even the impact that the price and availability of oil has on overall beef demand.

In fact, since the advent of ethanol in the U.S., the corn price today is dictated as much by fuel prices as by feed demand. That’s made the cattle industry, all agriculture really, pay a lot more attention to what’s happening in the most volatile region of the world.

I can’t help but wonder if the whole problem with the Middle East is a lack of beef consumption. I haven’t taken the time to do the research, but I can’t imagine that the citizens of any country that are comfortably eating a couple of tasty steaks each week would commit themselves to killing each other.

So, instead of expending millions on weapons, maybe we should air-drop in a couple of million grills. My experience is that a man with a good steak or hamburger sizzling on his grill isn’t likely to stop grilling to war with his neighbor.


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