Sure, there have been books written on the power of group think. And, with the global economy heading in the wrong direction, there’s a whole lot more pessimism than optimism out there. However, I would argue that when one looks with any form of long-term outlook at this cattle business, it’s nearly impossible to be anything but bullish.
Now for those who are inclined to lean toward the half-empty glass, I can almost nearly hear your sighs. Your first thought is probably something like “I wish I could get some of the Kool-Aid that this guy is drinking.” Sure, rising input costs, increased government regulation, environmental challenges, animal welfare concerns and shrinking disposable incomes are very real. So are issues like debt, deficits, inflation and a weakening dollar.
I’m not ignoring these issues. In fact, I’d argue that rising energy, land and input costs are almost a given moving forward. Nor am I at all optimistic about the current populist trends against free enterprise, capitalism and private property rights. And the record deficits and the shift of the U.S. economy toward a European socialist model are anything but positive.
Still, the place to be is agriculture and we are looking forward to some very good times. If the global recession turns around, and America maintains its competitive advantages, then we are looking forward to one heck of a run.
Global demand for beef will explode; supplies are tight, and we have made great strides in closing the competitive gap between the beef industry and other protein sources. If the global recession and political opportunists create a situation where populist and socialist solutions are advanced, the only place to be is in agriculture.
Record deficits, a declining dollar and inflation can all be construed as being relative positives. Commodity prices will rise, land values will increase, and the cattle industry will benefit from a declining dollar in the global marketplace.
No one is more bearish than me on the current prospects for the U.S. economy and the demise of industrial democracies as a whole. For the first time in my life, if I were forced to bet on the West or Asia as being the dominant economic force in the 21st century, I’d probably against us. However, those economies translate into tremendous growth opportunities for U.S. beef.
And regardless of our own economic situation, we’re seeing growing demand for scarce resources, which will drive commodity and land values higher.
The abandonment of U.S. fiscal responsibility and growing global demand won’t be a bad thing for the cattle industry or agriculture. If we return from the precipice, it’s positive for beef; if we jump off the precipice, it’s positive for beef.
Now is the time to be bullish because no matter which side of the fence you’re standing on relative to the overall economy, the beef industry is poised to benefit.