Dennis Sun: The Good And Not So Good Times – This Is Normal In The World Of Livestock

Columnist Dennis Sun writes: "Maybe the meat shortages during the pandemic and the farm or ranch-to-plate businesses that have started up around the country makes for more demand."

Dennis Sun

May 25, 20213 min read

Dennis sun wyo
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

By Dennis Sun, Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Being in the business of commodities is not for the weak at heart. Even growing up in the livestock business does not prepare one for all the good and not so good times.

Those in the beef and lamb business are hanging on and hoping for a time of stability, if there is such a thing. Despite the pandemic and all of the uncertainty, consumer demand has never wavered and this is the best positive we’ve got. The consumer demand, both in America and through exports, is really saving us.

We realize there are some strong negatives out there, but we’ll also take advantage of the good out there.

With the strong demand, it is almost like beef and lamb have been rediscovered. Maybe the meat shortages during the pandemic and the farm or ranch-to-plate businesses that have started up around the country makes it seem so. Regardless, it’s working.

One of the better results caused by the pandemic is consumers have learned about the different cuts of meat and how to cook them properly. It is interesting to watch people at the meat counter these days – they know what cut of meat they want. The meat counter is not so confusing these days.

These same people learned what to cook with their meat and found new spices and additives to use. Paying more for Prime cuts was okay, and consumers grew comfortable with their home cooking, whereas they used to just cook hamburger at home.

The pandemic brought on other changes. City landfills have never been busier, with people cleaning out their homes and garages.

The real estate business is booming with low interest rates and people wanting to move out of cities or move to other states more favorable to their values.

People have been improving their lawns with landscaping and outdoor living improvements. Small tractor sales – the equipment under 40 horsepower – have really spiked.

States with open spaces, recreation, national parks and dude ranches will be busy this summer as people just want to get away to a safe place. These same people needed to buy new clothes that fit after sitting around the house for a year, as the only clothes they bought during the pandemic were pajamas and sweats.

Recreational vehicles and camp trailers have never been in higher demand, both to lease and purchase. The bad part is this means more traffic during summer construction season.

Somehow, we have to get past all of the shortages, from packinghouse capacity to loss of car manufacturing because we need to increase the demand for leather products for things like car seats.

There is a labor shortage as people can sit home and make more money on unemployment than a working wage. The lumber shortage and sky-high prices are a result of a shortage of truck drivers. This lack of truck drivers, along with the shortage of dock workers to unload ships, affects all household products.

Commodities are like the weather – they always seem to balance out over time. Having said this, I guess our time is coming.

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Dennis Sun

Agriculture Columnist