VP of Rabo AgriFinance discusses the major unknowns in the livestock industry

Rabo AgriFinance
Farm Forum

Don Close, vice president for food and agribusiness animal protein at Rabo AgriFinance, recently was the featured speaker at a briefing hosted by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, held to educate Congressional staffers about the cattle business. Part of that discussion included Close' insight into the industry's marketing efforts as it navigates the various pressures that have arisen here in 2019.

Some of these pressures Close says were expected like larger protein supplies and an increased dependency on exportation. Other factors have come about albeit a bit of a surprise - these he refers to as "unknown unknowns" in the marketplace.

For instance, the unpredicted challenge of the outbreak of African Swine Fever is having severe implications on China's swine herd and thus creating opportunity for the U.S. to export more protein to China.

The weather has also created challenges, which has seemed to have been deliberately working against farmers since this past winter and into the spring. This too has created a situation with this year's corn crop and getting it in the ground which could potentially ratchet up the cost of feed grain in the near future.

The common thread among all these issues, Close says, is that they are all still developing situations. He contends that until the industry is able to get a better handle on these situations, uncertainty will continue to inject volatility in the marketplace.