America’s beef producers are optimistic about the future, and the state of today’s beef industry is strong, writes Drovers Editorial Director Greg Henderson in his opening letter of the 2023 State of the Beef Industry.
As part of its 150th anniversary celebration, Drovers sought to gauge producer attitudes, commitment and management practices. Responses tend to support or confirm findings from other industry projects.
For instance, the 2022 National Beef Quality Audit released earlier this year found three key points regarding producer/consumer symbiosis.
- Food safety is an expectation, not a purchase criterion with consumers.
- The largest improvement since the 2016 audit was in overall efficiency across the beef supply chain.
- Companies are striving to increase their sustainability and are working with the entire beef supply chain to achieve improvement.
Overwhelmingly, 88% of Drovers survey respondents say they support the industry’s sustainability efforts, and most respondents agree or strongly agree current industry challenges will continue to grow in the future. They include: reducing environmental impact, 78%; animal welfare scrutiny, 77%; demand for higher quality carcasses, 73%.
While it is encouraging to see widespread acknowledgment of key issues that might have significant impact on the industry in the long term, possibly the most important revelation from the Drovers survey was producer commitment. It speaks volumes about ranchers and cowboys who, having experienced the second historic drought in a decade, remain committed to their business and their lifestyle.
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