China about to change global meat sector

I have a great life — and it’s all about food.

I get to grow some food, mostly for other folks. I get to write about, and direct editorial traffic around, agriculture and food at one of the best farming publications on the planet. And I get the opportunity to help other farmers grow more food.

I have a ringside seat to everything in agriculture, from policy to production. I see news about agriculture when it’s still new. I hear everything from the special to the speculative. And through our team at The Western Producer, I get to play my part in passing the best of it on to you.

Something big is coming for agriculture. So, no more chasing the herd around the bushes like the banker was visiting to count the calves — meat is the next big food thing to alter our world.

Driven by disease, China is now, right now, losing its hog herd. Even if a vaccine for African swine fever was found tomorrow, nothing is going to stop this from happening. The world’s largest population is losing its main meat-protein source over a very short period of time. To put it into perspective, that country is losing the equivalent of more than all the hogs raised in North and South America. To prevent unrest, the Chinese authorities will not be letting their meat supply dry up or be driven out of financial reach for its citizens, so world prices for livestock are about to do what crops did in 2008, only bigger.

The demand for meat in that country isn’t going to vanish, but the supply is. And with it, the demand for feed, namely oilseed crush and corn, is going away. The logistics surrounding this are enormous, and at The Western Producer we are exploring these. and you can expect it will be one of the top items in your news for a long time.

While I like having news to report, these sorts of shake-ups aren’t as much fun as one would think. There will be great opportunities over the next few years, but there will also be plenty of farmer-unhedgeable downsides.

So, if it seems like we’re talking about this subject a lot over the next while, it’s because we think it needs to be. It’s always a great time to be in agriculture, just not always for you.

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