According to University of Georgia agricultural economist Levi Russell, beef demand is on the rise, which is good news considering the industry has seen an increase in beef production over the past few years. Russell reported in the third and fourth quarters of 2017, beef demand climbed one and two points, respectively, over 2016 levels. During the first quarter of 2018, there was a four-point jump compared to the same period in 2017. He explained domestic demand for beef, especially higher value cuts, is heavily dependent on strong consumer income.
“Unemployment is very low and GDP growth is strong, meaning consumers are ready to spend money on good cuts of meat at the retail shelf and in their favorite restaurants,” Russell said.
Export markets also have remained strong for U.S. beef, despite the current trade battle with China. Russell said although higher tariffs on beef exports to China is definitely a missed opportunity, “It’s not as concerning as higher tariffs from Japan, South Korea, Canada or Mexico would be.”