Learn Economics. Work for Amazon, eBay, [insert tech company name here]…

This working paper from the Harvard Business School by Susan Athey and Michael Luca was recently brought to my attention by Dr. Alba Collart. The authors discuss the increasing role of economists working for tech companies like Amazon, eBay, Google, Airbnb, etc. Fascinating stuff!
I’ll list what I thought were some of the highlights:

Not only is the number of economists employed in this sector growing rapidly, … Continue reading

Sell the Rally?


Feeder Cattle futures contracts rallied last week as shown in the figure above. Prices for the October Feeder Cattle contract rose approximately $5 between the Tuesday close and the Friday close. The story was similar for other contract months, too, including the March contract.
The rally can be attributed to “good news” from multiple sources. … Continue reading

Beef Exports Surge Continues


USDA’s Economic Research Service and Foreign Agricultural Service released the most recent monthly trade data last week. The big story is continued large beef exports. For the month of July, exports were up 16.8 percent over July 2017. For January-July, beef exports were 15 percent higher than the same period a year ago.
U.S. … Continue reading

August 2018 Cattle on Feed Report

The latest USDA Cattle on Feed report was released this past Friday. This report included estimates for the number of cattle placed into feedlots, marketed out of feedlots, and the total number of cattle on feed for the month of July ending on August 1, 2018.

The report showed a 7.9 percent increase in cattle placed during July 2018 as compared to 2018. … Continue reading

Strong Domestic Demand for Beef


Domestic consumer demand for beef was very good in the first quarter of 2018 and also for the second quarter of 2018. The beef demand index chart above shows an index increase of about a half percent (2017 was 85.8 and 2018 was 86.2). We use index values because beef demand is difficult to measure and understand. … Continue reading

Cattle Market Update

2018 has been both an interesting and somewhat steady year for the cattle market. Large supplies, record exports, and trade concerns are just a few of the topics that have dominated the headlines. We are now fully transitioning into the primary calf selling (and buying) time of the year for most producers in the southeast. I’m going to try to sum up a few of the more prominent factors and discuss how they could impact cattle prices this fall. … Continue reading

Observations from Other Economists

This week’s article is a little different from usual, but hopefully one that you’ll enjoy. I was in Washington D.C. over the weekend at the Agricultural and Applied Economics annual meeting. This is our national association and it brings together applied economists from around the world studying nearly every topic you can imagine.Continue reading

State of the Cattle Cycle

One of the most interesting questions that I always enjoying discussing is the state of the cattle cycle. The cattle cycle is the path of cattle inventory from low to peak and back to the low point again. Our current cattle cycle began during the 2014 low-point in cattle inventory that spurred record prices. This began the eighth cattle cycle since 1938 with each ranging from 9 to 14 years. … Continue reading

Lower Feeder Cattle Price Volatility

The following article is from the Livestock Marketing Information Center. It discusses an interesting topic about which I have spoken with many of you at various meetings. After years of dramatic price swings (high volatility), markets have settled significantly to lower levels of variability. While the article uses Oklahoma City as an example, the story is true for markets across the Southeast. Continue reading

Income and Meat Demand


The figure above comes from an interesting new article published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics. The authors use consumption data for seven food categories in more than 100 countries (including the U.S.) to see how food demand changes with income and population. In particular, let’s look at the area shaded red in the figure which refers to meat and seafood. … Continue reading