Vernon Crowder, Vice President and Agricultural Economist at Rabobank spoke to both the beef and dairy sessions at Global 500. Rabobank was created in 1972 through a merger of German and Dutch regional banks, both of which were formed as farmers’ co-operatives in the 1800s.
He provided a cautiously optimistic financial outlook for the dairy industry. Prices should fall further through the end of 2011 but nothing as dramatic as the 2008/2009 drops, unless the EU enters a full blown credit and economic crisis.
As for the beef industry, Crowder predicted modest production recovery for 2012 and said that beef pasture is under pressure globally. The U.S. calf crop has been decreasing steadily for decades even as feedlot capacity has increased slightly. Beef production in the EU has declined rapidly since 2000. Brazilian and Australian herds are undergoing modest expansion, while India is up 81% in the last 10 years and is now the third largest exporter.