Find out what AgAmerica Lending’s Correspondent Lender Cameron Flowers has to say about the SC beef industry.

Agriculture is central to South Carolina’s economy, and the SC beef industry plays an important role. The beef industry all over the U.S. has been navigating an uncertain beef market. AgAmerica Lending Correspondent Lender Cameron Flowers shares his insights on South Carolina’s beef industry below.

  1. What is the current state of the SC beef industry? Where is the market currently? Compared to a month/six months/a year ago?

The beef cattle industry is currently dealing with prices that have continued to fall since the peak of the market in mid-2015.  Five weight feeders are averaging about $125.00, cow calf pairs are trading at $1,250, and slaughter cows are about $.70/lb.  Prices look to fall even more heading into the winter months when the cost to own cattle goes up.

  1. How has the industry been dealing with dropping prices and an uncertain market?

I think most experienced cattle farmers knew that the prices we were at in 2014 and 2015 couldn’t be sustained long term.  Most, myself included, anticipated it lasting a little longer than it did however.  Most cattle farmers I talk to believe that while prices are not what they were, the industry is still ahead of where it was 5-10 years ago.

  1. What are some obstacles the SC beef industry is currently facing?

Obviously the decline in prices that the entire beef cattle industry is facing will be an obstacle. Land and cash flowing cattle that were purchased during the peak will be one of the biggest challenges going forward.

Specifically, for some of the coastal parts of South Carolina, the devestation from the hurricanes and subsequent flooding over the past two years will impact winter grazing and hay loss.  Farmers may have to buy more hay than anticipated, and some pastures and fields may be unusable for several weeks.

  1. What are the current forecasts for the future?

Forecasts are projecting beef cattle prices to continue to slowly decline as we head into the winter months and even into spring 2017.  I believe they will eventually even out at around the $1.10 price range for feeders as the cattle population stabilizes with all of the growth and heifer retention.

  1. What do you believe will happen in the future for the SC beef industry?

I believe that the beef cattle industry remains one of the better overall agricultural fields to be in.  While we won’t see the prices of 2014 again, if you can control expenses there will still be some money to be made.  The producers that jumped all in during the peak will be in a tough spot, but the farmers who have been invested for a while will be able to continue plugging along and turning a profit.

AgAmerica Lending is here for the nation’s beef producers, whether the market is up or down. We make it our business to help the country’s growers and producers strengthen their finances using our custom loan products featuring low interest rates, long amortizations, and an outstanding 10-year line of credit.

Ready to get started? Connect with Cameron Flowers, our Senior Correspondent Lender based in South Carolina.