On Tuesday, USDA announced that a case of BSE had been found in a California diary cow in a rendering plant. In Tuesday’s trade on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle contracts closed the 300 point limit down. On Wednesday, cooler heads prevailed, according to AFBF Chief Economist Bob Young:
“Well, I would say that the reactions that we did get were very limited. We did get those few retail chains in South Korea that decided that they were going to stop selling US beef for a while. But, beyond that, the rest of the world seems to be fairly muted in their response, I hate to say ‘business as usual’, but you know, I think we’ve gotten the reactions that a guy would kind of like to have with these kinds of incidences.”
As to the market reaction, Young says that’s understandable, and Wednesday’s market rebound demonstrated that:
“Well, I think folks were worried about, and understandably so, you’re kind of worried when something like that happens as to how the export markets are going to react, since we are exporting 10% of our beef at this stage of the game, to back all that kind of product back onto the domestic market could cause some real short-term problems. But, again, I think once folks saw that the rest of the world was going to react in a fairly rational manner as opposed to the emotional manner that we’ve had before, that ‘okay, we’ll get by this, and let’s move on.’”
Another reason that reactions were muted compared to other BSE discoveries, could be that this discovery showed that the system put in place by USDA since ‘the cow that stole Christmas’ is working:
“It did. And again, recognizing that an animal was found in a rendering plant, so it was going into the food supply. So, again, it just kind of backs that up that the system is in place, it’s working, it’s functioning, we did catch this animal, and things are working the way that they’re supposed to work.”
American Farm Bureau Chief Economist Bob Young.