Michigan Cattlemen’s Association expects strong demand in upcoming sales

The Michigan Cattlemen’s Association’s sale events this month will mark the one-year anniversary of the coronavirus pandemic, but expectations remain undiminished for beef demand.

Executive vice president George Quackenbush tells Brownfield although their spring events were canceled last year in the early days of the outbreak, consumers continue to have a robust desire for beef which provides optimism to the industry.

“We have really remarkable demand for beef,” he says.  “We know through 2020 beef actually won market share.”

The Michigan Beef Expo and Virtual Trade Show will take place online with sales open from March 15 to the 28 while the MCA/MSU Bull Evaluation Sale will be in-person and live-streamed March 20th.

Quackenbush says 65 bulls are available in the Bull Evaluation sale which have been under review by Michigan State University since October.

“We ultrasound those animals for the ribeye area, they’re evaluated for their temperament, their feet and leg are evaluated for structure and the animals are breeding soundness tested—we’ve collected over 12,000 data points on those animals,” he explains.

He says demand for local beef throughout the pandemic has strained the state’s meat processors, with many booked for the rest of this year.

“That has really illustrated the need for expanding hook space, expanding processors, and we know of many processors that are looking to move towards a federal grant of inspection,” he says.

The association is supporting work with MSU Extension to expand online training for custom processors to help them sell to more consumers and closely watching for additional federal resources to help address meat supply chain gaps.  

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