Consumers and producers always have been entwined. The simple fact is that without consumers, there is no need for production. In the past, the consumer base was the producer and perhaps a few neighbors, but as transportation and worldwide access expanded, the consumer base also has expanded.

So where are all the cows going? The connect remains between the producer and consumer, and so does the vested interest of consumers and the reality of the beef business. There is no business unless the consumer is involved in the formula for the future. How that reality connects to the producer who is thinking of selling cows probably is a loose fit. However, consumer thoughts need to be integrated with production expansion or contraction.

Let us revisit some previous thoughts by Helen Jensen in her article “Consumer Issues and Demand.” The article was published by the American Agricultural Economics Association’s online Choices magazine (http://www.choicesmagazine.org/2006-3/2006-3.pdf).

There are several very real impacts for small and mid-sized operations that loom in the future about the consumer and demand. This changing environment is changing beef production and those who will survive the production mode.