High dollar a big hindrance to cattle operators
By ANGUS HENDERSON
Medicine Hat News
With the fallout from the BSE crisis nearly over — and especially with the U.S. border scheduled to open to live cattle older than 30 months and beef products on Nov. 19 — you’d think the Canadian cattle industry would be humming along.
Think again. According to a local cattle specialist, this is the worst shape he’s seen the industry in for at least the past 15 years.
Chuck MacLean, spokesman for the local Porter & MacLean Livestock Management Inc., puts a large part of the blame squarely on the rapid escalation of the Canadian dollar, feed grain costs and the cost of the increasingly regulatory burden all ranchers are facing.
“Normally, if you just had one thing like an increase in the Canadian dollar, or an increase in feed cost, maybe you’d have had something else to offset it,” MacLean said in an interview Friday.
“We’re saying that all these things coming down the pike at the same time are having a really large impact on us. Right now, from the packers to the cow-calf operators, there’s nobody in that whole chain who’s making any money right now.”