GFM Network News


Meat packers face labour crisis

Meat packers face labour crisis

Prime Cuts with Steve Kay

American beef processors and possibly those in Canada face a labour shortage that might be the worst in the two countries’ history. Ironically, U.S. beef processing margins are record large for this time of year. But labour constraints mean slaughter levels are lower than they should be to handle the available supply of fed cattle. […] Read more

A new US$325 million beef-processing plant planned for southwest Iowa will process 1,500 head per day and is expected to employ 750 people once it begins operation in late 2023.

For beef processors, the buck stops here

Prime Cuts with Steve Kay

As beef producers in Western Canada know only too well, opening a new beef processing plant is the easy part. Running it at an eventual profit is an entirely different matter. Maybe the producers who invested in the ill-fated Rancher’s Beef plant in Balzac, Alta., should talk with the producers who are investing in two […] Read more


U.S. beef accounted for 3.4 per cent of China’s first-quarter imports, up from less than one per cent at this time in 2020.

China takes a liking to U.S. beef

Prime Cuts with Steve Kay

Chinese consumers are rapidly taking a liking to U.S. beef. China reopened its market to the U.S. in February last year after a Phase One deal between the two countries removed nearly all the technical barriers that had prevented most U.S. beef from entering China. Volume was tiny for several months but began to pick […] Read more

Photo: Canada Beef Inc.

Beef plant essentials

Prime Cuts with Steve Kay

It is never easy to build a new beef processing plant, let alone operate it successfully. Just ask the group of cattle industry investors who sunk $40 million into a brand new plant near Balzac in Alberta. The plant opened to great fanfare in 2006 but closed just 14 months later because of tight margins […] Read more


A beef-industry worker grades a carcass. Canada and the U.S. produce the highest-quality beef in the world and more than any other nation.

North America’s high-quality beef

Prime Cuts with Steve Kay

The Canadian and U.S. beef industries have much in common. In fact, their markets for both cattle and beef are more highly integrated than anywhere else in the world. They have another thing in common that no other beef-producing country has. They produce the highest-quality beef in the world and more than any other nation.  […] Read more

cattleman on a horse

Cattle producers put their money…

Prime Cuts with Steve Kay

Beef producers have complained for years about how a few large companies dominate beef processing and how much money they make. That domination is nothing new. It goes back a century or more. But despite what some people think, it has not prevented a small but constant stream of new entrants into the sector. As […] Read more


U.S. packers saw record operating margins throughout last year, but cattle feeders and producers saw slim or even negative returns.

Hopes for a more normal year in the cattle industry

Prime Cuts with Steve Kay

The North American beef industry started 2021 with cautious optimism of a return to normalized markets and pricing patterns. The industry especially hopes that even if the COVID-19 pandemic continues well into the year, markets will avoid the kind of extreme volatility seen last year. U.S. packers saw record operating margins throughout last year. But […] Read more

Meat industry triumphs over COVID-19

Meat industry triumphs over COVID-19

Prime Cuts with Steve Kay

The North American meat and poultry industry faced unprecedented challenges when the COVID-19 pandemic began to wreak havoc throughout the continent last spring. The many ways the industry tackled these challenges and returned to a semblance of normalcy in such a short time is one of the greatest stories in the long history of the […] Read more


Processing capacity is not the issue

Processing capacity is not the issue

Prime Cuts with Steve Kay

Beef processing capacity and plant capacity utilization are two different subjects. So I have been fascinated in recent months how some in the U.S. beef industry have equated the two. Their argument is that temporary plant closures and slowdowns in April and early May revealed that the industry needs a lot more capacity, mostly through […] Read more

Cattle markets remain in recovery mode

Cattle markets remain in recovery mode

Prime Cuts with Steve Kay

The market for fed cattle in the U.S. is now out of intensive care. But it remains in recovery mode after the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on cattle prices from mid-April through mid-July. Prices advanced US$7.05 per cwt live (based on USDA’s five-area steer average) in the four weeks to the week ended October […] Read more