Steve Meyer

Vice President, Pork Analysis,
Express Markets Inc. Analytics

Steve Meyer, vice president of pork analysis for Express Markets Inc. Analytics of Fort Wayne, Ind. Express Markets and EMI Analytics have been involved in price discovery and analysis for the broiler industry since 2003. They added similar capabilities for turkey in 2008 and have recently added market analysis of pork and beef markets to their product offerings in order to meet the broad information and knowledge needs of customers throughout the meat and poultry production, processing and marketing systems. In May of 2015, Meyer sold Paragon Economics to Express Markets Inc. He brings a wealth of experience in the livestock industry, having served as director of economics for the National Pork Producers Council (1993-2001), and held the same position for the National Pork Board from 2001 to October 2002. In that capacity, Steve provided economic counsel to producers and Pork Board staff and coordinated staff and consultants’ activities regarding meat industry production, price forecasts and the economic impact of pork production and processing. In addition, he administered NPPC programs dealing with marketing and pricing systems, structure, pork industry coordination and competitiveness. Previously, Steve served as a swine business specialist with Moorman Manufacturing Co., a sales representative with Dow Chemical and sales manager for an animal health and agricultural chemical distributor. In addition, he spent three years as an assistant professor in the agriculture economics department at the University of Missouri.

Hog markets could use a little good news
It was another tough week for hog and pork markets even though hogs held relatively steady in the face of continuing large slaughter totals. The news on avian influenza was not good either. Anne Murray once sang “could use a little good news today,” and that sentiment was felt in the hog markets.
Pork exports start year poorly; not unexpected news
As expected, January was a dismal month for U.S. pork exports, as well as for beef and poultry. The West Coast port slowdown was likely the largest factor in January’s disappointing, but not surprising, totals.
Are lower hog prices justified by supplies?
First quarter hog slaughter subsided a bit last week, dropping by 0.8% from the week before to 2.262 million head. That figure was still 5.6% larger than last year at a time when the December Hogs and Pigs report indicated that hog supplies should be about 0.5% higher. The average estimated live weight for all hogs dropped another 2 pounds to 284 while the all-hogs estimated carcass weight remained steady at 2015, 1% higher than one year ago.
Cold storage report confirms backlog of product
It was good news that a deal has been struck to resolve the West Coast port labor dispute, but the backlog of product was confirmed in the USDA's Cold Storage report. It will take some time to work through that backlog of product.
West Coast port disruption is FMD Lite
The export disruption caused by the West Coast port situation provides a glimpse of the impact that “a trade-disrupting animal health situation” of hoof and mouth disease, classical swine fever and African swine fever would have on the U.S. pork export picture.
December repeats broken record for pork real per capita expenditures
December was yet another great month for real per-capita expenditures for pork. The month’s $12.83 (year-2000 dollars) was the highest December figure since 1990 when pork RPCE tied the $14.08 record high set just one month earlier. That is the highest level ever in our data set that goes back to 1988.
Pork demand driven by competing meat prices
A major contributor to strong pork demand has been the prices of competing meats over the past couple of years. Major reductions in turkey supply, a very slow response to lower feed costs by the broiler industry and the aftermath of the droughts of 2011 and 2012 in the beef industry have all been helpful to pork demand. When the prices of competing products rise, consumers substitute pork and push the demand higher.
Entering new normalcy of hog marketing
“Welcome back to the real world.” That 2014 trip off into fantasy-land was fun – except for that part with all those dead pigs in some of your farrowing units – but we are now back to reality. There are bad and good parts of that reality.
Pork prices to struggle in competition for the consumer 1
As hog prices fall, producers begin to ask "what are pork prices doing?" Lower hog prices are usually driven by higher production and that means more product on the market. Everyone wants to make sure the market is cleared and that takes lower prices. The question of course is one of degree: Just how much lower is needed?
November U.S. export data good news, bad news
Bad news: Exports were down again on both a month-over-month and year-over-year basis. Total U.S. pork exports of 364 million pounds, carcass weight equivalent, were 4.4% lower than in October and 19.8% lower than one year ago. And the good news? The lower exports meant more product in the United States.
’15 will be good; just not as good as ’14
2015 will not be as good as 2014. That’s the bad news. The good news is that 2015 will still be a good year; at least from a financial standpoint. Finances aren’t everything, of course, and there could be many factors that make this your best year ever. Don’t forget them. In fact, focus on them because family, friends, community and spiritual matters are the real stuff of which life is made.
Pre-report survey confirms most are expecting growth in hog numbers in report
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s quarterly Hogs and Pigs report will be released tomorrow at 2 p.m. CT. This is the first time in memory that the report has been released before Christmas. The December report has hardly ever been released on a Friday as customarily are the other three quarterly reports. The USDA has normally timed the December report to leave at least one full trading day before the end of the year so market participants can adjust positions per the report before the end of the calendar year.
Deciphering the Breeding Herd Tricky
A tricky aspect of hog market analysis this fall and winter will be deciphering what is going on with the breeding herd. Some may say “Well what’s new about that?” and I would have to concede the point that deciphering what is going on with the breeding herd is always a challenge.
Number of Economic Factors Play into ’15 Hog Markets
Whether the demand strength of 2013 and 2014 can be extended through next year is a major question regarding the outlook for pork markets. Improving macro-economic conditions, lower gasoline prices and extremely high beef prices all support continued strong demand. Lower chicken prices and a stronger U.S. dollar will be negative for demand. The balance of those issues will be critical to hog and pork market performance.
Lowest October Cold Storage Since 1996
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s November Cold Storage report indicated continued tight freezer supplies for all meat and poultry. The Oct. 31 inventory of 1.949 billion pounds of beef, pork, chicken and turkey in U.S. freezers was the lowest October total since 1996, and the first such figure under 2 billion pounds since 2001.
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