Steve Meyer

Paragon Economics Inc.

Steve Meyer, president of Paragon Economics, founded in 2002 to provide expert economic analysis of agricultural markets and business decisions. 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.

‘Bearish’ Report Results in Minor Changes in Forecasts, Lean Hog Futures
The USDA Hogs and Pigs Report, that almost everyone thought was bearish, resulted in only minor changes in analysts’ forecasts. It also had little negative impact on Lean Hogs futures as well. After small losses on Sept. 29, the trend has been higher across the board, with strength the greatest for the summer contracts.
Report Indicates Swine Industry has Taken Advantage of PEDV Impact
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Hogs and Pigs report, released on Friday, indicates that the U.S. industry has moved quickly to take advantage of record profits and backfill productivity losses caused by porcine epidemic diarrhea virus.
Meat Competition Shouldn’t Damage Pork Demand
Pork and hog prices have been helped along this year by the supply situations of our major competitors. Part of that impact will endure but part of it is showing signs of waning. Let’s look at the other species this week. The beef sector is beginning to respond to record-high prices and profits. But the nature of this beast means the response will be slow and take seemingly forever to manifest itself in any significant increases in supplies.
USDA Raises Corn Crop Forecast
We old-timers could call this a “Timex” crop so far: Takes a licking, but keeps on ticking. Such was the news from the U.S. Department of Agriculture last week. That name has been supported as well by reports that last week’s frost damage was not severe. It looks as though the record crop is nearly in the bin, or at least piled outside on the ground awaiting transportation.
Pork Exports Soften; Domestic Strong
July exports data, released on Thursday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service, indicated some softening of the U.S. pork industry’s foreign business but also pointed to continued strong domestic consumer-level pork demand.
Hog Market Goes Higher Than Justified by Supply
Hog market has fallen so much “Because it went way too high in the first place.” The hog market had gone higher than was justified by actual.
U.S. Appears to Have Lost WTO MCOOL Battle
The United States has apparently lost with the World Trade Organization on mandatory country-of-origin labeling. That is the word that has appeared in a number of published accounts the past few days. I have been able to corroborate those reports with my own sources.
Don't Lose Sight of the Real Prize: Profits
Well, so much for a solidifying of the cash hog market I expected one week ago. After another $7 decline for the negotiated weighted average net price last week, I’m still wondering where things are headed. Relative to prices earlier in the year and the strength exhibited by retail prices this year, this adjustment seems large enough.
Russia Embargo No Surprise; But What Does it Mean?
Russia's embargo of ag imports will have an impact, but not a significant one.
Pork Producer Profits Have Never Been Better

USDA’s monthly World Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) Report, released on Friday, contained little new information about this year’s crop, but did hold a couple of surprises regarding 2013-14 usage that will impact corn and soybean prices in the coming year.

For Export News the Key is Value
While demand remains strong it's important to look at what buyers are willing to pay.
Market Responds to Bullish Hogs and Pigs Report
The United States Department of Agriculture’s June Hogs and Pigs report was bullish, and that bullishness was clearly reflected in the futures trade.
Pork Demand is on a Roll

It’s not supply. Or at least not completely supply. That would be an apt description of the pork and hog markets of the past two months--and it is not meant to let supply completely off the hook. However, the amount of pork available to consumers is not the only reason we have seen such remarkable prices in 2014.

Hog Slaughter Numbers Lowest Since July 2012; Weights Filling Gap
Last week’s federally inspected slaughter run of 1.750 million head was 6.6% lower than last year and is the lowest weekly total since the week of July 4, 2012. The year-on-year decline is a little more shocking in unit terms: 114,500 head. FI slaughter has averaged, over the past 4 weeks, 4.2% lower then one year ago. My computations for May based on porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) case accession data said May slaughter would be down 2.8%, so the decline for May has been even larger than I expected. That does not bode well for supplies later this summer when the accession data suggest that slaughter will decline by over 10% versus 2013.
Fewer Pigs Force Packers to Cut Shifts

Last week’s federally inspected (FI) slaughter total of 1.973 million head was 4.8% lower than one year ago. This level was slightly lower than was suggested by USDA’s March Hogs and Pigs Report, and slightly higher than my forecast based on that report and porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) case accession data.

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