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The Midwest Cattleman · August 5, 2021 · P10
            INTERNATIONAL BEEF TRADE UPDATE                                 SEVERE DROUGHT                    has issued an executive order
       By Josh Maples, Department of Agricultural Economics, Mississippi State University continued from page 3  asking all Californians to vol-
                                                                                                              untarily  reduce  water  use  by
         USDA ERS released the es-          South Korea and Japan  and less in the way of grazing  15%. But it’s not as simple as
      timates for beef trade during      were the top export desti- sustenance and as demand for  turning the sprinkler off for
      the month of May on July           nations  for U.S. beef  during  feed rises, so do the costs. And  farmers and ranchers.
      6th. The export data show a        May. Exports to China con- just like crops, animals need to             “There are no silver-bullet
      sharp increase as compared         tinue to be strong as China  be watered, too.                        opportunities to just 'use less
      to the pandemic-disrupted          has been the third largest ex-       A recent Farm Bureau sur- water' without sacrificing pro-
      levels from a year ago.            port destination for U.S. beef  vey of farmers and ranchers in  ductivity and the livelihoods
         Beef and veal exports           year-to-date during 2021 fol- drought-stricken states shows  of people in farm communi-
      were 69 percent higher in          lowed by Mexico and Cana- that more than 85% of respon- ties,” said Jamie Johansson,
      May 2021 as compared to            da. The latest WASDE report  dents rated selling off portions  president of the California
      May 2020. Of course, May           showed a bump in expecta- of their herd or flock as prev- Farm Bureau. “While demand
      2020 was  far from normal.         tions for beef exports during  alent or higher in their area.  for water can be reduced, one
      As shown in the export chart       2021  as  compared  to  a  year  Similarly, 77% rated reducing  thing will not change and that
      above, May and June 2020           ago based “on continued firm  acreage as prevalent or higher  is the public’s demand for
      were exceptionally low ex-         demand  in Asia.” The  latest  in their area.                        food.”
      port months as trade was dis-      WASDE forecast is a 16 per-          Earlier this year,  Texas          In addition, a map from the
      rupted due to the pandemic.        cent increase in exports this  farmer  and  rancher  Ross  Co- California Farm Water Coali-
         Even though the compari-        year compared to 2020.             peland shared his experienc- tion showing water cutbacks
      son to a low level from 2020          Imports during May 2021  es  dealing  with  drought  with  indicates  agricultural regions
      leads to the large percent-        were very similar to a year  Republican members of the  throughout the state have al-
      age increase, that shouldn’t       ago.  As shown in the chart  House Committee on Natural  ready far exceeded the 15% in
      hide  the  fact  that  beef  ex-   below, the biggest pandemic  Resources.                              the form of reduced allocations,
      ports during May 2021 were         impact on imports occurred           “There have been many fac- water rights curtailments and
      very strong.  The 318-mil-         during the summer of 2020  tors over the years making it  proposed or existing emergen-
      lion-pound total was the larg-     when imports spiked. Sum- increasingly difficult to con- cy regulations.
      est monthly total on  record       mer 2021 is expected to be  tinue farming and ranching,”                Johansson noted that ex-
      and was 6 percent higher           lower than last year. On the  Copeland told the lawmakers.  pected water supplies for
      than the next largest month-       import side, the  WASDE  “However, severe drought is  one-quarter  of  the  state’s  ir-
      ly total. May 2021 exports         forecast is a 10 percent de- one of the largest issues we  rigated farmland has already
      were 16.7 percent above May        cline for 2021 as compared to  face.”                                been reduced by 95%, and more
      2019. January-May 2021             2020.                                Copeland is a fifth-gener- than half of that farmland is
      beef exports are 17.7 per-                                            ation farmer and rancher. He  getting no surface water at all.
      cent above the same period                                            and his family raise cattle and      Norm Groot, executive di-
      of 2020.                                                              sheep and grow crops in Coke,  rector of the Monterey County
                                                                            Sterling, Scurry and San Saba  Farm Bureau, said the prima-
                                                                            counties.                         ry concern at this point is 2022.
                                                                              He’s no stranger to cracked        “If we don't have precipi-
                                                                            ground desperate for the next  tation this winter, our reser-
                                                                            rain.                             voirs will not have sufficient
                                                                              As  part of their farm  rota- water supplies to continue re-
                                                                            tion, Copeland often plants  leases for consistent recharge
                                                                            winter wheat in September or  in 2022,” Groot said. “We are
                                                                            October  and  turns  cattle  out  conscripted to release water
                                                                            on the fields to graze in late  throughout the year due to
                                                                            winter or early spring. But se- [National Oceanic and  Atmo-
                                                                            vere drought conditions forced  spheric Administration]  Fish-
                                                                            Copeland to reevaluate that  eries requirements for habitat
                                                                            plan for the last two years.      and fish passage, which helps
                                                                              “The worsening drought  with  groundwater  recharge
                                                                            made it impossible for us to  but doesn't allow us to man-
                                                                            grow  a  wheat  crop,  causing  age our water storage for long-
                                                                            major disruption to our op- term efficiency.”
                                                                            eration. Due to this, we  have
                                                                            been  forced to
                                                                            buy feed for
                                                                            cattle and even
                                                                            sell some of our
                                                                            herd to make
                                                                            ends meet,” he
                                                                              In California,
                                                                            where 50 of the
                                                                            state’s 58 coun-
                                                                            ties are under a
                                                                            drought state of
                                                                            emergency, Gov.
                                                                            Gavin Newsom                          Stone Ranch, Wyoming (Hall & Hall)
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