JBS promises to advocate for American livestock producers
JBS company leaders said they are dedicated to amplifying the voice of American livestock producers at a beef industry event in Iowa, ensuring agriculture remains part of the fabric of our future in the face of global scrutiny.
Those who have a voice outside of agriculture are making it more and more difficult for those in agriculture to do what they have done for so many years. That is why industry giant JBS USA is working to amplify the voice of beef producers and ensure agriculture remains part of the fabric of our future.
“In agriculture, our sentiment is: we will let others do it, and then talk about it — but we need to be proactive,” said JBS Head of Corporate Affairs Cameron Bruett. “It’s not just about telling our story, but it’s combating all the negative.”
The JBS representative made these remarks while addressing attendees of the Iowa Cattlemen Industry Leadership Summit in Altoona earlier this December.
“The world is facing huge challenges of food insecurity and a warming climate at the same time,” Bruett continued. “The solution of educated men and women around the world is to end the oldest profession that mankind has to offer. They want to limit our production, limit our efficiency, limit our access to technology, and send us back to the agriculture of the 1930s. We cannot feed the world that way.”
The mission of JBS has not changed over the years, Bruett told the group. The company hopes to foster trusting relationships with suppliers as well as provide opportunities for a better future for all their team.
Over the past 70 years, JBS has become the top global producer of beef, and poultry, and is currently the second-largest pork producer in the world. Company leaders say they want to provide opportunities for the livestock producers and their team members.
“Today, 52 percent of our global revenues are here in the United States,” Bruett said. “We have customers in over 100 countries around the world for U.S. beef. When people taste our [U.S]-fed beef, it changes the world and creates incredible opportunities for [producers].”
JBS has nine beef plants across the country. In the U.S. alone, they purchase or raise 1.6 billion cattle, hogs, and poultry and pay producers about $16 billion for these animals per year. They also have over 9,150 family farm partners across the U.S.
“You are critical for our business. We transform your hard work, labor, and effort into consumable products for consumers,” Bruett told the group of livestock industry professionals. “We have a lot more in common with cattle producers than not. There will be times we disagree, but we certainly need each other.”
JBS is always looking for and bidding on high-quality cattle throughout the country, Bruett said. The beef cutout has drifted lower since October, and prices have come down as well. The choice-select spread has stayed strong through early December. He said that even with prices higher at retail, consumers have a taste for high-quality beef, and they aren’t turning back.
Cattle on feed numbers are up two percent year-over-year, and just below levels seen in 2020 and 2021. Beef-cow slaughter is down a bit, but still higher than at this time last year. However, Bruett said there are no signs of rebuilding the herd, and the lowest-low in the beef herd size could still be ahead.
Globally, there is an increase in production in the Southern Hemisphere in Brazil and Australia. U.S. beef imports are down, but import demand is up. China continues to be the top importer of beef, but they are willing to get their beef from anywhere around the world.
“I was always taught that China is a fantastic opportunity, but don’t put all your eggs in that basket because it can be gone tomorrow,” Bruett said. “It still is a phenomenal market that is drawing a lot of beef. The U.S. is the largest grain-fed provider to China, but still is only seven percent of the beef they import.”
JBS continues to look for new markets for U.S. beef. They want to continue to help the beef industry be sustainable in the future but don’t want to put mandates or regulations on how producers should manage their land.
“We want to help empower producers with the tools they need to make the right decisions and to maintain profitability,” Bruett concluded.