On the outlook for livestock…  

“On the livestock side of things, it’s a more mixed picture. 2009 was a dreadful year for most livestock producers with continued high cost of production for feed and other inputs.

“At the same time, the prices for their products fell. In part, that was due to the recession. So, 2009 was a very bad year for farm income on most livestock operations.

“2010 was a little bit better for livestock. In part, that’s because a slow-down in supplies of a lot of livestock products. That meant less available for the markets and, as demand picked up, prices improved a bit. We’re seeing more of that trend in 2011.

“The challenge in 2011 is feed – grain and soybean meal prices have shot up again. So, even though livestock producers are getting more for their cows, chickens, pigs and milk, the cost of producing is up rather sharply. Net profits still aren’t at the level livestock farmers can be happy with.”