One of Canada’s biggest and oldest cattle feeding companies—Alberta-based Western Feedlots—announced last week that it would cease operations of its three feedlots after nearly 60 years in business, citing poor market conditions. A feeding operation fattens calves to ready them for slaughter, so this substantial closure effectively throws a wrench in the operations for many area cattle breeders, who are now searching for other beef packing facilities. Livestock industry analyst Kevin Grier stated that this “takes out a material portion of demand for cattle across the Prairies.” Industry media outlet The Cattle Network proclaims that this development will “send ripples throughout the beef and grain industry throughout western Canada,” warning that the Canadian cattle industry may be following in the footsteps of the US, which experienced its worst one-year loss ever in 2015, with profits plummeting by $5.6 billion. Western Feedlots Chief Executive Dave Plett explains, “Our shareholders see [that] the challenges facing the industry in the next few years are going to be greater,” and adds, “We don’t foresee it getting better soon.”
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