Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version



Published by the Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Copyright 2009 Regents of the University of Nebraska.


It is generally observed that whenever there are cases of disease outbreaks and food recalls, such as the case of the 2003 Mad Cow Disease (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy or BSE) outbreak, cattle and beef prices fall. Given these incidents, there is the question of which part of the marketing chain is the most affected. For those who produce live cattle, such as feedlot operators, the question is ‘what effect these events have on price and demand for beef and cattle?’ Similarly, how do the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) recalls and diseases such as Mad Cow Disease outbreaks affect the beef marketing margins at all levels in the U.S. beef marketing chain? Identifying these effects along the marketing chain provides insight into which level along that channel is the most vulnerable to these events. In addition, this information helps to assess the impact of such events on the industry, providing a basis for policy formulation.