The CEO of Global Agri-Trends says it is a good time to be in food production, particularly beef production.

Brett Stuart says one of the driving forces behind high cattle prices is export markets in which China has recently become a massive player because of a shift in the amount of beef its middle class is consuming.

“In China it’s all about pork, they eat 80 pounds of pork per person per year, they only eat about ten pounds of beef per person per year, but as that middle class you refer to has got more spending, beef has become more of a luxury item in China and prices have gone through the roof  and imports are flowing,” said Stuart.

Stuart says analysts will be watching China closely after it signed a deal with Brazil, which is the number one exporter of beef, late last year.

He says from a global stand-point there will not be much change in cattle prices because supplies are very tight and there won’t be any change in production this year.

The way the beef biology works is it takes about three years to really expand production.  Now Brazil and India are expanding production today, but they are being off-set by declines in Europe, in China, the U.S., and Canada so we really don’t expect to see more additional beef on the global market place in 2015, maybe into 2016 and probably 2017 before we really start to see production increase again.”