Cattle in a field near Audubon.

There is a wide range of opinions on which way cattle and hog prices will go in 2017.

One of the more optimistic outlooks comes from Iowa State University Extension farm management specialist and livestock economist Shane Ellis.

“I’m not saying it’s going to be an easy-go year or we’re going to make lots of money, but I do see some improvement and possibly we could get back into the positive for the year in 2017,” Ellis says. “Two-thousand-eighteen should be even better. I see this being kind of a slow recovery, but I do see a recovery coming.”

One of the reasons for his optimism, Ellis says, is the strengthening U.S. economy. “As folks are more secure in their employment and wages are going up, incomes are going up, we’ll tend to spend more money on the higher-end protein sources, such as American-grown beef and pork,” Ellis says.

Continued strong exports of beef and pork should also contribute to the price recovery, according to Ellis.

(Reporting by Ken Anderson, Brownfield Ag News)