The livestock outlook for 2011 is characterized by tight supplies of beef, pork and poultry which bodes well for producers, but the optimism is tempered by higher feed costs, according to Ron Plain, Extension economist with the University of Missouri.

Plain sees further tightening of the meat supply this year. He said the key to success for livestock producers is to increase demand, which is best achieved through an improving economy. Plain presented the livestock outlook during the 92nd annual meeting of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

“The big uncertainty is meat demand,” Plain said. “Meat is something a lot of people in the world fully enjoy eating and they will eat more of it if they have money in their pockets.”

If the U.S. and the world can move beyond the recession, the improving economy means people will have more money in their pockets, which will bid up the price of meat, according to Plain.

As for the export outlook, Plain said the dollar is becoming steadily weaker and that is good news for U.S. meat exports.