Cow-calf producers need to blame exchange rates, not bovine spongiform encephalopathy, for lost wealth

J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2009;72(17-18):1086-91. doi: 10.1080/15287390903084595.


Several studies examined the impacts of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) crisis on the Canadian agricultural sector. However, few investigations determined the on-farm financial repercussions arising from the crisis. This study examined impacts at farm level attributed to the BSE crisis. Cash flow and hedonic price models were used to examine changes in farm wealth for the years 2002 through 2007. While BSE received substantial media coverage, little attention was given to exchange rates and land values. Data demonstrated that exchange-rate fluctuations exerted a much greater impact on producer wealth than did the BSE crisis. Both farm equity and land values temporarily dipped following the BSE crisis but have since followed their previous trend. If the United States had not closed its borders to Canadian beef and cattle exports, producers would have an additional 0.65% growth in wealth. However, had exchange rates remained constant, farmers would have an additional 10.75% increase in equity. Consequently, the BSE crisis produced a smaller impact on farmer wealth than factors that received less media attention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / economics*
  • Animals
  • Canada
  • Cattle*
  • Encephalopathy, Bovine Spongiform / economics*
  • Models, Economic
  • United States