This month, Steve Kay joins BEEF as a contributing editor with a regular column entitled “Meat Matters.” Owner and publisher of Cattle Buyers Weekly newsletter, Kay will provide producers with his unique insights into the meat and livestock industry. Read his first column, “Will MCOOL hurt ground beef sales?” on page 14; and his two-page treatment, “COOL's Devilish Details,” on page 64.

The future of any industry is in the entry of new blood to carry on, innovate and build the business, points out Alaina Burt. “Changing Of The Guard,” on page 16, is the first of a two-part series focused on ranching's next generation. Here she lists six farm-succession challenges every beginning rancher should consider, and every established operator should keep in mind.

It used to be that keeping and feeding cull cows was a no-brainer, but high feed costs make it riskier to add value to cull cows, writes contributing editor Wes Ishmael. In “Get 'Em Gone,” on page 36, Ishmael details how one specialist is telling producers their best cull-cow management opportunity is to identify cull cows earlier, save some of the condition on them and target seasonal market strength.

Faced with increasing costs of production, thanks to feed and fuel prices, the tab for winter feeding and management has a lot of producers nervous this fall. But randomly slashing costs in order to boost the bottom line isn't the best long-term strategy. In “5 Places To Save, 5 Places To Spend,” on page 38, contributing editor Clint Peck details the winter management advice of two beef production specialists.

Ask a pork producer about biosecurity and herd health, and a 20-minute lecture is sure to follow. Ask a cow-calf producer and a much less detailed response is likely, writes veterinarian Mark Hilton in “8 biosecurity tips,” on page 56. While beef producers enjoy an inherent advantage in herd health, that doesn't mean an abundance of space and fresh air make biosecurity and herd health any less important for cow-calf operations.

Shrinking beef industry profits and a smaller U.S. cattle inventory have prompted market participants to turn more cautious in bidding up grazing-land prices, reports Mike Fritz in “Pastureland Cool-Down” on page 72. While a sagging U.S. economy and extended housing slump have cooled recreational demand for pasture tracts, U.S. pasture values still managed to climb an average 6% to $1,230/acre this year.