I’ve received hundreds of emails recently regarding the checkoff situation. It’s an issue that is both important and confusing and I hope the following article can provide some context missing from the previous discussion
In what is probably the worst depiction of animal cruelty I've ever seen, the surreptitiously recorded video released this week chronicling abuse on a Texas dairy calf operation was graphic and abhorrent.
A lot of the experts have been predicting $8/bu. corn, not necessarily because they believe corn will be that high but because the market will need to push that high to ensure enough acres are planted in corn. The gurus refer to this as “buying acres.” By the way, recent calf prices are the market’s attempt to buy more cows to go into production as well
A good friend and neighbor stopped in the other day. His outfit has a fairly large cowherd utilizing primarily Angus and Gelbvieh genetics. He remarked that they’d just selected their replacement females and, as had been the case for as long as I’ve known him, he kept a white heifer
Most of the happenings surrounding the issues of the national beef checkoff have been going on behind closed doors and in back rooms. So much so, in fact, that even many of the people actively involved in the program weren’t aware of all the dynamics
With virtually every segment of the cattle market at all-time high price levels, it’s only natural to start looking for what can go wrong. After all, this is agriculture and ranchers are a lot more comfortable with bad news than good news
Last week’s hasty retreat by the Executive Committee (EC) of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) to allow for a full discussion by the CBB on the committee’s recommendations to rework the program’s structure were seen by many as a positive sign. The hope was that the political maneuverings might cease and that the message has been received that producers are sick of the political games. I think it’s a mistake to assume that’s the case, however
The politicization of the national beef checkoff has provided lots of backroom intrigue. Some of the backroom details more closely resemble Nixon’s Watergate scandal than anything we’ve seen before in the cattle industry. However, the ethical breaches of having executive officers and staff clandestinely listening in on conference calls assumed to be confidential and the like represent behavior so far beyond the pale of acceptability that it will require significant changes to restore confidence in the program
Jim Lochner, Tyson’s chief operating officer, recently addressed the J.P. Morgan Global Protein Conference in New York about the fundamental shifts we’re seeing in the market. He spent quite a bit of time discussing the implications of covering the cost of $7/bu. corn, and the supply and price relationships that have been significantly altered as a result. For perspective, five years ago, 12% of the corn we produced was used in ethanol; today that amount is 40%
I was sitting in a board meeting of a very successful organization a couple of weeks ago as the group pondered a review and revisiting of its strategic plan. What was interesting was that this organization – from a financial and effectiveness standpoint – is probably at its zenith. Yet, there was general concern that it might have become too tied to the past, and that its structure and mode of doing business needed updating.
No doubt about it, rural America is different. I’ve always taken pride in the fact that our values, work ethic and beliefs are different from that of our urban counterparts. Certainly, when one compares income levels and even education levels, rural America has fallen short, but we seem to be catching our urban counterparts in some unenviable areas.
I received a rash of emails this week regarding the checkoff piece I wrote in last week’s edition of BEEF Cow-Calf Weekly "Thoughts On The Checkoff Fiasco”). Certainly, there’s a lot of frustration in the country that things have been allowed to degenerate to such a level. The politicization of the checkoff and it becoming the major battle ground for internal industry political power games is the exact opposite of what was intended for the program
For all of you looking to add a new acronym to your vocabulary this week, how about NAAQS? It stands for National Ambient Air Quality Standards, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently reviewing its NAAQS for particulate matter