Troy Marshall

I'm Not Naming Names
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
EPA Sets Its Sights On "Dangerous Dust"
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
Thoughts On The Checkoff Fiasco
So many of you have written wanting to understand the dynamics that have created the tug of war between the Cattlemen’s Beef Board Executive Committee vs. the Federation of State Beef Councils and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). The big question is how a program intended to help everyone and build the U.S. beef industry has evolved into the frontline for internal political struggles
Food Prices Up 4% in February
While housing starts have fallen to their lowest levels in 50 years, food and energy prices continue to rise. Those aren’t very encouraging signs for the overall economy, and raise concerns about beef demand
Protective Cows And 4-H Moms
Weighing and tagging calves this morning, we had a cow that didn’t like the idea of us working on her calf. It became pretty obvious that she might be inclined to do more than just beller and snort, so we pulled the calf on the other side of the fence to weigh and tag it.
Time Is Ticking Away On Trade Deals
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack made a push this week for the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement by highlighting its benefits. Ironically, while it eliminates most ag tariffs almost immediately and pork tariffs by 2016, it will take 15 years for beef tariffs to be reduced to zero. However, the small gains we would enjoy in the meantime should result in significant increases in market share.
It Is Official – We Are In Uncharted Waters
Cattle futures set an all-time high this week, as tight supplies and strong export demand continues to push the fed market higher. Fed cattle traded solidly at $1.14/lb. (some cattle traded as high as $118 in Kansas), taking out the previous record set in 2003. On Wednesday, the April contract hit nearly $1.18/lb., the highest a nearby contract has ever traded. December fed moved over $1.22
Cow-Calf Price Optimism Is Justified
Record price levels are expected to be with us for several years. Current feedlot closeouts and even packer margins have been solid
How Much Can You Afford For A Bull?
Jim McGrann, Texas A&M University emeritus professor, sent me a write-up and spreadsheet this week that provided a very sophisticated way of calculating the actual costs of a bull, and the impact of bull prices
Libyan Unrest Meets The U.S. Cattle Industry
I’m sure most readers would consider the political unrest occurring in Libya today to be as disconnected from the U.S. cattle industry as any two events could be. In actuality, however, the situation illustrates just how interconnected we have become via the global economy. The uncertainty has caused oil prices to surge into the $120/barrel range, and the specter of $4/gal. gasoline threatens an already extremely weak economic recovery
Stupid, Maybe; Crazy, No
Chalk me up as one of those who didn’t get overly excited about the dust regulations that the Environmental Protection Agency proposed under the Clean Air Act. I know that the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) worked feverishly on this issue for quite some time and warned us all about the difficulties this measure could create for rural America.
Pat Your Back, But Don’t Get Comfortable
Everyone’s reveling these days in the record feeder and bred-heifer prices, and healthy bull sale averages. And it’s understandable that we should feel pretty good about life at this time
The Bull Market Is Definitely Bullish
Given the high prices in all cattle sectors and optimistic expectations for the future, everyone expected a higher bull market this spring. While it hasn’t materialized to the level of the other sectors, the strength of the early bull sales is surprising some folks, particularly when you consider that U.S. herd expansion hasn’t really yet begun.
Calving Season And Life
This is one of those weeks when I sat down to write my weekly thoughts and I struggled for something to say. So I started looking for inspiration by ticking off the things happening at home. The strange weather is number one – bitter cold followed by unseasonable warming. And, of course, there is the calving season getting started.
The Politics Of Higher Food Prices
The World Bank (TWB), which calculates its own world food price index, claims that food prices rose by 15% in just the short time frame of October 2010 to January 2011. In fact, TWB’s latest report says food prices are up 29% compared to a year ago, and tens of millions of people are moving into the poverty category as a result.

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