Although some expect reality star Kim Kardashian’s upcoming $10-million nuptials to professional basketball player Kris Humphries to trump the royal wedding of England’s Prince William to Kate Middleton earlier this year, the world is still riveted by the royal couple, who recently took a tour of Canada and the U.S. The glitz and glamour of designer suits and dresses, regal affairs, and celebrity meet and greets received worldwide attention, but maybe the most notable was the day the royal couple donned boots, jeans and cowboy hats for a day at the Calgary Stampede.
"It was a case of Calamity Kate and Wild Will Hickock as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge rolled into town," writes Rebecca English for the Mail Online. "The royal couple received a traditional cowboy welcome with 10-gal. hats as they touched down in Calgary before heading off to the world’s richest rodeo in traditional western dress. William and Kate watched astounded as children as young as three – known as mutton busters - rode a bucking sheep bareback and then winced as several cowboys demonstrated their skills on a particularly angry-looking bull. The newlywed Duchess was clearly taken by the rodeo riders and whispered cheekily to her husband as she gestured to their chaps: 'We should get you in a pair of these!'"
So, what does this have to do with beef cattle, and why should we care? For a day, the royal couple put the spotlight on animal agriculture, and although it was mutton busting and riding bulls, the Duke and Duchess brought the cowboy spirit to life. This is a prime opportunity for us to spread positive messages about who we are as farmers and ranchers. And, I think it’s high time we introduce who we are in American agriculture today to the general public. With the Texas drought and the Midwest flooding causing many ranchers to sell their cattle, it will be critical in upcoming months to push for increased beef sales as beef supplies tighten and domestic prices move up. We simply cannot afford to sit by and watch as U.S. per-capita beef consumption continues to decline. My main concern is that the trend might not turn back around.
What do you think can be done to turn around the trend? Or, are U.S. consumers doomed to pay that extra premium as we export more of our corn-fed beef abroad? Are you concerned about domestic beef demand? Or, is it hardly a blip on your radar? Finally, how did you think the royal couple looked in those cowboy hats? Elegant or hokey? Share your thoughts with us today.