Change, change, change. At times, it’s difficult to sit through yet another presentation on change.

No one is arguing that the explosion of commodity prices ironically may be the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back in terms of spelling the end for the commodity-beef business. Niche and branded marketing brings with it a whole new set of challenges, but the trends toward becoming more consumer oriented seem unstoppable.

The real issue isn't so much about embracing the concept that the industry is changing. After all, it doesn't take any special insight to see the volume and magnitude of the change that’s occurring. The real question is how one deals with these changes.

Sure, we have segments and interests fighting trends like national ID or pushing for country-of-origin labeling (COOL). That’s despite the fact that the market has either already set clear signals that it will demand traceback capabilities, or is actively evolving well beyond COOL, eventually even going beyond source and age verification.

Cornell University’s John Pollak made the point this week at the Beef Improvement Federation proceedings in Calgary that the industry seems almost paralyzed today waiting for the changes of tomorrow. On the genetic side of the equation, people are torn between investing in data collection to try to select for certain traits when DNA and marker-assisted selection is expected to dramatically change the landscape.

It is human nature to sit back and let things sort themselves out in a time when quantum changes are occurring in so many areas. After all, the cutting edge can be a pretty dangerous point.

Still, it is how one manages through these transitional phases that often determines whether one is positioned to take advantage of new opportunities. Instead of sitting back to see what shape the industry is taking, now is the time to play an active role in creating what promises to be a dramatically different future.