The spring special edition of BEEF arrived today (“Survival Strategies In The New Beef Industry”), and as always it is an excellent source of information.

One of our priorities is to work hard to help prepare students for the challenges and changes that will confront them as they enter the industry. Your magazine and the numerous special editions provide credible, thought-provoking and economically important information.

We appreciate the opportunity to utilize your publication in our courses that focus on the beef industry. Again, thanks for providing a quality product.
Tom Field
Associate Professor
Colorado State University

Cow/Calf Issue Was Tops

I received my issue of the BEEF Spring 2002 Cow/Calf Issue (“Survival Strategies In The New Beef Industry”) this morning. I sat down and read it cover to cover. This is the best, concise, down-to-the-point series of articles on the changing industry I have seen.

You always have good reading, but this is what the industry needs to see. It was easy to read in a short time, which helps keep a lot of people's attention.

I will be speaking to a large group of northwest Arkansas producers tonight on the type of calf the industry wants today. I will be adding reference to this issue in my talk.

The alliance issue for small- to medium-sized operations is real tough. Most can't financially afford a mistake in picking the wrong alliance, and we all know that not all alliances will survive. Keep up the good work.
Joe Neill
Welch, OK

BEEF Coverage Helped

On behalf of the Knox Ranch, our neighbors and the people of the river communities, thank you, Senior Editor Clint Peck and BEEF magazine, for spotlighting the issues related to the Missouri Breaks National Monument (January BEEF, “Undaunted Stewards,” page 14).

You will be heartened to hear that Secretary of Interior Gale Norton, at the urging of Rep. Dennis Rehberg (R-MT), has agreed to do a boundary clarification, taking private lands out of the monument. We feel that your timely coverage of this issue played a role in bringing this about. We are also getting some indications that help may be forthcoming on the management plan regarding federal grazing leases.

We would also like to thank Steve Pilcher and the Montana Stockgrowers Association. They have hung with us since former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and his buddies first put their canoes in the water.
Matt and Karla Knox
Winifred, MT

An “Honorary” Degree

I liked the 2002 Spring Cow/Calf Issue (“Survival Strategies In The New Beef Industry,” mid-February BEEF), and the presentation of my material (“My Five Steps To Cow/Calf Survival,” page 22). However, I am not a PhD as was indicated in the biographical description at the end of my article. While I appreciate the “honorary degree,” some of my friends and colleagues who have the real degree ought to know that I am not claiming to be something I am not.
Burke Teichert
Ashby, NE

Needs Leasing Advice

My dad owns 90 Angus cows and a few hundred acres in central Missouri. He is considering getting out of farming but wants to have the freedom of enjoying the land.

My nephew would like to lease his cattle and land. Dad would retain ownership of the cows and land, while my nephew would provide all of the labor, fertilizer, fence repairs, land maintenance, etc.

How does one go about putting a price on this lease? Could dad get a certain share the calf crop, or would a dollar amount be better?
Bill Boehm
Rich Fountain, MO

Harlan Hughes responds: I have written extensively on leasing in my Market Advisor column in BEEF. Check out the following articles: “What's a fair cow lease” in the June 2001 issue, “Leasing cows — part II” in July 2001, and “Five steps to a fair cow lease” in September 2001. You can find these in the magazine archives at www.beef-mag.com.

Your nephew should be able to work up an equitable lease with your dad. By equitable, I mean one that shares the calf crop in the same proportion as they share the cost of running the beef cowherd. Your dad should get the cull cow income.

The problem for your nephew will be that your dad's contribution will be much higher than your nephew's contribution. Couple that with only 90 cows, and your nephew's absolute share will be relatively small. Nevertheless, one can set up an equitable lease that can serve both parties fairly.

For more information, contact me at 701/238-9607 or harlan.hughes@gte.net.

What Is Ford's Sin?

In your January issue, page 22, the article “11th Annual Environmental Stewards” states: “These winning enterprises illustrate practices that preserve and refine natural resources in management of water, wildlife, vegetation, air and soil.”

These seven regional winners are to be congratulated, and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) commended on seven outstanding ranchers who clearly demonstrate operating a ranch in and environmentally sound manner is profitable. My hat is off to these environmentalists.

Another article, “Undaunted Stewards,” on page 14 is a criticism of the public (we, the people) designation of a 149-mile stretch of the Missouri River as Wild and Scenic. The public is simply trying to preserve as “environmental stewards” a river from decay.

On page 47, you report that “Activists Can Outbid Ranchers” for grazing land leased to the public by the state of Arizona. This article criticizes leasing land to private citizens who wish to leave abused, over-grazed land to recover with grass so bird life can be restored.

On page 104 is your headline “Ford Motor Co. — cattle industry friend or foe?” This article relates that Ford gave $40 million to activist environmental groups. Now, NCBA is attempting to stop Ford's environmental efforts by writing a letter telling Ford of the beef industry's record of stewardship of land and water resources.

What is the policy of BEEF magazine to help guide me in the management of my 2,500-acre ranch and as a director of the American Brahman Breeders Association? Are ranchers the only environmental stewards, or do these other people and groups also have a right to be environmentalists?

It seems strange that Ford is condemned for doing the exact same thing as the seven ranchers you and NCBA extol to great plateaus. Yes, Ford has a different approach, but the end results are the same.

Why do you criticize Ford for being an environmentalist when 78% of the people approve and support environmental movements? Are you giving the cattle industry a black mark by opposing environmentalists? I think so.
Richard N. Evans
Beaumont, TX

Send reader letters, with name and address, to BEEF, 7900 International Dr., Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN 55425; or e-mail to beef@primediabusiness.com. BEEF reserves the right to edit for length.