One of this week's big news items was the Census Bureau's estimate that the U.S. population has reached 300 million people, trailing only the countries of India and China.

What does a growing population mean for the U.S. cattle industry? Obviously it's good for beef demand -- with per-capita consumption remaining relatively stable and carcass weights exploding, population growth is vital to maintaining our cowherd at constant levels.

Conversely, as the population grows, so will the competition for land and open space, as well as for natural resources, energy, etc.

The one thing we do know is, despite all the purveyors of doom, the U.S. remains the world's greatest success story. Incomes continue to rise, assets grow with each generation, and children continue to enjoy better lifestyles than their parents.

Paul Johnson writes in Forbes -- "In the five years since 9/11, America's GDP has increased by $3 trillion. This increase alone is roughly equivalent to the world's fastest-growing economy (China)."

America's market-driven system remains the envy of the world. As long as that's the case, the world will continue to want to come to the "Land of Opportunity."
-- Troy Marshall