Whether one is discussing the cattle industry or bigger issues facing the country, the differing views are nothing short of amazing. GIPSA is a prime example.

Both sides agree and understand that certain rules are necessary and must be enforced. For instance, everyone supports the rules that should prevent situations like the bankruptcy of Eastern Livestock from unduly harming others, but obviously, the system that was in place failed.

One side views failures as part of the price that must be paid to have success; the other believes the government should be able to prevent these types of failures. One side sees it as an example of government limitations; the other side sees it as an example of not giving government enough power. One side sees an example of the inherent evils of capitalism and size. The other sees it as an individual circumstance with the results largely independent of size.

I thoroughly enjoy reading viewpoints of both conservatives and liberals – from NCBA and R-Calf, etc. But the differing views of similar events make it seem like these groups exist in alternative universes. This isn’t necessarily wrong, as different philosophies and world views will be with us for all of time.

But one-sided communication can lead to radicalization, as well as mischaracterization of the other’s views, which manufactures villains and makes understanding harder to come by. It is a fine line to vehemently support one’s views without demonizing those who hold totally opposite views. But, at the same time, a free-market, entrepreneurial-minded capitalist will also view a socialist, egalitarian reliance on government as intolerable.

The beef industry long-range planning taskforce has begun the difficult and important task of setting out a framework around which the industry can focus its efforts. In one of the initial processes, they created a draft vision and mission statement along with six core strategies.

The draft vision: “An industry united around a common goal of being the world’s most trusted and preferred source of beef products.”

The draft mission: “To work collectively in providing the safest, highest-quality beef and beef products for our growing and increasingly diverse domestic and global customers to ensure sustainability for the environment and future generations.”

And the six core strategies vital to achieving the vision and mission include:

  • Capitalize on global growth opportunities.
  • Increase domestic demand for beef.
  • Grow the U.S. cowherd.
  • Strengthen beef industry image.
  • Protect and enhance our freedom to operate.
  • Improve intra-industry relationships, trust and openness.

I have to believe that if we looked at every issue in the context of that vision, mission and strategy, we would have a lot less to fight about it.
-- Troy Marshall