Some folks say that, especially with the ever-rising price of fuel, the traditional cow/calf method is becoming impractical, and that economies will soon dictate a change in the practice.
There's cows on the range. And then there's steaks and burgers in the supermarket. But how do they get from here to there and back again?
Cattle ranching 101, according to Arizona rancher Andy Groseta, dictates that you finish the cattle where the feed grows. And that is why Yavapai County ranchers have run cow and calf operations for generations, through good times and bad, strong markets and soft.
Groseta should know. He's the president of the Arizona Cattle Growers Association and his family has been on the W-Dart Ranch outside Cottonwood for nearly 90 years, overseeing the repeating cycle of calving in the spring, feeding all summer, weaning and selling in the fall, the cornerstones of the business.
With current beef prices at near-record highs, the industry is as sure an example as any of producing true value directly from the earth.