VERNON - Right now it's pretty easy to be a good beef-operation manager.
"We are in the best of times – traditionally high prices, good grass and good rains. There's a lot of hope."
That's the message delivered by Jim McAdams, president of National Cattlemen's Beef Association. McAdams during the Wheat and Stocker Cattle Field Day hosted by the Chillicothe/Vernon Agricultural Research and Extension Center.
But McAdams said one thing has remained consistent throughout the cattle industry: the cattle cycle. The decisions made today will determine the future when the cattle cycle declines again.
"You really have to think," he said.
Many challenges are ahead for the cattle industry, McAdams said. High cattle prices are being countered by increasing costs. Globalization and restructuring within the industry mean world events have a bigger impact on doing business.
"We're not just competing against our neighbor," he said. "Those who can produce for less will compete."
Economic challenges, government challenges and demographics are things the individual can do little about.
"But we can learn to accentuate our advantages," McAdams said. "We have an educated work force, research and technological systems. We have to utilize them to our advantage."
Use the tools available, McAdams said. "The industry rapidly adapted EPDs (expected progeny difference), and it's made a difference. Animal ID is another tool that can be turned to an advantage."
Find a balance between being a good business manager and a good production manager, he said. Producers need to make decisions looking five years ahead at least and keep good records.
For instance, each producer must decide "will this genetics or piece of equipment pay for itself? And then realize, we can't do it alone."
McAdams said in his early years as a ranch manager, he tried to take what he learned at field days, put it into practice and it cost him. But when he learned to work with Texas Cooperative Extension, work with its agents and specialist, "they saved me."
Look at the past, he advised. From the change of grass markets to feedlots to the beef-price freeze and resulting crash due to holding of cattle, "learn from it."
The beef industry lost 50 percent of its market from 1977 to 1997, he said. Then it realized it needed to produce what the consumer wanted. Since 1997, demand has increased 25 percent.
Today's hot debate is how to get the Japanese market back open. It wants 100 percent testing for bovine spongiform ecephalopathy.
"Some say let's give it to them," McAdams said. "If it's done in a cooperative manner, that's one thing. If it's made to put us at a competitive disadvantage, that's another. It's all about how we look at things and how we work through them."
Cattle producers must adapt and change in order to benefit, he said
quote from first article...Today's hot debate is how to get the Japanese market back open. It wants 100 percent testing for bovine spongiform ecephalopathy.
"Let's give it to them," McAdams said. "It's all about how we look at things and how we work through them."
quote from second article..."Some say let's give it to them," McAdams said. "If it's done in a cooperative manner, that's one thing. If it's made to put us at a competitive disadvantage, that's another. It's all about how we look at things and how we work through them."
Someone please explain the corrected version to me, I do not understand it.
cant remember just where i found it but it was the same time the feds announced the one billion dollars they are giving to agriculture.the fed ag minister stated part of the money i believe was to go for testing for bse for export beef only.( not sure if he said part of the money will go for this or just that he said they will be letting them test)