Current Edition

current edition

We Love To Battle

    Sometimes in the livestock business, we put ourselves in hard places. We don’t stop and realize that while times may not be the best, they could always be a lot worse, and we’re always quick to blame someone else for the bad. Instead of pointing our fingers, we need to ask, “Why did you do that? Why did you say that? Or, what really happened?” I have to admit I’m guilty, as are you. It seems to be just something we do.

In the time I’ve published the Roundup, I have come to realize there are two or more sides to every story, and sometimes numerous other perspectives, but we’re quick to draw a line in the dirt and blast someone. It doesn’t mean we’re good or bad but, we are all in the livestock business – whether that be in the cattle, sheep or pork business – or the businesses that support livestock producers. Why do we insist on fighting among ourselves?

Watching sale results of video sales from last few weeks, cattle prices have really bounced back. Some say the farmer feeders in corn country will either have silage available or the price of corn is going down and feeding livestock may be a way to make some money. We haven’t heard that in a few years. Even light calves are bringing close to what the heavier calves are bringing, so for some, times shouldn’t be too bad.

This past week, Chandler Keys wrote an opinion piece in Drovers CattleNetwork that I thought made some sense. He talked about the fight among cattle producers and others over the current mandatory country-of-origin labeling (MCOOL). Keys is currently with a lobbying and consulting firm to the livestock industry in Washington, D.C. He has worked for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in Washington, D.C. and for JBS, the meatpacking firm, so he knows the issues. 

Keys says in his opinion piece, “We now find ourselves at a crossroads looking for direction. The industry has let this issue slip from its grasp and into the clutches of the World Trade Organization and a similarly unpredictable federal court system. What a shameful predicament.”

He goes on to say, “MCOOL has evolved into a livestock issue – not a meat issue.” I agree with that statement. He says all sides have made mistakes, and now we are in court. Some have said the livestock industry shouldn’t be in court with the others, and we need to find out why they are. Remember, there are two or more sides to this issue. 

Recently, the National Pork Board changed the names of their meat cuts to reflect those in beef. They are legal in taking this action as ribeye and the names of other meat cuts are not trademarked, but it really got the attention of beef producers. I don’t blame them. The pork checkoff is running some ads out there that have beef producers grinding their teeth. What really happened? We need to wait and find out from those at the beef checkoff. Look for more on page two of next week’s Roundup. Once we find out, then we can make up our minds as to if it’s right or wrong. 

We can’t go on beating up on each other. There is no future in battling.