Date of this Version
Dr. Robert Taylor, of Colorado State University, at the 1995 NCA meeting stated, "…after the current cycle 30% of today’s beef producers will not be in business." A colleague, Paul Gehno, now with the King Ranch in Florida, once stated, "the industry that emerges from this down phase will be leaner, smaller and more competitive." Another quote, of which I am afraid I do not have the author states, "in times of change, learners inherit the earth while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to work in a world that no longer exists."
We live in a world of change to which the livestock industry is certainly not immune. The next few years will be critical as far as determining those of us that will remain in the beef business for the future. As stated in the last quote, if we are not willing to learn, to change, or to adapt, we will be left behind while the rest of the beef industry moves forward. There are presently a number of areas that are critical to the survival of the beef industry, let alone our own survival. They are food safety, health & nutrition, palatability, consistency, value or cost, and convenience. All of these determine the demand for beef and we, as producers, have a major influence on all but convenience. Through our selection of breeding animals and management practices we affect the first five factors while the latter factor, convenience, is somewhat out of our hands. Of these, the most significant, and the area which we can have the most influence on, is the cost of producing a pound of beef.