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Grazing the Net

RSS By: Greg Henderson and Friends, Beef Today

Our editors spend some time roaming the web looking for stuff cattle people and others in agriculture might find useful or entertaining. 

Oakie Horses, Another Buck, and an End to the Mad Cow Scare

Feb 21, 2013

Gimme one more buck. Please.
I suppose Mike Callicrate won’t much like this but it’s something this industry needs more of in more states: Nebraska Cattlemen is exploring the idea of adding another $1 to the checkoff on each animal sold in the state.

I love it and I wish we’d do it in Texas, too. When I’m selling calves for $850 to $1,000 what sort of foolish fellow would I be to resent properly funding my marketing budget?

I’m not here to argue that every dollar the beef board spends is spent wisely. I bet a bunch of it is wasted. But I’ve been around the board enough to know their hearts are in the right place and they want to do the best they can. And what I might consider waste (all those pretty pictures of beef as landscape in that inscrutable "land of lean beef" campaign come to mind) others more schooled in such matters obviously think otherwise.

As far as I’m concerned, just the Issues Management efforts have returned more than we’ve paid into the program. So have exports. So have new products. I bet just the value added by that Flat Iron steak I don’t like has paid most of it.

Anyhow, by the time my calf meets his packer, he will have nearly $1,800 invested in him. I bet there is a lot more than a buck of other "waste" in the way I raise him, ship him and get him fed. So now I’m supposed to begrudge a buck to make people want him?

We’ve found out in the last couple of years that $1.25, $1.30 is sort of all consumers think our cattle are worth. If we’re going to get that price ceiling up before numbers allow feeders and packers to regain their fair share, we better be working at market development with  a capital VEL.

Horse meat mapOakies kill horses, don’t they?
No wonder I love Oklahoma, despite OU’s football team buying all the good Texas high school football players, their legislature has authorized horse slaughter!

I know it’s impolite to say it, but I must: A lot of starving nags will be lucky to have a place to die a humane death. I don’t suppose anybody in horse country will disagree, either. Nobody I know, anyhow.

No mad cows around here
I quit fretting over BSE a long time ago, presuming the threat to be minimal and consumers of America to be pretty well inoculated by all the false starts and--maybe, just maybe--some increased understanding of just what a silly thing it is to worry about in the context of all the things to worry about.

But that’s not to say it isn’t great that we’re seeing progress. The OIE yesterday dropped the U.S. to "negligible risk" category which should—notice I said "should" not "will"—drop the rest of the trade barriers erected after that one dairy cow. That, plus Japan’s willingness to finally accept <30 month beef is altogether good news.

I’m a good American, but I’m sure glad to see that Brazil is planning a record crop this year—and don’t forget, they’re upside down so this crop is pretty well made. Maybe that will help answer AgWeb’s question about "How low will corn go?" with something more to the liking of livestock producers.

And while we’re looking at Brazil, if you need a place to contribute  your Obama Bucks now that the domestic political season is over, I suggest Marina Silva in Brazil who is "tireless fighter for the protection of the Amazon rainforest."

Me, too, by golly. Not only does rainforest destruction  make a convenient strawman for the beef haters, but I don’t see us needing all that competition in the world beef market.
Not to mention I just plain like the rainforest. Parrots are cool.


--Steve Cornett

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