What an exciting time to be involved in this industry! Record high calf prices, strong demand, an expanding cow herd, and good moisture across much of the United States has made this an electrifying time in our business. I am also very encouraged by the young leaders who are looking at beef production as a great way to make a good living.
I had the opportunity last week to travel to Kingsville, TX and attend the John B. Armstrong Systems Thinking Lectureship put on by the King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management. It was a great chance to think through some of the micro- and macro-economic issues facing the beef industry ranging from questions about defining sustainability, endangered species protection, water usage, beef promotion, and production challenges. Throughout the intensive 4-day lectureship we discussed, and admired these issues hoping to begin to understand them better.
It was a humbling feeling to be surrounded by young, innovative, progressive thinkers who all have a vested interest in all of our future. The teacher of the lectureship, Michael Goodman, helped us to understand how the structure of our business or industry creates the results that it does. How we can make a long-term improvement on our ranch, or in our state Capitol that will make a lasting difference on the real problems we are facing. In out instant gratification society, it is often easy to look for the “quick fix” which may have unintended consequences to the long-term solution.
One of the highlights of the trip was having the chance to go on a private tour with Vice President & General Manager of the King Ranch, Dave DeLaney to get a look at where they brand the famous Running W. For over 150 years, they have run cattle in South Texas, between Corpus Christi and Brownsville. There is an incredible amount of history on this storied ranch, and an exciting future.
I could not help but be excited for what is in store for our own Young Stockgrowers. We have the upcoming Cattle Crawl, giving us a chance to interact with our consumers and show them what a great tasting, healthy, and environmentally friendly product we are proud to produce. We also have our biannual Calling on the Capitol coming up where we will have a real opportunity to interact with our legislators to make a difference on the issues facing our industry here in Montana. Our annual convention coming up in December will help us to set the policy of Montana Stockgrowers, to ensure that we have a united voice within our industry to institute positive change on the state and national level.