Vet’s Voice by Dr. Dave Barz: Beef promotion is your job
August 20, 2014
It's hard to believe summer is almost over. What happened to those hot dry days when the temps soared to over 100 degrees? Not many of those this summer but if we need to talk about the weather we can always talk about the precipitation. Seems strange, too much, too little, and then storms. Every year about this time we get together with our friends and neighbors, and maybe even some people we have never seen before. This year we will have plenty to talk about once we finish with the weather.
Cattle prices are great. Fat cattle are dollaring up at over $2,200 per head. Old timers like me remember getting that for a whole horse trailer load and not just one animal. The question on all our minds now is not how much, but how long?
The world population is growing rapidly and our cow numbers are at very low levels. If we look at beef exports for the past ten years, we went from virtually zero (after the cow that stole Christmas) to the whopping $6 billion. Yes, I believe our product sells itself, because it is the best in the world, but we must also promote beef every day.
Your checkoff monies are constantly at work. Last night while I was listening to the weekly ag report, Orion said, "Every dollar spent in the beef check off has returned between twelve and thirteen dollars." That's a great investment all of us make every time we market beef. The monies are spent locally, statewide, nationally and internationally. We are all investing in the future of our product.
We as producers must also promote as individuals. We need to serve beef to our friends and relatives. I am always frustrated when the schools minimize or eliminate beef from school menus. We have all heard the joke about the dog that "bites the hand that feeds it," but my all-time favorite is "Don't complain with your mouth full."
Beef Bucks are also a great way to promote our product. Not only can they be used to purchase beef from retail outlets, but many restaurants accept them. If you want a gift that supports the industry, give Beef Bucks. They have done extensive ad campaigns and even TV appearances to promote our product.
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Become involved on a local level, not everyone is a great orator. You don't have to get up and speak, merely attend meetings to show support. Most of the consumers have no idea where their food comes from. I gave my daughter in Sioux Falls a quarter of beef and her roommates' comments were, "Why didn't they cut it all into steaks?"
That brings us to this time of year: county fairs, state fair, regional fairs, Dakota Fest. When you attend these functions go with a positive attitude to help other attendees, who may not understand the source of their food, be better informed. Also, as you attend, remember demand for product is great and the herd is small. This means we must utilize new and existing technologies to produce more pounds of beef with fewer cows. Visit with company representatives, extension specialists and other producers and devise a plan for a more profitable future. A small investment in technology may result in large increase in your profits and productivity.
Use the rest of summer to consult with your network of advisors, allowing you to chart a profitable pathway into the future of the beef industry. See you at Dakota Fest!