Vet’s Voice: Promote your product
The heat has been oppressive. Hopefully your stock has been able to compensate. Our area is in need of rain, but we still have adequate feed for grazing. Most of the second cutting of hay is complete and we are well into the wheat harvest. I have no idea what the yields are, but there appears to be lots of stray. There are still many dugouts used to water cows and calves in small pastures here. As you drive by cows have mud on their back. It appears to me that the creeks and water holes are drying up. We still hope for rain during the next several weeks as the corn tassels.
Both the calf market and the fat cattle market have dropped. It seems like a year since we made any profit on slaughter critters. Most of us don’t understand why the markets have dropped so drastically. In many cases the take home is about half as many dollars you took home when prices were at high levels. The prices in the meat market are down, but restaurant steak prices don’t seem to be decreasing.
We producers must remain positive during these tougher times and increase our attempts to promote our product. I know we all donate to the beef check off but we can’t expect them to do all of the promotion. Ten years ago we were trained to avoid confrontation with anti-agriculture groups. Now it appears we must take a stand and demonstrate our dedication to producing a quality product.
Our primary consumer is the American house wife. The problem today is most of these buyers are several generations removed from the farm. Not only must we promote our product, but must explain our lifestyle and our relationship to our livestock.
There are many ways we can all promote beef. The first is by far my favorite, Grandkids. It so great when they come to visit from the city and they seem very receptive to learn more about our stock and lifestyle. These relationships will help them better understand production and hopefully they will take their knowledge back to the city and their schools. Sometimes they even bring friends along. Not only must we market beef, but we must promote our lifestyle.
Promotions are always occurring. So far this summer we participated in the Prime Time Gala and the T-bone golf tournament. Later this summer we will participate in the Beef Bucks golf tournament. The innovative idea of beef bucks allows us to gift beef to consumer without shipping a perishable product.
My generation is lucky to have a cell phone, let alone be on face book or twitter. Social media is expanding very rapidly. The one percent of the population that negatively promotes agriculture usually disseminates untruths. They get on social media and propagate an untrue statement. The other consumers read the Facebook and Twitter posts and because they have no facts, they may believe the untrue statements. Even the media and culinary corporations propagate stories and make decisions and stories have been retracted after a barrage of messages on social media from producers like you helping them to understand the truth as well as the gravity of their decisions. We were always told to write our congressman, now we are asked to answer as quickly and often as possible on social media.
The consumer base which consumes our products are moving away from an agriculture background. Most have no idea of production practices or nutritional value of the products we produce. We need to understand the truth and the benefits about our products and then educate the population via personal contact, print, radio, T.V. and even social media. If we all do our part, we will continue to promote our product and lifestyle.