I have spent most of the month of January in Canada. United Farmers of Alberta is a farmer owned co-op that hosts a series of “Cattlemen’s Colleges” each year and I spoke about cattle handling.
They were great learning experiences for me. The speakers were top notch. Marketing, finance, nutrition, forage management, and best calving practices were presented. I did not hear one sales pitch to buy anything from the store. One speaker on nutrition explained how a certain blue block of salt had little value nutritionally, and was like licking metal in the subzero temperature. He recommended loose salt added to mineral to get the best value and health from the purchase of salt. That was real good information, but the funny thing was the store was giving away several blue salt blocks for door prizes. Now that’s humor!
I think it is real smart what they were doing. If I owned a store I would want my customers to be educated enough to purchase things that made them a profit. It is in the store’s best interest to help the customer become a professional beef producer. The more they learn and implement for-profit practices, the longer they will be in business, and when you are profitable it allows for more expansion.
Knowledge is the first step, then learning how to use the knowledge. Then keeping that knowledge and skill learned in practice and improving is the big challenge. This kind of beef production is what it is going to take to get it done in this era of ranching. This is also what the consumer of beef wants, a producer that treats and cares for the environment and the livestock up to their moral standards.
I am a little embarrassed when I speak in front of the Canadian rancher. They are good people that have had a tough go of it. You can’t believe how bad they felt for the South Dakota storm victims. These are the same ranchers that R-CALF and other groups has cost thousands of dollars.
I am not a political person. I am a dedicated proponent of the proper production of beef. If you are Mexican, Canadian, or from the U.S., we all are North Americans and if we can work together it sure seems like a lot better way to go about it.
I look at this in the same way as I look at neighboring in ranch country. I’ll bring my crew to your branding and you bring yours to mine. If there is a range fire we all go to it and help each other by putting it out, no matter whose land it is. In the Southern U.S. they put everyone’s cattle together in groups to improve the marketing of the cattle. Good neighbors help each other, no matter if it costs them a little, because at some point it may save them a lot, and I am not talking only financially.
I’ve seen quite a few people bad mouth their neighbor when they weren’t around, and then not say a thing when they are present, but they can’t look them in the eye.
So all you folks that are for putting politics in to the beef industry, go to it. I hope it’s not to just raise money for your organization or cause. I am going to stay with doing the right thing for the industry, not for my own selfish greed.
If you get in a bind and need some help give me a call. I bet I can get some of my Canadian ranching friends to come help us out of a tough spot. You see there are some things you don’t learn at a Cattlemen’s College. It’s called doing what’s right, it’s called integrity, it used to be the “Code of the West.”
~ Curt Pate