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published: September 6th 2019
by: Dr. Joe C. Paschal
source: ICA Of Texas

Over the past several years I have had the pleasure to speak at several Independent Cattlemen’s Association chapter meetings and this year is no exception.
    This past week, I was asked to speak at the Crossroads ICA Chapter in Victoria by Wayne Dier-lam, which was well attended by many old friends and their families. He didn’t give me a topic, so I covered several that I thought either are or will be important. I have covered some of them here in the past, but they bear repeating.
    It looks like the cattle cycle may have peaked, but cattle numbers will remain steady for a year or two and beef production will continue to rise as their calves go to feedyards and their beef to the plate. Almost everyone knows what will happen to prices. With many calves for buyers to choose from, feeder calves need to be as fault free as possible to avoid discounts.
    The European Union (EU) is going to allow more beef into their market. The new trade agreement (yet to be ratified) will create a market for 18.5 million metric tons (MMT) of beef the first year moving to 35 MMT in seven years. Currently the U.S. can only export 13.5 MMT. The EU only allows non-hormone treated beef, but that market could be worth almost half a billion dollars in seven years.
    I also covered cultured (aka “fake”) meat and vegetarian burgers promoted by national hamburger chains. These companies go to great lengths to “manufacture” a protein product made natural by cows (and other livestock), even to the point of adding juices to “look” like bloody serum when cooked. All the while costing more than the real thing!
    We also covered the new animal disease traceability rules for sheep and goats and coming up for cattle (beef and dairy) and bison. The silver bright tags are going to be phased out in favor of radio frequency identification tags (buttons and a hang tag) and will be required in a few years for interstate movement (e. g. rodeo stock, breeding cattle, etc.). I can see the value of permanent identification for traceback to source of significant animal health issues (fever ticks or Brucellosis for example); but the cost of the program and how the records will be maintained have not been addressed.
    The last topic concerned sustainability of livestock and poultry production. Fake meat and milk are not merely food options but the first wave in the effort by some to eliminate raising animals for food. According to the EPA, greenhouse gas (GHG) from agriculture represent 9% of the U.S. total and livestock production is only 3% and crop production is about 4.5%. Since 2007, GHG emissions in the U.S. have declined by 15%. In beef cattle, we are producing about 30% more beef than 20 years ago with less animals, feed, water, and land. Those are all something to think about!


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