Monday morning, I read an article in which US Senator John Hoevan from North Dakota said, “These are challenging times for beef producers.” A 65-year-old rancher from North Dakota was then quoted as saying, “We are at a tipping point in our industry.” He went on to say, “Ranching is a great way to raise a family. I would like to see my children be able to carry on this way of life.” Obviously, this discussion took place in North Dakota. However, I maintain it could have taken place in any beef-producing state.
So, what are the perceived problems? The status quo beef industry wants us to believe the biggest problems faced by today’s beef producers are, in no particular order, beef packers, trade wars, tariffs and global demand for beef. You will notice the average cow-calf producer has absolutely no control over any of these things. That allows cow-calf producers to blame their failure on someone else. They do not have to accept any personal responsibility for their failure. That’s convenient – but it will never solve any problems!
If you are a cow-calf producer, then YOU ARE responsible for your success or failure. You cannot blame someone else. There are many cow-calf producers in North Dakota and other beef-producing states who are extremely profitable. While most of their neighbors are whining, complaining and blaming, these producers continue to make the necessary changes in their operations to keep up with the future. They know nothing stays the same. The present is different from the past and the future will be different from the present.
These are challenging times – but only for those who refuse to take responsibility for the success or failure of their own business. These are challenging times for those who refuse to admit the beef industry is not the same today as it was just 10 years ago. These are challenging times for those who refuse to change what needs to be changed. However, for those who are not afraid to think for themselves, the doors of opportunity have been thrown wide open. The next ten years will be remembered as the best of times for some – and the worst of times for others.