I’m not a big TV watcher, but I made an exception for NCB’s instant-hit “The Voice,”  which features Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton coaching promising singers in their quest to make it big in Los Angeles. Although some of my favorite country acts were voted off in earlier rounds, I quickly fell in love with the talented and beautiful Dia Frampton, who had the opportunity to sing duets with both Shelton and his wife, Miranda Lambert, in the last two nights of finals. So, what does this recap have to do with the beef industry? Be patient; I’ll get to my point.
Last night in the season finale, America was inspired and awed by the classic pairing of Lambert and Frampton, as the duo sang the country song, “The House That Built Me.” The lyrics of this song describe a woman who has left home and returns to revisit old memories of a wonderful childhood spent in an old farmhouse, and it's a song I think a lot of us can relate to. As proud-papa Shelton watched his two leading ladies angelically perform this song, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house. If you recall, I wrote a previous post about Shelton and Lambert tying the knot and how we, in rural America, can call these two friends. Check it out, "Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton Represent Real Country Values." 
One of the things I liked about this show was how close-knit it seemed the coaches and performers became throughout the journey. And, despite the fact that Green is on the eccentric side, Levine is a rocker, Aguilera is a popstar and Shelton is a good 'ol country boy, they united together and set aside their differences in order to give these young talents a fighting chance at a golden opportunity.
That got me thinking about the beef industry and the many issues we tend to bicker about. I don't care who you pay your membership dues to: National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), the United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) or the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF). And, it really doesn't matter to me if you are a Democrat or a Republican, or if you raise crops or cattle. At the end of the day, these differences shouldn’t stand in the way of progress for the agriculture industry.
Simply stated, farmers and ranchers need to unite to accomplish one goal: feed the world for a sustainable tomorrow. What that means is we need to continue to grow through competition, research, education and innovation. We need to strive to grab market opportunities, both domestically and internationally. We need to meet the growing demand to feed a hungry world, and we have to do it in a manner that’s sustainable. To me, sustainability means focusing on both environmental and economic factors in food production.
To accomplish these goals, which are ultimately our main priorities, that might mean setting aside petty differences. It might mean swallowing your pride and making a compromise. We may think differently about a lot of hot topic issues like the checkoff, ethanol subsidies, trade agreements and best policies to fit our industry, but if we continue to squabble amongst ourselves, we will miss the forest for all the trees. Let’s focus on doing our jobs -- feeding the world, taking care of the land and animals, and providing a living for our families. Sorry NBC, “The Voice” was great, but to me, getting along and working together toward a common goal is the best song of all.
Did you watch "The Voice?" Did you enjoy seeing Shelton, Lambert, Brad Paisley and Reba McEntire make appearances in Hollywood?
What issues do you think we need to tackle head on in the beef business today? What can be done to stop the fighting and focus on these issues? How can we compromise to be more successful and productive farmers and ranchers?