Lately the futures markets have been really erratic and it has impacted live cattle prices. The Southwest part of the U.S. is extremely dry and many cattle are leaving that region. Hopefully these extra critters will be through the system soon and prices will stabilize.
As producers, we may not be able to control the markets, but it is our duty as cattlemen to maintain and increase demand. We must promote our product as the world's most trusted and preferred source of beef and beef products.
Cattle producers passed the mandatory beef checkoff of $1/head about 20 years ago. At the time, this seemed to be a fair price which would serve the industry for years to come. Since that time, beef prices have tripled and in some cases even quadrupled. The cost of advertising has also increased. It may be a good time to increase the checkoff due to inflation and the fewer numbers of cattle moving through trade channels. If we want to compete in the world market in the future, we need to build a cash supply that is up to global promotion.
Promote the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program in your state. This program was originally started to remove blemishes and trim from expensive cuts of beef to improve our image in the market place. Producers picked up on the program rapidly and problems decreased almost immediately.