The beef industry received a ton of free press this week, thanks to a photo of a club calf sire that went viral. The hair coat of this animal, dubbed “fluffy cow,” was a real sensation on the Internet and news networks.
Some are concerned about the potential negative impact that this publicity might have, that is, making cows seem more lovable or pet like. I can see that, but I tend to be from the school that any press that isn’t negative is probably good. The episode, however, does point out just how important of a role the show and youth segments of our industry play in exposing our industry to the average consumer.
A lot of us will go to Denver, Louisville, Fort Worth, Kansas City and Houston with our own business in mind. The exhibitors and industry participants are concerned about placings and marketing their programs within the industry. Meanwhile, we tend to forget that hundreds of thousands of people attending these events are shaping their opinion of our industry by what they see and do there.
Our youth programs play a similar role on probably an even wider scale throughout the country. I’m as big of a fan of youth programs as anyone, but even with all the good they accomplish, they also have the potential to inflict significant harm.
Like what you are reading? You might enjoy this commentary from BEEF Daily Editor Amanda Radke.
A large majority of competitors do things absolutely the right way. But it’s also a well-known fact that certain practices, which wouldn’t be perceived well at all by the average consumer, are considered almost acceptable, especially at the highest levels of competition. The fact is these practices wouldn’t be well received by the typical cattlemen either. Still, we continue to avoid confronting the issue, hoping it will go away.
If nothing else, we should recognize that the enemies of our industry are working diligently to discredit us. Anything we do to give them ammunition is extremely poor judgment on our part.
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