One of the many advantages in attending the Cattle Industry Convention is the opportunity to visit with folks. Networking it’s called in some circles. I prefer the more casual term of visiting, because that’s exactly what it is.
It may not be at the kitchen table over a cup of coffee, but it’s visiting nonetheless. And it’s one of the most delightful things I do at the convention.
If you want to recharge your batteries and walk away thinking the future of the beef business is in good hands, visit with the college students who are there. Likewise, visit with some oldtimers. They’re just as enthusiastic, but it’s tempered with the wisdom of experience.
With that prelude, let me introduce Shaye Koester. She’s a student at the University of Nebraska Lincoln and a member of the Junior Red Angus board of directors. And she’s the sparkplug behind a podcast called Casual Cattle Conversations.
With the podcast, Shaye brings stories about ranching, the kind you’d hear over a cup of coffee sitting around the kitchen table. She visits with young folks who came back home after college. She visits with oldtimers who have more than a thing or two to share about what they’ve learned.
In short, it’s about visiting. And in the visiting, there’s plenty to learn.
Click here to listen to the podcast she’s already completed. If you have a story of your own to tell, or know someone who does, click on the contact information and shoot her an email.
Shaye is not just collecting stories for us to listen to now, but compiling an audio archive on the history of the cattle business. And that may be the most enduring aspect of all.
I also visited with a few folks who have been around for a while. One of them was Pat Shields with Capital Farm Credit in Bryan, Texas. We visited about what to expect in 2020, and he was optimistic about the year ahead.
“Just by looking at some of the things that we've seen with the cow kill last year, it was up about 9% from year ago and only 2.9% that was out of the dairy sector. So it was pretty high number for beef cows that went to a slaughter. I think coupled with an increase in the heifers fed last year, the fed heifer harvest was up,” he told me.
“So to me that points at a contraction phase and then we could be headed toward an expansion. There was some drought, there's going to be a lot of open cows. And our part of the world, I think some people held some open cows over because of the kill cow price was low in the fall. I think we could see some of that come this spring.”
On top of that, there’s the trade agreements with Japan, China and Canada-Mexico via USMCA. “We're seeing a good economy domestically, which translate into beef demand. And then, with the trade deals, I think that bar some political deal we can't see or an unforeseen drought or something like that, I think it points to finally a good year in all sectors of the beef industry.”
He thinks interest rates will stay steady and there should be plenty of money available for folks who are credit worthy. But your financial institution will be willing to work with you, he said. “I don’t think the average person is going to have a problem being financed this coming year.”