We sold calves at the sale barn last week, and the mood at the auction was somber, to say the least. Prices were not robust and spirits were notably down. Sitting in the bleachers of our local auction market, I overheard many conversations of ranchers commiserating about what a tough year 2019 has been.
Without question, everybody is looking forward to 2020 and hoping for a better year. Certainly, there are some years in production agriculture where all the chips fall into place, and 2019 was not one of those years.
Yet, I’m optimistic about the future. If you missed my blog post earlier this week, I shared why a recent speaking engagement at an FFA event made me feel hopeful about agriculture in the decades to come.
In addition to feeling optimistic, I’m also grateful for another year of being able to live and work on our family’s cattle ranch.
Our three children are learning how to be stewards of the land and livestock. They are learning the value of hard work and doing what’s right. And we are working together as a family, making memories while focusing on a collective shared goal.
As I type this, the nation is preparing for Thanksgiving — a day to pause and be thankful for the year’s bountiful harvest.
While we may have fields that have yet to be combined, and we may still have pastures underwater due to excessive rains received this year, overall, even in tough years, the agricultural industry is exceptional at raising a harvest to feed this country and the entire world.
In the U.S., we spend less than 10% of our disposable income on food. We are food secure with an abundance of safe, affordable food; that is a true blessing.
On top of that, today’s cattlemen and women are producing more beef than ever before using fewer resources. And with all of this talk about sustainability, I think beef is a major success story already.
According to Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner., “When it comes to productivity, in the U.S., we produce the same amount of beef today with 33% fewer cattle compared to 1977, and 18% of the world’s beef with only 8% of the world’s cattle. This is a result of better animal health and welfare, better animal nutrition and better animal genetics, all of which are supported by the Beef Quality Assurance Program.”
So today, as my family gathers around the table to enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving meal while our cattle graze peacefully on residual corn stalks, effectively up-cycling a by-product of crop production that would otherwise be wasted, I’m most grateful to know that my food is grown by good-hearted people in rural America who are working hard every day to ensure there is ample food to feed the world.
Happy Thanksgiving from my ranch to yours! May your plates and hearts be full today!
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.