Well, most of us made it through 2008 without too many open wounds and thinking what a rollercoaster ride it was. If someone had told me in June that we would be paying $1.25 for a gallon of gas in December, I would have questioned their sanity. Realizing that we are talking about a commodity, just like livestock or meat, we never know what to expect.
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for an average year here in Wyoming both in terms of the weather and commodity prices. Here we are at the first of the year and none of us knows what wild swings we will meet this year. We have to stay optimistic and realize that there are opportunities in all economic conditions.
While visiting with a rancher this morning I commented on wishing for an average year. He replied that he wasn’t sure what an average year in Wyoming looked like. Well he had me there; after thinking about it I’m not sure either, but I told him it would be a year without all of the wild swings.
This time of the year, I always enjoy reading people’s forecasts for the New Year. Some of them in the livestock news say producers need to change parts of their operation. That may be easy for a livestock producer in Missouri with less than 100 head of cattle or sheep, but it’s darn near impossible for producers in Wyoming with large herds. This time of the year we are pretty much committed for the next six months.
I enjoy reading the monthly BEEF Magazine. First, I like it because it is free. Second, it always has good articles and information about what is new in agriculture. In the front of the magazine there are some good quotes from some of the articles that tell the story of our industry.
Harlan Hughes, a well respected ag columnist whom I really like, says, “knowing where you stand is the first step in managing a beef cow through tough economic times.” He has a production profile that, once filled out, should tell you where you are. One needs to know that information even in good years.
Managing Editor Alaina Burt states, “With the green movement more fervent than ever, it’s imperative for agriculture to demonstrate how they care for the land and natural resources entrusted to them.” How right she is and this action is something we all have to do in all economic climates.
Senior Editor Burt Rutherford tells how the key to agriculture success lies in technology. “The world population is somewhere around 6.5 billion people and is projected to grow 8.5 to 9 billion by 2050.” Each one of these humans is going to require a protein source for food and he says “that means that by the year 2050, humanity will have to produce twice as much food every year, year after year, than is currently produced.” Man, what a statement that is. How is agriculture going to accomplish that? I guess that is job security isn’t it?
Another rule to live by — good genetics, a good health program and try not to starve a profit out of your livestock.