By Betty Go Gigot, Publisher
With 2020 in the rearview mirror, all I can say is, Whew, that was an adventure! As we deal with the residuals of the events, looking forward still presents many unanswered questions. I’m one of those glass-half-full types and am looking forward to 2021. The first answer, of course, is blanket COVID-19 immunity. Here in Colorado, my age group is due for immunizations but, after signing up for several programs to get vaccinated, my number has not been drawn. They are opening businesses slowly, allowing in-house dining at 50 percent capacity and, maybe, some of our favorite spots will stay in business. My interesting news is that they have just opened a new restaurant downstairs in my building. I can order a martini and a steak over the phone and have it delivered to my door. Spoiled is the word to describe this little lady.
I just checked with my meat purveyor in California to see where he was in shipping my staff their Christmas beef. Turns out he won’t try to ship until after Feb. 1 to be sure the meat gets there safely. He says that their business is up 35 percent over last year and, on New Year’s Eve, they had a line all the way around the building.
One of the questions on a recent National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) webinar was whether, because of the aversion to meat by some in the Biden administration, we would see possible limits put on beef. The team pointed to the positive new dietary guidelines just released (see page 27). They also highlighted the public’s taste for beef during pandemic. Just like my butcher in California, the rush to the market for beef purchases highlights what people want to eat, even if they have to cook it themselves. The reality is that beef has a special place in the center of the plate.
The NCBA Webinar, “What to Expect from the 117th Congress and the Biden Administration,” featuring the Washington, D.C. staff, also highlighted the need for a strong team of knowledgeable representatives protecting our interests as the world turns. Many of the announced nominations are well known to our NCBA staff, and that team has already begun communicating with administration players. There are certainly going to be questions about Waters of the U.S., the estate tax and taxes as a whole as the Biden administration takes over. It’s reassuring to remember that the government moves very slowly, and with the 50-50 Senate and only a 9 to 10 difference in the House, it will take time to make major changes.
Since we will not be getting together as a group until August, NCBA is holding a Cattle Industry Convention Winter Reboot Feb. 23-24. The event will feature a virtual Cattlemen’s College, CattleFax Outlook Session and even a Grand Ole Opry Event to whet our appetite for Nashville in August. Of prime interest will be beef advocacy and the 117th Congress where NCBA’s Center for Public Policy will discuss how to develop and maintain working relationships with members of Congress.
This issue of CALF News puts the spotlight on our relationship with the packing industry. Often viewed as an adversary by ranchers and feeders, the processing of our product safely, efficiently and economically is a vital part of the process. Walt Barnhart and Larry Stalcup give us a look at that segment of the industry’s past and present. We also had a chance to talk to Patrick Gottsch about RFD-TV and The Cowboy Channel after their very successful broadcast of the 2020 National Finals Rodeo.
Reports on the recent Kansas Livestock Association and Nebraska Cattlemen virtual conventions, as well as features on CattleTrace and the Texas Cattle Feeder’s Association new president should catch you up on the news we love to share.
In case you can’t tell, my granddaughter and her guy had a ball eating out at Knife Steakhouse in Dallas, which is featured in this issue’s “Where’s the Really Exceptional Beef?” column. Can’t wait to go try it.
Last, we say goodbye to Virl LaMunyon, a dear friend from Perryton, Texas, and Harvey Dietrich, one of God’s characters and one of my favorite interviews of all time. Bless them both.
P.S. My word for the year is onward, and I am looking forward to all of us moving onward together. Happy New Year.