By Betty Jo Gigot, Publisher
I can’t believe it’s time to publish the August/September issue of CALF News, but my summer has been different. Caught among the 120,000 people who tried to fly to Denver June 27, I took a couple of extra weeks to give the airlines time to catch up. With massive storms out there every evening and pictures of football fields of luggage waiting to b claimed, it was the better part of valor. Not a regular traveler anymore, I feel for those of you that have to depend on air travel regularly. Talk about a crap shoot.
While on the road, I took advantage of the various food options available. We came across one that certainly did not make the “Where’s the Exceptional Beef” column in the magazine. An Argentinean steak house, it was billed as the home of the “stone grill experience.” The steaks were seared and then served on a stone that had been heated to 800 degrees just as it came to the table. Along with the fact that you hoped they had good insurance in case you got too close to the stone, a well-done steak in a matter of a few seconds was the order of the day. We all agreed it was time for their marketing plan to go back to the drawing board.
Reflecting on the summer, Larry Stalcup takes a close look at unusual industry disasters. The fire that ravished a dairy made national news as did the horrific floods that hit close to Hereford, Texas. Somehow you think you have seen everything, and then nature teaches us one more lesson. The really good news is that it finally rained in southwest Kansas on the family property. It had been too long.
We are adding a new feature to the CALF News portfolio with poetry and illustrations by our good friend, Chris McClure. Most of you know Chris either from agribusiness companies or feeding management, or from his All In column, which has appeared in CALF News for the past eight years. He truly is a renaissance man. Along with being a businessman and a scientist, he also writes music, paints pictures and is now preparing to publish a book of poetry illustrated with his drawings. We know you will enjoy his Flatland Philosophy as a preview for the book.
One of the most impressive accomplishments during my tenure in the industry is the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program, and its latest report continues to bear that out. Burt Rutherford, who pens this issue’s BQA story, recalls the work the Texas Cattle Feeders Association did early in the development of the program. I remember the numerous meetings with Gary Cowman and the working groups the association put together. Born out of necessity, with flaws showing up in health management before harvest, something needed to be done … and soon. I woke up several times in the middle of the night, dreaming about bad press. The original audits developed by Gary Smith, Ph.D., and his group highlighted improvements as they went along. All of these years later, the beat goes on, showing accomplishments and working toward new goals.
Heading into the fall with short cattle numbers, fluctuating prices and issues like the new pork regulations in California, possible changes in BLM grazing permits, cocaine in the White House, etc., I’m reminded of a list I saw last week titled “Things you can say in response to literally anything when you have nothing else to say.” I liked “There is no escape from destiny,” but will end with “ … and then the wolves came.”
Keep your head up and we will see you in October.