25 CALF News • February | March 2022 • Continued on page 26  Charlie Ball Richard McDonald Ross Wilson being economically sustainable to ensure food security and resiliency to feed a growing population.” Backed by Sound Science Weinheimer educates outsiders on how U.S. beef producers and feeders have reduced their carbon footprint to produce 18 percent of the world’s beef with only 6 percent of the world’s cattle. For almost 60 years, the U.S. beef industry has reduced emissions per pound of beef by more than 40 percent, while also producing 60 percent more beef per animal. Talk of climate and carbon “is the over-arching topic of sustainability,” Weinheimer states. “We must continue to support research and protect our members’ ability to utilize technologies that improve efficiency and reduce inputs, such as water, feed and energy.” He emphasizes that greenhouse gases emitted from beef cattle contribute only 2 percent of the GHGs in the U.S. and that beef cattle are upcyclers. “This topic is also an example of how a voluntary, producer and market-driven approach is by far the preferred approach,” he says. “There is a lot to be determined and defined about carbon markets and carbon trading. However, if opportunities come to fruition for producers and feeders in these markets, it’s the private sector, not the government, that will make them work. TCFA will continue to oppose government regulations that would require reporting, permitting, or government-managed trading platforms for carbon or other ecosystem services.” Packer Expansion Welcomed Employee shortages have hurt packer operations. But many producers and feeders believe packers have enjoyed colossal profits while producers and feeders scratched to breakeven during the pandemic. Overall, Weinheimer says producers and feeders continue to suffer the ramifications of what started more than a decade ago when the southwestern drought caused significant herd liquidation. Several packing plants closed. Beneficial rain and increased cattle markets spurred herd expansion. That created a shortage of packing plant capacity, which was worsened by the 2019 plant fire in Kansas and the ongoing pandemic. He applauds new private sector and government investment in new processing capacity. “Even though the industry won’t realize the benefits of those investments for another two or three years, we look forward to the growth of additional packing plant capacity in the TCFA region,” he says. Bully for the Beef Checkoff Entering its 36th year, the Beef Checkoff has helped increase consumer attitudes toward beef and beef demand. TCFA was instrumental in getting the $1 per head checkoff passed by producers and feeders nationwide. Weinheimer sees a time when an increase in the perhead assessment is approved. “The Beef Checkoff has demonstrated success in the areas of beef promotion, foreign marketing, consumer information, industry information, research and producer communications,” he says. “Every dollar invested returns almost a $12 profit to producers. “There is immense opportunity to promote beef and the value of beef in the diet to new generations. As cattle genetics continue to evolve, as we see more beef on dairy cross calves in the feedyards and as new cuts of beef open doors to new marketing opportunities for beef to our consumers, more investment in the Beef Checkoff to support new research and expand beef promotion will benefit all cattle producers.” TCFA’s Tireless Mission “We have a tireless focus on the seven objectives in our strategic plan: beef demand, economic vitality, industry impact, policy, sustainability, technology and workforce,”Weinheimer says. “We will continue to prioritize our foundational and legacy initiatives with our legislative and regulatory advocacy in Washington, D.C., and Austin. And we will continue to provide expertise on market policy and dissemination of market information, and our proven record of communications, industry relations and issues management.” Weinheimer sees more efforts to advance value-added service programs, such as environmental services and Beef Quality Assurance. “We will also continue our collaborative efforts to advance animal disease traceability to help demonstrate our commitment of producing the world’s safest and most sustainable beef,” he says. Weinheimer credits volunteers for helping TCFA and other cattle groups reach their goals. “Just last year, we reviewed, revised and revamped our TCFA Strategic Plan,” he says. “Our vision statement reads, ‘To be an innovative, proactive and member-focused organization, committed to the longterm vitality of cattle feeding in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.’ “The ‘vitality’ instills thoughts of strength, life, vigor and vivacity. That sums it up well when it comes to our volunteer leaders who have served, are serving today, and for those who will accept and embrace the challenge and opportunity of serving tomorrow.” TCFA also promoters workforce development. Its high school Feedyard Technician Program provides training in machinery operation, safety, welding, animal care and handling and job