Livestock industry will bounce back, NCBA official says | TheFencePost.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Livestock industry will bounce back, NCBA official says

Bill Jackson

Keep the focus on the windshield with only an occasional glance in the rearview mirror.

That was a message to those not only in the beef industry, but also to those involved in all aspects of agriculture by Tom Field at the 11th annual meeting of the Colorado Livestock Association late last month in Denver. Field, who spent 18 years on the faculty at Colorado State University in the department of animal sciences, is now the director of producer education with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Field, who also keeps a hand in his family’s cow-calf operation on the Western Slope, said during a visit at a break in the convention that he is enjoying his new role with the NCBA because he’s still involved in teaching.

The livestock industry, he told a luncheon crowd at the convention, is facing challenges and some of those challenges offer opportunities as he and others see the world demand for protein doubling by 2050.

“Beef demand will rebound with the economy and that offers opportunities for young people,” Field said. People, he said, “aren’t leaving our product,” but said government is throwing up some roadblocks.

“If big business is bad, then why is big labor good? Or big government?” Field offered.

But there are good stories out there that those in agriculture must grasp and celebrate. He used the example of Mine that Bird, the gelding from New Mexico that won the Kentucky Derby against 50-1 odds.

“His eyes were on the windshield,” Field said, then added by taking a quote from Sally Field – no relation – who once said a person needs to get good at “what you do. That’s all there is.”

Talent and success are not interchangeable parts, he continued, pointing out that greatness has a price. It take at least 10 years of hard work and dedication for a person to become world class at anything, using golfing great Tiger Woods as that example.

“I’m not a golfer. It looks like a damn frustrating game to me. But I like to watch Tiger Woods,” Field said. Nobody, he said, outworks Woods and “at the end of the day that’s the common element between those who are great and those who aren’t.”

To illustrate that point, Field used some historical events such as Thomas Jefferson choosing an unknown Meriwether Lewis to explore the west and spending six months educating him before sending Lewis and Clark on one of the great expeditions in U.S. history – which he said was the equivalent of Apollo 13’s trip to the moon.

Or Abraham Lincoln, during the darkest moments of the Civil War choosing Ulysses Grant to take charge of the Union Army in 1864, to the retreat from Dunkirk during World War II that led to another realignment of command structure, to a more modern Ray Kroc buying a speedy service restaurant in 1952 and turning that into McDonald’s. And finally, he used the book “Lone Survivor,” the amazing story of Navy SEAL Team 10 in Afghanistan where only one of the four-member team survived, which best illustrated the SEAL’s philosophy of “I will not fail.”

None of those, he said, came as a result of looking in the rearview mirror, but looking through the windshield to what is ahead.

It’s an attitude those in the livestock industry must now take.

He recalled that fateful day on Sept. 11, 2001. He was teaching at CSU and, for the first time in his life as a teacher, he said he did not know what to say. So he told his students that if they wanted to cancel class to reflect what had happened that day, to call their parents, or whatever, that was up to them.

“A ranch kid stood up in the back of the classroom and said, ‘Dr. Field, those bastards aren’t going to take this hour from me. We’re going to have class.’ I’ll never forget that,” he said.

Keep the focus on the windshield with only an occasional glance in the rearview mirror.

That was a message to those not only in the beef industry, but also to those involved in all aspects of agriculture by Tom Field at the 11th annual meeting of the Colorado Livestock Association late last month in Denver. Field, who spent 18 years on the faculty at Colorado State University in the department of animal sciences, is now the director of producer education with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Field, who also keeps a hand in his family’s cow-calf operation on the Western Slope, said during a visit at a break in the convention that he is enjoying his new role with the NCBA because he’s still involved in teaching.

The livestock industry, he told a luncheon crowd at the convention, is facing challenges and some of those challenges offer opportunities as he and others see the world demand for protein doubling by 2050.

“Beef demand will rebound with the economy and that offers opportunities for young people,” Field said. People, he said, “aren’t leaving our product,” but said government is throwing up some roadblocks.

“If big business is bad, then why is big labor good? Or big government?” Field offered.

But there are good stories out there that those in agriculture must grasp and celebrate. He used the example of Mine that Bird, the gelding from New Mexico that won the Kentucky Derby against 50-1 odds.

“His eyes were on the windshield,” Field said, then added by taking a quote from Sally Field – no relation – who once said a person needs to get good at “what you do. That’s all there is.”

Talent and success are not interchangeable parts, he continued, pointing out that greatness has a price. It take at least 10 years of hard work and dedication for a person to become world class at anything, using golfing great Tiger Woods as that example.

“I’m not a golfer. It looks like a damn frustrating game to me. But I like to watch Tiger Woods,” Field said. Nobody, he said, outworks Woods and “at the end of the day that’s the common element between those who are great and those who aren’t.”

To illustrate that point, Field used some historical events such as Thomas Jefferson choosing an unknown Meriwether Lewis to explore the west and spending six months educating him before sending Lewis and Clark on one of the great expeditions in U.S. history – which he said was the equivalent of Apollo 13’s trip to the moon.

Or Abraham Lincoln, during the darkest moments of the Civil War choosing Ulysses Grant to take charge of the Union Army in 1864, to the retreat from Dunkirk during World War II that led to another realignment of command structure, to a more modern Ray Kroc buying a speedy service restaurant in 1952 and turning that into McDonald’s. And finally, he used the book “Lone Survivor,” the amazing story of Navy SEAL Team 10 in Afghanistan where only one of the four-member team survived, which best illustrated the SEAL’s philosophy of “I will not fail.”

None of those, he said, came as a result of looking in the rearview mirror, but looking through the windshield to what is ahead.

It’s an attitude those in the livestock industry must now take.

He recalled that fateful day on Sept. 11, 2001. He was teaching at CSU and, for the first time in his life as a teacher, he said he did not know what to say. So he told his students that if they wanted to cancel class to reflect what had happened that day, to call their parents, or whatever, that was up to them.

“A ranch kid stood up in the back of the classroom and said, ‘Dr. Field, those bastards aren’t going to take this hour from me. We’re going to have class.’ I’ll never forget that,” he said.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User