Two Kansas cattlemen who participated in the work of a national task force charged with developing an industry roadmap for 2016 through 2020 shared some of what they learned with fellow cattle producers during the annual convention of the Kansas Livestock Association in December.
Beef Marketing Group Chief Executive Officer John Butler and Pratt Feeders General Manager Jerry Bohn opened Beef Industry University on Dec. 3, with an overview of the beef industry long-range plan.
The Kansas cattlemen served on the 16-person task for that developed four key strategies around a single objective - increase the wholesale beef demand index by 2% annually over the next five years.
They emphasized that individuals and organizations in the beef industry can embrace the points of the plan to help achieve that goal.
"If we don't have demand for our product, we are lost," Bohn said. "Growing beef demand is going to be a focus of what we hope is the whole industry."
Butler said the four key strategies identified by the task force are driving growth in beef exports; protecting and enhancing the business and political climate for beef; growing consumer trust in beef and beef production; and promoting and strengthening beef's value proposition.
Kansas State University veterinarian Dan Thomson reinforced Butler and Bohn's comments, saying the industry must work together as one, from the retailer to the packer to the feedyard to the rancher.
In another part of the annual Beef Industry University educational program, Kansas State University veterinarian Dan Thomson addressed basic facts cattlemen need to know about the Food and Drug Administration's new Veterinary Feed Directive, aimed at ensuring the responsible use of antibiotics in the industry.
Thomson said the judicious use of antibiotics is important to both ranchers and consumers and said the directive does not disrupt commerce.
It also allows producers to be responsible and to be able to provide a good, accurate story to consumers about antibiotic use.
Antibiotics considered "medically important" to human health will require a directive from a veterinarian before they can be included in livestock feed.
"We must change our industry to preserve our future and preserve our heritage. That includes appropriate antibiotic use for animal health and food safety," Thomson said.