The Arizona Beef Industry: Focused on Sustainability and Profitability September 13, 2013
By Julie Murphree, Arizona Farm Bureau
Their article on “Steaks and Sustainability” is a good read; but if you don’t get a chance to cruise through the article, here in bullets is what I learned from their article:
- The romanticized cowboy in our pop culture images is busy trying to stay competitive in an ever-changing market.
- Great change has taken place over the years toward not only becoming more than sustainable but also to remain resilient in markets which move in gigabytes.
- The cow herd and calf crops are at all-time lows
- Ranchers today can watch and purchase from live cattle sales half way across the country, all while reclining in the comfort of an easy chair and have their purchase delivered in a matter of days.
- The question: how do we incorporate technology into a business that still heavily relies on a cowboy and rope?
- Today, ranchers regularly discuss new apps on smart phones that take a picture, record date, time, GPS coordinates and even elevation.
- The industry in the west has focused years on developing new and sound monitoring practices.
- The Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association completed a monitoring handbook last year that cattlemen and government agencies agreed to use for the collection of data.
- At the same time, the University of Arizona Extension has been working with a program called “Reading the Range” for a few years collecting data to monitor trends and to assist producers to make critical decisions in their grazing rotations.
- From here forward that range management game will be driven by data.
- It will be critical to collect, analyze and then produce favorable outcomes for the land and your business.
- The information game is true on the livestock side as well.
- Today producers analyze data to make herd choices, everything from EPD’s to weight gain on calves and slaughter data.
- Those reaching top market prices have implemented critical vaccine programs and have a way of age and source verifying along with passing information down the line to feedlots and packing houses.
- The cattle industry in Arizona is sustainable; the challenge will be to stay resilient to meet the demands of the American consumer.
- Certified by the National Standards Foundation (NSF), the Beef Industry Sustainability Assessment is the first-of-its-kind life cycle assessment (LCA). The work, led by Kim Stackhouse-Lawson, Ph.D., National Cattlemen’s Beef Association director of sustainability, provides benchmarks on economic, environmental and social contributions in the United States proving the sustainability over time of the beef industry.
- The beef community, across the entire production chain, has come together around this work and is working cooperatively toward solutions for a more sustainable future.
- For more information and research results, visit BeefResearch.org.