Will the future of the cattle industry be more of the same…only different? “It strikes me that in some ways, it’s more of the same,” says David Anderson, professor and economist in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M. “Beef will still be the magnet product that people want. People are still going to want a hamburger; they’re still going to want steak. They’re still going to want those items that we produce.”
From the ranch to the processing yard, beef calves endure high levels of stress dealing with new, foreign environments that can ultimately affect beef quality and the producers’ bottom line. And while for most cattlemen, it’s always a satisfying feeling to get the calves loaded onto the trailer and watch the truck fade into the horizon, many producers harbor some degree of anxiety until they know the cattle have reached their destination safely.
“Feeding cattle is a risky business,” says Rodney Shepherd and Shelmer Blackburn, Jr., owners of North Wilkesboro, NC-based Champion Cattle Company.“There are so many uncertainties we face everyday that impact performance and profits. Depressed cattle prices, rising feed prices and everyday health issues are some of the variables that affect all cattlemen,” they note. Located in Wilkes County in the northwest foothills of North Carolina, Champion Cattle Company was the result of the brainstorming of two individuals from different backgrounds who shared the common desire to profit from producing pounds of quality beef.