Cattlemen Pushed to Respond to Consumer TrendsTue, 28 Oct 2014 20:06:46 CDT
Times are changing, that includes consumer opinion. Zoetis Animal Health meat scientist Brad Morgan said it is the responsibility of cattlemen to educate consumers. The former Oklahoma State University meat science professor said cattle feeders can influence others in sharing information and talking about the use of technology today.
"Things we can do to make things grow quicker, produce more inexpensive food," Morgan said. "So we're just trying to make food affordable and make sure people understand that we are very good at what we do and very fortunate to live in this country where we can produce food."
Morgan said cattlemen need to respond to consumer ideas that begin with local food, but sometimes shift to avoiding all modern technology. This concept was tried by Great Britain in producing food without using technology and buying local. As a result Great Britain produced enough food to last the country for eight months. When they realized their cupboards were going to be bare in eight months, the country began to rethink and reevaluate their view of technology.
The meat scientist said market dynamics call for more days on feed and that could increase the reward for higher quality cuts. He disputes the notion cattlemen just try to produce a decent hamburger.
"Economically that doesn't make any sense," Morgan said. "We can not do that especially when we have grain prices at $3.50, $4.00 a bushel for corn, so it costs 75 cents for every pound of live animal we put on and we can sell that for $1.50. So it makes more sense to feed the animal, put on the weight and also in turn produce high quality beef cuts like Certified Angus for instance."
What makes sense to cattlemen, might not make sense to nonfarm consumers. Morgan suggests going to your local grocery store and talk to young people, listen to their questions and concerns.
"They don't know, they don't understand," Morgan said. "So you have to be sure and communicate to the vast amount of consumers. Its not that they don't care, they're just uninformed, so make sure and take the message out there."
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