TCFA Chairman Jason Hitch Following Dad Paul's Advice- the World is Run By Those Who Show UpMon, 27 Oct 2014 03:36:49 CDT
Oklahoma City is hosting the 2014 Texas Cattle Feeders Association- and while Texas is in their name- the organization represents New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas feedlots. Their Chairman for 2014 is Jason Hitch of Hitch Enterprises based in Guymon, Oklahoma. Jason says he has been involved in industry issues ever since returning to Guymon from college after obtaining his law degree- heeding his dad's mantra- "the world is run by those who show up."
Jason, along with his brother Chris, are the Co-CEOs of Hitch Enterprises. Jason serves as Chairman of the Board and Chris is the President. Hitch Enterprises now farms 30,000 acres in the Oklahoma Panhandle, and additional Hitch-owned family entities include Hitch Commodities, Hitch Mills, Hitch Cattle Co., Hitch AgriBusiness, Hitch Ranch, Hitch Farms and Hitch Consulting Service.
Their dad, Paul Hitch, led the company into the pork business in 1997 with the launch of Hitch Pork Producers, Inc., to further diversify the family operations. Hitch currently markets 280,000 hogs per year from a 15,000-sow farrow-to-finish operation.
Farm Director Ron Hays talked with Jason about the feedlot end of the business- both what is going on at the Hitch feedyards, as well as what is happening across the three state area covered by the TCFA. In the case of Hitch- they operate two feedlots, with a one time capacity of 111,000 head.
Jason Hitch told Hays that they have chosen for now, anyway, not to operate the feedlots at full capacity, as the capital requirements are more than he feels comfortable in carrying. With the high price of cattle, the price tag of a yearling that might enter their feedlot is approaching two thousand dollars.
Hitch says that the profitability of the feedlot business has been tremendous thus far in 2014, but that with higher break even costs coming because of the rising cost of replacement cattle to go into feedlots- the breakevens for cattle that will finish in early 2015 is north of $1.70- and while those cattle may make money, it will be a stretch.
Hitch also spoke of industry concerns of working with regulators like the EPA. Jason says that "the EPA has not been a friend for some time now" when it comes to animal agriculture, with the latest attempt to make a much harder to stay in business being the proposed Waters of the US rule.
And Hitch and Hays also talked about the worry of price discovery in today's cattle business. Cash markets are getting thinner and thinner- and they may not be there much longer as a way to establish a price for grid and formulda marketed cattle, which are two of the main ways Hitch feedlot cattle are marketed. Hitch says "for awhile, when the cash index was unreported in pork, we switched to board pricing and something like that could work in cattle as well." Hitch says TCFA and other cattle groups are working together in looking at ways that will produce options to cash for price discovery.
The Hays-Hitch interview is featured in today's Beef Buzz, looking at some of the keys that Jason planned to talk about in his Chairman's Address in the opening general session of the TCFA's annual meeting on Monday in Oklahoma City.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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