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Agricultural News

Butler Says Time for Beef Producers to Stand Up for Industry

Mon, 02 Mar 2015 14:41:59 CST

Butler Says Time for Beef Producers to Stand Up for Industry

Things have changed for the agricultural industry. In speaking at the recent Ag Issues Forum in Phoenix, Beef Marketing Group Chief Executive Officer John Butler said specifically the beef industry can no longer work behind the scenes and producers have to be more outgoing and proactive in sharing with the consumer how their food is raised.

The Beef Marketing Group aims to provide what the consumer wants when it comes to a beef experience. The cooperative provides beef to a wide variety of customers from Wal-Mart to some of the smaller niche markets that are out there as well as overseas customers. Butler said part of their job today is explaining what they are doing when it comes to the beef they are raising.

"We can't hide, put our head in the sand or hide and sweep it under the rug," Butler said. "These practices that we use, the technologies that we utilize are all approved by FDA, they have gone through rigorous trials, science-based and we have to base our defense on that."

Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays featured Butler on the Beef Buzz feature. Click or tap on the LISTEN BAR below to listen to today's Beef Buzz.

Further Butler said the beef industry has to communicate their commitment to producing a safe and wholesome food product that delivers on the expectations of the consumer. With growth proponents or antibiotics, Butler said those products keep our animals' healthy, help animals optimize their performance and they keep food prices as low as possible.

With the vast diversity of the cow-calf and stocker segments, Butler said these individuals are probably as decentralized as any sector in the beef industry. Operations vary in size and often times are very remote, so it's difficult to communicate with others because of their demographic and geographic locations. Butler said we need to build a stronger connection with those segments.

"We are going to have to realize, that our job as a beef producer doesn't stop at the fence post," Butler said. "We have a connection with the center of the plate and it's not going to be easy because we are not an integrated business and I am not suggesting we go down the path of integrated, but we have to communicate better, if we are going to maintain our competitive position in the protein marketplace."

In looking at the future of the industry, Butler looks for there to a diverse set of offerings to the consumer with organic, to the local farmers market, to branded beef programs that have different offerings like no hormones, no antibiotics, etc. He said having that diversity and offering to the consumer has lead to the strength in beef demand for the past two or three years. If the beef industry used a one-size-fits-all approach, he doesn't think the industry would be as competitive with the other proteins. He believes those other vertically integrated segments have a step up on the beef industry today because of their ability to have an integrated message, where the beef industry is more diversified than that.

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.



Ron Hays Beef Buzzes with John Butler of Beef Marketing Group
right-click to download mp3


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