2020 Was a Year of Opportunity, says OCA's Michael KelseyWed, 30 Dec 2020 08:52:49 CST
Recapping 2020 can be summarized rather optimistically for Michael Kelsey, executive director of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, as he sees the year as an opportunity to learn and advance the beef industry.
Kelsey was recently interviewed by Radio Oklahoma Agriculture Network Associate Farm Director and Editor KC Sheperd.
Hopefully we’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons during 2020, Kelsey said. That’s something in the beef industry that we’re trying to see what we have learned and apply it as we move forward, he added.
Among the many lessons learned in 2020 was the enhanced opportunities to connect producers with consumers.
In March we started to get a lot of calls from consumers about buying directly from ranchers, Kelsey said.
Consumers were at home and had more time to cook, giving demand a boost, he said.
Since then, the direct sales have really grown as it has been a great opportunity for our members, both large and small, Kelsey said.
That is one thing that covid has given us this opportunity to closely connect with the consumer, he said.
Another highlight of the year was the new dietary guidelines showing beef is a very nutritious product.
My opinion is this is the most important issue we work on, Kelsey said.
This set of dietary guidelines just released was a huge win for cattle producers, he said.
Any program that receives federal aid must adhere to the federal nutritional guidelines and so it is vitally important that our industry has input for the guidelines, he said.
The guidelines show beef is very nutrient dense plus the guidelines keep separate things that have little to do with the nutritional value, he said.
Looking ahead, the OCA has a winter policy meeting Jan. 26.
This is one of our biggest policy making meetings, Kelsey said.
He expects OCA members to discuss how do we continue to position producers with consumers and shore up our supply chain.
We need to quantify the expansion that has happened with small to medium processing plants, he said.
If you add all that up on a national basis, we may have added a significant amount to our processing capacity, Kelsey said.
OCA members are also looking at working with the Biden administration on environmental and trade issues.
The recently passed RAMP UP act, pushed by Cong. Lucas, is a good thing for the beef industry, Kelsey said.
Advancing local or regional plants could have a significant impact and in a couple of years we could look back and say this Act was a meaningful piece in helping us move forward, he said.
Every year you think about goals and resolutions for the coming year and I really see a lot of opportunities for livestock producers in 2021, Kelsey said.
I think there is great opportunity for everyone in the Oklahoma beef industry in 2021, he said.
You can click on the listen bar below to hear more of KC’s interview with Michael Kelsey.
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