Jon AngellFrom the Publisher ... Jon Angell

For this month, we feature a Monroe County family grass farm. This was a story idea that had been brought up a few times over the years that we hadn’t gotten to until now. When Chuck said that Linda Geist had in mind a visit to the Pemberton farm, I was quick to respond in the affirmative, as I believed that was a good fit for our publication.

I’m a fan of rotational grazing farms. I studied MIG (management intensive grazing) over the years and have even been involved in several grazing projects. They take a good bit of work and far more management than continuous grazing; but when done right the results can be dramatic and rewarding. They maybe aren’t for every producer’s situation, but for some folks like the Pembertons it makes perfect sense.

Fast and Changing
For this month’s issue, there are so many fast moving events from rain and weather to politics/policy and trade wars. Even as we are putting it together, I can’t help but think in two weeks everything could look completely different than the snapshot we have right now. It could be maybe better or maybe worse. It is a challenge every month but maybe more so now.

President Trump – regardless of whether you support or oppose his efforts – is clearly actively shaking things up and fully approaching his term in office like no other president. A world of things can happen with policies and administrative actions, it is hard to keep up!

The plentiful rains have set back plantings and work of all kinds, as well as making a mess of other things. It seems news of bridge closures, levy beaches and flooding rivers in every direction are reported daily.

It just so happens our trade area for our paper – and our associated livestock markets in Bowling Green and Boonville – are deeply affected by both Missouri River and Mississippi River flooding. Both of these rivers intersect our trade territories and we see firsthand how so many people are directly impacted and so many more will have indirect impacts.

Thoughts and prayers are going out from us now, I anticipate more of our attention in next month’s publication as it looks to be unfolding in historic proportion in many places.

I don’t know how most people feel about the recent lawsuit filed by R-CALF USA against the packers, in which they claim in the complaint illegal tactics and collusion by industry giants against cattle producers. I do know that some opinions on both sides are deeply held and passionately expressed.

I actually printed the 120 page R-CALF lawsuit and read much (not all yet) of the complaints before the court for myself. For a legal document, it actually reads pretty well and held my interest.

I admit I am somewhat sympathetic to the concerns raised and am very interested to see if the accusations raised are found to be truthful by the court and, furthermore, to see if their legal position is found to have merit.

One organization among others that despises R-CALF and their position on most everything is the Agribusiness Freedom Foundation (AFF). One of many opinion pieces they have produced is printed on page 10. I think it does a good job of presenting the anti-R-CALF position, and we like presenting both sides of such issues to our readers.

I have often praised Bill Bullard of R-CALF in conversation and in these pages for clearly articulating a compelling argument for his positions on paper and in his public presentation. He always presents in a compelling presentation and most importantly in my mind, he describes where he sources his information and often how he arrived at his conclusions.
I appreciate his style even when I might not reach the same conclusion.

In contrast to Bullard’s opinions, please read the AFF opinion on page 10. The word that Attorney General William “Bill” Barr has made popular recently comes to mind when reading it. “Snitty” seems to describe the style it is presented or maybe even with “snide” tones. Generally speaking, I certainly didn’t draw the same conclusions of AFF in reading the legal complaint and I absolutely don’t like the style in this presentation. It is filled with loaded terms and dripping with derogatory phrasings …

The divisiveness and rhetoric in national cattlemen’s politics are every bit as contentious as that of the two national political parties. Ugliness in dealing with opposing views these days is everywhere, and not limited to politicians. Like friend and longtime Cattleman’s Advocate reader David Horner has repeatedly advised me: “keep it civil.”

Meat Alternatives Concerns
We have widely reported the lab grown protein as well as imitation vegetable alternatives that have become wildly trendy in recent issues.

In this issue is more of the same, along with IPOs on Wall Street, as well as announcements of large investments in such alternatives and menu item rollouts.

I hear numerous concerns from those in livestock agriculture and it should be a concern, but let’s keep some perspective. We have an awesome tasty, nutrient rich, naturally wholesome product that they will never be. We need to stay the course of doing what we do and continue to tell our positive story. Beef may be a target, but I like our odds on winning.

In all of this, major chain restaurants are rolling out these faddish meat substitutes in their menus. It’s just business, they are trying to remain hip and generate buzz; I get it. I hope this fad is short lived, but we will see.

I’d like to give a shout out to Arby’s fast food chain and their approach to the meat substitute trend as being very friendly to our industry. Their fast food slogan is “we have the meats” and they are doubling down on it.

Arby’s released a statement disavowing a report that it was considering adding Impossible Meat to its menu, according to various media reports. “Contrary to reports this week, Arby’s is not one of the restaurant companies interested in working with Impossible Foods,” Arby’s is quoted as saying. “The chances we will bring plant-based menu items to our restaurants, now or in the future, are absolutely impossible.”

As cattlemen, we still produce the “real” thing and Arby’s is going to sell the “real” thing. Join me in making Arby’s our favorite fast food chain. How is that for an unpaid/unsolicited endorsement?

I’d better get to hay making … thanks for reading and your continued support of our paper.