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2009 a critical year for cattle industry's future

Agriculture.com Staff 01/29/2009 @ 2:22pm

As the cattle industry kicked off its 16th annual convention and trade show in Phoenix, Arizona, this week, the overall theme was clear -- never before has knowledge been more critical to the future of the industry.

"2008 proved to be the most volatile year in recent memory. Rising fuel and energy prices along with record high feed costs severely impacted profit margins," says Jamie Wilrett of CattleFax.

No segment of the cattle business has been untouched by these difficult economic times. The era of cheap fuel and grain is over and as producers try to hang on and find ways to reduce their input costs to offset low market prices, they are forced to take a good hard look at all aspects of their operation and find ways to cut the budget.

"It's almost unbelievable the range and volatility we've seen over the last several months. In one year the cattle industry lost 68% of its net worth," says Tom Brink, Five Rivers Cattle Feeding. "Years ago when the corn price fluctuated 30 cents, it was a big deal. Today we're seeing whole dollar changes. We have to become land managers, empower people, and think holistically."

Livestock producers need to deeply evaluate where the money goes and quantify the value of each aspect of their business. "Our business has changed. There's never been a time in this business where we have had to scrutinize and analyze the numbers to survive like we do today," says Brink.

As the cattle industry kicked off its 16th annual convention and trade show in Phoenix, Arizona, this week, the overall theme was clear -- never before has knowledge been more critical to the future of the industry.

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