Every day people in the beef world are finding new ways help improve the way we raise cattle and make beef. From new ways to use less water or new vaccines to keep cattle healthier, these discoveries make this an exciting time to be a cowboy. However, with each of these revelations comes a challenge: how do we tell cattle farmers and ranchers about them?
If you’ve ever put on an event for a church, club, or community organization, you know how difficult it is to get the word out to people. You put up fliers, post mailings, get on the radio, and send a plethora of emails. Yet, inevitably, after the event is over there is always someone who asks, “So when is that thing you’ve been working on going to happen?”.
So with this in mind, imagine trying to spread the word to people in 915,000 places across all 50 states. That’s why it can be tough to get the word out about new techniques, husbandry practices, and technology to cattle farmers. You see, there are 915,000 cattle farms and ranches in the U.S. alone, and on these there is often more than one person involved.
Add to this the average herd size is 40 head of cattle. Going back to our $100/per head profit we talked about in an earlier post, this means the average cattle farmer has cows as a part-time income source. Therefore, that farmer is probably not tuned into the absolute newest information and technology, because there is a primary job that takes precedence over the cattle. Now don’t take this to mean that the basic needs of the animals are not promptly met on these farms, but rather that the average 40 cow rancher doesn’t wake up every morning to read Beef Magazine’s daily email to see what is new in the beef business. He or she is probably reading about the primary source of income for their family, be that other types of agriculture or a job in town.
So how do we overcome this logistical hurdle to disseminating information? It takes an effort from several different entities. Universities publish information through their extension services, making use of print, radio, TV, and the internet. Trade magazines feature these advances in articles that are then mailed to cattle farmers or places where cattle farmers meet, such as feed mills, vet clinics, or farm stores. Animal professionals, such as nutritionists, geneticists and veterinarians, provide seminars on various topics. Local newspapers will print columns on these advances, and this is something that I provide content for in my area via the Yankton Daily Press and Dakotan.
Still, like spreading the word about anything from politics to potato chips, it takes time to reach everybody. Even more so when you are looking at a million people. So we’ll continue to make progress and do our best at letting everyone know about these advancements, one person at a time.
Photo credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/99712579221956851/