A Cowboy’s Faith: Cows essential for beef – Osage County Online | Osage County News

A Cowboy’s Faith: Cows essential for beef

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Beef prices are near the highest level ever in meat markets with exception of certain specials.”

At the rate of which cows are being dispersed throughout most of the nation, prices will go higher.

There must be cows having calves annually for there to be beef for consumers to eat. Despite claimed alternatives, consumption levels continue to prove that most people like to eat beef.

While the over-the-counter beef price increases, buyers purchase beef as the cost keeps going higher.

Increasingly, producers have found enhanced income as they are offering beef direct from the farm to the consumer. While it is initially a major consumer investment requiring long term freezer storage, they appreciate the consistent quality.

Eating away from home is a common practice for many families, and they generally select beef from the menu. Incomprehensible the cost of a hamburger let alone beef steak when purchased at an eating establishment, yet that’s the choice.

There must be a factory to have beef for supper and that begins with the cow. Extensive cow slaughter largely due to producers’ short feed and water supply, cows are helping increase beef supplies now.

Cows provide beef for the table just like other cattle, steers, and heifers, produced for human consumption. Issue of concern for the future is having enough cows to produce calves meeting beef consumer demand. Once a cow becomes meat, she must be replaced and that is not easy.

“Go buy more cows at the sale barn” is the recommended solution. But that supply is going to end at some point if heifers are not retained as replacements.

Many cowmen are selling heifer calves right along with their male counterparts. With cows gone and heifer calves sold, there is no beef production factory for years ahead.

Most cowherds were started with purchase of a few cows or heifers and herd size increased by retaining heifer calves. As numbers expanded, producers also improved quality as only the best of the annual heifer calf crop was saved.

Even though sometimes cows can be bought back, they are generally of unknown background. Retaining a herd’s heifers as replacements assures continued quality.

Reminded of Deuteronomy 12:20: “God promised that when you crave beef, say, ‘I would like some beef,’ then you may eat as much of it as you want.”

Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.

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