As I begin my first column, several thoughts run through my head as we look at the road ahead: the challenging times we face, the technologies we have available to us to master those challenges, the legacy great minds have built, and the responsibility we have to keep moving this breed forward.
The business at hand
The Angus business and the beef cattle industry are entering uncharted waters as to the costs of raising beef cattle. Corn prices at $7 per bushel and crude oil at $140-plus per barrel are creating a new paradigm for our business, which already carries its very own set of unique risks.
Change in any business or industry is constant, and today it occurs at a faster pace than at any time in the history of the Angus business. As individuals managing our own operations and as an Association, we must plan for the things that we can affect, but not become consumed with things that we cannot control.
These times require us to focus on and evaluate our individual business plans as well as the plan for our organization. After evaluating, we must then focus our efforts in areas that provide us the greatest opportunity.
Looking down the path ahead for our organization, the keys to success will be a mix of the proficiencies we have developed in the past and our ability to address the needs of our members, commercial customers and consumers in the future. In an ever-changing beef industry, as an Association we need to focus on how to keep
moving forward. Change historically provides opportunity for those who are willing to embrace it.
At the most recent Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) meeting, these thoughts were reinforced as I listened to presentations on emerging DNA technologies that allow for the testing of 50,000 DNA markers on a single chip and how to measure and evaluate feed efficiency for genetic selection. These tools promise future opportunities to our members, our breed and the commercial users of Angus genetics.
These technologies, or technologies yet to be identified, may prove to be catalysts for change in our industry. Embracing beneficial change and overcoming obstacles in times of uncertainty are hallmarks of a successful organization.
Recently, I sat down with my family and watched a movie titled “Meet the Robinsons.” Among the credits at the end of the movie was a quote from Walt Disney:
“Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We Keep Moving Forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we're curious … and
curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
I believe that our future success depends on our ability to be curious, so we can find the paths that provide the greatest opportunities for our breed and membership on our road to the future.
I would like to say a brief thank you to the Board of Directors for the opportunity I have been provided in the process of being selected as chief executive officer (CEO) of the American Angus Association. It is a challenge of enormous opportunity.
In the process of embarking on this new challenge, I would also like to thank and honor the late Dick Spader, who originally hired me as director of activities and provided me the opportunity to become director of member services.
I also want to thank John Crouch for challenging me and mentoring me during his service as CEO. It is men such as these who helped establish and build the success the Angus Association has achieved, and it is a true honor and a humbling task to follow the lasting legacy they have created.