Wednesday, January 22 2014
So what does sustainable mean to you? The farm I grew up on had a large dairy farm next to ours. The owners were successful raising Holstein Dairy Cattle and running their dairy for 3 generations. But the success of the past did not guarantee success in the future. The 3rd generation lost the dairy farm because of their refusal to make the changes needed to stay viable. They laughed at the idea of hormone fee milk: who'd pay for that? Sustainability must work economically and consumers are changing what they want in the marketplace. Sustainability = change. No change = no business. If we aren't willing to change now and change fast, we are in big trouble. There are two big changes that must occur very soon in the beef industry. #1. We have to take care of e-coli where it starts, which is on the ranch/feedlot and preharvest. Spraying the meat a dozen times after the fact isn't the best way to solve the e-coli event problem. I am not opposed to interventions, but come on... how many spays of lactic acid do we need? 5, 10? I know that no plant wants a recall, but we must work together to find alternative solutions to the e-coli problem that haunts us all. #2 We have got to give consumers who buy steaks/roasts in retail markets a better product. Retailers still sell steaks the same way as hamburger, meaning fresh. I want my hamburger fresh, but not my steak. With steaks and roasts at retail we are charging consumers for a Lexus and giving them a old Datsun. We have got to sell steaks and roasts with age on them, using the new roll stock packaging technology that is available. Consumers go to a steakhouse and get a good aged steak. They go to a retail market or meat shop and get a no aged steak that is tough and flavourless. Come on retailers.. this isn't hard. You will make more money, have less loss and give your customers a better product. No steaks and roasts should be sold in retail but for those sold in roll stock or sealed pouches that allow for a 14 to 21 day shelf life and aging process. When beef sales continue to decline in retail due the ever increasing price of beef, should we delay any longer to fix this? No. Has to happen in 2014. Or kiss sustainable good bye and say hello to more chicken.