Current Progressive Cattleman digital edition

From the Editor

Read commentary from Progressive Cattleman editor David Cooper, ranging from the origin of specific magazine articles to thoughts about industry trends.


Five years ago, as the beef industry was climbing out of the big recession and a spate of low cattle prices, a glimmer of promise emerged with the surging popularity of beef overseas. Beef exports climbed back to competitive levels in 2010, sparked by recovering economies in Asia, Europe and buying power in the Middle East.

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“… Food production is not a private matter.”

That statement is hidden deep within an Idaho judge’s 29-page ruling, issued Aug. 3, striking down the state’s law banning secret animal rights video. The decision provided a jolt across agriculture and much of the national news media last month.

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As important as the idea of sustainability is to agriculture – and to society in general – the word itself leaves a lot to be desired.

Sustainability is more than a code word for agriculture. It’s a movement, a mandate – and in many ways an enigma.

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In the past year, the number of companies crafting new policies to embrace animal welfare concerns has steadily climbed. And that trend is only going to grow stronger, if for no other reason than the need for products and restaurants to keep up with their competition.

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My grandmother has been gone now for 13 years. Yet hardly a day goes by that I’m not remembering some direction or counsel she preached in passing that became a lesson lasting a lifetime.

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Change, as the well-worn mantra always goes, is usually for the better.

Life has a way of teaching and softening our coarsened, callow habits, leading us to the road of wider wisdom.

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