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Trail Rides: No highway blues among NCBA producers

Progressive Cattleman Editor Lynn Jaynes Published on 23 February 2018
Lynn Jaynes and Cassidy Woosley at NCBA

trail rides“Get Your Kicks on Route 66” was a popular song composed in 1946, and the boots at NCBA’s 2018 convention kicked the heck out of that theme in Phoenix, Arizona.

Route 66 was sometimes called the Mother Road, as one of the original highways within the U.S. It was established in 1926 and ran from Chicago to Los Angeles – not all of it paved in the early days. Thousands of travelers leaving the Dust Bowl of Kansas and Oklahoma used Route 66 to reach California during the Great Depression. It has largely been replaced today by more modern highway systems.

Here are a few Route 66 kicks from presentations and conversations worthy of repeating:

  • “The worst time to use a 16-year-old to handle cattle is Friday night at 5 o’clock.”
  • “We tried grass-fed niche markets, internet sales, retail sales and even started a restaurant to capitalize on premium beef, but we still haven’t figured out a way to sell a surplus of 8-dollar ground beef.”
  • “At least 50 percent of global warming is likely due to the lack of major volcanic activity.”
  • “Ms. Jaynes, I wanted to meet you. I’m excited to be applying for an internship with Progressive Cattleman.”
  • “There’s never enough steak.”
  • “A predator’s pupil is round. A prey’s pupil (and therefore, a cow’s pupil) is rectangular. Cattle have a different field of vision.”
  • “I never thought in my career as a veterinarian I’d be talking so much about cattle worms.”
  • “Liver abscesses – it’s not just a cattle problem; it’s a ruminant problem.”
  • “25.7 percent of the industry today is using hot-iron branding.”
  • “Millennials don’t care about a porterhouse stake, a New York strip or T-bone. … We need to change the way we cut meat and the way we present it. Why don’t we have a row of meat in the store that says ‘pan fry’ and one that says ‘grill’ and one that says ‘put it in a pot and cook it slow’? … We need to adapt to the customer.”
  • “It’s groundbreaking that two breeds and two boards [the Red Angus Association and American Hereford Association] work together for the good of the commercial cattle industry.” (Check out the Premium Red Baldy Program.)

NCBA has become the “destination vacation” for many cattle producers no matter where it’s held around the country. The attractions of the spectacular Grand Canyon and saguaro cacti couldn’t hurt (even if some of us seldom saw the outside of the convention center), but producers I talked to largely said they attend every year and consider it an annual family vacation. (I noticed, however, more than one producer calling or texting his ranch crew to make sure calving was on track.)

Oddly enough, the convention was held over Groundhog Day, and during the convention, Punxsutawney Phil apparently saw his shadow to predict six more weeks of winter. But winter-schminter … Phoenix didn’t care. They don’t listen to rodents anyway. No, sir – they hauled in 5 inches of sand to fill the street curb to curb, installed cattle chutes and panels, and held demonstrations out in the open air, short-sleeve weather with a backdrop of skyscrapers, Chase Field, honking cars, streetlights and no-U-turn signs. (I think I even got a little sunburnt as we were serenaded with Johnny Cash classics waiting for cattle demonstrations to begin.)  end mark

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PHOTO: Editors Lynn Jaynes, left, and Cassidy Woolsey get a rare moment to enjoy the bright Arizona skies outside the convention hall at the NCBA convention. Photo provided by Cassidy Woolsey.

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