The Drought, Part 3---Adversity = Opportunity!

I have a sign up in my house that reads “Adversity = Opportunity”.  I truly believe that adversity make us stronger and provides the opportunity for improvement.  When I look back on my life, it is obvious that each personal challenge has made me a stronger and more empathetic person.

Although my girls are growing up on a farm instead of in a city, they really are not that different from other girls all across the country. They laugh, they cry, they bring Matt and I joy—and they need to eat every single day!

There is no doubt that the current drought affects every single one of us—after all, we all need to eat to survive.  However, there are opportunities amongst the challenges that promise to make us a more unified community.  Together we are stronger—Together we prosper and conquer those things that challenge us most.

As a farmer, I worry about:

  •                The Weather…
  •                The Welfare of my animals…
  •                The Welfare of my land…
  •                The Ability to grow or purchase affordable animal feed…
  •                The Quality of the Beef that my animals provide…
  •                The Financial Sustainability of my farm…

As a non-farmer, I am sure that you worry about many of the same things.  Perhaps, most especially, you worry about the quality and affordability of the food that you purchase to provide for your families.  I can imagine that as you read the headlines discussing the drought, you worry that the price of food in the grocery store will increase.  I worry about that too…

  • It is true that 55% of the United States’ land mass is in a drought, and that 70% of cattle grazing land is affected by the drought.
  • It is true that the rising cost of all types of animal feed is providing a great challenge for farmers and ranchers like me.
  • It is true that sometimes today is scary and tomorrow is usually uncertain, but there are things that we can all focus on that will help us to thrive despite the current challenges.

I would like to offer some thoughts relative to the price of beef in the grocery store.

1.  The current drought will not affect the price that you pay for a steak in the short term.  It affects the cost of making that steak, but farmers—ranchers—and packing plants will bear the brunt of that increase in cost.  Although this will test the sustainability of the farming community, many of us will persevere because that is our nature.  Trust me, we are a stubborn group of people!

2.  The single largest driver of the price of beef is supply and demand.  Remember back to Economics 101—as the supply of a product goes down, the price will rise as long as the demand for the product stays constant.  The drought conditions have (over time) reduced the supply of cattle in the United States.  If you remember, Texas and Oklahoma had a terrible drought last year.  Many ranchers were forced to down-size their herds because of a scarcity of feed.  This decreased the supply of cattle and has (over the last 12 months) caused a slight increase in the price of beef.  The current drought will most likely allow this trend to continue.

3.  Fortunately, there are many different choices of beef to purchase in the grocery store which create a wide variety of prices to help with your family’s budget.  I realize that any increase in price is difficult to manage, however, remember that ounce per ounce beef provides an incredibly nutrient rich source of protein.

BeefMadeEasyCutChart

While both Mother Nature and the current economy provide a tremendous amount of adversity, it is important to remember that we will prevail if we work together.  I promise to do my very best to produce high quality and nutritious beef for you—I work hard everyday to create the highest quality and best tasting beef using the fewest number of natural resources.  In turn, I ask that you have faith in me and continue to purchase my beef at the grocery store.  Together we will persevere and have the ability to face all of the new opportunities that appear just over the next horizon…

What challenges you and your family?

Anne Burkholder

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