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Steve Kay, Contributing Columnist

Opinion
Oct 3, 2014
One of the beef industry’s greatest accomplishments in the past 20 years has been to improve the eating experience for beef lovers. It was a huge shock in the 1990s when the industry discovered that one out of four steaks was not meeting consumers’ expectations.
Opinion
Aug 29, 2014
With this in mind, I want to pay tribute to the tens of thousands of families who are the backbone of the U.S. beef industry. Whether these families run cow/calf or stocker operations, own livestock barns or feedlots, each and every family is vital to the health and success of the entire industry.
Opinion
Aug 1, 2014
Some combinations are obvious. Think cowboy hats and Merle Haggard, pickup trucks and goose neck trailers. So what about beef and red wine? This combo is such a natural that I’ve long wondered why the industries that make both products don’t make more of the way the two go together.
Opinion
Jul 3, 2014
Old-timers must be shaking their heads in disbelief at the way calves and feeder cattle are trading. Even when I began covering the industry 28 years ago, I would not have believed the price of calves would by 2014 increase more than 3.5 times. On the other hand, the price of many other goods has probably increased by that much or more.
News
May 30, 2014
Americans are still buying beef despite record high prices in grocery stores and restaurants. Foreign buyers are also involved by ordering more than last year, despite the price. All this is good news, as all wealth to the beef industry comes from consumers, whether at home or abroad.
Opinion
May 2, 2014
Water and plants are vital to the well-being of American ag. Water in its various forms is needed to grow everything from pasture to feed crops to fruit and vegetables. It succors all kinds of plants that turn directly or indirectly into food for consumers at home and abroad.
Opinion
Apr 4, 2014
What an incredible time to have young cattle to sell. As I write this, calves weighing 600 to 650 pounds are selling for $197 to $206 per cwt at Oklahoma City. Not far behind them are 650 to 700 pounders at $188-189, 700 to 750 pounders at $178- 187.50, 750 to 800 pounders at $174.
Opinion
Jan 31, 2014
Supporters and opponents of country of origin labeling (COOL) have been deeply divided ever since the idea of COOL emerged in the late 1990s. That divide continues to play out not just in the country but in the corridors of Congress.
Opinion
Jan 10, 2014
The U.S. cattle feeding industry has depended for years on Mexican feeder cattle to help fill its pens. Annual imports have averaged about one million head, although they have fluctuated dramatically at times, in large part due to drought. That’s why 2011 and 2012 saw more than 1.
Opinion
Nov 29, 2013
It needed to. For years it had rested on the premise that beef was “King” and Americans would continue to gobble it up. But, beef demand began to decline because beef was too fatty and inconsistent in its eating quality. Fortunately, the industry responded to the alarm bells, although it took nearly 20 years to arrest that declining demand.
News
Nov 1, 2013
How many of you have been inside the boxed storage facility of a large fed beef processing plant? If you haven’t, it’s well worth a visit because these facilities tell you a lot about the current state of the beef industry and its future direction..
Opinion
Oct 4, 2013
The shrinking U.S. cattle herd has claimed another victim. Cow processor Martin’s Abattoir & Wholesale Meats in North Carolina ceased operations mid-September after 58 years in business. It’s the third cow processor to close in the past two years.
Opinion
Aug 30, 2013
The Zilmax story is still unfolding. But years from now, it should be taught as a cautionary tale of how the best intentions can go awry. Merck Animal Health, which makes the feed supplement, had spent 30 years developing and testing the product.
Opinion
Aug 2, 2013
The numbers never did add up for Northern Beef Packers (NBP) in Aberdeen, SD. Around the time that plans for its new plant were getting off the ground, the national cattle herd had completed three years of extremely modest expansion and then returned to contraction mode.
News
Jun 28, 2013
The beef industry promotes the use of what it calls new “technologies” to increase productivity and help producers make more money. Producing more pounds per head makes economic sense, especially as the U.S. cattle herd continues to shrink.
Opinion
May 31, 2013
One weekend does not make a market. But the beef industry was hoping for a beef sales bonanza over the Memorial Day holiday. Alas, Mother Nature decided to rain on the beef parade. Instead of warm, sunny weather that would have encouraged more grilling, it was wet and cool in parts of the Midwest and Northeast.
Opinion
May 3, 2013
Weather extremes have played a huge role in American life from the time the republic was founded. From earthquakes to hurricanes or tornadoes, cities and towns from coast to coast have felt the full force of nature and been reshaped by it. Weather has also been a huge influence in shaping agriculture and modern food production.
Opinion
Mar 29, 2013
Batista’s optimism, and that of his family, transformed JBS from being a mid-sized beef processor in Brazil to being the world’s largest meat and poultry company. The company now harvests every commercial species of animal, including goats. Its global revenue in 2012 was 76 billion reais (roughly $38 billion), up 22.
Opinion
Mar 1, 2013
I recently had the pleasure of enjoying a Prime rib dinner with Scott George and J.D Alexander, respectively the incoming and outgoing presidents of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). We were attending the 10th annual Alberta Beef Industry Conference held at the majestic Banff Springs Hotel in the Canadian Rockies.
Opinion
Feb 1, 2013
Plainview was the sixth largest plant on the Southern Plains and its idling causes 4,650 head of daily slaughter capacity to be lost to cattle feeders. But the market grossly over-reacted and Plainview’s absence will have little impact on Southern Plains’ live cattle prices this year.