2 minute read


by Matt Macfarlane for the California Cattleman

As I sit down to write this column, I am reviewing my sale schedule for February and March and looking forward to attending long time sale events and working with and managing some new ones. My calendar will take me all over the country representing the California Cattleman. Primarily I will be in Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington but I will also be visiting Texas and the Badlands region. Like always, I look forward to the opportunity to share the ingenuity of California’s resilient beef producers with people across the region.

Something I really appreciate about my field is the diversity it allows me to experience across all facets of the beef industry. I was raised a ranch kid on operations in Nevada, Idaho and California. I was exposed to the importance of good genetics form an early age and was able to take the knowledge I gained there and apply it to the show ring, where my experience was greatly expanded. Through college I learned about supply and demand for our product and was propelled into semen sales which eventually led me back to California where marketing and cattle sales became the focal point of my career. The thing I love most about my job is that it still allows me to dabble in all sectors of the beef business.

Occasionally I come across producers who frown on fellow cattlemen and women who produce animals for the show ring or other fields differnt from themselves. Conversely, I might come in contact with a show family who can’t really relate to the commercial industry. I am here to tell you and them that great people and educated industry minds are found in all circles. From the cow-calf guy and seedstock producer to the sale barn, feedlot and everywhere in between, we all need each other to propel our way of life into the future. The show ring plays an integral role in helping our youth find their place in the industry while putting our wholesome way of life on display.

I arrived home yesterday from the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colo., where my enthusiasm for the future of this business was reinvigorated by the number of people who showed up at this historic industry event.

Denver has long been a leader in the western industry but attendance this year was something to behold and was a reminder that no matter what problems plague the world, our industry is a place people want to be and the interest is catching.

We live in a world where most recently Angus cattle have been the sought after breed and trendsetter. While our Angus friends still had a great stock show season, it was exciting to see the enormous turnout in buyer numbers at the Hereford and Simmental events that I attended as well.

As I have been studying trends and predictions for what 2023 has in store for the beef industry, I am firmly of the belief that live cattle sales will be extremely good on the video, at the sale barn and at upcoming production sales. In my mind, barring any major black swan events, I believe the next couple of years could be very good for beef producers at marketing time as declining cattle inventory numbers lead to better cattle markets.

As for California specifically, if we could soak up and store some of this rain water, that too would be a good thing. It appears we should have a great early grass season. We all know in the food production industry that all factors are rarely favorable at the same time so if we can get a good cattle market and plentiful rain in the same year no matter what the quantity, I guess we should take it while we can.