What could the world be? There are times when that is a good question to ask.
The answer rests with ideology and expectations. There certainly will be more discussion if one does not restrict those expectations.
The old saying of thinking outside of one's box is very real. If we only stay within our own box or environment, we do not really expand our thinking. With no expansion of thought, we never will know what the world could be. We may not want to tackle such a big question. However, we could ask: What could the beef industry be?
What also holds true is that, if we stay within our own confines, we never really expand our thoughts beyond what we already know. Sometimes, in fact more than sometimes, fellow producers are criticized for thinking outside of the box.
What could the beef industry be? We never will know if we don't go looking.
Where do we look? Well, a starting point is the beef that we produce.
We are familiar with the world of average performance and average profit or loss, but averages hinder opportunity. The real challenge is to identify individual animals that are not average and do not do what the average says they should do, and then determine if this outside-the-box individual is real or simply a temporary expression of something that never can be repeated.
Decades ago, we never would have fathomed the replication of an individual beef animal. Today, we can.
So what could the beef industry be? We can look for exceptions that stand out or are uniquely different. We can tag those individuals and maintain their identity throughout the beef industry. The point being is that industry change comes by identifying individuals and using those individuals in breeding programs that propagate change. That process is not a passive process, so we need to step up to the plate to do it.
The beef industry is a very individualistic industry. Each producer, backgrounder and finisher designs and manages his or her operation. How our mind functions is similar for everyone. However, integrating current inputs with expected future outcomes creates numerous individual scenarios.
The cow-calf producer sees the business differently than the backgrounder or feedlot owner. The cow-calf producer conceives cattle, while the feedlot owner groups those cattle into manageable pens. The cow-calf producer always is looking for a bull or cow outlier that is different and can bring change.
The feedlot owner prefers slight modifications for the benefit of the pen. The cow-calf producer needs individual animal data, while the feedlot owner is happy with pen data. Trying to apply the same logic and operating principles does not always work. A seamless industry from conception to consumption is difficult.