I can think of few things more exciting and, at the same time, more frustrating than being elected to head up the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Seems like most of the past presidents I’ve talked with start off their term with unbounded enthusiasm. Toward the end of their year at the top, though, they spend more time scratching their heads and wondering what the h*^l is going on?
It’s the nature of things. NCBA’s presidents are at the center of cattle industry history and they are in a perfect position to help change things for the better. They are quick to identify the problems we face, roll up their sleeves and start to work. Fixing problems, after all, is the main part of their regular job so they’re pretty good at it. Reacting quickly and developing common-sense solutions that attract a general consensus is their stock-in-trade.
But, too often, American animal agriculture seems like an international game of whack-a-mole; knock down one problem and two more pop up. It’s a tribute to farming and ranching that so many men and women in ag are willing to pick up that big sledge hammer and keep swinging away at first one issue and then another.
Scott George is the latest ‘John Henry’ to pick up the hammer and he comes from a long line of battle-tested people. No doubt he will be adept at whacking those moles and keeping the Association moving forward. I asked him a few questions about his plans and the critical issues that he sees as ‘up first’ during his term in office. What I got was an interesting blue print of the future of the cattle industry.
Q. You are a Wyoming cattleman and dairyman who says the two are very similar. Tell me about your ranch and how it has developed over the years.
A. My parents homesteaded on a tract of land located between Cody and Powell, Wyoming in 1947. At the time, an irrigation system had been previously built, and the government was interested in seeing that land be put into production. Located in the midst of the homestead land was a World War 2 Japanese Relocation Camp. Each of the homesteaders was given two 20’ X 120’ buildings for their use.
My parents literally had to start from scratch, clearing the sage brush from the land; digging ditches and a well; and building their home and barns from those relocation buildings. After struggling for several years to make a go of it by simply farming, they decided to purchase a few milk cows to help supplement their income. We have been milking cows ever since.