In 2016, Oklahoma ranked #2 in the nation for beef cattle with 1.95 million head of cattle. Livestock, including beef cattle, is one of Oklahoma’s major exports. It accounts for over $300M annually and 114,000 jobs in livestock production and processing. That is to say, it’s a big deal.
That’s why I’m always glad to see issues important to our livestock producers in the news. Recently, Tomi Lahren posted a “Final Thoughts” segment highlighting some changes in the economics our cattlemen and ranchers are facing.
There were many reactions to Tomi’s video, but I welcome the chance to discuss the challenges and opportunities for American ranchers and farmers. Ryan Goodman, the publisher of Agriculture Proud, makes some great points about some of the facts that are relevant to the discussion: the interplay of U.S. beef imports and exports, how Country of Origin Labeling may have affected sales and pricing, and quality control of beef products introduced into U.S. markets.
So what can ranchers, farmers, and cattlemen do? Market challenges often create opportunity. One sector that got a lot of attention this past year is artificial intelligence. Reverbant has published an interesting white paper on some of the digital disruptions on the ranch that we might expect in the near future. I will be interested to see how technology, including artificial intelligence, will continue to create opportunities for farmers and ranchers and add value to one of our larger economic sectors.