My office is situated right between the offices for National Hog Farmer and BEEF magazines. Both publications are No. 1 in their respective industries. As you'd guess, the editors and I are always talking about news in our particular subject areas.
I espouse what I see as the advantages of biotechnology to corn and soybean farmers. They talk about the inevitable move to more animal identification and traceability.
The point is, we don't often discuss the root of our industries and how they are so intertwined; or, frankly, how one segment could live without the other. I guess we quietly recognize how dependent we are on one another.
Maybe there's a parallel from how the magazine business operates to how you handle your businesses.
With the age of specialization, more farmers have chosen to focus on either crops or livestock. Gone are the days when nearly everyone had both.
Now, however, there's a concerted and vocal movement in the corn and soybean industries to acknowledge the value of livestock producers. Crop farmers clearly want livestock producers to know they appreciate the bushels of corn and soybeans being bought and fed. For the record, about 60% of corn and 40% of soybeans are fed back to U.S. livestock.
“We're concerned about the future of the livestock industry in the U.S. and want to keep it vibrant,” says Steve Censky, CEO of the American Soybean Association (ASA). “We've been working with livestock groups for quite some time.”
Recently, for example, ASA and the National Corn Growers' Association (NCGA) met with the Animal Agriculture Alliance to discuss shared priorities — ways to work together to keep domestic livestock production strong.
“For NCGA, it was an opportunity to combine forces with an established group that wants to work on anti-animal and anti-ag movements,” says Tracy Snider, NCGA's livestock manager.
With countries such as Brazil nipping at the heels of U.S. livestock production, corn and soybean growers here need to work together in support of their fellow producers.
Here's one terrific example of a newspaper advertisement developed by the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association. There are many other efforts under way across the country, too.
Helping understand each others' importance is paramount to success. So please do what you can to let your livestock-producing neighbors know you support them. Go to local meetings and voice your opinions on livestock's value to your community. You need each other.
I'm not alone when I say time keeps accelerating. Try hard not to let this holiday season slip by.
Take your family to a play or your church's Christmas program. Whatever you do, do something.
Appreciate the wonderful things and share your joys — big and small — with family. You'll be glad you did.
The staff of The Corn And Soybean Digest hopes you have a happy holiday season and prosperous New Year.