Do you know why… you almost never hear or read anything about solving horn fly and other parasite problems with genetics? Do you know why you almost never hear or read anything about the benefits of rotational grazing? Do you know why you almost never hear or read anything about no-input and low-input ranch management practices?

I’m going to have to point the finger at our land-grant universities. The original purpose of land-grant universities was to specialize in agriculture. They are supposed to be helping farmers and ranchers be more successful and more profitable. They are in the business of educating our next generation. Are farmers and ranchers being helped by the universities? Is the next generation being taught the right things for future success? I believe the answer to both questions is, “No.”

Before I go any farther, however, I want to acknowledge that there is a growing number of people at land-grant universities who are not afraid to think outside the status quo herd. I’m thankful for that! Unfortunately, their hands appear to be tied. For the most part, they are unable to research and teach the things they know they should be researching and teaching. They are unable to do what they should be doing because they are unable to find companies to fund their no-input projects.

Chemical and other high-input companies, on the other hand, are very generous with their money – especially if they can get the results they are looking for. High-input companies are in the business of selling you inputs. They are using our land-grant universities to do the grunt work for them. If our universities had the fortitude to research and teach the right things, many high-input companies would be put out of business – and farmers and ranchers would be in much better shape.

As long as the land-grant universities are working with and for the high-input companies, they are doing farmers and ranchers more harm than good.

The reason many of today’s cow-calf producers are not EXTREMELY PROFITABLE with today’s record-high calf prices is because the increasing cost of inputs is eating up their profits. When cattle prices fall (and they will), the cost of inputs will continue to increase. Mark my words, long-term success will require cow-calf producers to become less and less dependent on outside inputs.

Share on Social