High Hopes

After a lifetime in the cattle business, 52 full-time years by my reckoning, I’ve maintained that there are three variables that determine our economic equilibrium: the market, the weather and politics.  When only one of these variables is unfavorable, we can usually get by for another season. But when all three are unfavorable, we’re in dire straights.

To make matters worse, 2020 has introduced another variable I never considered: an international pandemic that has bludgeoned the global economy, and here at home closed restaurants for all grades of beef.  We are not the only business impacted, further impacting us all.

At the moment, any realistic hopes of corralling Covid-19 to some sort of normalcy are six to nine months away.  But those hopes may encourage better beef markets at the end of spring 2021.  How the political impacts, stimulus packages and reduction of tariffs, etc., will ultimately shake out is anyone’s guess. 

Now two months into our rainy season with less than a half-inch of rain to date and no green grass, we are keenly focused on the weather while feeding lots of hay.  The Wagyu bulls have arrived and we must have our cows in shape to breed.  

Here on Dry Creek on Saturday, we only measured 0.16”, but our hopes hang on the latest forecast of 0.3” today and tonight and another 0.45” Wednesday and Thursday.  Always optimistic, the combination may be enough to get our grass seed germinated.  But like always, much can change in the next four days.  

3 responses to “High Hopes

  1. Thinking of you and all my rancher friends, John. Including those in the Southwest which is seeing the worst drought in 30 years. Thanks for spelling out the three variables. I will do a rain dance for all of you…….keep up the beautiful writing and optimism.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Praying for that rain which you and we in Arizona really need We did get a really good rain last week after more than 110 days without rain, so hoping you’re blessed soon, too.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well said John. With my own lifetime in the cattle industry before retiring I can feel for your situation. Sending calves from Montana to California for the winter would have been out of the question in 2020. I have never had to experience that situation. I have rancher friends near where we live in southern Arizona and they are experiencing what you are having to deal with as we are also extremely dry. We can only hope that climate and the political scene will improve in 2021. HAPPY NEW YEAR John & Robbin. Rich & Shelby

    Liked by 1 person

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