After reading the “good bye” blogs of this past years team it is so hard to get in a mindset of writing something serious and factual! However, this holiday season
I started thinking about the New Year, and with a new year comes change. Change in perspective, change in our day to day lives, but most of all, the kind of change called progress. I really wanted to comment on progress, particularly technology. Its hard to wrap my head around how much technology influences our lives. We’ve all heard thousands of times how great technology is and how much it can do, but seeing the possibilities with your own eyes changes how you hear those lines. This year my brother, one of the most technologically challenged people that I know, got an iPhone. I personally thought that it was a relationship that would end soon, but he became attached quite quickly and started figuring out all of the features. Within 15 minutes of owning the phone, he had found and downloaded an app called “Beef Market Central”. I personally had never heard of it, but the features on this app are pretty cool! He learned that you can follow the markets of beef in the auction ring, price of beef per pound (broken down by cut), and also you can follow links to articles on critical issues for the beef industry. I was blown away. Someone as opposed to technology as my brother had found such a stockpile of information so quickly. Seeing that really did open my eyes to the endless possibilities of technology and how it can enhance agriculture, particularly my favorite sector, the beef industry. I then started running through what amazing technology is out RIGHT NOW. We’ve all seen a huge surge in technology already with video sales, ultrasound inspections in beef processing plants, and electronics available for the average rancher. For example, a company makes an electronic ear tag for cattle that can store information such as birth date, what vaccinations it received and when, and health history. These tags can be read as a group from a distance with a small scanner, saving time and labor. Feed companies use similar tags as well as videos to monitor the health of their animals constantly, keeping a better eye on them than solely hand checking every yard. This tags can also be used as a personal access key for cattle too, their particular ear tag matches up to a certain feed bunker that opens for them. This allows the feed company to gather more accurate calculations for measuring conversion ratios of cattle and the efficiency of their product. These are only a shallow surface to the amount of technology that the beef industry has at its finger tips. I have always considered myself a really traditional kind of person, and tradition means a lot to me, as I’m sure it does for most ranchers like me. I know that this much technology can seem overwhelming, or like it is taking over the jobs of the average rancher, but being able to feed an ever growing world population is our goal. I just want to send out a line for farmers and ranchers to keep their minds open to the technologies that present themselves. Not all change is bad change.
– Kim Rounds