by Henry Kempfer
It is humbling to follow in the footsteps of such great leaders as our past presidents of the FCA. My hat is off to Wes Williamson for doing such a great job leading our association and encouraging everyone to “Tell Their Story”.
I am personally honored to take this position just as my father and grandfather did years ago. Many things have changed since they served their terms. We are weaning heavier, healthier calves, experiencing higher conception rates, and record high cattle prices continue to shock us all. However the FCA is still here to serve its members just as it has from the beginning. This year, I encourage you all to Circle the Herd.
Consider the herd as our issues, gathered together from every county association or individual member in the state. We need to circle around them just as you would a group of cattle when you gather them in an effort to move them to better, greener pastures. Gathering and driving cattle is a team effort. The executive committee and I will provide leadership but need guidance from our board of directors and members to ensure our goals reflect the best interest of our organization. Before we start driving the herd, we need to understand just what issues we have and decide how we are going to deal with them. It’s important that you participate so that you’ll better understand the issues that we are facing in our industry.
For the last couple of years, Florida has been blessed with great weather conditions for raising beef cattle. Let’s be thankful for these many blessings that the good Lord has given us and make the best of these opportunities.
Woody Larson warned us a couple of years ago not to become too complacent in our businesses due to this strong market and good times in the cattle industry. We all know that good things aren’t a guarantee, therefore, we need to take advantage of these good times and be prepared for years with tighter margins.
This year, we will be faced with trying to pass a new State Beef Checkoff with a voluntary refund. By adding the ability to use a portion of this money on production research, studies to enhance beef production more efficiently in our state can increase profitability in the future, particularly when markets may weaken. I encourage each of you to understand the importance of this program, and the positive impact it can have on our industry.
I’m also excited about our new program for developing new leaders within our organization. We plan to launch the Florida Cattlemen’s Leadership Academy this year to help better prepare future leaders for FCA leadership. Let’s never lose sight of the importance of our young producers and the role they will someday play in this industry.
So again, I ask you to saddle up for the FCA and let’s Circle the Herd.