Increasing beef demand by producing the highest quality, grain-fed beef more efficiently than anyone in the world will be the key to continued success of the U.S. beef industry, said Jim McAdams, President National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) at a gathering of more than 500 Texas cattle feeders.

McAdams was a featured speaker at the recent Texas Cattle Feeders Association Annual Convention in Grapevine, Texas.

He called on all participants of the beef industry to be part of this solution. “We are going to beat the competition because we do it right and we do it better.”

McAdams said there have been very few bad days over the past three years as cattlemen have enjoyed the best of the cattle cycle, which has contributed to record prices and record profits. But, he warned, “We all know that the good times as far as profitability won’t continue forever.”

There is a truth that all cattlemen know: high cattle prices don’t last forever and the cattle cycle will always be dependable. “It will turn,” says McAdams, “just when enough of us are certain we will never see another bad day.”

All cattle producers want to extend this profitable period for as long as possible, the Adkins, Texas, rancher said. “Success will depend upon how effective we are in continuing to build demand. Only by growing demand faster than we grow supplies will we be able to flatten the boom and bust cycle.”

Building beef demand and enhancing our business climate is exactly what NCBA was created to do, he said.

Some are concerned that U.S. cattlemen will be able to compete in the international market. “The fear is we cannot produce beef as cheaply as other countries, such as Brazil. This is not dissimilar to the fear we had regarding poultry in the past.”

However, McAdams told cattle feeders the goal isn’t to produce a protein that is as cheap as poultry or as cheap as other countries’ beef, but to produce the protein that has the highest value in the world, the most efficiently.

But to achieve the highest value for their products, U.S. cattlemen must be able to sell it to the world’s consumers. “We need international trade so our industry can reach its full potential. A strong domestic and global marketplace for our beef is critical to our ability to grow our profits and to grow our ranches and feedyards so that our sons and daughters can have a future in this business,” he said.

“But let me be clear. Some confuse our faith in our ability to compete globally with a belief that we support unfettered access to our domestic market. That is not the case. NCBA has been and will continue to be ever vigilant in ensuring that whatever enters this country is safe and that cattle are protected and that America’s cattle producers are never placed at a competitive disadvantage. “Trade must be fair, whether it is here at home or anywhere else in the world.”

Without integrity in markets, he said, people lose trust. And once trust is lost, loss of freedoms usually follows. “Unfortunately, we see that in the divisiveness we have in our own industry.” In the Old West, he noted, people were susceptible to buying antidotes from snake oil salesmen. “There has been a lot of snake oil peddled over the last few years in our industry,” he said. “The only way to counter snake oil salesmen is to be science-based and perform with integrity so as to earn trust.”