That's the question our agricultural education services group is asking at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association 2017 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show.
For the past five years, the Noble Research Institute and GrowSafe Systems have teamed up to man a booth at the trade show. GrowSafe sells innovative monitoring systems, which the Noble Research Institute uses on its research farms and ranches. The technology can help cattle producers assess and monitor livestock behaviors, including eating and drinking behaviors. This information can help producers make decisions that benefit both animal well-being and farm productivity. For example, it can help more quickly identify and treat sick animals.
Cattle producers, whether they run small- or large-scale operations, have been called on to improve efficiency for decades. They've needed to produce more with less in order to remain in business. And, as a whole, they've delivered: 11.3 million more pounds of beef were in produced in 2012 compared to 1960 using less land and resources.
Efficiency is a must for farmers and ranchers, but the word "efficiency" could get us into a semantic argument. Efficiency could mean using less labor. It could mean saving money. Using less land. Reducing carbon emissions. Webster's dictionary defines efficiency as the "ability to produce a desired effect, product, etc. with a minimum of effort, expense, or waste." But that could look a thousand different ways, depending on your perspective.
That's why we're starting the conversation at NCBA.
The Noble-GrowSafe team will survey people within the beef industry on what efficiency looks like to them. So we get a clearer picture of what efficiency means now and what it could mean for the future. So we can equip producers with the tools and knowledge they need to continue making progress for themselves, the land and, ultimately, consumers.
We're also asking them to share how they #movetheherd toward efficiency on social media.
If you're headed to NCBA, come see us at booth #267. We'd love to talk with you. And we've got some pretty fun activities and giveaways. You can find out more on our NCBA booth webpage.
Stay tuned to see what we learn.
P.S. The blue cow herd will be traveling to Nashville, too, so make sure to keep up with the adventures!