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Saturday General Session

Efficiency: A Cattleman’s Perspective

Chip Ramsey

Chip Ramsey, Rex Ranch,
Ashby, NE

“The beef industry is a low-margin business, so we have to try to do everything right. Improving our efficiency makes that job a bit easier,” said cattleman Chip Ramsey of Rex Ranch, Ashby, Neb. Ramsey spoke May 2 at the 2009 Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) symposium in Sacramento, Calif. “It makes a lot of sense to study efficiency. I can’t necessarily make the market pay for me every day, but efficiency pays every day.”

Ramsey said he is hopeful about the progress made in identifying genetic markers that can be used to select for efficiency traits.

“I believe we’re going to make a difference and make improvements. But if you don’t sincerely believe that, then you shouldn’t try to use the data just because it’s becoming available. It would be a waste of your resources if you aren’t informed about what you’re using and believe that it is going to work.”

Ramsey cautioned that although he sees tremendous potential value in using genetic markers to select for efficiency, he thinks that we need good instructions on how to most appropriately use them. He made the following comparison: Cattle producers using genetic markers without good instruction could be a bit like consumers trying to grill a round steak because they didn’t have good cooking instructions. There’s nothing wrong with the steak itself, but their cooking choice simply wasn’t the best way to use it. Similarly, we need to make sure we have good instructions so we can use the emerging genetic data in the best possible way, he said.

Editor’s Note: This summary was written under contract or by staff of Angus Productions Inc. (API). To request reprint rights contact Shauna Rose Hermel, editor, at 816-383-5270. PowerPoints are posted with permission of the presenter and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express permission of the presenter.

The 41st BIF Research Symposium and Annual Meeting was hosted by the California Beef Cattle Improvement Association and the California Cattlemen's Association. For more information, visit www.bifconference.com or www.calcattlemen.org/bif2009.html.

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