Farm Progress

Regional meeting to focus on several issues facing cattle industry

July 17, 2018

4 Min Read
Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association gather in Salado July 19.

When cattle raisers gather at the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) ranch gathering in Salado on July 19, they can look forward to being served up a welcome meal focused on beef and also get an update on the latest news and issues facing the cattle industry from the largest and oldest livestock organization in the nation.

"We stage several of these ranch gatherings each year to give us the opportunity to keep cattle raisers informed on our many efforts in support of their operations including recent law enforcement activities in their area and trending legislative developments that could impact the industry," reports Jeremy Fuchs with TSCRA's Austin office. "It also gives us the chance to meet and greet ranchers across the area and to listen to their latest concerns so we can figure out how to best serve their specific interests."

Those concerns might include issues like security, water and property issues, and, as of late, issues involving trade and open markets.

"If there is an issue that is weighing on the minds of cattle producers, we want to hear about it so we can best represent and address those concerns. In addition to investigating theft of livestock and equipment, we are active in working on other interests that affect ranching like water rights and eminent domain issues at both the state and federal level," Fuchs notes.

He says in recent years the number of cattle thefts has remained about the same each year, compared to a major spike of theft incidents in 2008-2012. But the annual number of cases are significant. In 2017 for example, TSCRA rangers investigated about 720 cases of theft that resulted in over $9 million in property recovered.

"Our resources have improved in recent years. We now have more video surveillance that helps with our investigations, but another boost to our success when it comes to cattle theft is our market inspectors. We now have inspectors at every sale across Texas logging information like brands and ear tags and identifying characteristics of cattle that are run through these sales and this information is logged into a growing database in our Ft. Worth office and used by investigators running down theft cases," Fuchs said.

He says the economy and market value of a steer seems to have a lot to do with the ebb and flow of livestock thefts. When cattle prices are up, there is generally an increased in theft cases.

"When a thief steals a television for example, the value of that item remains more or less constant when the item is pawned. But the value of a steer fluctuates and when prices are high there is more interest in acquiring livestock."

Fuchs says when it comes to theft, TSCRA rangers investigate a lot more than livestock losses. Other common items taken from a ranch operation include tack and saddles and equipment large and small.

"Recently we investigated and were able to recover a $200,000 track hoe taken from a ranch near Wichita Falls, so we look at all types of thefts from a property, from trailers to cattle and horses and even sheep and goats," Fuchs said.

While TSCRA rangers remain focused on theft and fraud cases involving theft of property, it only represents a percentage of the types of support TSCRA offers to not only members of the organization but to the industry-at-large.

"When people think about us they generally think of our theft investigations and other issues involving loss of property, and even issues like animal health, cattle fever ticks and things of that nature. But our policy obligations go beyond that. We are involved in just about anything that affects producers, things like forced annexation, the recent tax bill that was passed, and even trade issues like the North American Free Trade Agreement," he said.

He said the organization is involved in encouraging producers to call their elected representatives on issues like the eminent domain issues being discussed by the Texas legislature, and TSCRA has been active in Washington on the topic of trade and markets s well. He says international trade is another major area of concern, even if you aren't involved in selling beef across borders. Increased demand is a big part of the industry, and in Texas, for example, Mexico is the state's largest trading partner.

"In Texas, Mexico and Canada are our biggest trading partners, Texas alone exports about a billion dollars a year of beef and beef products, and this is definitely one of those issues that is important to ranchers who attend these regional meetings like the upcoming event in Salado. Anything that happens on the ranching front is of interest to us, and these ranch gatherings gives us the chance to listen to producers," he noted.

The ranch gathering in Salado is scheduled for July 19 at the Tenroc Ranch and the public is invited to attend. TSCRA asks those interested in attending should register at www.tscra.org/ranch-gatherings or call (800) 242-7820, ext. 192.

The Tenroc Ranch is located at 5471 Thomas Arnold Road, Salado, Texas.

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