By JUDY SHERIDAN
Ranchers who met at the Parker County Sheriff’s Posse Grounds recently for an update on cattle theft were also asked to support an upcoming referendum on the Texas Beef Checkoff, a mechanism to collect money to promote the beef industry.
The dinner event — which had 239 registered participants, was sponsored by the Texas Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.
Wayne Goodman, a special ranger with the association, said Parker County “isn’t getting hit very hard” by cattle thieves, but added that losses could mount in a hurry at the current high price of about $1,000 a head.
“I’ve got six head missing right now, but I think they’re on a neighboring place,” he said, “and we’ve had a couple of fence cuttings.”
Goodman offered common sense suggestions, like putting serial numbers on saddles, locking gates and equipment, securing trailers, removing tractor keys and getting to know neighbors.
He cautioned about feeding near roadways and gates regularly, lest thieves note the schedule, and stressed the value of using registered brands or earmarks as identifiers.
“We have made some cases on DNA, but you have to have the momma, the bulls and the calves, and it’s expensive,” he said.
TSCRA’s CEO Eldon White urged ranchers to remember the gains made through the 27-year-old National Beef Checkoff when considering the Texas State Beef Checkoff, a new program initiated by several different Texas cattle organizations.
Money from the National Checkoff — which dictates that a dollar be collected every time a beef animal is sold in the United States — has been used to develop new cuts of beef and improve public relations, White said.
“That dollar we began to contribute back in 1988 is worth about 44 cents today in purchasing power,” he said. “Have you noticed there is no television advertising like the ‘Beef, It’s What’s For Dinner’ campaign? It’s because we don’t have the money.”