Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Passion for Cattle

Submitted by Mark Perrin, McCormick Company

As a full-time agri-marketer and part-time cattle rancher, I have faced many challenges. Inevitably, when you’re gone or running short on time, stuff happens. 

For example, there was one really tough morning last winter in Kansas City—cold, snowing hard, very windy. That same morning, three of my cows decided to give birth. I thought, why today and not yesterday?  

Upon inspection, I found one calf on the wrong side of the fence from its mother. As I looked through the pickup window, movement down the fence line caught my eye … three coyotes headed directly towards the stranded calf.

Trying to think fast, I hopped out of the pickup, tromped through the snow, climbed the fence, scared the coyotes off and carried the calf back to its mother. I thought: wow, a newborn calf is really heavy, my feet are really cold, I’m running late and why did I decide to raise cattle in the first place?  

Well, the cattle business gets in your blood. Maybe you’re born with it or maybe it just comes over you at some point in life. It’s really hard to make money, unless you conveniently forget to include land costs, taxes, vet bills, etc. Like me, many people with a passion for cattle choose a career that allows them to work in some aspect of the livestock business, even though it’s likely not on the production side.

Unfortunately, over the years there’s been a noticeable decline in the number of people with a cattle background who join the agri-marketing field. One of our toughest assignments at McCormick Company is finding marketing communications people with beef cattle expertise …

There are many opportunities for young agri-marketers in the beef communications field, and a combination Animal Science and Journalism or Public Relations degree could be a hot ticket. At least I think so.