B.C. cattlemen still have a lot of catching up to do

The Internet has brought huge changes in the working world, especially in the past decade as technology has advanced.

The Internet has brought huge changes in the working world, especially in the past decade as technology has advanced. Now we can view events occurring in far-away places, in real-time — live on our home-computers.

The cattle industry is endeavoring to keep up and there are several companies (in Canada) offering services that enable live viewing of cattle-auction sales, with the added bonus of allowing you to buy or sell cattle without leaving the comfort of home.

Yesterday, we sold several loads of cattle via the Canadian Satellite Livestock Auction (VJV- Alberta) watching from home as they sold — amazing, and all through the miracle of modern technology. BC Livestock Co-op sales (Kamloops, Okanagan Falls, Williams Lake and Vanderhoof yards) has recently added that service, which can be viewed live on sale days, combining forces with TEAM Auction Sales of Calgary, Alta. to facilitate that option.

Our sale prices were great! The North American cattle market continues to hold strong with continental shortages in cattle supply pushing prices upward. As a result, cattle producers (grass-roots-level) are finally realizing returns that may possibly translate to a decent standard of living after more than a decade of cutbacks and having to scrimp in every way possible just to remain in business while living decidedly no-frills-lifestyles, eking out subsistence-level incomes.

As the budget crunch looks to ease a bit for ranch families, the opposite holds true for urban families as they will experience rising prices for beef products in retail outlets. Although the cattlemen have great empathy for the added financial strain that will place on consumer-pocketbooks, it will not be enough to propel them to give the cash back.

The 10 long years it has taken for the market to rebound from the devastations of 2003 means that they still have a whole lot of catching up to do.

Liz Twan is a local rancher and freelance columnist for the Tribune.