If you ask Custer County Farm Bureau member Tim Krause just how old any of the 800 cattle that he feeds, he can look it up in a database and know in under a minute. For this 4th generation farmer and Nebraska Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Committee member, that’s just another example that illustrates how the electronic era has arrived, like it or not.
Tim grew up on a row crop/Limousin cattle operation in Ansley, graduated from the University of Nebraska at Kearney with an ag business major and went on to manage an ag chemical wholesale warehouse in Burlington, Colo., for six years. It was after that he moved back to the Ansley area, managed a local fertilizer and feed location and then bought the farm on his mom’s side of the family and began custom cattle feeding. He also runs a custom application and fertilizer business, in his “free” time.
Tim says that the use of Electronic Identification (EID) tags helps him identify animals within a few hours of birth and retain that identification through slaughter. “The use of EID opens markets such as Japan and South Korea and in turn makes higher profits which can then be passed along to my customers.”
Japan and South Korea still hold tremendous potential for future export growth for U.S. beef. U.S. beef has been back in the Japanese market since 2005, but limited to beef from cattle 20 months of age or younger.
“It’s hard taking small steps,” Tim says. “If you don’t have a farm passed down to you, it’s virtually impossible to start farming and support a family. Finding the working capital, and competing with the ‘big guys’ is tough.”
Tim also says consumer perception is out of touch with reality. “How do we communicate our story in a positive way when we’re faced with higher grocery costs and consumers think farmers are getting rich? We can’t go back to farming in the ‘50s to sustain our world today. No one else can produce a cheaper food than we can because our farming efficiencies have come so far. Production is up and we do more with less.
“Just ask a farmer,” Tim says. “We’ll tell you the real story.”
Continue to check back to the blog each Thursday to get to know more farmers and ranchers from across Nebraska as they share their everyday stories. And to read past farmer and rancher profiles, click here.