There have been many changes at NALF during the last six months. After coming off a great National Western Stock Show, NALF had a wonderful presence at the Annual Cattle Industry Conference and NCBA Trade Show in Nashville. The NALF booth was well received and was the only booth on the trade show floor with live cattle on exhibit for the commercial cattle industry to view. It was good for our breed to gain additional exposure as we attempt to increase our registry and market penetration of the commercial cow-calf business. During this same period the NALF office building was sold and operations were relocated to a more efficiently-sized office to accommodate our size and trim expenses.
NALF is excited to announce a new partnership with Pfizer Animal Health beginning April 1. Any NALF member who uses Pfizer vaccines or animal health products can fax their receipts to NALF for a potential one percent rebate that would go toward research and/or educational projects the Foundation is working on. You will see additional information in this issueâ€™s NALF Line about this exciting partnership with Pfizer Animal Health, and I encourage you to participate in the program when utilizing their products. Funds raised through this partnership will be used for research and education within our breed or possibly summer internships.
NALF is in the process of making changes to the way we do business to better service our members and increase the services we offer the membership. NALF continues to develop enhanced tools for membership as we work to incorporate genomic EPDs into our breed. Joe Epperly, director of commercial marketing, and I have discussed the advantages of this regarding making breed improvement on critical traits, but it will not be successful unless it is utilized by our membership. Participation and involvement is the key to making these tools effective. If this breed intends to grow over the next decade we need member buy-in with increased registrations to supply both seedstock and commercial operations with cattle that can generate more revenue.
The cattle market remains strong for all classes of cattle as we continue to progress through 2012. Feeder cattle, fed cattle and cow prices have remained high, which is reflective of the continued drop in our nationâ€™s cattle inventory. The year started with less feeder cattle and calves outside of feedlots on January 1, and the opportunity for heifer retention will most likely lead to further declines in beef production this year. The increased value for cattle has also been apparent within the seedstock business. Bull sale averages were up throughout our breed this spring with some sales averaging more than $1,000 per head as compared to 2011. Itâ€™s evident in these economic times that commercial operations want cattle that can provide efficient production of pounds that can pay the bills. Limousin cattle are getting a second look from operations that do not want to increase their operating cost but would rather rely on increased production and output per animal. Feed and fuel costs will most likely not get any cheaper in the foreseeable future. This is a perfect opportunity to promote Limousin cattle not only from a feed efficiency standpoint, but a total production aspect as well.
Global demand for beef and export markets continues to increase given the weakness of the dollar and the quality of our product. The economic signals for restocking are in place and Limousin breeders need to be aggressive toward capitalizing on that opportunity. Many factors are contributing to the fact that this is a great time to be involved in the beef business and the Limousin breed. It is time to take pride in ownership of this breed and actively participate in its growth. As reflected by the early year cattle inventory report, Southern states have been through tough times given the extended drought of last summer. Texas and Oklahoma cowherds were impacted the most with Texas reporting 660,000 fewer cows and Oklahoma dropping its inventory by 228,000 head. This has been reflected in Limousin registries during the first half of 2012. This is a trend that needs to change, and most likely will, once a return to normal weather occurs. In the meantime it is important that the membership take ownership of the breed and make the effort to record performance on its cattle, register them and record transfers.
Most cow-calf operations are aware of the need to be efficient and try to be lower cost producers. CattleFaxÂ®, a member-owned market analysis service, recently stated that it takes 60 percent more capital to operate a cow-calf operation than it did in 2000. Although prices for all classes of cattle have been at record highs, they have come with the additional burden of increased production costs. The capital and credit needs of being in this business have increased along with the higher prices received for cattle. The need for high-performing cattle that are profitable to all sectors of the beef industry, from producer to plate, will become more important than ever before. Limousin cattle can accomplish this for commercial operations if we continue to strive for breed improvement.
Changing gears, by the time this issue comes to print we will be fast approaching our National Junior Limousin Show and Congress in Des Moines, Iowa. A strong junior program is vital to the continued success and growth of any breed. After only being involved with the good folks in the Limousin breed for a year now, itâ€™s apparent to me we possess some of the finest juniors involved in the beef business. Plan on attending this show if you havenâ€™t already done so. The young folks that will take you into the next few decades will be there and will be the leaders of the business as we move forward. Whether they stay involved in cattle production, association work, politics, academia, banking or ag business careers, the groundwork that springboards them into the future is made at these events!