When you listen to economic futurist Lowell Catlett, PhD, you can’t help but be inspired.
Speaking to over 1,000 attendees at the 2013 Cattlemen’s College, sponsored by Zoetis, at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association meeting in Tampa this morning, Catlett did not disappoint.
Delivering the keynote address, the regent’s professor in agricultural economics, agricultural business and extension economics at New Mexico State University, Catlett had the crowd both laughing one minute and in serious thought the next as he talked about where we’ve been, where we are and the boundless potential of where we, in agriculture, can be in the future.
Catlett said the United States has been through many ups and downs and economic turns and twists. “During the first energy crisis years ago gasoline doubled from 32 cents to 64 cents and we had people crying that the economy was going to go into a standstill,” he said.
“But in recent history when gas got to $4 a gallon, most Americans shrugged their shoulders and still kept their Hummers. We managed through it. And we get our jobs done.”
In the 1980s Catlett said it was worrisome to many that “all manufacturing was moving to Japan, all of the biggest world banks were Japanese and our great America would be gone.” Not true, he explained.
“Only one of the 10 largest banks now is Japanese. America manufactures more things today than at any time in history and we manufacture more things than anyone in the world. No matter what gets thrown at us, we get up and go to work.” Catlett relates that to growing up on a ranch in Texas when things didn’t always go his way. “My dad used to say ‘when you’re done whining, the cows still need to be fed’. We are resilient.”
Now in its 20th year, Cattlemen’s College, which takes places immediately prior to NCBA’s opening events, offers a wide range of informative, one of a kind hands-on workshops and classes designed for cattle operations of every size and sector, and cattlemen and cattlewomen of all ages.
“When Cattlemen’s College started we didn’t talk about carbon sequestration, climate change or market price of corn like we do now, and in the next 20 years we’ll talk about different things than these,” Catlett said. “We get through these changes. The resilience of the human spirit is incredible as we experience different crises and changes.”