NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Memorial Day is not far away. That means cookouts of hamburgers, steaks, and ribs.
It's just the kind of food East Texas cattle ranchers at Friday's Pineywoods Cattle Conference like to see on people's plates.
Nacogdoches County cattle rancher Jimmy Simms has something to be proud about.
"Well these are heifers I have raised," Simms said. "They're out of last year's calf crop."
Like a proud papa, Simms shows off the herd to company. His barn becomes a classroom for cattle ranchers from a five county region attending the Texas AgriLife's Pineywoods Cow Congress, hosted this year by Nacogdoches County.
"As AgriLife extension agents we always want to bring in educational factor to it, so we bring in speakers," Ricky Thompson, the AgriLife extension agent for Nacogdoches County.
"When we talk about record high prices, just how high is record high," said Dr. David Anderson, the speaker at the event.
David Anderson, an A&M professor and extension economist, talked about cattle prices.
"It's been quite a roller coaster lately, so, more downs than ups, really," Anderson said.
The Angus in this herd represent a fraction of the beef being produced in East Texas and across the nation.
"We got a supply side dragging us down with more beef production as we increase our cattle herds in the U.S.," Anderson said. "At the same time, we got some seasonality in demand that pulls prices up."
Eat more beef, the industry says to consumers, so these ranchers are provided a glimmer of hope.
Simms will wait over a year to learn the results of his labor.
"It's a long day before you get a payday out of 'em," Simms said.
In the meantime, an expert will use the herd as a teaching prop, but Simms wonders if it will be an effective lesson.
"He's supposed to try to cull them, so I don't know," Simms said. "I don't think there's any culls in this group."
Economists say beef prices at the grocery store are beginning to come down which is good news for meat eating consumers.
Ranchers from Nacogdoches, Angelina, Shelby, Sabine, and Panola counties were at Friday's Pineywoods Cow Conference.