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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Tough times for ranchers mean premium prices for beef

Uploaded: May 15, 2014

Sunol rancher Tim Koopman is a little recognized neighbor to the thousands of commuters who use Interstate 680 south of Pleasanton.
His family has run cattle on the hills east of I-680 before the Sunol exit since 1918. Over the decades, they have become used to the vagaries of weather in a business that relies on natural pasture land on their 2,600 acres to feed their cattle.
Needless to say, the last two years have been brutal on virtually all ranchers in California as the state suffered through its driest year on record. Tim, a former chair of the Alameda County Fair Board, is the current president of the California Cattlemen's Association and was quoted extensively in an article by Michael Kuhne that appeared online at He said that some ranchers have never fully recovered from the droughts of 1975-77 and 1987-89.
To cope with no forage and dwindling water, Tim has cut his herd in half to 200 cows—a tactic that ranchers across the state have used—selling breeding stock and selling calves much sooner and at lower weights than typical. It's been so dry that springs and a well that he thought was secure have been drying up.
For the consumer, it means much higher beef prices—if you bought steak for Mother's Day, you noticed. The California drought coupled with the multi-year drought in Texas that resulted in herds that were 20 percent smaller have sent prices soaring to record highs.
There's no quick relief because it will take years—assuming normal rains return—for pastures to recover and for ranchers to rebuild herds. The beef industry is at the lowest level of breeding cows in 63 years and it takes 2 ½ years for a calf to reach maturity for slaughter in typical conditions.

Congrats and a hearty well-done to the Pleasanton Partnerships in Education for its fundraising efforts over the last year. The organization presented the school district with a check for $551,000. The money will support reducing class-size in kindergarten and transitional kindergarten to 28-1 and provide a laptop to the 230 elementary classrooms. About $95k went to middle schools and $68k to high schools as well as $90k to one additional technology coach.

Driving in Dublin to visit my friend Steve McRee, I was struck by the unusual traffic controls on Grafton in the residential neighborhood north of Central Parkway in east Dublin.
I go through two intersections that are built with relatively tight roundabouts that require going fairly slow. Both roundabouts are accompanied by stop signs in every direction. Roundabouts and stop signs? Sort of like wearing both a belt and suspenders—one or the other, but not both.

What is it worth to you?


Posted by Tim Wishes for Normal Rainfall, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on May 17, 2014 at 11:40 pm

Thanks for underscoring the obvious, Tim. If people shift from fat, nonproductive, over-consuming cattle to more sustainable and healthy fruits, legumes, and vegetables, we'll not have to engage in head-in-the-sand reveries about the return of normal rainfalls. Might as well talk about the hardships of tobacco farmers. Beef, cigarettes, it amazes how someone in 2014 can bang the drum of sympathy for those whose livelihoods depend on poisoning us and the planet we inhabit.

Posted by Right, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on May 18, 2014 at 10:43 pm

Jejune comment worm. I like meat, the redder the better, and its my Constitutional right to enjoy it. Go back to the collectivist Gulag and eat all the legumes your diseased liberal heart desires you sanctimonious little totalitarian.

Posted by Formerly Dan from BC, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on May 19, 2014 at 9:09 am

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

Tim wishes...,

"...poisoning us"? With beef cattle??

You realize that ever since the government began recommending increased carbohydrates in our diet that obesity has exploded, right?

EAT MORE BEEF/CHICKEN/FISH. They're as natural as fruits and vegetables.


Posted by Conservator, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on May 19, 2014 at 10:14 am

Tim, you really ought to start deleting people's posts like the brave Tom Cushing does. See, anyone to the left of Dwight D. Eisenhower he deletes; anyone smarter than him he deletes; anyone funnier than him he deletes.

Posted by Conservator, a resident of Danville,
on May 19, 2014 at 5:23 pm

You know that there are not enough multisyllabic words in this post to have been from little old me.

However, let's eat!

Posted by Right, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on May 20, 2014 at 10:20 am

I like that Cushing deletes the diseased lefties. That's all you get in the mainstream media now a days, left-wing pabblum shoved down your throat. Nothing like a conservative Democrat and rational Republicans defining the contours of a debate!

Posted by Right , a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on May 20, 2014 at 10:24 am

Oh, and Dan, I enjoy the thought of you finishing your porterhouse with a few bourbons and a big fat cigar planted in your face. Alcohol bad for you? Cigars bad for you? And now red meat? All brought to us by the liars who distort global warming stats in order to prop up the likes of Al Bore Us Gore.

Posted by Formerly Dan from BC, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on May 20, 2014 at 10:30 am

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

I'm a rib-eye and rum type of man. Occasionally wine, maybe a bourbon once in a while.

I don't smoke cigars, or anything else for that matter.

Your sarcasm is not lost on me.


Posted by Right, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on May 20, 2014 at 2:34 pm

Dan, I hope your not refraining from a good cigar because you believe all the tobacco alarmists? We both know they don't have a shred of evidence that tobacco leads to bad health. And sugar laced rum? Cancer and liver disease after all have existed for time in memorium.

I'm a rib-eye man too. I always get the most marbled fatty slab available. I included a link from the PETA clowns who claim that the beef we eat consume 13 pounds of grain for every pound they contribute to our healthy meat diet. Needless to say all the diseased liberal "give me a hand out" types cry victim hood. Even the climate change frauds are jumping on the band wagon. I say, if you can't afford to eat a good rib-eye, then it's tough toe nails for you.

And think how many jobs we'd lose if people stopped eating meat! Bye-bye fast food industry!!!

Web Link

Posted by Formerly Dan from BC, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on May 20, 2014 at 4:38 pm

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

How could I have made the mistake of responding to a sock-puppet!!

This will be the last time, dude.

Now go away.


Posted by Right, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on May 20, 2014 at 5:22 pm

??????? Dude, get back on your meds. I'm trying to agree with you!!!

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