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A tribute to the American rancher

Published on 24 April 2020

Before a nation troubled with an impending pandemic, headlines of fake meat and climate-killing “cow farts” circulated the internet. Toilet paper and hand sanitizer sat neatly on store shelves, and basketball fans were eager to fill out this year’s bracket.

There was the luxury of shopping at a Walmart night or day, dining in at an Olive Garden or Longhorn Steakhouse, and there was no need to wipe down everything delivered to the door. Schools were open to feed kids their lunch and oftentimes breakfast, and Costco lines didn’t resemble Black Friday and the release of the latest iPhone.

While life will eventually normalize, I hope America has come to appreciate the food supply that is all-too-often criticized – even if just a little.

Deemed “essential” and rightfully so, American agriculture presses on. Calving doesn’t stop for what some call a “corona-cation.” Fat cattle still need to be slaughtered, feedbunks still need to be filled, and sick cattle still need to be doctored.

Along with the toilet paper jokes, you’ve probably seen pictures of fake meat holding down the fort as beef sold out of many grocery stores. Neighbors may have called to see if you had beef to sell, and you may have seen similar requests pop up on Facebook classified groups.

Other pictures and articles have highlighted the difference in air quality since the stay-at-home orders were issued (and might I remind you, no one turned off the cows), and “home cooking” apps were trending in the App Store. While COVID-19 has definitely upset our economy and taken too many lives, it has also forced us to slow down, eat with our families and check the facts.

The beauty of America is: We have choices. Not only do we have great beef to eat, but we have options on whether we want it grass-fed, grain-fed, non-hormone-treated, organic, Certified Angus or Certified Hereford – and even the choice to have it prepared for us. But with options come varying opinions and some, unfortunately, are louder than others.

It’s my hope that you, the people providing these food options, are applauded for your efforts. Hopefully you have gained a little more trust as you continued to put nutritious food on the table for a panicked nation. I’ll admit it felt a little eerie as I walked through my local grocery store to see many items missing or nearly so. It’s something I have never experienced in my lifetime, and I was grateful for a semi-stocked pantry and freezer full of beef.

As Vice President Mike Pence said in a statement, “Some of the most important people are working in the food supply – from the farmers to the ranchers, to our processors, to our distributors, to our truckers, to our grocers. [Because of you] Americans have one less worry … Thank you.”

And while the misconceptions from farm to plate may always be an ongoing battle, hopefully you can find comfort and possibly a little ego boost in knowing that Americans still love and need beef.  end mark

Cassidy Woolsey
  • Cassidy Woolsey

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