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From the Editor

Read commentary from Progressive Cattle editors, ranging from the origin of specific magazine articles to thoughts about industry trends.

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One of the best qualities about the holidays – especially the Thanksgiving holiday – is how easy the season makes it to reduce life’s complexities down to simple honest truths.

For instance, consider this when you’re shopping for a plump turkey and deciding between yams and stuffing: Most of us in this country will never really worry about where to find our next meal.

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As a teenager, my best friend would often take me to his grandmother’s home. She was born in New York, the daughter of Russian immigrants, and made strudel and soup that could shame Julia Childs.

One summer day, we dropped by her house before doing some back-to-school shopping. She lectured us not to blow through our summer savings on expensive duds. But there was one purchase where we should always shell out some extra bucks.

“Only a fool buys cheap shoes,” she warned. “Quality shoes and a nice haircut – that’s what makes the man.”

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Spend a few days in the blistering Texas sun during the state’s worst drought in generations, and you learn something vital about the beef industry.

The summer of 2011 may be winding down, but for many producers in the Southwest, this has been a scorcher that’s stuck around too long.

The heart of Texas typically gets around 36 to 37 inches of rain a year – this year it’s received less than 8. The state saw the hottest month of June on record and the driest 12-month stretch through July.

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As much as I can guarantee that we Americans love our hamburgers, I can say with equal certainty that Germans relish their cucumbers.

So it was with some fascination I watched that country – one at the forefront of the organic food revolution – abandon one of its culinary staples during this spring’s deadly outbreak of E. coli.

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A few years ago, my wife and I traveled overseas. While visiting friends in their home, the conversation turned to our kids. This friend said her son enjoyed studying music, and I said my son had an interest in U.S. history.

“American history,” she snuffed. “You Americans have no history.”

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Each day on the way to work, I drive across a bridge. It’s an impressive structure standing 486 feet high above a scenic canyon gorge with a winding green river.

But what’s most peculiar about this bridge is how, when the season’s right, you’re bound to see people hurl themselves over it.

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