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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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I’ve always been kind of a data junky, especially with surveys. While in college, I worked at a marketing company that did surveys across several states on consumer feedback and political opinions.

The company built a solid track record for being able to call state political elections based on the responses of a few hundred people.

That’s one reason I was more than curious to see the results of Progressive Cattleman’s initial reader survey last year.

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Government is too big. Taxes are too high. And the private sector is the best resource for developing jobs and innovation.

There, I said ’em. Three of the biggest assertions you’ll hear over the next several months while listening to candidates running for Congress and the White House in 2012.

Truth be told, I can’t fault politicians and policy wonks for throwing out those haymakers. Heck, I’m probably one of the biggest advocates for keeping government excess in check.

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For most of us, April 27 of 2011 was just another day of a bucolic spring. Pasture was turning green for stockers, cows were delivering the last calves of the spring crop, the CME Feeder Cattle Index was dropping below $135, and we were carping about either the price of gasoline or the price of corn.

But for residents of Alabama, April 27 was filled with sirens, dozens of dark funnel clouds and, when the day was over, 247 fatalities and 23,553 homes lost.

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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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