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Guest Blog

Read about different aspects of the industry from a variety of perspectives. Guest writers include cattle producers and beef industry experts.

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When I worked in the dairy industry, we used to joke that Holstein calves come into the world looking for a way to die and that Jersey calves come into the world halfway dead. Even though I am a beef producer now, I retain my skepticism in the hours following birth.

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My wife and I pulled into the compound at ranch headquarters a while back to find a black Angus bull lounging against the front gate to the ranch house. With a deep sigh and resignation in her voice, my wife said, “It’s always the bulls!”

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A marathon begins in late August every year across cattle country. No, it’s not one celebrated with loud music and matching T-shirts, but instead it begins with the rumble of bawling calves and auction cries. This jaunt, of course, is the fall run of spring-born calves, ready to move from the ranch to their next destination.

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Livestock (and forage) producers are a proud bunch. Often stubborn, determined and self-sufficient almost to the point of self-destruction.

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My parents and grandparents lived through the great depression of the 1920s – an event that dramatically changed their lives and colored their world view. The depression had a profound effect on the finances of my kinfolk and produced a family mantra I heard constantly: “Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without.”

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Last week, I was talking to a fellow rancher friend. She commented that one of the reasons she liked summer so much was the chance to slow down just a bit. I did one of those comical-cartoon double takes. “Slow down, what do you mean slow down? Summer is so busy.”

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