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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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They say the cowboy is a dying breed. While some may think so, the ranch families that are still around are doing an outstanding job of raising children to work hard and carry on the traditions. As long as there are cattle, horses and people to feed, there will be people in the agriculture industry.

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They say the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. This phrase rings true in the ear of a rural veterinarian. For the masses who have rightfully adored James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small, being a bovine doctor seems like a whimsical journey. It undoubtedly does, and equally does not, live up to the hype of the famous novel.

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Last week, I was interviewing an operator for the January edition of Progressive Cattleman. This operation is a little different (OK, a lot different) than your average ranch. They run 800 commercial beef cows, farm 2,000-plus acres and operate a 1,500-cow dairy.

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One of the most underappreciated tools of the cattle business is a pair of gloves. Even a worn-out pair of gloves will help keep your fingers from being cut, burned, sliced, shredded (hoof rasp anyone?) and stepped on.

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My iPhone buzzed with a text message. It read, “What you decide on chicken coop?” The phone rang an hour later and I sent the call to voicemail. Later, when I read the transcript, it said, “This is, um, Eric – the chickn’ coop guy – um, wondering if I can deliver it today.” There were also two emails, “Wondering if you want this chickn’ coop. Plz respond.”

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Through some recent life events, I have come to familiarize myself with the acronyms MSHA and OSHA. Before this year, I had never heard of MSHA; I knew OSHA had something to do with safety because I often heard cowboys say, “This probably isn’t OSHA approved,” while doing something fairly dangerous.

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