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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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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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My, oh my, how fast things can change. It’s hard to think a few short months ago, the word “coronavirus” only made us think about calf scours and masks were something you only wore on Halloween. I’ll tell you what, for all those folks last December who were making jokes about 20/20 vision, I can say they sure didn’t see this coming.

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In the 1980s, there was a popular song on the radio with the title "Should I Stay, or Should I Go." A lot of producers today are asking themselves a form of that same question – should I stay the course and keep my cattle, hoping consumer demand and beef prices rise soon? Or, should I sell off a good share so I don’t incur the expense of feeding and maintaining excess numbers, not knowing when this crisis might end?

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I grabbed onto my saddle horn with my left hand and pulled back on the reins with my right. “Whoa, Reba, whoa.” She broke her lope into a fast trot, and the change of pattern caused my left foot to come out of the stirrup.

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The rodeo really started when Odie grabbed that rattlesnake by the tail. But that’s starting in the middle of the story, so let me try this from the top.

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