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A rancher’s New Year’s resolutions

Erica Louder for Progressive Cattleman Published on 01 January 2019
feeding cattle in the winter

It’s a new year and ’tis the season for resolution making. Even us ranch folk should take a chance to set some personal goals. Our whole lives shouldn’t be just about cattle prices and pasture growth. Take a chance to make some resolutions. And, despite what seems like chasms of difference between a rancher and the average human, our resolutions are surprisingly similar … or are they?

1. Get more sleep by requesting the heifers only calve during daylight hours and by moving the weaning pen to the far side of the corrals.

2. Take opportunities to travel somewhere other than the summer grazing allotment to check cows – preferably to a place not associated with a ranching seminar, unless it’s a seminar in Hawaii.

3. Lose weight that you gained while stress eating during calving season and in the days leading up to your banker meeting.

4. Meet someone new who can check cows and break ice all winter. Must also be willing to stay home and feed while you attend the National Finals Rodeo. (See travel goal above.)

5. Save money by not purchasing any “snake oil” the salesman claims will prevent pinkeye, cure scours, guarantee pregnancy, maximize weaning weights and increase cattle prices, all in one application.

6. Spend quality time with your spouse beyond the time spent yelling at each other while processing cows or arguing about how much a calf weighs.

7. Get out of debt by selling your oldest child (or maybe the two oldest) to pay off the mortgage on the ranch.

8. Read more since the last real books you read were Lonesome Dove during a college Christmas break 10 years ago and a slew of paperback Louie L’Amours. (Westerns are “real” books, right?)

9. Exercise daily by choosing to walk the hundred yards to feed the horses instead of taking the four-wheeler. Find an exercise routine that does not involve leaving a gate open.

10. Have a positive attitude about cattle buyers, livestock commission fees, hay prices, weather reports and mean mama cows. Remember, they are just trying to do their job.

That will about do it for us. Any more resolution making may incriminate someone. Go ahead and take some inspiration from our list, and let us know what you’d add. With these resolutions, 2019 will surely be the best year yet.  end mark

Erica Louder is a freelance writer based in Idaho.

PHOTO: Another possible resolution – look for someone else to feed in weather like this. Photo by Erica Louder.