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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 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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Branding cattle is a tradition (and practical measure) that dates back as far as the ancient Egyptians, but for most Americans the tradition is immortalized in Western movies as a symbol of the Old West.

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