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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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Turning on the light over the back door at 5 that morning revealed a layer of ice on everything, including the cattle trucks that had arrived in the compound overnight. Too bad a few hundred pounds of ice on the trucks wouldn’t work in my favor at the destination feedlot.

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I once asked a group of my students how many enterprises the typical cow-calf ranch has. Almost without fail they all said only one, the ranch.

The answer in most cases is usually around four: the calf enterprise (selling calves at weaning); the replacement heifers (be it raising your own or for sale); the hay; and a land enterprise (this is where you analyze lease value of the property).

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If I describe veterinary medicine as “colorful,” I’m sure the first image that pops into your head is that of the colorful language that is often utilized when a cow tries to go backwards down the alley. But no, veterinary care for our cattle involves a literal menagerie of colors that indicate everything from a cow’s health status to nutritional state. Sadly, the proper identification of those colors is mired in the chaos of subjectivity.

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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?

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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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