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Read online content from popular Progressive Cattle columnists including Paul Marchant (Irons in the fire), Lee Pitts (It's the Pitts), Baxter Black (On the edge of common sense) and Yevet Tenney (Just dropping by), plus comments from Progressive Cattle editors.

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Sometime in the coming weeks, you can expect to hear that Japan will raise the age limit on U.S. cattle processed for beef imports from 20 months to 30 months.

The policy change, which officials started planning for in December, represents a major turn for the U.S. beef industry and its long saga to recover from the December 2003 BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) crisis.

The mad cow scare that crippled U.S. beef exports forced producers, government officials and trade experts to work through a four-year slog that crippled the industry. It also taught those same folks a few lessons as well.

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Just because some women have an occupation involving farming and livestock, it doesn’t mean they are not concerned about their appearance, hair, skin and body care. Kadie is one of them.

She’s on a family ranch in Montana. Both she and her husband share the calving duties in the spring, but cold windy weather plays havoc with her beauty regimen.

Last Christmas, she had clipped out an ad for a spa that included hot tubs, massage, pedicures, manicures and mud baths. She even posted a sample page from the ad on her bathroom mirror listing the services she might need.

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There’s one thing I simply must buy every year: The Old Farmer’s Almanac. In this digital age you’ll know it’s the end of the world when the Almanac ceases to exist or goes totally digital.

The 2012 edition is the 220th consecutive U.S. edition. Yes, it’s been printed continuously for 220 of the 236 years we’ve been a free country!

Besides the weather forecasts, planting tables and schedules of tides, eclipses and gestation found in every issue, in 2012 we’re told the best days to quit smoking, castrate, pollinate, graft (for congressmen) and the best days to see a dentist.

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Much has been said over the years about role models and heroes. Children need heroes, people to look up to and emulate, someone to pattern their lives after.

A standard writing assignment in the public school was titled “Who is my hero?” The standard answers included: My mom or dad, the President of the United States or a sports figure.

Now the heroes are rock star bands, cartoon characters, movie stars and sports figures. It seems the more grotesque and immoral a person is, the more he is considered hero material.

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If you’re one of the thousands of cattlemen or beef industry allies who attended the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association meetings in Nashville, Tennessee, last month, it’s obvious you were in good company.

The Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show pulled in a record attendance of 8,216 participants, topping a record set back in 1998, which was just less than 7,000, according to NCBA.

Too bad the folks at Yahoo! weren’t in the crowd. They would have been treated to an old-school eye-opener.

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I’ve oft addressed the challenge of being true to the cowboy life. Remember, the cowboy’s dream is to be able to support himself throughout his life … without ever getting a job!

This stubborn independence weaves them through a series of vocations as they travel down life’s trail.

Vocations such as: team roper, cutting horse trainer, day-work wrangler, horse shoer, auctioneer, real estate broker, saddle maker, Heel-O-Matic rep, cowboy poet, stuntman, horse whisperer, even the ministry.

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