Current Progressive Cattle digital edition


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.


In winter, I have often stood in the icicle air and gazed up at the starlit sky. The pinpricks of light shimmer and flicker in the velvet blackness, while their reflections, like millions of candles, dance across the frozen snow.

The whole world sleeps under the warmth of an icy blanket. My soul is filled with indescribable peace as I marvel at the grandeur of it all.

I think of how the snow covered the autumn leaves and the dark, bare ground and how when the snow melts into spring, the world will be transformed into a brilliant green world of new life.

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I just heard about a Hereford cow in England who gave birth to her second calf in three months. I’m not talking about a twin; I’m referring to a miracle known as “superfecundation.”

It sounds dirty to me but it means that a second egg got impregnated a few months after the first, causing another pregnancy at a later stage of development.

Being a tightwad, my first thought was, when the vet preg-checked did he charge for one cow or two?

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For most of us, April 27 of 2011 was just another day of a bucolic spring. Pasture was turning green for stockers, cows were delivering the last calves of the spring crop, the CME Feeder Cattle Index was dropping below $135, and we were carping about either the price of gasoline or the price of corn.

But for residents of Alabama, April 27 was filled with sirens, dozens of dark funnel clouds and, when the day was over, 247 fatalities and 23,553 homes lost.

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One of the best qualities about the holidays – especially the Thanksgiving holiday – is how easy the season makes it to reduce life’s complexities down to simple honest truths.

For instance, consider this when you’re shopping for a plump turkey and deciding between yams and stuffing: Most of us in this country will never really worry about where to find our next meal.

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It helps to know a little about a lot of things. It gives you a broad perspective. It also allows you to make a fool of yourself in many different areas.

In my column, readers may notice that I appear to have an opinion on almost everything in agriculture. It might impress some, but real authorities in certain areas can easily see how thin my expertise is spread.

For instance, I worked in a sheep parasitology lab during ag school. I tell people casually that I helped work out the life cycles of Thysanosoma actinoides, Stephanofilaria tylisi and Elophora schneideri.

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Outside my window, the world is a glorious panorama of color. The leaves flutter red, yellow and orange in the breeze.

Autumn – what a glorious time of year! The artist of heaven paints the world a majestic array of splendor ... and I complain that winter is coming.

I swoop from room to room, exhorting my children to hurry up, clean up and shut up. I make sure they know exactly what still needs to be done, and what is going to happen if they don’t get it done.

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