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

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0313pc cooper 1Listening to Linda Davis talk to a room full of cattle producers at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Cattlemen’s College, you easily get the impression there’s no crisis that cannot be conquered.

Whether it be drought, high prices, sick cattle, political opposition, the Depression, world war or the heavy loss of loved ones, Davis has seen most of it in her 83 years on the New Mexico range. Now her wisdom is as telling as ever.

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It usually happens when you’re by yourself. You’re trying to load a bunch of cows in the one-ton. It should hold 12 head but with four to go, they plug up.

You’re slappin’ them with the BQA-approved paddle, you chunk a piece of wood at the one in the gate.

You’ve actually turned around and leaned up against the last cow in the loading chute and you’re pushing like you were trying to jumpstart your car.

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I’ve had occasion to rub shoulders with influential people in the cattle business at all levels. I see them at state cattlemen’s meetings or serving on the Beef Board, at bull sales, giving speeches, expounding on political, economic or international subjects and people are listening to them!

They may be elected by their peers, sought after for fiscal contributions, knowledge or heritage, or honored for their service to the industry. Their opinion matters.

I have watched these influential men and women operate. They make decisions that ripple through our industry and affect many thousands of us.

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Americans love wrecks. This explains the popularity of demolition derbies, the Three Stooges, professional bull riders, NASCAR and Hollywood marriages.

In the auction business, we too have our share of wrecks. When auctioneers use the term, it refers to a sale that’s so bad no one will get paid.

A typical auction wreck was the time we had a horse sale at an auction market and one of the consignors decided to ride his horse into the auction ring rather than lead it in like everyone else was doing.

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As I watch the little plants pop through the soil and reach heavenward, I am reminded of the infinite power of faith and the grain of the mustard seed.

The seed is as small almost as a grain of sand, yet it grows into a beautiful shrub that spreads its branches for the birds to nest in.

Christ often used it as an example in his teachings. In Matthew, he compared the mustard seed to the kingdom of heaven – how it begins very small and insignificant but grows into something magnificent. My favorite comparison comes from Matthew 17:20:

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Watching Congress and the White House fumble economic policy, Americans probably think they have the moral high ground to say, “we deserve better.”

Fact is, no, you don’t. What’s happening in Washington is something we all helped create. Until we change ourselves, we deserve every bit of it.

We invited this pox upon our house through years of overspending, by waging wars without revenue to support them, by growing addicted to convenient debt, by electing craven ambitious leaders who don’t care to lead and by ignoring industries that define our core.

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