Current Progressive Cattle digital edition


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.


I am an irregular American – only sort of human, a black sheep, you could say. My detractors would lump me in with the loafers, deadbeats, drunks, gamblers, hoboes and tramps.

Yes, it’s true, I have to admit that I have always belonged to that lower class of people known as “fall calvers.” There, I said it. Do those of you who calve your cows in the springtime think less of me now? I thought so.

Because the vast majority of cattlemen in this country calve their cows in the spring, those of us who calve in the fall are discriminated against, victimized and looked down upon by those smug ranchers who think they are superior just because they calve in blizzards and don’t have to watch calvy heifers during the holidays.

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The beef industry’s aggressive push to defend finely textured lean beef in the aftermath of “pink slime” reporting is completely warranted, even if it comes a day late and a dollar short.

We could certainly blame social media, slipshod reporting or an uninformed consumer base. But that would ignore a fundamental modern-day reality.

The uproar over lean trimmings in ground beef shows, yet again, that a seismic shift has hit the marketplace.

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Several years ago, I helped coach the local high school basketball team for a few seasons. As anyone in rural America knows, hitching one’s hopes and reason for living to the success of a small town high school athletic program can sometimes be like a spring spent doctoring scouring calves. Your efforts and heart may be fully invested, but you’re most likely going to lose some.

One particular season, as high school sports are supposedly intended to do, served up a good share of life lessons.

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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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