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.


Whether or not you’ve been hooked to the TV or Internet watching world events the past few months, it’s obvious that an awakening has jolted certain corners of the globe.

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An interviewer asked me how one can make a living in the cow business.

Actually he said, “As we’re heading into the next couple of years with declining cattle numbers and steady prices, how do you think you should position yourself to take advantage of the market?”

I assume he’d mistaken me as an authority in the cattle business. Maybe he thought I was a Wall Street speculator who heard rumors of another run on ethanol.

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My parents will be married 69 years on the 12th of March; that’s a record in this modern age of buy and toss, where people talk about love and commitment but the underlying tone is of self-indulgence.

Those folks were made of sterner stuff back then. They were fashioned out of the spirit that led across the ocean in the Mayflower to the Revolutionary War, through the Civil War and into the Great Depression.

Commitment was a tradition and love was an afterthought, back in those days.

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Like most people involved in selling livestock, I believe that the faster you sell them, the better it is. When it comes to auctions, the speechifying should be kept to a bare minimum.

For one thing, there’s usually nothing anyone can say that the ranchers on the seats don’t already know.

Cattlemen these days are very astute; they’ve had to be to have survived this long, and they’ve studied all the numbers, EPDs and statistics to know which stock they want and how bad they want them.

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Say what you want about the federal government being too big, too greedy and too cumbersome to effectively regulate free enterprise. But sometimes even an 800-pound gorilla has to listen and change.

That’s what unfolded when thousands of livestock producers and cattlemen provided feedback on the National Animal Identification System two years ago.

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I can’t remember how many songs Martin wrote, probably half of my notebook full of livin’ room hits! I guess nobody knew me as well as Martin. All those sad love songs, honky tonk songs, funny ones, bluegrass, country, cowboy, even the occasional gospel song, he heard first.

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