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Follow practical information for the beef producer on essential topics including management, reproduction and calving, new technology, facilities improvement, beef quality, and feed and nutrition.

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Focus on reproductive performance: Profitability of cow-calf operations is largely determined by cow reproductive performance. Calf crop percentage and average weaning weight are primary factors influencing both total income and cost of production. Consequently, the goal for most herds is to have a high percentage of cows wean a calf and for most of those calves to be born early in the calving season.

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Back in mid-May, I drove down to grain my yearling Angus bull. On the way, I passed two utility trucks working on running a new cable.

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Imagine what beef production and agriculture will look like in 30 years. We all recognize that beef production and everything else is changing at unprecedented rates.

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Lesley SchmidtRancHER is a column spotlighting female leaders in the beef industry. In this issue, we are featuring Lesley Schmidt, a fifth-generation cattle rancher and farmer in Kansas. She has worked on her family farm all her life and has worked off the farm as a civil designer and a track and field official for almost 12 years. In addition to her on- and off-the-farm jobs, Schmidt serves as vice president of education for American Agri-Women.

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Across the nation, farmers and ranchers work tirelessly to overcome unpredictable variables like weather, commodity pricing, tariffs, and governmental regulations. These variables place an immense amount of financial strain and mental burden on farmers and will often have long-lasting impact on their farms’ profitability. Over the past decade the U.S. has lost an average of one percent of farms on an annual basis. In a study performed by the American Farm Bureau Association, they found that U.S. farm bankruptcies are at their highest rate since 2011—marking four consecutive years of rising bankruptcy rates as a proportion of the farm population.

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Earlier this year, the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA-NASS) released data from the 2017 Census of Agriculture.

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