Black Lives Matter! Warning: This Isn’t What You Think It Is…

BLACK LIVES MATTER!

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Momma and baby in the spring of 2016.

However, so do red, brown, and white…

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Cattle crazing in 2015

Hopefully no one is offended by my use of this phrase in regards to cattle. I do not wish to create division or start a rampage of negativity. I truly value all life–human or animal–and all variety. History is full of atrocities; I do not make light of things that have happened. Never-the-less, we must be aware that different people are going to give voice to that which they value. I love hearing perspectives varying from my own because it challenges me to think beyond the perimeters of my reality. I wish to honor others.

As someone who values cattle and the longevity of agriculture in the US, I posted this to show the importance of the beef industry. I know… we get a bad rap sometimes. There are producers out there making bad choices and videotaping their inhumane ethics. It’s sick. But just like other groups worldwide, there are extremes among cattle producers. Fortunately, the few bad apples do not represent the industry as a whole.

Most producers want quality of life for their stock: Fresh water, clean fields, high quality feed. We are in this business because it’s a life style that connects us with the land and animals. We seek to better the planet we live on, to be good stewards of our resources, and to increase productivity to support future generations. We use humane treatments: quiet voices, calm movements, and respect. We are not putting on a rodeo or looking to “dominate” the cattle. We are looking to be a blessing to God’s given resources and do our best for our families, our fellow producers, and those who consume beef.

There aren’t corporate ladders to climb in the cattle market; there are lives that depend on our care. (Although according to the IRS, we do not have 250 dependents.) We take this responsibility as a blessing, even though there are long hours.

The beef industry in America is important:

It’s provides a viable and wholesome food source.

It care takes land and livestock for current environmental needs with awareness of future needs. (There are studies available on the benefit of cattle to sage grouse, natural forage, and wildlife.)

America was dubbed a “melting pot” decades ago because we welcome all backgrounds. May we continue to see the importance in each other and the things we deem valuable. All lives do matter–bovines included!

Top 7 Ranch Resolutions

Photo by Katie Whitehurst
We started the new year with some hiking! Ok, we were checking cows, but still we hiked.

Welcome 2017 and the month of New Year’s Resolutions! According to a recent news release, the top seven resolutions for 2017, compiled via Google searches, are:

  1. Get healthy.
  2. Get organized.
  3. Live life to the fullest.
  4. Learn new hobbies.
  5. Spend less/save more.
  6. Travel.
  7. Read more.

I usually look forward to the New Year. However, I’m not one to make resolutions. Perhaps it is because they rarely seem to fit our lifestyle. Maybe what we need are Resolutions, Ranch Style.

Top 7 Resolutions, Ranch-a-fied:

  1. Get more healthy=Get more zzz’s. Sleep equates to getting healthy for ranchers because we know cattle producers get exercise: forking hay, moving snow, running fence lines, riding horses, moving pipe, just to name a few. (My friend refers to her lifestyle as “rancherobics”.) We eat what we produce, so our diets are fine. BUT, we could use a few more minutes of shut-eye. Black-out dates include calving season, planting season, harvest time, summer grazing, and most major holidays. (See number four.)
  2. Get organized=Remember where we left supplies. Ranch families tend to be “organized”. Tools are in the shop, tack is in the barn, files are in the house–what I could benefit from is remembering what truck I left the wire cutters in, which kid used the wrench last, and what pasture I left my favorite shovel in. I try to stick to the adage of put it back where you found it, but sometimes it seems better to leave them where you used them because you’ll probably need them there again.
  3. Live life to the fullest= Live life. I feel like ag folks live life to the fullest. After all, what other profession and lifestyle allows you to witness the miracle of birth, the wonder of seeds producing crops, and has you connected to animals and nature on a regular basis?
  4. Learn new hobbies=Rekindle past hobbies. Ranch work often moves around the clock leaving little free time. Yet, past generations knew how to pick up a fiddle or guitar, or throw a neighborhood shindig. We tend to be too tired at the end of our day to feel like picking up an instrument or inviting the neighbors over. I know I tend to click on the TV or browse Facebook before dusting my piano or even cranking up the tunes. I need to remember what I loved to do as kid and make time for those things that fuel my heart. However, there aren’t many spare minutes in a day, so it usually cuts into sleep. We may need to alternate our focus on number 1 and number 4.
  5. Spend less/save more. This is a good one, so I didn’t alter it. It was in reference to money on the news, but ranchers are always trying to spend less and save more. It’s just that there are so many things to spend money on: equipment, feed, cattle, horses, fuel, etc. These are not tiny expenses. Cutting out a cup of coffee from the local coffee hut isn’t going to fill the account for tractor repairs, although every little bit helps. Instead, I’m referencing it to time. Spend less time doing things that don’t pull me forward and save more time for things that do.
  6. Travel=Go somewhere other than a different pasture. Sure it’d be nice to travel to Hawaii or go overseas, but it’s hard to leave animals or land. It’s not like asking the neighbor to feed your dog. There are bovines out there! Yet, we could take a deep breath and visit local sights or make arrangements to get away when it’s convenient.
  7. Read more. This is a good one all around. Whether it’s trade magazines, books, on-line or off-line, reading does everything from educate us to help us escape our current reality.

If we wanted to really fine-tune resolutions, we could count things like move the shovel before we run it over and fix fence after we find the fence stretchers, but I’m pretty sure those can appear under “Ranching Common Sense”. Not that I’ve ever needed any extra common sense…

Happy New Year!