Yesterday, a blizzard hit South Dakota, closing the interstate and leaving many travelers stranded. My parents and sisters all stayed home to take care of baby calves. Of course, bad weather seems to correlate with the number of calves dropped on the ground, and my family kept busy yesterday keeping babies warm and out of the wet, cold snow. Even though my day was busy with dreaded tests, labs and homework, I felt pretty guilty that I was in a warm classroom all day while my family battled the weather outside. I had my sister snap a few photos to send me for today's blog, and it didn't sound like she was having much fun on her vacation from school!
I recently received a comment from a reader on this blog that said she hated when livestock producers "bragged" about saving baby calves from the cold weather. She insisted that if we REALLY cared about the animals, we would never expose them to below zero temperatures in the first place. To all beef producers, the idea of keeping every expectant cow indoors is laughable. How many times have you discovered a cow that has calved early and has had her calf in the snow or mud? To this woman, the idea of letting them roam outside is outrageous, and everything should be kept indoors. (Ironic? Wouldn't that be considered the highly criticized management practice of confinement?) Of course, housing an entire herd of cattle out of the elements is financially impossible, and with the care of ranchers, cattle are designed to handle the elements of harsh weather. However, for this woman, if a house can't be provided for the cattle, it would be much better to let them roam the land, without receiving proper feed, water and shelter as required.
Where is the grip on reality? How do we educate our consumers that ranchers play a vital role in the prosperity of livestock? How can we gain the trust of our consumers once again? What can we do to show this nation that farmers and ranchers are truly good people that dedicate their lives to caring for the land and the animals while efficiently feeding the hungry? How can we convince these individuals that the needs of our livestock ALWAYS come before our own? I'm looking for your thoughts and ideas today. Let me know how the weather is at your operation, as well! Is it raining, snowing or shining? And, how is calving season going?
A reader recently left me this suggestion, and I think I might consider incorporating it into the blog starting today, Amanda, you do a great job with bringing out ideas that are important to the industry. I love talking about agriculture, and it is truly where my heart lies. But none of us have time to keep up on all of the facts! I believe this blog is the toolkit to preparing the readers to bring a positive light to our industry. I have just one more idea for you, though. How about you include an interesting fact about the beef industry? A beef fact of the day…so each of us readers are better equipped to speak to the public in something we are already doing. Maybe just reading one quick fact a day will translate into discussions at lunch! Thanks for a great blog. -Jodi
The “Producer Code for Cattle Care,” first developed in 1996, is a comprehensive set of sound production practices, which includes the following recommendations: -Provide adequate food, water and care to protect cattle health and well-being. -Provide disease prevention practices to protect herd health. -Provide facilities that allow safe and humane movement and/or restraint of livestock. -Provide personnel with training to properly handle and care for cattle. The Code’s animal welfare focus is clear: Persons who willfully mistreat animals will not be tolerated.
-Provide adequate food, water and care to protect cattle health and well-being.
-Provide disease prevention practices to protect herd health.
-Provide facilities that allow safe and humane movement and/or restraint of livestock.
-Provide personnel with training to properly handle and care for cattle.
The Code’s animal welfare focus is clear: Persons who willfully mistreat animals will not be tolerated.