Chances are you’ve been busting your butt lately -- putting in long hours and endlessly long days as you stay busy cutting silage, filling creep feeders, moving cows to the next pasture, setting up electric fence or preparing to early-wean your calves.
September marks the beginning of busy season for cattle ranchers. What with being in the combine for fall harvest, hauling manure, taking care of new feeder calves in the lot, getting ready for winter, lining up hay and straw bales, and preg-checking cows, it’s shocking that more ranchers don’t just fall over with fatigue.
My guess is most of you won’t take the day off to recognize the holiday, but I want to extend my wishes that you all have a happy Labor Day. And, perhaps you’ll take a minute to reflect on the fruits of your labor.
If you raise crops or cattle, you are also raising food for the world’s consumers. The average farmer feeds more than 150 people annually, and aside from the obvious corn and beef, you’re also raising by-products that are used in our daily activities, too.
If you own land, you are preserving the nation’s heritage of native grasses. You are planting new shelter belts. You are doing everything you can to care for the land and leave it better than you found it. You define sustainability.
If you have a family-owned operation, you are also raising kids. These kids know the value of an honest day of hard work. They understand how to care for the land and the animals. They take ownership and pride in their work. They are responsible. They are passionate. They will one day be our nation’s leaders.
If you are a farmer or rancher, you are participating in an age-old tradition, and you are passing it on to the next generation. You are among the 1% of Americans involved in production agriculture.
My hats off to all of you agriculturalists today. Happy Labor Day! How are you spending the holiday weekend? What does Labor Day mean to you?