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Reader-Submitted Stories, Online Poll, Art Print Winner

branding2011.jpg Once in a while, I receive a reader email that just makes my day. One of these messages recently came from Kristen Ham, an elementary school teacher, rancher's wife and mom from Shadehill, SD. Ham writes, "We run around 1,000 head of cattle along the Grand River. We have three kids and one on the way, and I love reading your daily blog. Our middle daughter, Meza, age nine, craves being on the ranch and out working all the time. She came home with this poem the other day, and I thought it was so cute that I would share with you."

mezabranding1.jpg Cheers to Meza Ham's writing debut, with her poem titled, "Calves."

I like calves,

Black calves,

Beautiful calves,

Funny calves,

Any kind of calf.

A calf in the pasture,

A calf in a belly,

A calf in a river,

A calf in jelly.

I like calves.

Running calves,

Happy calves,

Wild calves,

Excited calves,

Jumpy calves,

Dusty calves,

I like calves!

Another interesting email came to me this week from Nate Topp, a rancher from Hubbard, IA.

dscn0302.jpg Topp writes, "My four-year old daughter Emma has three Black Angus cows, and last week, our first calf was born. Then it got interesting. On Saturday morning, our other two cows had their calves. One of them had twins and the other one had triplets! I'm glad to say the mothers accepted them all so far, and they are doing well. I just thought someone would like to hear the story -- five calves in an hour out of two cows."

Looks like little Emma is taking care of herd expansion all on her own! Do you have any similar calving season stories to share?

I just love reader-submitted stories, especially ones featuring kids and cattle. Last week, I wrote a blog post about how family is one of the best things about being a part of the beef industry. You can read that post here. On the flip side, this week, BEEF is asking producers, "What’s the worst thing about being in the cattle business?" With 141 votes in, 2% say calving season, 8% say winter woes, 29% say government overreach, 39% say high fuel and feed prices, and 19% say they love it regardless of the challenges. Add your two cents to the online poll at our homepage today!

signreaders1.gif Finally, a big congratulations to our latest contest winner, SJ Nebz.

Nebz lists important country values that I'm sure we can all relate to including, "Faith in God. Love of family. Respect for the animals. Care of the land."

Nebz will receive a copy of Bill Owen's, “Sign Readers and Wild Cow Hunters," valued at $125. Thanks to everyone who participated in the contest about country values. Read what producers have to say about the heart and foundation of rural America here.