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A Taste of Reality

My dad always teases me that I write about the beef business from my cozy desk at school, away from the realities of the farm. And, when I went home this weekend to work and celebrate my birthday with the family, I heard all about it.

“Mandy, you write with rose-colored glasses about agriculture,” said my dad, with a big grin. “Now’s the perfect time for a taste of reality. Let’s go do chores.”

It was a cold, rainy day in South Dakota, and I knew we had a lot of work to do. I put on coveralls, a stocking cap, knee-high boots and a pair of gloves, and I headed outside with my dad. I figured I would get some quality father-daughter time in: we would talk cattle, pick out the 2009 show calves and do a little work on the side. No big deal.

Well, I thought wrong. Going to class definitely doesn’t get me in working farm shape. I wasn’t working with those rose-colored glasses anymore. As I trudged through the muddy feed yard, backing up the grinder-mixer to unload it into the bin, I checked out the calves in the yard and the cowherd out grazing corn stalks.


I inherited my sense of worry from my dad, and I started thinking about all of the things that needed to get done. Soon winter would come, and snow would hit the ground. That means we would have to start feeding hay to the cows, instead of letting them run on those stalks. I wondered if we should weigh a few calves to see how they were gaining, and perhaps we should run through our list to make sure we are keeping the best replacement heifers. Plus, we still had to load up sale calves and sort off a steer to keep for my sisters to show. So much to do, and all I had was the weekend.

At the end of the day, I had a runny nose, a sore back and a list of things to do that I would never get done before the weekend was over. Over a cup of chili, I smiled and said to Dad, “Okay, I’ve got my dose of farm life now, I better head back to school to write about it.”

Ever the realist, he replied, “Oh, and Mandy? Don’t forget to write me a check for the feed bill before you head out.”

I love my Dad!

Dear Readers: Some of you may doubt what I write about on this blog. Some may wonder if I’m real, or if I have any advice to offer to you. The biggest challenge about a blog like this, is sharing your life, your thoughts and your opinions with so many readers. I want you all to know that your readership means a great deal to me, and your comments truly make my day. Please know that I everything I write, comes from the heart. Some days we might disagree on the big issues facing agriculture. Even if we don’t see things eye-to-eye, and even if you do things different on your ranch than I do on mine, our differences are what make this blog great. So let loose…share a little…stick your neck out like I do. Step into my reality. I’m always up for a discussion. And, Happy Monday!