Some time ago Ryan Goodman made a list of blog topics. I thought this was one heck of a list, and thought, if I started blogging again that I’d take a swing at it. My finger tips are back on the keyboard, so here goes. (Not all 88 of these are applicable to me, but most are)
Question 1) What is your role in agriculture?
The simple, broad answer is “the growth and promotion of life”. That is what anyone in production agriculture does.
To be more specific, I own and operate a backgrounding/stocker operation, as my main enterprise. What this means is I purchase young calves, most of which are not weaned, and I take them through the growth phase of their life. The calves are then sold to a feedlot.
While the calves are here the main focus is on their health and well being. I will give them two rounds of vaccinations, make sure they are free of parasites, and address any other issues they may need. Other issues may be dehorning, castrating, or just making sure they get the vitamins and minerals they may have been lacking prior to coming here. It may be a surprise to many people just how many calves are lacking in something. For example, the hair around a calf’s ears can tell me if it’s copper deficient or not. It’s my job to identify this and get them what they need. Getting their nutrient requirements in balance gives their immune system what it needs.
Part of the regular routine is to make sure all the animals are drinking, eating, resting, and exercising like they should. If the cattle do those things the likely hood of a problem is slim, and they will perform better.
Some of the calves I buy will stay in a feedlot pen. Others will go out to grass during the spring to fall months. I use a rotational grazing system, using temporary electric fence and a portable water system. Without getting specific here, this system plays a vital role in the health of the environment. When properly managed grazing is in place it compliments the natural cycles, such as the water cycle and mineral cycle. I have only been using this system for a few years, and have already seen species of plants come back without being reseeded, and I’ve seen an increase in forage and wildlife, such as deer and game birds, in these pastures.
An important role I have in agriculture is to get my little girl involved. She just turned 5, and like any other kid her age, she wants to learn. I feel it is essential to pass along knowledge, skills, and life lessons to her, as she is ready for them. Since agriculture deals with life cycles, we have a great hands on classroom for her.
Another role that I oddly find myself in, is a teacher. It seems like every year more people reach out to me for advice on something, most of whom I’ve never met. I’ve been contacted by custom grazers, feedlot managers, cow/calf producers, college students, and even extension researchers. And if I can’t help them with their questions I know who can. I was even asked to contribute to Chip Hines’ latest book “Cow Country Essays”
There are other roles that I play in production agriculture. My dad is a crop farmer so I help him, when he needs it and I am free. I have a haying enterprise, and sometimes do some order buying for other cattle feeders, and stocker operators.
Due to a recent event that happened here I am going to do some agvocating, so there’s that role.