Thursday, September 10, 2015

Here is a great letter from a farmers wife that I agree with wholeheartedly!!! Remember, we have been raising cattle in an area with 12 inches of total yearly moisture for 5 generations! We love this land, the wildlife and our lifestyle more than most folks could comprehend. If you have a question about agriculture, ASK A RANCHER/FARMER, not some person with an agenda or an internet expert.

Dear Concerned Consumer,

The marketing research tells me that I should focus on the positive when I address you. I shouldn’t talk about the environment, or the health of my soil – they say you do not care about those things.

They tell me not to discuss the challenge of feeding the world. I should not detail the challenges of feeding my own family on a farmer’s income, with ever rising input costs, unpredictable weather patterns and buyer preferences that change with the direction of the wind. They tell me this doesn’t register with you.

They tell me to only speak about things that directly impact you. They tell me not to talk about the science, because the emotional registers more. They tell me not to talk too long or write too much, you don’t have time.

They tell me not to get angry. But if I am honest, sometimes I do.

I get angry that you have time to read about the latest detox diets and “natural” foods, yet don’t have time to read how seed technology is increasing yields in developing nations, and helping us here at home to be better stewards of our land.

I get angry that you are willing to pay a premium, up to 60%, on a product with a label that doesn’t even mean what you think it does.

I get angry that you think “Big Agriculture” is waging some kind of war, but refuse to acknowledge the huge profits being made off those labels you are now demanding.

I get angry that you demand “chemical free” farming, or even think that “chemical free” is possible. I get angry so many of you do not seem to know what a chemical is.

I get angry that marketing hides that all types of farming – from organic to conventional – use chemicals. They do it SAFELY and minimally, but they use them.

I get angry that you do not understand that farmers only provide raw product and that once it leaves our farm we are not responsible for what the food processors do to it.

I get angry that you don’t celebrate the fact that you spend less than 10% of you disposable income on food, when people in other nations spend 40%.

I get angry that you try to compare the decisions you make about your garden, to the management decisions my family has to make for our farm. If your garden has a bad crop, you go to the store. If we have a bad crop, we stand to lose our farm, our house, our source of income. If entire areas have bad crops, thousands are effected by supply and price.

I get angry when you talk to a guy at the farmer’s market, who grows 40 organic tomato plants in his backyard where his 8 free range chickens live, and decide his opinion on agriculture policy is more trustworthy than mine.

I get angry that you expect us to change our farming practices as frequently as you change your diet fads, and to make such changes without using any technology.

I get angry that you demand “humane treatment” of livestock without having actually ever spent time with livestock. I get angry that you think my cattle herd needs the same treatment as your toy poodle.

I get angry that you think I need to be told how to treat my animals, like PETA is going to offer some insight that years of working with and caring for these animals hasn’t already taught me.

I get angry that you want the latest and greatest gadgets in every aspect of your life, and then expect me to put on overalls and grab a pitchfork, and farm the way someone told you that your great Grandfather did in the 1940’s.

I get angry that you think it’s fair to demand farming practices match some romanticized version of an early era and are perfectly accepting of the fact these changes will take my land and water, which I now use to feed hundreds, and use it to feed only dozens.

I get angry that you give more weight to Facebook memes than actual scientific studies. I get angry that you take Food Babe’s word, who has yet to actually set foot on a modern farm and literally has no qualifications to talk about the things she does, over nearly the entire scientific community.

I get angry that you cannot tell the difference between credible science and bad science. Like the “GMO Pig Feed” study from Australia. Or the “Glyphosate toxicity” study in rats. I get angry that the real scientists even have to address claims from these studies.

I get angry that you think there is some kind of war going on in rural America. That Monsanto has enslaved us all to fight their battle, and we are too “simple” to know any better. That conventional farmers are fighting with organic farmers. That big farmers are fighting with small farmers.

I get angry you don’t actually come out to rural America and see that we are all here, like we always have been, farming side by side and eating lunch together at noon.

The marketing research tells me you won’t have read this far down. If you have, I am actually trying to apologize for my anger.

I KNOW it’s not your fault. I KNOW that modern agriculture has failed to tell our story and companies took advantage of that.

I KNOW there is ridiculous amount of information available that is often confusing and opposing.

I KNOW we are a generation that didn’t get the core education we need to understand science.

I KNOW that nothing sells in the media better than fear.

I KNOW that most of you don’t know a farmer and that most of you have never set foot on a farm.

I am apologizing for my anger. And I am going to continue to try and reach out, in a positive way. But I just want you to know, if my anger shows through and it feels like it’s at you, it’s not.

It’s more at myself, and my industry, for not doing a better job of explaining the truth to you sooner. And yes, you do have the RIGHT to know. I just wish you had time for the whole story.


An American Farm Wife

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A little something to brighten your life

Life is a wild ride sometimes. And if your like myself, sometimes you get to feeling kinda sorry for yourself. Your idea of what you should be may be different from others and ya feel like a square peg in a world full of round holes! Then ya meet a feller, that finds a perfect way to re-adjust your attitude meter! Thanks to the internet, I had the chance to meet (through a short film), Chris. He will teach you about what ya CAN DO instead of what ya can't! He will inspire ya with his smile! He will make ya think about perceptions and seeing the potential in everyone. He may even bring a tear to your eye. And he will make you think! I had to share this link to youtube with ya'll, so that you might meet Chris too! Here's to Chris! May we all work with what we have and make it spectacular in every way!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Tonight I sit at my computer with a heavy heart. I got the news that a fine friend of mine passed away much to early. Keith Paulsen was a huge man with an even bigger heart. He was quick to smile, easy to forgive, always had a story and enjoyed living life. He and I worked together at EG&G's Chemical incinerator destroying the nations outdated stockpile of chemical weapons. It was a technical and dangerous job. We frequently made entry's into a highly toxic area to repair the equipment that disposed of chemicals that were made to kill people. All we had between us and death was a specialized rubber suit we were sealed into by a giant microwave. We joked that we were walking "seal-a-meals"! But I never worried about making an entry with Keith. He had my back and I had his. I trusted him completely and thought the world of him. We both moved on with our lives and careers after the burn plant. I found myself working on generators all over Utah and Nevada while Keith went to Texas in the oil fields. But we talked on the phone as often as we could and kept in touch that way. This afternoon his sweet wife called to tell me Keith had passed. I have been thinking about him and what he meant to me. I hope we all can find, no MAKE the time to spend with our friends and families. Life is much to short. As I contemplated Keith's passing, I had a moment of reflection I thought I'd share. Why is it we fall in love so completely with our hearts? Our brains don't have much to do with how we feel about the people we care deeply about. And yet, when they are gone, we try to see them, and talk to them and reach out for them using our brain. When we should just simply listen with our hearts like we did when we had them. I hope that makes sense. I miss my great friend Keith. And 52 is way to young to complete life's journey. But I know his spirit lives on! And every time I spend a sunrise in the mountains, Keith will be right there beside me. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife and kids and grandkids. And I am thankful to have been his friend!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Late February brings new calves on our place. We always look forward to the new kids and the arrival of spring. Winter had a cold, snowy grip this year and warmer temps and sunny sky's are sure welcome. Our cows have wintered well and as of today we have had 5 head calve with TWO sets of twins! Pretty amazing since last summer was really dry and we had to bring our cattle home almost 2 full months earlier than we usually do. But we have kept them on good hay and supplements and have a good mineral program in place. That has kept them in great condition all winter. We also got a new heifer calf from our Artificial Insemination program! I bred a beautiful heifer i bought from Lazy H ranch here in Vernon to a fine Hereford bull from Westcliffe, Colorado that is pictured in a previous post on my blog. We crossed our fingers and hoped she would become pregnant and really hoped she would have a heifer calf! She DID!!!! Can't wait to see what she grows into and both the cow and the new calf are doing great! I feel pretty blessed and fortunate to live the lifestyle i do and on this amazing west desert. I look to the south and see "Dutch Peak" on the Sheeprock mountains which was named for my ancestors who settled in the valley where i live and just over the mountain at the ranch. I have a beautiful wife who is the best person i know. She is a wonderful mother, a caring and thoughtful neighbor, a faithful daughter of God and a top hand on any ranch. Not to mention she makes the world's best pie! My two kids are great little stock men and always willing to help us with whatever we are working on. They even turned in science projects about "Where does meat come from" and "Using EPD's to choose a new bull"! Not bad for a 1st grader and 5th grader. I couldn't be prouder! So as i think of my amazing family, those who paved the way for me and those who walk beside me now, i am sure humbled and thankful for all i have. The Good Lord has blessed me abundantly and i tip my hat to the Master! Here is a picture of our new Hereford/Angus heifer and her cow.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Dodge honors agriculture

The American farmer and rancher has been under attack lately. Government taxes us literally to death and then regulate those of us left into almost oblivion. So-called environmentalists scream when we plow a field or let a cow eat grass. And some of the public seem to think their food comes from the supermarket instead of from farms and ranches. So it did my heart good to see a commercial during the Superbowl that simply said thank you! We all like to be told thanks and know we are appreciated once in awhile, regardless of what we do for a living. Dodge took an old Paul Harvey essay and put it with pictures and made a pretty neat advertisement that hardly mentions the trucks they sell. Please take a second and click on the link to the ad below. And remember that the typical family ranch has only 40 cows. They are multi-generational places that have been feeding this country and the world for decades and sometimes, century's. They are simply hard working families like mine, who love the land and the animals they raise. If you know a rancher or a farmer, take the time to tell them THANK YOU. It will mean a lot more than you know!