I loathe cold, wet, dark winters. Spring time with the sunny days, long evenings, and wild flowers everywhere is my jam. Some years are better than others for the flowers, especially the bluebonnets. We’re blessed to have some great ones this year. I snapped this picture in our front yard with my phone on my way to take our 3 year old to school.
When you work in agriculture, spring also means baby animals – in our case it’s calves. Babies are adorable but also a pain in the behind because you want to make sure they’re healthy and safe. Mommas love to give their littles really good hiding places in the tall grass to keep them safe, it also means it takes us twice as long to find them for the daily headcount and welfare checks. But I’d much rather have a good momma cow that hides her baby and is protective over one that takes a slightly more — indifferent approach. That’s sometimes how we end up with “bottle babies” who rely on us for feedings. For a hot minute it’s fun to have a sweet baby who follows you around like a dog and sucks on your fingers. But the constant schedule and multiple daily feedings at demanding intervals – think super hungry newborn human baby – will wear on you quickly.
I have seen a lot of comments on social media in the last few months attacking ranchers, saying we “only care about our cattle for the money.” I still don’t understand that attack – you take your job seriously, right? Why can’t those critics turn their insult into a compliment to say “those cattle are that family’s livelihood, they help that family pay their bills, so they love them, care for them, watch over them with all their energy and strength…”
We DO love our cattle. It’s incredibly important to us that they are healthy, well cared for, safe. When something happens to an animal that is in our care, even when it’s far outside of our control and we are doing the absolute best we can, it’s devastating for us. I know I speak for all cattle ranchers when I say that. We all WANT to produce a high quality beef product for you to feed your family. Please remember that. If you don’t fully understand how or why a rancher does something a particular way with their cattle, please don’t get your information from a Netflix documentary or Google. ASK US! I promise, we will happily answer your questions. We want you to understand.
"Those of us who raise livestock seldom get to take long vacations or even just extended weekends away. We can’t leave because someone has to watch and care for the animals – every, single, day. When it’s the dead middle of winter and freezing cold and raining outside, we’re out there still checking on everyone and putting out hay. Even on Christmas morning – the cattle still come first."
Meanwhile, while we ranchers watch our friends taking amazing trips and doing fun things through social media, we’ll scroll down a little more and find a post of someone attacking or insulting a livestock producer – whether it’s beef cattle, the dairy industry, folks who raise sheep for wool, pigs – I could go on and on because I see all of us vilified on a daily basis. Yet we continue to work hard, go without for ourselves so we can provide for our cattle and other livestock, and strive to produce a high quality American raised meat for you to buy at the grocery store, or in our case direct from us (shameless 410-Farms.com plug) to feed your family.
If you don’t fully understand how or why a rancher does something a particular way with their cattle, please don’t get your information from a Netflix documentary or Google. ASK US! I promise, we will happily answer your questions. We want you to understand.
If you ever have a question about why a rancher or livestock producer does something a particular way, the best way to learn is to ask them. Whether it’s beef cattle – pigs – sheep – dairy cattle for milk – goats – please ask us. You can comment on this post or email me directly at 410Farms@gmail.com with ANY questions you might have, and if it’s a question I can’t directly or fully answer myself, I will happily get you in touch with another producer who can. Please let those of us who bet their livelihoods on mother nature, the economy, and a ton of other factors that I won’t get into today being in their favor to actually make a living and provide for their families to be your best resource for knowledge – not a bored vegan celebrity who had a little free time to make a one sided Netflix documentary.
-Jessica Owner, 410-Farms.com 410 Farms | Green Acres Grassfed Beef