I am headed home. I was last there the 6th of September. I sure am ready ready. My flight from Pasco to Denver is my 90th on United this year and that’s important as it puts me at Platinum status, which means that I can check two bags for free and one can be over fifty pounds. I can take my saddle for free and that saves a lot of money for the year. I also get a better chance at good seats.
I had a hard time sleeping last night as I have had so much information in the last weeks go into my brain and I was trying to process it all.
We just finished the Stockmanship and Stewardship event in Pasco, Washington. I ended up eating with and sitting with the crew from Beef Northwest, and talked to lots of cowboys in the crowd. I am drawn to the Hispanics and the horseback culture and We always have things to discuss.
These are the people I have the most in common with. I don’t have a P.H.D. but I am a good P.H.D. (post hole digger), and most of the folks that are hired to handle and take care of animals are the same. The ones that are working in all kinds of weather and all kinds of conditions for the lowest pay are the ones I can and want to relate too. We need to give them the tools and support to get the job we ask them to do done.
They have to be tough to work the hours and in the conditions the livestock industry requires. There are certain cultures they follow and are and should be real proud of that culture. Sometimes the culture gets in the way of how management wants things done and how the culture has got it done. I feel if I can help bridge this gap, I will serve a real good purpose in the world.
I also was thinking about how different our culture of the whole industry is from the rest of the world. Up until 150 years or so ago everyone had to deal with animals in North America. Horses were used for work and livestock was for meat and milk. They say less than 2% of the population is involved with production agriculture, but just think how small the percentage is of those involved with animal agriculture.
I wonder what percentage have pets, and now look at animals completely different than their ancestors of 150 years ago.
Wife Tammy has been at “The Home Ranch” for two weeks doing yoga and horsemanship. The ladies that come want to interact with horses and get more at one with their bodies, mind and spirit. It’s a real great place and you don’t go there if you don’t have some money to spend.
It gives me the chance to see just how different the world those of us that produce beef are from those that might eat beef. One of the big things they were dealing with was the weather and if they would ride in the indoor arena, outside, or not ride at all. (The people that are responsible for the care of livestock don’t have that option)Another big dilemma was praying before the evening supper. Lots of different faiths and beliefs bringing out “egos” at a yoga retreat. From my understanding yoga is about letting go of your ego and acceptance of others. Interesting.
I’m pretty sure most of the ladies are very concerned about how the food they eat is raised. I bet lots of them are willing to pay extra for “cage free” or “free range “ and are concerned about animal welfare.
Most of them have know idea about animal care and welfare and what it takes to produce good healthy beef. They have lots of opinions on what is right and wrong, but have know idea of the facts and science, just what someone marketing to them is putting in there mind.
At all the Stockmanship and Stewardship events we have done this year we have been presenting to people that are in the business of raising beef. Hispanic pen riders, cowboys, farmers, feedlot operations, grass fed beef producers, people wanting to get into the beef business, students and all other levels of producers wanting to raise beef in the name of BQA which stands for beef quality assurance. Everything is about animal welfare and science to produce better and healthier beef.
It looks to me like we all want the same thing, we just have different opinions of what it is. Why? That’s a good question.
I have been thinking about the brain science I heard about last week. The release of chemicals that make humans and animal feel good and the release of chemicals that make humans and animals feel bad.
I watched a movie many years ago called “What the Bleep”. It was all about quantum physics and how people’s thoughts and feelings created their behavior. I’m going to watch it again. I feel this is the answer to most of our questions we are trying to answer. If we want to change the habits and behavior of our workers, our customers, and our animals we must understand how the brain works and look at things from a scientific standpoint to overcome the emotions of fear, greed, and ego and overcome it with facts, common sense and true compassion for humans and animals.
As I look back over the last month, much of the funding for the livestock conferences I have been involved with were from big Pharma. Zoetis in Canada and Mexico, Boehringer Ingelheim sponsor the Stockmanship and Stewardship tour, and Elanco was a big sponsor of the conference in Monterrey, Mexico. They are all very dedicated to animals and the people that raise them. If there was not a need for them they would go away.
For some reason it seems that they have become the enemy and the negative part of our industry to the consumer. “All natural, hormone free” is the easiest way to change the brain response for a housewife that cares about her family.
Free range brings a wonderful feeling to people that don’t know. The cows that are being predated on by wolves in the Northwest would be much more content in a confinement barn. They are living in total fear and the conception rates and sickness rate show how stressed these animals are in this “free range “ environment.
So after a month and a little on the road I have become even more passionate about my job and inspired by all the great people I come in contact with that are so dedicated to people and animals.
One last thought.
I’ve been to lots of livestock meetings in the last several years. At many they pray before the meal (mostly in the south ). At many they don’t. (mostly in the north)I have never heard anyone complain about how or if they prayed. The only ones I know what religion they are are the Catholics that cross themselves. I’m sure there have been Jewish, Amish, Protestants, Baptist’s and even some atheists. They just adjust and do their own thing and let others do their own. When there is no prayer offered I see lots of folks praying on their own. I think people of the land become more tolerant because of the life we must live. Drought and death will make some things seem pretty trivial and puts faith into perspective. Working with Mother Nature and animals is good for the body and soul. I feel sorry for people that don’t get to be a part of it.