Category Archives: Stewardship

VIDEO: 2014 Cattlemen’s College Stockmanship & Stewardship Demo


Curt is spending this week in Nashville, TN at the 2014 Cattle Industry Annual Convention and NCBA Tradeshow. As he has done for the past several years for the Beef Quality Assurance program, Curt, along with Ron Gill of Texas, are putting on Stockmanship & Stewardship demonstrations at the convention for attendees. This year one of their demonstrations was part of the NCBA’s 2014 Cattlemen’s College.

You can watch a video of some of the cattle handling footage in the YouTube video below. You can read more about the event in this great write-up by Drovers Cattlenetwork found HERE.

Thanks to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association for the great footage!

Time well spent with United Farmers of Alberta

I have spent most of the month of January in Canada.  United Farmers of Alberta is a farmer owned co-op that hosts a series of “Cattlemen’s Colleges” each year and I spoke about cattle handling.

They were great learning experiences for me.  The speakers were top notch. Marketing, finance, nutrition, forage management, and best calving practices were presented.  I did not hear one sales pitch to buy anything from the store.  One  speaker on nutrition explained how a certain blue block of salt had little value nutritionally, and was like licking metal in the subzero temperature.  He recommended loose salt added to mineral to get the best value and health from the purchase of salt.  That was real good information, but the funny thing was the store was giving away several blue salt blocks for door prizes.  Now that’s humor!

I think it is real smart what they were doing.  If I owned a store I would want my customers to be educated enough to purchase things that made them a profit.  It is in the store’s best interest to help the customer become a professional beef producer.  The more they learn and implement for-profit practices, the longer they will be in business, and when you are profitable it allows for more expansion.

Knowledge is the first step, then learning how to use the knowledge. Then keeping that knowledge and skill learned in practice and improving is the big challenge.  This kind of beef production is what it is going to take to get it done in this era of ranching.  This is also what the consumer of beef wants, a producer that treats and cares for the environment and the livestock up to their moral standards.

I am a little embarrassed when I speak in front of the Canadian rancher.  They are good people that have had a tough go of it.  You can’t believe how bad they felt for the South Dakota storm victims.  These are the same ranchers that R-CALF and other groups has cost thousands of dollars.

I am not a political person.  I am a dedicated proponent of the proper production of beef.  If you are Mexican, Canadian, or from the U.S., we all are North Americans and if we can work together it sure seems like a lot better way to go about it.

I look at this in the same way as I look at neighboring in ranch country.  I’ll bring my crew to your branding and you bring yours to mine.  If there is a range fire we all go to it and help each other by putting it out, no matter whose land it is.  In the Southern U.S. they put everyone’s cattle together in groups to improve the marketing of the cattle. Good neighbors help each other, no matter if it costs them a little, because at some point it may save them a lot, and I am not talking only financially.

I’ve seen quite a few people bad mouth their neighbor when they weren’t around, and then not say a thing when they are present, but they can’t look them in the eye.

So all you folks that are for putting politics in to the beef industry, go to it.  I hope it’s not to just raise money for your organization or cause.  I am going to stay with doing the right thing for the industry, not for my own selfish greed.

If you get in a bind and need some help give me a call.  I bet I can get some of my Canadian ranching friends to come help us out of a tough spot.  You see there are some things you don’t learn at a Cattlemen’s College.  It’s called doing what’s right, it’s called integrity, it used to be the “Code of the West.”

~ Curt Pate

I Am Angus: Curt Pate on importance of stockmanship, future of ranching

Curt Pate was recently featured on an episode of of “I Am Angus.” In this segment, he discusses the importance of stockmanship and stewardship to the future of ranching. For those that weren’t able to catch the segment when it aired on January 2nd, you can watch in the embedded video below or click here to go directly to YouTube to watch.

~ Jesse Bussard

Stockmanship and Stewardship Christmas

When I was in the 6th grade I had a very good teacher by the name of Mr. Webb. He asked us to write a paper on the meaning of Christmas to us.

I can’t remember the whole writing, but I remember talking about Jesus being born with the animals in the manger and how I always liked to be with and take care of animals on Christmas.  To me back then and still now it seems that the keeper of animals and those that live with and tend the land and animals are real close to God.

I think this is the time of year that it is very special to a keeper of God’s creation.  Don’t forget what Christmas is for.

Have a blessed and meaningful Celebration of Christ’s Birth.

~ Curt Pate

Stockmanship with dairy calves

I mentioned I get lots of good info from the dairy industry.  Here is an excellent video on stockmanship. This is real good stuff.

~ Curt Pate

I spent a couple classes last week at Colorado State University discussing animal welfare and animal handling.  The second session I demonstrated how different positions affected the way cattle responded and how if cattle are worked how they like it they will respond well and get real trusting (even in a snow storm). Thanks to Ruth Woiwide for the invitation, to the students for listening, and to Temple for always inspiring me to think and get better.

~ Curt Pate



Horses, Ropes, and Dogs

I recently did a cattle handling clinic for a group near Red Bluff, California.  Most of them were competing in a competition called “The Rodear.” The competition consists of working cattle in a low stress manner, with sorting, moving and placing cattle through different obstacles on horseback using a dog.  The emphasis is on the proper use of stockmanship to complete the job.  I think it is a real good idea and hope people will get interested.

While doing the clinic I got to thinking about how ironic it was for me to be there sharing ideas about handling cattle so they could work their border collies better.  I feel most of the cattle handling techniques and ideas that I was sharing with them came from myself or people I had learned from observing the work of a good stock dog.

That lead to the thought of horse, ropes, and dogs and the role of each in the production of livestock.  The use off all three evolved from man’s need to control livestock.  Horses have been used as transportation for the human while working with stock, the herding dog has been used because they can get to places or in position to herd livestock quicker and more effectively than the human or horse can.  The rope was used to restrain an animal when we needed to completely control or stop the movement of an animal. All three of these required skill to achieve success.  Any time something requires skill, it creates a pride in these skills and different styles and levels of the skill.

The industrial revolution created tools to control livestock and eventually the technology and products evolved that made the horse, rope and dog less of a requirement.

Barb wire, trucks, stock trailers, four wheelers, portable corral panels, crowding pens, squeeze chutes, two way radios, cell phones, and electric fence have all made it possible to control livestock with stuff rather than skill, even though some level of skill is usually required, no matter the tools used.

Somewhere along the way it became popular displaying and contesting the skills of the horses ability to work cattle, dogs herding and gathering skills, and cowboys contesting with roping competitions.

These contests and competitions created associations, events, judges,and rules.  It has also evolved into a way to generate income, not only from the actual competition, but in preparing horses and dogs for the competition, and teaching people the skills to be able to compete better, as well as marketing products to make competing more successful.

As all this evolved, for many the focus shifted to honing skills to win the competition.  Many times to win the competition time was involved, or exaggerated movement to display the skill of the horse or dog competing.  All of these things created a movement in the livestock industry, and even though not everyone competed, the style of working with livestock with a horse, rope or dog was influenced greatly by the competitions.

From what I see today many of the people that choose to work with livestock are basing the decisions of how to work with livestock on either the style used to win competitions, or many are using technology and equipment to get the job done.

I am a firm believer in the owner of property, as long as they are not breaking the law,  has the right to care and handle that property the way they deem fit for their needs and values.

I am also a very strong believer in the law of supply and demand.  The consumer has every right to purchase the kind of product that fits their needs and values.  If the consumer desires products a certain way, someone will provide it to them.  If not they may make a different decision on the purchase of a product or decide to not use the product at all.

A growing percentage of livestock producers are going back to the methods of skills before the competitions, and combining them with equipment and technology, to create a skill of working and caring for livestock with a profit mindset.  Animal husbandry, animal handling and modern technology are being used to raise animals in the best way possible, for the owner and the consumer.

For me, this is what I am working on.  I use a horse, a rope and a dog.  I use them in a stockmanship style.  It is what makes me enjoy what I am doing to the fullest.

If I feel the need, I can enter a roping competition, show my horse or go to a dog trial and use the style it takes to win.

This is why I am so happy I live in the time and place in the world I do.  I have the choice and no matter if you are on the production or the consuming side you have choices too.  I hope by sharing my thoughts it will help making the decisions easier.

So we involved in livestock production do things the way we want and that is great.  The challenge is with the consumer.  They do things the way they want and are influenced the way they want.  My fear is the majority of consumers are on one path for food decisions and producers are on another trail for production.  Only the future will tell if a path and a trail can merge.

~ Curt Pate