The little red and white goggle-eyed heifer weighed 75 pounds and was already dried off and had nursed by the time the sun was topping the east horizon. A lively little thing, she was already prancing around a bit in the warming dawn.
|As the first day of spring arrived on the EJE Ranch south of Kimball, Neb., so did the first calf of the year. This little heifer was born without any problems at all to a four year-old cow.|
|As she sticks close to momma, this newborn heifer calf looks at a brand new world, including the photographer, with curiosity.|
|This little newborn heifer calf seems to be wondering what the bright thing in the sky is as she gazes heavenward last Sunday on the EJE ranch south of Kimball, Neb.|
|Several members of the Evertson Family enjoy a prairie hike Saturday on the EJE Ranch.|
|Jake, Julia, Austin and puppy Desi pause for a rest in a canyon cave Saturday as they hiked across parts of the EJE Ranch south of Kimball, Neb.|
|Julia, Austin and Jake take a breather in a dry wash Saturday during a family hike on the EJE Ranch south of Kimball, Neb.|
As they relaxed into the experience, their questions changed. “Are they really going to have babies soon?” “How come that one is pooping?” “Why do they eat this yucky grass?” “Do they really drink that yucky water (from the stock tank)?”
I think that sometimes they ask questions just to hear a story. But at another level, they seem to have a great deal of interest in the how’s and the why’s of ranch life and raising cattle.
Regardless of the motive, though, their questions provided a great opportunity to explain. And explaining our ranching operation, or “telling our story,” is an important part of preserving our ranching lifestyle and heritage.
Whether to family, friends, or visitors, telling our story is vitally important to all of us in the production ag sector. Most people in the US are three or more generations removed from the farm/ranch experience, and most have only a superficial and simplistic understanding of what we do to produce their food. With a very few exceptions, what people “learn” about farming and ranching from newspapers, radio, television and in the classroom is incomplete at best, misleading and dishonest at worst.
The slick anti-ag efforts of HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) and other well-heeled and well–organized activist groups to legislate livestock into extinction are coming closer to fruition each day. HSUS Chairman Wayne Pacelle is on record as saying that he wouldn’t be bothered by the extinction of food animals, as they are essentially “man-made” creatures and therefore not “natural.” He’s also said he has the time and money to spend the rest of his life on a quest to rid the US of animal agriculture.
Pacelle can only succeed with the consent of the American people. But so far, his voice has been the loudest, the most heard, and has carried a superficially reasonable message. Who doesn’t love animals? If you love animals, you must rid the country of “brutal factory farming.”
So share your story whenever you find the opportunity. Be honest, forthright, and open. People are smart, and few if any Americans want Wayne Pacelle to mandate veganism as the law of the land. They’ll understand if they have the opportunity to see and hear the truth.