Note: The following a release from SDSU and update from this month’s devastating Atlas Blizzard that had an economic impact of $1.7 billion on the area economy. Relief efforts for the affected ranchers continue to flow in while federal disaster aid has been limited and slow in response. Consider checking out the designated Ranchers Relief Fund for more information on how you can help.
By Lura Roti, for SDSU Extension & South Dakota State University College of Agriculture & Biological Sciences
Three weeks after the Oct. 4 and 5 disaster, the economic impact on ranchers and their families – like the livestock death toll – remains a climbing estimate. Digging out from the two-day blizzard that wreaked havoc on much of western South Dakota and killed more than 25,000 head of cattle, sheep and horses will take much more than snow removal, said Dan Oedekoven, Director of the South Dakota State University West River Ag Center.
“Ranchers have some real financial struggles ahead of them – and it goes beyond the immediate loss of income from calves they no longer have to sell this fall,” Oedekoven said.
A cattle producer himself, Oedekoven explained that most ranchers are part of a family business that is several generations old. With each cow killed in the storm, that rancher not only lost the calf that would have been born in the spring of 2014, the family lost future access to valuable genetics.
Jim Krantz, SDSU Extension Cow/Calf Field Specialist agreed with Oedekoven, explaining further the long-term impact lost genetics will have on western South Dakota ranchers. Continue reading
My love for live music runs deep. I’m not talking about those big stage concerts where the music overpowers the vocals and everything sounds overproduced like it does on mainstream radio. I’m talking about what happens on the small stage. Where the fans and artists have a much closer connection.
My first introduction to real live music was a Jason Boland acoustic show for a friend’s birthday my Freshman year of college. Couple that with my move to the home and heart of Red Dirt music, Stillwater, OK, and I’ve been sold ever since. Get out there on the dance floor, give us a little room, and we can two-step and (at least attempt to) swing dance all night til we feel like our feet will fall off the next morning.
Before I left Tennessee, I had the great opportunity to sit in on a show from one of my all-time favorites – Cody Canada. I’ve followed this guy since the early music of Cross Canadian Ragweed and now love the Southern Rock/Bluegrass feel of his latest chords as part of the Departed.
I’m a big fan of Cody Canada, but I’m becoming a big fan of Seth James as well. This guy can sing some soulful ballads. These are probably my two favorite songs of the set. These are just the acoustic versions, but hearing them live will send chills down my spine.
Labels, labels, labels. Every time I turn around there is a new ballot initiative or a new campaign for more labels on our food. If you ask me there is such a thing as labeling overkill and it dilutes the effect of those things that really matter. Is a label just an excuse to be lazy and replace the effort is takes to seek out information on our own? There are so many news stories and nightmare-ish tales of what happens in our food supply today, we are all too often unsure of what to believe.
With good reason, we should all be skeptical in this modern age. The internet is full of facts and figures, personal accounts and testaments to what people want us to believe happens. So how do we determine what is the real truth? CBS News Sunday Morning had an interesting feature on the topic. Be sure and take a few minutes to watch it.
Food and Agriculture falls victim to this cause day in and out. Every day so many people are out there shouting for their cause. Yes! Those Factory Farms are horrible and a disgrace to the animals on this Earth! Pink Slime makes your meat unsafe! shouts the foodie from behind their urban computer. NO! We take care of our livestock on our family farm! The needs of our animals come before our own! Your food is safe! says the farmer blogger in rural Nebraska. Who is right? Does the undercover video depict real actions in food production today? Or was it all a staged effort from someone with different motives? Do those farmers really care for their animals like those photos depict? We can shout about this debate every single day. But what’s the truth?
Let’s be honest about it. Are there people out there who abuse animals? Yes. Do these people represent the majority of animal owners out there? No. Just because one person abuses their kids, does that mean everyone does the same? Does modern food production abuse the use of technology in chemical application and mass-production? Depends on who you ask. On the same hand, there is nothing more frustrating than someone preaching to me about how wrong I am when I share my experience, as a member of the agriculture community. It’s like my experience doesn’t matter because of something they read or watched from an opposing viewpoint.
Modern food producers exist in every shape, size, color, region, and practice. Some are able to fit small niches, while others contribute to mass effort of a global food supply. Growing food in a modern world is well beyond the mom and pop garden that is able to feed all of the neighbors. Every day we learn something new that makes growing food an art and science. With 98% of Americans living apart from hands-on food production, it takes individuals producing more than enough. They’ve learned to grasp modern science and technology to do so more efficiently.
Are there changes that can be made? Probably so. Is there one right way of doing things? Definitely not. Should I sit here and say tell what your ethics should be when it comes to eating meat? Definitely not. Can we testify for certain how everyone does their job? Nope. I can sit here and tell you what I do and how I raise my cattle and why I manage my farm the way I do. But you’ll still be skeptical based on what you’ve read elsewhere online. We don’t have to see eye-to-eye, but we can remain civil.
Don’t take my word for it. Go out there and experience it for yourself. Get in touch with a farmer or rancher in your area and experience it for yourself. Get out there and talk to your customer at the grocery store and find what concerns they have about our food supply. After all, this is just the internet. I can tell you whatever I want but it doesn’t mean its true.
**Most of this was pulled from the Drafts folder. I have probably sit on this one long enough.