Of all of the things that I have accomplished in my 36 and ½ years, I am most proud of my children. They are the center of my world, and every decision that I make every day involves them in some way…
My girls are always forefront in my mind as I care for my cattle. My cattle are food animals, and I will use them to nourish my children. My number one priority is to keep my cattle healthy because:
Early immune system development in cattle plays a crucial role in the life-long success of the animals. It is critical that Al provides his calves with everything that they need from the time of conception to ensure that they will be as healthy as possible throughout their entire life span. Al does several things “at the ranch” to ensure that his calves remain healthy—I continue to do these things when I receive the cattle “at the feed yard”—this ensures that the beef that our animals produce is safe and healthy to eat.
Calf #718 is a great example of how doing all of the little things right everyday allows for the production of high quality and safe beef—beef that nourishes my children and yours. Let’s talk about what some of these things are:
- Proper Nutrition—High quality feed that is balanced to provide the calf with the proper nutrition allows him to thrive. He begins nursing his mama’s milk—he then transitions to eating grass—he then transitions to eating a blend of forage (grass) and grain to give his beef the taste and tenderness that we all love.
Proper Mineral Supply—Minerals to cattle are like vitamins to humans. Providing the proper “trace minerals” to our cattle allows for good development and immune system maturity that is required for the calf to remain healthy and flourish.
- Proper Vaccination—I am a huge proponent of good vaccination protocols—it doesn’t matter if you are talking about animals or humans. Properly timed and administered vaccines stimulate the immune system and protect against disease. Just ask my girls how I feel about vaccinations—they will roll their eyes, remember the flu shot that they got last fall– and then give you an “ear full”!
- Proper Parasite Control—The reality is that when a bovine grazes on grass, he will come into contact with parasites. It is important for good digestive function for the calf to be “de-wormed” periodically to get rid of these parasites.
- Limiting Stress—We all know what stress does to us…elevated blood pressure, increased risk of illness, and overall decrease in good health. Well, a calf is really no different than a human when it comes to stress. One of the most important things that Al and I can do for our animals is to figure out ways to decrease or limit stress.
There are many days when I am positive that I have done a better job limiting the stress on my animals than I have limiting stress in my own life…We all work to achieve “balance” in our lives. Al and I also work hard to enable our animals to achieve balance.
Every time I look at my children I am reminded of the importance of good quality animal care…High quality and wholesome beef is “What’s For Dinner” at my house.