I pride myself on being a good cattle caregiver. I recognize that effective care is marked by a myriad of things which ensure quality bovine health.
I believe that no matter how good I am, I can always get better.
A couple of weeks ago, my crew and I attended a cattle care and handling training conducted by Dr. Kip Lukasiewicz and Dr. Shane Terrell in Elba, Nebraska. We went on a road trip to meet with crews from other BMG feed yards and to learn from Dr. Kip and Dr. Shane.
The training was a combination of both classroom time and active cattle handling. It covered the core concepts of Beef Quality Assurance, as well as basic components of cattle psychology to help us learn to better understand the animals that we care for.
My moment of epiphany during the training came when Dr. Kip said these simple words:
We can never completely remove the stress from our animals’ lives. Rather what we can do is to teach them how to deal with it, so that they are better able to maintain optimal health as they move through each stage of their lives.
I do not know which Anne this statement spoke the most to: Anne the cattle caregiver or Anne the parent. But, I do know that this is powerful advice that will continue to shape my philosophy and increase my effectiveness as a leader and caregiver.
I think that each one of us, from time to time, is guilty of trying to wrap those that we care for in bubble wrap—attempting to protect them from each and every challenge that comes their way.
Perhaps we would all be better served if we also focused our energy on teaching them how to personally play a role in dealing with challenges…
While my cattle are incredibly different than my children, I am also a leader and a caregiver to them. This necessitates a personal understanding of a bovine’s unique needs and understandings so that I can help it to learn to deal with stress and stay healthy.
Like any human, I am challenged by the effective understanding of my cattle as my animals think and perceive the world in a vastly different way. I must constantly attempt to view the world through their eyes in order to ensure proper care.
I enjoy the challenge of working with animals. They invoke a level of empathy that inspires me to greatness. I am grateful for those professionals that help me to solve the puzzle of bovine animal understanding. And, I look toward the future with excitement as I am constantly able to improve my leadership and caregiver skills.