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The head of the US Department of Agriculture Sonny Perdue is the man making school lunches great again.

He is also making farming great again. For too long, American farmers have been looked down upon. That’s all changing. Perdue — not related to the chicken processing Perdues — worked on his family’s farm, has a Ph.D in veterinary science, owns three small agriculture-related businesses and was the governor of the state of Georgia.

His Twitter feed — @SecretarySonny — is not only educational but will brighten the darkest of days.

This is one of my favourites:

He enjoys touring USDA facilities around the country just to pop in for a chat:

He recently went to see the flood damage in Arkansas. The USDA will do what it can to help:

He enjoys visiting farms:

He’s visited grain barges:

He’s delighted that China is once again importing US beef, for the first time since the Bush II administration:

And here he is with his lovely wife Mary:

How many people know what’s going on in the USDA? Follow Sonny Perdue and find out what Big Media aren’t reporting.

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Because I’m a foodie, school lunch has been a personal topic of interest over the past five years. See my past posts on the subject:

The US government’s emaciation of America’s schoolchildren (October 2012)

Young Americans hope Trump will make school lunch great again (January 2017)

I now have cause for rejoicing.

Sonny Perdue, President Donald Trump’s Secretary of Agriculture, has only been in the job since April 25, 2017, and, already, he’s making school lunch great again!

On Friday, April 28, the Daily Mail reported:

Sonny Perdue is set to introduce new standards that will give schools more flexibility in relation to the National School Lunch Program.

On May 1, The Guardian reported that new guidelines will pertain to sodium levels, milkfat and grain content (emphases mine below):

Perdue said the program was not effective because kids would not eat the healthier food.

“If kids aren’t eating the food and it’s ending up in the trash, they aren’t getting any nutrition, thus undermining the intent of the program,” Perdue said at a school in Leesburg, Virginia.

Perdue made his announcement at Catoctin Elementary School in Leesburg, Virginia to mark School Nutrition Employee Week. The USDA website has more, including this:

Schools have been facing increasing fiscal burdens as they attempt to adhere to existing, stringent nutrition requirements.  According to USDA figures, school food requirements cost school districts and states an additional $1.22 billion in Fiscal Year 2015.  At the same time costs are going up, most states are reporting that they’ve seen a decrease in student participation in school lunches, as nation-wide about one million students choose not to have a school lunch each day.  This impacts schools in two ways: The decline in school lunch participation means reduced revenue to schools while they simultaneously are encountering increased costs.

It doesn’t make sense, does it?

Of course, bureaucrats in Washington, DC, say Michelle Obama’s school lunch programme, initiated in 2012, is working because schools are complying with it!

“I was talking to some folks in Washington about this, and they said that the current program is working.  ‘How do you know?’ I asked.  They said it’s because 99 percent of schools are at least partially compliant.  Well, only in Washington can that be considered proof that the system is working as it was intended,” Perdue said. 

Too right!

Perdue, who is from the state of Georgia, gave a regional example:

“A perfect example is in the south, where the schools want to serve gritsBut the whole grain variety has little black flakes in it, and the kids won’t eat it.  The school is compliant with the whole grain requirements, but no one is eating the grits.  That doesn’t make any sense.”

Thank you!

Also:

“I’ve got 14 grandchildren, and there is no way that I would propose something if I didn’t think it was good, healthful, and the right thing to do,” Perdue said.  “And here’s the thing about local control: it means that this new flexibility will give schools and states the option of doing what we’re laying out here today.  These are not mandates on schools.

Brilliant!

The USDA announcement has details on the new, flexible programme and a PDF of Perdue’s proclamation.

This photo has a good comparison of school lunches:

It looks as if the USA example is the best case scenario there, because this is what American schoolchildren are normally eating:

 

You can see more awful school lunch pictures at Oola, a foodie site.

Perdue had a standard student lunch when he made his announcement at the Leesburg, Virginia school, one which he paid for (see $20 in his hand):

Here is what the students ate:

This is my favourite tweet from the day:

The Big Buddy bit is true:

Sonny Perdue was sworn in on April 25:

In his opening address to the USDA, he said he was a farmer first:

He rolled up his sleeves and got to work on Day 1:

Since then, he has been on the road visiting USDA employees elsewhere in the United States:

Look at the queue:

Passing on his father’s words to them, he said:

If you take care of the land, the land will take care of you.

Perdue paid a visit to American Royal in Kansas City. American Royal is a non-profit organisation that stages events throughout the year to help farmers and future farmers.

Perdue has a PhD in veterinary science and worked on his family’s farm before starting his own three small agribusinesses.

He must have been delighted to meet these youngsters:

He also met with members of the FFA (Future Farmers of America):

Here he is putting his veterinary experience to use:

He also visited a pork processing plant:

With Sonny Perdue, the future looks much brighter for American agriculture.

It should be noted that Sonny Perdue is not related to the Perdue chicken family.

Follow him @SecretarySonny on Twitter.

Yesterday’s post began a series on potassium deficiency.

You may wish to read it before continuing with today’s entry which contrasts the experience of a South American tribe with agribusiness and medicine.

This series is inspired and based on the late Joe Vialls’s article on potassium deficiency, which affects most of us. Emphases mine below.

The Yanomami tribe in South America

Vialls read about the Yanomami tribe who live along the Orinoco River, which runs through Venezuela and Colombia.

It should be noted that the Wikipedia entry on Yanomaman languages states:

Yanomami is not what the Yanomami call themselves (an autonym), but rather it is a word in their language meaning “man” or “human being”. The American anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon adopted this term to use as an exonym to refer to the culture and, by extension, the people.

But, as we have no other term available, we shall refer to them as Yanomami.

Back to Vialls. He rightly noted that by the early 20th century, the blood pressure of Americans was beginning to rise. By contrast, in the latter part of the century, the Yanomami had much lower blood pressure because they were living closer to undisturbed nature and could get all the nutrients they required — especially potassium.

In fact, anyone living close to the land in an ancient way would have access to potassium, unlike those in industrialised cultures (emphases mine):

Learned doctors published papers on the ‘potassium-sodium balance needed by all humans’, when a quick field trip to almost any Indian Reservation would have reversed their absurd findings in seconds. More and more sodium found its way into every kind of food imaginable, and blood pressures started to rise sharply. By the nineteen-forties, relatively new diseases such as arthritis, hypertension and angina started to climb through the roof, to be met with a veritable shock wave of expensive ‘patent medicines’ to help with the new ‘disease’ problems.

On the Yanomami:

Despite the Yanomami’s overall levels of sodium being incredibly low, researchers who examined more than 10,000 of these cheerful people found that there was a direct correlation between marginally increased sodium intake and increased blood pressure. “… a highly significant statistical relationship was observed between sodium excretion and systolic blood pressure for the 10,079 participants. The higher the urinary sodium excretion [and, therefore, the sodium intake], the higher the blood pressure.”

The reader should remember that for the Yanomami Indians, normal blood pressure averages out at 95/60 and does not increase with age. Try comparing this with the AMA western ‘normal’ blood pressure of 120/80, which then goes up in incremental steps as you ingest more sodium and lose more potassium while getting older. Of course, the medical apologists will claim this is because we are more civilized, have evolved, and are thus ‘different’, but rest assured this is pathetic rubbish.

The only significant difference between the Yanomami and Americans or Australians, is that the Yanomami are stuffed full of healthy potassium, while we are stuffed full of toxic sodium.

There is also a link between potassium intake and weight:

The researchers also noted that another benefit for the Yanomami related to their lack of obesity. “Adults of industrialized populations have an increase in weight with age. The Yanomami Indians did not increase their weight with age.” Short, but to the point. Somebody remind me to add “obesity” to my shopping list of potassium deficiency-related ailments.

Potassium deficiency has been linked to water retention and weight gain.

Vialls’s graphic tells us the rest we need to know about the Yanomami:

Note that the caption mentions ‘slash and burn’ farming with the resulting ash adding potassium to the soil and water.

Agribusiness

Today, burning fields is becoming outmoded in parts of the West. Africa’s Farm Radio has a transcript of an interview which presents both sides. Interestingly, it ends with an agricultural researcher who condemns this practice, making her argument the more powerful:

I feel that today, this practice of burning crop residues and grass should not be encouraged. The nutrients that are released after burning are usually washed away or leached by rain, or eroded by wind. Soil declines in productivity after burning because its nutrients are depleted. Because of this, the ancient farmers who practiced slash and burn had to leave the land for five to 25, even up to 40 years before they could farm the land again. This is impossible today because of population growth, which leaves no time for land to lay idle to regain fertility.

Also:

Spreading residues in the field stops weeds by a combination of shading and smothering. The residues also stop the sun from drying out the ground. This keeps water in the soil so it’s available for crops. Farmers can make holes in the residue layer and plant their crops. Or they can simply spread organic mulch by hand around plants after they emerge. The crops get nutrients from the decaying leaves. The trees’ roots absorb the excess nutrients which are returned to the ground when the trees are pruned.

And, of course:

burning residues and grass releases a lot of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which contributes to global warming.

That leads to the host’s conclusion:

Though ash is a natural product that contributes positively, we should be cautious when using it. This is just like snake poison. Snake poison is natural, but can we use it to kill bugs on our farm? …

I urge you to follow the advice we have heard from the researcher if we want to experience great results as farmers.

I’m somewhat suspicious of that line of reasoning. Everyone used to burn their fields. The Yanomami still do.

If anyone reading this has farming experience and can shed light on the subject, please feel free to comment.

The medical establishment and potassium supplements

Vialls’s article states that in the 20th century, the medical establishment and pharmaceutical companies realised that heart patients were potassium deficient.

However, what could have been resolved simply and cheaply turned into big business:

In fact these treatments were entirely successful, but the use of a basic mineral that could not be patented by the pharmaceutical companies was frowned on, and medical research grants in this field mysteriously started to dry up. By the late sixties such research has been suppressed, as you can see from the [limited] general references provided at the bottom of this page.

Big Pharma increasingly became a benefactor of medical schools, which has also had a profound and lasting effect on what doctors learn and the way they think:

The pharmaceutical multinationals were by now exerting increasing pressure on the medical fraternity, providing all kinds of ‘assistance’ during their university training, with copious quantities of fancy-sounding scholarships and research grants. Both were vital in helping to get medical doctors to “see things the right way”, meaning of course that profitable drugs were the answer to all ills. As more doctors peddled more drugs to their patients, pharmaceutical corporate profits rose sharply, allowing perks for the doctors to be extended to include ‘training seminars’ at luxury hotels and golf complexes, along with other varied forms of discreet bribery.

By the seventies, all meaningful references to serious mineral deficiencies had been removed from the curriculum, with medical students taught that patients could obtain all the minerals they needed from a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, although their university tutors knew this was a complete lie. Deficiencies manifesting as cramps, arthritis, osteoporosis, hypertension, angina and strokes etc, became ‘diseases’ that could be treated by a truly dazzling array of brightly colored and highly profitable pharmaceutical drugs.

It was all a terrible illusion of course, but the show had to go on. As toxic sodium increasingly overwhelmed healthy potassium, the resulting potassium deficiency caused hardening of the cardio vascular system, and ‘essential hypertension’ [high blood pressure of ‘unknown’ origin] became the order of the day. Incidences of angina, stroke and heart attack increased dramatically, as did stress, with the latter feeding on the former. Because of a lack of space, this report will only cover the effects of potassium deficiency on the cardio-vascular system. Other directly related horrors such as arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes etc. will have to wait for another day.

Tomorrow: Joe Vialls’s experience — don’t try this at home

Many Westerners suffer from potassium deficiency.

Much of this is caused by the poor mineral quality of our soil which leads to fewer nutrients in fruit, vegetables and meat that we consume.

Potassium deficiency can manifest itself in a number of ways: high blood pressure, heart palpitations, muscle aches and even mental issues such as irritability and depression. People with medical conditions should consult a doctor before embarking on any dramatic supplement programme.

That said, relatively healthy Americans can sprinkle No Salt on their food. Britons will find the same potassium-rich product under the name Lo Salt.

Last week, I wrote about the late Joe Vialls, who lived in Perth, Australia, and was passionate about a number of socio-political topics, including health issues.

His article on potassium deficiency has the 1936 US Senate addendum on soil quality about which I wrote this week which concluded here in part 2.

This post looks at how we came to be potassium deficient.

Baron Justus von Liebig — father of fertiliser

Before Vialls related the story of how he managed to cure his own angina without medical assistance, he discussed soil quality from the end of the 19th century to the present day.

File:Liebig Company Trading Card Ad 01.12.006 front.tifBaron Justus von Liebig (1803-1873) was a famous German chemist whose legacy lives on in fertilisers, nutritional principles and food. The Liebig’s Extract of Meat Company created Oxo bouillon and Marmite, both of which were modelled on the baron’s meat extracts designed for poor people who could not afford the real thing. The company expanded around the world, including South America. Cattle breeding greatly expanded there for tinned meat production under the company’s label Fray Bentos. It is said that Liebig’s Extract of Meat Company brought the industrial revolution to the continent.

Liebig had conducted a number of experiments and tests on soil quality which led to the development of crop fertiliser. Some of his theories turned out to be right and others wrong. However, he tried to help humanity rather than hinder it.

Vialls took a somewhat different view to mine. He wrote (emphases mine):

The beginning of the end for obtaining essential minerals from fruit and vegetables happened in the middle of the 19th Century, when German chemist Baron Justus Von Liebig analyzed human and plant ash, and determined that nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium [NPK] were all the minerals plants needed. He claimed that if fed synthetically to plants, farmers could force plants to grow and support healthy humans. Thus Von Liebig became the father of synthetic manure, which in turn spawned superphosphate, the mother of all deceptive fertilizers. Though NPK and superphosphate are able to create a synthetic soil environment sufficient to stimulate plant growth, the resulting fruits and vegetables are always seriously deficient in trace minerals, with some containing none at all. Baron Von Liebig watched the deficiencies his invention caused with horror, and recanted before he died, but it was all too late. By then, the big investors had moved in for a quick kill.

Vialls’s article states that, even by the end of the 19th century, food grown with the new fertilisers had less potassium in it than before — regardless of the fact that Liebig deemed it essential.

From potassium to sodium

Running concurrently with that was the development of cheap table salt easily transported by rail. Up until then, salt was very expensive. We know this from all manner of ancient sources, including the Bible. When we say someone is worth his salt, we are referring to the payment of salaries in salt. ‘Salt of the earth’ refers to someone whose goodness and sincerity are priceless.

The article tells us that until the late 19th century, what most people — and animals — consumed in place of salt was sylvite, which is potassium chloride:

Great chunks of sylvite were dotted along the trading routes for the beasts of burden to lick at, thereby restoring their electrolytes lost through sweating and other exertion. But when the railroads opened up America from east to west, they started carrying vast quantities of cheap salt produced in giant pans on the two coasts. Unfortunately for Americans this was sea salt, comprised of 98.8% sodium chloride, the favorite of fishes but a deadly enemy of man. And so it was that in less than seventy years, western man had his healthy potassium replaced almost entirely by unhealthy sodium.

Vialls was exaggerating the perils of sea salt, but the point here is that the early processing of cheap table salt extracted too many of salt’s natural qualities. Food Renegade explains (emphases in the original):

Factory-made salt can’t and doesn’t team iodine with the other nutrients it’s found paired with in nature — nutrients that help it to assimilate properly.

Iodized salt did help solve the goiter epidemic of the 20’s but there was a tragic increase in a thyroid autoimmune condition, thyroiditis.  Why add iodine to a highly refined product, one that usually contains aluminum (to prevent caking) instead of consuming salt in its original form?

We can trust foods found in nature.  When we alter foods, we have a Frankenstein situation with unpredictable, often disease-causing effects.

In its original form salt contains not only trace amounts of iodine, but other minerals that are valuable in their own right and that in conjunction with one another help us to assimilate nutrients on a cellular level, co-factors.

sea salt, or naturally occurring salt found in caves, rivers and lakes, is a mineral-rich health food.  It does not lead to heart disease or cause other health risks.

Just the opposite.

WHAT TRACE MINERALS ARE FOUND IN SEA SALT?

Salt is comprised of sodium (Na) and chloride (Cl).  Sodium is used by the body, in part, to digest carbohydrates.  Chloride, among its other purposes, is used by the body to break down proteins, and also has anti-pathogen properties.

Iron, iodine, magnesium, potassium, and zinc comprise a complex and subtle total of over 80 trace minerals, ones that regulate our hydration, digestion, and immune system as well as being required for proper thyroid and adrenal function.

I don’t personally believe that nutrition is found in nature on accident.  It is there to bless us and the animals that consume it.

Vialls would certainly have agreed with that conclusion.

Tomorrow: A South American tribe contrasted with agribusiness and medicine

Inadvertently, my esteemed Lutheran cyberfriend Dr Gregory Jackson, of Ichabod fame, included a link in one of his posts to the Aberdeen News (South Dakota) Farm Forum.  I spent about an hour perusing the site, which has all sorts of news from America’s farms, from hazelnuts (filberts) in California to sugar cane along the Texas border to corn and wheat in the Prairie states to cattle in North Dakota and pork in Iowa.

As is the case with farming, life is a mixed bag of biblical highs and lows.  Having grown up in small towns in Flyover Country, we knew farmers and I went to school with their children.  When I was small, the life looked attractive to me — loads of fields and lovely livestock.  Actually, I think it was probably the prospect of driving a tractor and riding a horse that intrigued me.  My mother said, ‘Well, Churchmouse, if you want to be a farmer, you won’t be able to sit around on Saturday mornings in your pyjamas watching cartoons and taking time out for a pancake breakfast.’

Being a farmer is a much derided profession.  Anytime food prices go up, a surprising number of townsfolk say, ‘Those greedy farmers’.  Yet, once one explores the prices they receive for their crops and livestock, they often operate at a loss. Supermarkets take an increasing margin, whilst the farmer ends up making only a few pennies more. They also have an increasing number of regulations which demand time burning the midnight oil once they’ve finished dinner.  It’s no surprise, therefore, that their children are reluctant in many cases to take up this honourable and hard-working profession.  After all, as many of the kids go to university, it becomes a case of, ‘Bright lights, big city’ and ‘Once they’ve seen Paris, how can you keep ’em down on the farm?’

Yet, without farmers, we would have no farms.  Without farms, we would have insufficient food.  Whilst the news highlights below cover the United States, more trade agreements are in place which require importation and exportation of food from all over the world.  What follows is only one nation’s story and one week’s worth of news.

I hold farmers in high esteem.  They have to get up at the crack of dawn most days, fill out piles of paperwork at night, calculate exactly how much feed and seeds they will need, be able to raise crops and livestock that will fetch a decent price at market and cope with the vagaries of the weather and pests, not to mention the price of futures in the commodities markets.

Without further ado, I present you with a small selection of stories from the Aberdeen News Farm Forum. Emphases mine throughout.

Let’s keep farmers everywhere in our prayers not only during Lent but daily.

Wet weather a worry:

‘Third year no charm for prevent plant’

FARGO, N.D. — A third year of difficulties in planting crops in some of the wettest areas of the region could spell trouble for farmers wanting to use prevent-plant insurance, a crop insurance official says …

Bob Perius, of Moorhead, Minn., national training director for the NAU Country Insurance Co., says a third year of stepped-up enforcement for prevent-plant policies could be a problem for some. Perius was a speaker at an Extension Service Advanced Crop Advisors Workshop Feb. 10 in Fargo, N.D. …

The 2011 crop season may be the worst yet for the issue in the Red River Valley and surrounding areas, Perius says …

“They can try to ‘mud it in,’ ’cause once it’s in the ground, it’s insurable. But at what expense? Ruin their machinery to get it in there? Probably not,” Perius says. “But I think this year is going to be worse than last year because a lot of them didn’t hit the three years (limit) last year, but they will this year” …

High production costs:

‘Crop producers to have record high production costs in 2011’

Crop producers will have record high production costs in 2011, according to Andy Swenson, North Dakota State University Extension Service farm management specialist. However, this year crop prices also are high …

The popular revenue protection policy has a “revenue guarantee;” however, a producer’s actual revenue can be and often is less. The reason is due to the method of determining a producer’s harvest revenue. It is compared with the revenue guarantee to determine an indemnity payment.

Harvest revenue is the producer’s actual yield times the average closing futures price for the harvest month at a specified grain exchange, such as the Chicago Board of Trade or the Minneapolis Grain Exchange

Untrendy crops — potatoes:

‘Potato growers worry about proposal’

… Americans are eating fewer potatoes at home, according to a survey by the U.S. Potato Board, the Denver-based potato marketing organization.

In 2000, Americans on average ate potatoes 79 times at home. The number trended lower during the decade, falling to 67 in 2009.

A drop in consumption of fresh potatoes is driving the long-term decline, the survey finds …

Of particular interest to the potato industry this winter is a proposed USDA limit on the amount of potatoes that can be included in school menus.

USDA would allow no more than one cup of starchy vegetables, including potatoes, to be served per week.

Untrendy meats — pork:

‘Pork Board swaps “White Meat” for “Be Inspired”:

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – “The Other White Meat” has another slogan.

The National Pork Board recently replaced the decades-old ad campaign with a new message: “Pork: Be Inspired.”

Board officials said after nearly 25 years, it was time to move on from the old message that compared pork to chicken and instead try to increase sales by focusing on the estimated 82 million Americans who already eat pork

Snyder said research done by the Pork Board shows 28 percent of U.S. households make up nearly 70 percent of the nation’s at-home consumption of fresh pork. The new campaign is aimed at getting existing pork consumers to think more about how they can incorporate it into their meal planning

Pork remains behind beef and chicken in consumption, according to the USDA. Americans ate about 61 pounds of beef per capita last year and about 80 pounds of chicken. While beef consumption has been gradually declining and pork consumption has remained flat, chicken consumption has increased in the past two decades, the USDA data shows.

More than 31 billion pounds of pork was produced in the U.S. in 2010, according to the Pork Board. Iowa is the nation’s top pork producer followed by North Carolina and Minnesota

Threats at work:

‘Texas farmers say drug war making job dangerous’

LA JOYA, Texas (AP) — As Texas farmhands prepared this winter to burn stalks of sugarcane for harvest along the Rio Grande, four masked men on ATVs suddenly surrounded the crew members and ordered them to leave.

Farmer Dale Murden has little doubt they were Mexican drug traffickers.

“They hide stuff in there,” Murden said of the dense sugarcane crops, some as high as 14 feet. “It was very intimidating for my guys. You got men dressed in black, looking like thugs and telling them to get back.”

Texas farmers and ranchers say confrontations like these are quietly adding up. This month the Texas Department of Agriculture, going beyond its usual purview that includes school lunches and regulating gas pumps, launched a website publicizing what it calls a worsening situation “threatening the lives of our fellow citizens and jeopardizing our nation’s food supply” …

Most brazen among the reported confrontations occurred earlier this year on the sugarcane field near Rio Grande City. In February, a Hidalgo County employee was similarly threatened by three men along the border river to stop clearing brush near a canal, said Troy Allen, general manager of the Delta Lake Irrigation District.

Allen said another of his workers has taken to locking himself inside the water pump houses along the Rio Grande. If someone knocks, Allen said, he doesn’t answer.

“Five years ago, if someone wanted a drink of water we’d give it to them,” Allen said of illegal immigrants passing through. “We have a situation that’s getting pretty serious in my opinion”

Cattle — cows and bulls:

‘The future of beef, cows and grass’

One fundamental point often is overlooked among all the charts, trends and rhetoric about the beef business. The beef business does not exist without the business of the cow. The cow business is the foundation of the beef business. Without cows, there is no beef or beef business

… the beef business will not function without completeness. The failure of any particular segment will affect the rest of the business negatively.

One of the current concerns that has the beef industry challenged is the decrease in cow numbers. In other words, concerns about the cow business.

The cow business passes the baton to the beef industry when the calf is sold. At least that is how many would perceive the process …

One could go a step further and stop by a group discussing the future of the grass business and be even further distanced in membership. Cows consume grass, so the future of grass is vital to the future of cows, and the future of cows is vital to the future of the beef industry. In other words, as the baton is passed between segments of the industry, at least a good understanding of the previous industry is needed to have a good future discussion.

Environmental issues directly hit the cow business in more ways than often is perceived in the beef industry. For generations, the cow business has strived to raise cows despite the constant weather problems. It has not been easy

‘BeefTalk: Plan now for May and June turnout’

It’s that time of year, which is bull time. Many producers are thinking it’s calving time, but calving time is a function of bull time. In other words, having healthy, good bulls ready for turnout in the spring is critical for next year’s calving time.

As producers, there is no time in the year when one can quit thinking. Efficient operations always require plenty of forethought. What one is doing today is simply a reflex of yesterday’s planning, and today’s planning will bring tomorrow’s reflex. That may sound complicated, but progressive cattle producers are used to it.

The North Dakota Beef Cattle Improvement Association processes beef records for many producers. Although most of the producers reside in North Dakota, many are from other parts of the United States. These producers have a very standard bull turnout portfolio that translates into bull time …

The number of producers turning bulls out to cows the last three months of the year is insignificant in this set of producers. There is an obvious producer season-of-the-year thought process that goes into bull turnout. The average turnout date in June was June 14 or 15. If one assumes midnight June 15 as the bull turnout date, the calves should arrive 283 days later on March 25

The cattle business is a seasonal, cyclical business tied to the rise of cool spring grasses and early summer forage. These calves typically grow at a rate of more than 2.5 pounds per day throughout the summer grazing and nursing time. Meanwhile, more than 93.5 percent of the mother cows will be breeding for a promising calf crop next year

Given the decreasing cow numbers and adequate feeding capacity in feed yards, this scenario will not change much. There also is increasing pressure to grow bigger, more efficient calves that will hang more meat on the rail. The dynamics of when ownership will pass from breeder to feeder may vary slightly. However, demand and feedlot space will favor calves that are large enough to offer both the breeder and feeder a reasonable opportunity to stay in the cattle business

I’m glad now that my mother talked me out of becoming a farmer.  I don’t think I would have been very successful.  But, I thank God for His gift of farming and farmers, bringing us food every day of the year.  May they long prosper in His grace.

© Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist, 2009-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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