Thursday, March 4, 2010

Well-Fed, Well-Cared For and Content

Today was one of those days in the Flint Hills that I wish I could share with you. It was the first sunny, warm day in a long, hard winter, and it felt good. I have to admit that I didn't get much done. I spent most of the afternoon watching the calves and lambs run and play, the horses lay out sunning themselves and all the livestock generally enjoying the new sunny warmth.

This is one of the days that I remember why I chose to spend my life taking care of livestock. This winter has been one of the worst in recent memory, and those of us on farms and ranches with livestock have worked ourselves to the bone taking care of the needs of our animals.

I can't tell you of the many nights I spent bundling up and slowly picking my way across the frozen barnyard in bitter windchill to check on new lambs. Then there were the snowy, bitingly cold mornings that we faced the knifing wind to look for new calves. None of that was very pleasant at the time but today it all seemed worth the discomfort.

Farmers and ranchers go the extra mile to make sure their animals are cared for in all weather. We make sure their every need is taken care of before we ever worry about our own needs, in short, our livestock always come first. We are animal caretakers first and foremost. Yes, we realize that the livestock we care for will become the meat on your table. However, while they are in our care, their well-being is our first priority.

I encourage you to get to know a farmer or rancher, spend time with them and I am sure you will find that we do truly have the best interest of our animals in our heart. I hope you will get to spend an afternoon like mine just watching animals on any farm or ranch resting, well-cared for, well-fed and content.

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