Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bulls & Boys By Kristen Odom

One of the neatest things about social media and blogging is the friends you make along the way. I met Kristen at the 2010 NCBA Conference in San Antonio, we became Facebook friends, then realized we both write blogs. At the time I was only writing Anna-Lisa Smile, Beefonabudget.com hadn't started yet, and she was writing her blog Kristen's Corner,which is also a column in the Wellington News Leader. Kristen and I have become good friends and often share each others posts with our readers. Kristen wrote this a few months ago, and last week in my cow calf class it came to mind so I wanted to share it with all of you. It's called Bulls & Boys, and is most definitly true. I hope you enjoy! Thanks Kristen!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Bulls & Boys
The cattle industry has taught me a lot about life. Everything from responsibility to life and death, cattle are good teachers. In a conversation with my dad, I recently discovered that dating is a lot like finding a good herd bull.

“A systematic approach to finding and identifying the “right” bull is imperative,” according to the Systematic Approach to Buying a Bull, published by the Virginia Cooperative Extension.

Step 1- Identify Herd Goals- Herd goals serve as the foundation for sire selection and provide guidance as to traits with the most relevance.

Step 2- Assess Herd Strengths and Weaknesses- Basic performance parameters are necessary to serve as the basis for assessing areas of strength and those needing attention.

Step 3- Establish Selection Priorities- Focus on a handful of priority traits rather than attempting to change many traits simultaneously.

My dad and I agreed that it’s key for the ‘bull’ to have sound structure, a good disposition and that he stays in the home pasture.

Highly heritable traits are important. How have the sire and dam performed? In addition to these traits, recessive genes are also good to take note of through a look at the rest of the herd.

And I think it’s imperative to know when to keep ‘em and when to cull ’em.

The joy of this last part is that it doesn’t have to be solely your decision. God is a good one to listen to considering He sees the big picture.

Proverbs 16:3 says, Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.

Proverbs 3:6 says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your path straight.

I know without a doubt that God has an amazing plan for my life. I pray for my future husband and look forward to the day when God brings us together.

Also, I do pray that he’s tough hided and has a good sense of humor. He’s going to need it when my dad starts asking him about his EPD’s and Gene Star DNA scores.

You can read more of Kristen's work at http://kristenodomscorner.blogspot.com/

I hope you all enjoy this beautiful day and have a great week!

By His Grace,Anna-Lisa

Friday, April 16, 2010

Elanco Animal Health Aiding Animal Welfare

There is so much talk these days about animal welfare vs. animal rights. It is important that we, as the agriculture community, realize the difference. It is imperative to the future of agriculture that we continue to use practices that aid the welfare of our animals. I believe that agriculturalists were the original environmentalists and that livestock producers were the original animal welfare advocates. You see until you rely on the land to make a livelihood, you cannot be fully passionate about taking care of it, its productivity and maintaining the land's integrity. Just as until you rely on livestock for a livelihood, you don't realize how important it is to care for animals, keep them comfortable and healthy. Agriculturalists are stewards of the land and the animals. They care for them with passion and enthusiasm. I want to share with you a story of an animal pharmaceutical company doing what I believe to be aiding animal welfare.

Yesterday in my stocker and feedlot cattle production class we went on a field trip. We had the opportunity to learn from a vet, a banker and a feedlot manager. While talking to vet he informed us of a new product that hit the market last week.

Elanco Animal Health makes an antibiotic called Micotil. Micotil has been around for years and is very affective as both a sub therapeutic antibiotic and a therapeutic antibiotic. Metaphilactic treatment (mass medication) of calves during the backgrounding phase is very common in the industry. This helps to prevent cattle from becoming sick and helps them to grow during the backgrounding phase. Micotil is the antibiotic of choice for the producer that we visited with. The thing about Micotil is that it can be harmful to humans. Fatal in fact. You definitely don't want to inject yourself with it. This has caused many large operations to shy away from using Micotil because of the liability risk involved with corporate workers using this drug in the corporate stocker calve setting. Elanco Animal Health has done something to change this and to ensure that cattle are being administered the medication properly.

Last week Elanco released a new syringe on the market. This syringe is very unique. It has a guard over the needle with little projections. This needle guard has two purposes. The first is that it makes it more difficult to stick yourself with the needle while administering the shot. Maybe more importantly, to be able to administer antibiotic through this syringe, the guard tents the skin so that the antibiotic is administered subcutaneously. Micotil is recommended to be given sub-q (or under the skin). This can be difficult to do in a hurry and if not careful some of the antibiotic can be deposited in the muscle (which creates grissle in the meat) however with this new syringe the animal receives the antibiotic in the proper manner, and the person giving the shot is protected. Additional protection is granted to the person giving the shot due to the dual triggers that allow the shot only to be given after both triggers have been pulled properly. Animal health companies like Elanco understand the importance of animal welfare and are actively creating ways to better care for animals, just like the new Micotil syringe.

Animal welfare not only means ensuring animals are comfortable, but also means that we are doing our part to keep them healthy, Elanco Animal Health and other animal pharmaceutical companies understand that and work hard to ensure food safety from the pasture to the plate.

For more information about this new syringe and Micotil check out http://www.elanco.us/products/index.htm.

Happy Trails ~ Anna-Lisa

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Where the Summer Road Leads

It is official! Montana Stockgrowers Association officially has my application for the 2010 Multimedia Communications Internship position. Thinking of the possibility that I will be traveling north to help Montana's ranching families tell their stories is so exciting! Although I don't know if I will be the intern, I am gaining enthusiasm and excitment by the day at just the thought of applying. Anticipating the possiblity of an interview next week and hoping that is where the Lord is leading me. Could Montana be where the summer road leads?

School is wrapping up quickly! What a scary thought! Even more exciting is the fact that in less than a month I will be home with my family! I get to be home for a few weeks and I can't wait to see them, and to be on the ranch. I get to meet my little Wesley.
Not to mention the fair is on its way and the entire family will be there! This will be the first time in ages that we will be together! We are gonna have a blast. Minus the stresses of the fair, Momma and I will be way busy, actually take that back the whole family will be crazy busy! You can ask family to do things you couldn't pay anybody else to do! So we will work hard, have fun, sleep little and throughouly enjoy the 2010 Calaveras County Fair! Nothing says being home like seeing the 4-H and FFA kids, watching the ranch rodeo and western horse events and watching the frogs jump! I am ready to be there in the sunshine and summer time!

For more information about the Calaveras County Fair & Jumping Frog Jubilee, check out their website frogtown.org! I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

2 Breeding Seasons... More Efficient?

I have cattle on the brain this week. Nothing new this is an everyday occurrence, but because I have back to back to back tests this week in my three cattle classes this normalcy is intensified. Today was a great day and I stumbled upon an idea during cow calf lab that I had never thought much on. Before I get to my revelation, let me share with you possibly my favorite Dr. Kropp quote ever!

We were talking about Leptospirosis. Dr. Kropp loves to tell stories and give examples, which I am all for because well, I'm a story teller too! Anyway he was using the example of a ranch he consults in Arizona. This 48,000 acre ranch borders Mexico. Now, for the quote of the day...."We just can't control Lepto much,Ya we've got coyotes, lot's of coyotes. But hell, we've even got illegals!" So eloquently he got his point across. My new idea though has nothing to do with Lepto. It actually is concerning an insurance policy.

This past week in cow calf we have been talking about calving, gestation and lactation nutrition, and post-partum interval. Today we talked quite a bit about replacement heifer development and there was one thing Dr. Kropp said that got my wheels spinning and has been on my mind ever since. He said that he prefers a dual calving season (i.e. fall & spring) program because it offers the producer more latitude. I had never thought about this before. I think that when you grow up on the ranch, a lot of things get taken for granted until you go other places to see other programs. Out west it is most common to calve in the early fall. Here in Oklahoma it is most common to calve in the early spring. Why not do both?

Think of that cow that palpates open after weaning her calf in October. Only having one breeding season, a guy would have to wait to calve her out the next Spring. However if she palpated open, and a guy had two calving seasons. You could wait, breed her in her next cycle (November) and have a calf on the ground the following fall, six months sooner than if you had waited. This really would be like an insurance policy because instead of feeding an open cow a full year a producer could possibly only feed her for a month, her second chance would come a lot sooner, and unless she takes this time, a profit driven commercial cow calf producer must send her to town in my opinion.

Not only could a commercial producer take advantage of this aspect, but they could also take advantage of the seasonality of stocker feeder markets. The ability to sell two calf crops at distinctly different times of the year could be beneficial. Also I think making the decision to maintain ownership of a pen of cattle would be a bit easier because of the increased cash flow from another crop of weaned calves. The banker is probably gonna like this scenario more as well. They tend love anything with the potential to increase cash flow!

The aspect I haven't quite formulated a solution for is the seasonality of native range on a ranch. Inevitably if a producer is running two calving seasons on the same ranch, the availability of quality and frequent forages at the nutritionally critical periods of both groups would not be possible, unless maybe the operation was run on improved and irrigated pasture. My question is whether the need for increased supplementation of feed for the one group (Whichever is in a critical nutrition period during the dormant season of your native forage) would increase input costs to a point where it is no longer economically efficient? Getting a cow to maintain optimal BCS prior to calving while the native forage of a ranch is dormant could be tough, but we do it currently don't we?

Maybe as with all things in the cattle industry, this too is suspect to adjustment and solely dependent on the ranch's environment, infrastructure, manpower, breeding program, and goals.

Any ideas??? Let me know what you think!


Thursday, April 1, 2010

We Must Stick Together

I have been watching the 4-H issue unfold all day. In fact by all day I mean since early this morning. I too am heartbroken, I think more because we have to go through this. I am choosing to give 4-H the benefit of the doubt and I am hoping that this was an oversight. Today's issue has however, demonstrated something that I think we need to be very careful about. Destruction from the inside out. HSUS knows that we are a very interlinked industry, they know that we are people of passion, and they know that they cant come over our castle walls so to speak. I think that we need to be very cognisant of the fact that we have got to stick together. Name calling among industry leaders, inappropriate language usage, pitchforking and burning our own at the stake are all things that will be destructive to this industry, and that is their goal right? They want us to fail, they want to weaken us and take advantage of us in our weak points. We need to band together, work together and succeed together. Individually we are strong, together we are mighty. Let's remain mighty!

4-H invites HSUS to Conference

As a kid I was actively involved in 4-H. Whether it was showing livestock, baking cakes, speaking, or community service projects. I spent the majority of my childhood years (K-12) in green and white. I was also involved heavily in FFA of course, but my experiences as a young 4-Her molded me to be the person that I am today. I can say with confidence that if it weren't for those Thursday evening business meetings, annual fundraisers and banquets, showing livestock, or keeping record books, I would not be near as successful a student, business owner, or advocate of agriculture that I am. I attribute my passion for agriculture and agriculture advocacy to my heritage, 4-H and FFA.

I am shocked that National 4-H would allow HSUS to come to a conference of young minds and ask our students to sit through a seminar encouraging them to buy into the hiden agenda held by HSUS. In looking at the propagand our students were asked to read and understand I am sickened that we would allow such twisted materials to be presented to young agriculturists. If you look at the materials presented you will notice a whole section devoted to the Prop 2 agenda entitled "Hens Need a Hand". Capitalizing on the emotions of children is a low blow, but that's what they do right? They don't care about agriculture families, they care about dollar signs, they care about using the emotions of others, who may not understand production practices, to achieve their own political agendas. Does 4-H support this?

I think we need to look at the 4-H Pledge. This is what we teach our children, the need for thinking clearly, how necessary it is to remain loyal, and the importance of doing all of this for ourselves as well as others. Does the leadership of 4-H not live by the same pledge as its members? I pledge my head to CLEARER THINKING,my heart GREATER LOYALTY, my hands to larger service, my health to better living, for my club, my COMMUNITY, my COUNTRY, and my WORLD.