September has been warm and dry in the southern part of the
state. It has been great for drying down our late-planted corn crop, but it has
been terrible for establishing new pastures. I have sowed fescue in August that
germinated and died. I have replanted and am still waiting for germination. The
new hybrids of fescue are quick establishing and, in most cases, very hearty. I
still believe I can make it work, but it would be nice to get a soaking rain
pretty soon. Our growing season is running short.
I have been taking some orders for freezer beef for this
coming year. I find it interesting listening to people and answering their
questions about how we manage and feed our cattle. Antibiotics and steroids are
a hot button in the public’s eye. As a beef producer, I always follow label
directions and never administer any product off label. I am Beef Quality
Assurance certified, as well as all of my employees. I have found that there is
more to it than that. Public perception is a challenge for livestock producers
every day. It amazes me how they think and what they can believe. Just because I
use products that they would deem unhealthy does not mean that I favor profit
over their safety. The fact is all living animals and even plants contain
hormones like the ones I supplement my cattle with.
By bringing the cattle inside, I seldom ever have an issue
where I would need antibiotics. I spend time to invite the public to come see
our operation. They have a right to know how their food is produced. Otherwise
they know only what they see on television or what they hear other people say.
This past week I was observing shoppers — in general, I am speaking of moms — at
the grocery store. They walk past the meat counter and pick up a package of
ground beef. I noticed they spend time reading labels and maybe looking at color
or texture. It is true they pay attention. I tell my story when I get a chance
in hope that they will have a better understanding.