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From the Barns — Toland: Timing is everything

Macomb, Ill.

April weather was the usual wild ride, but many corn and bean crops are in the ground in our area and we have finally, thankfully, warmer night temperatures than the mid-30s. April snows are hard to like, but we came out of that better than we thought possible. Our new South 20 seeding finally got some soft surface to grow from, so I think I can call that part of the project a success.

The new South 20 project is moving along, yet slowly. A 76-year-old worker by himself is just very, well, slow. But all the fence lines are clear, several exterior fences are finished and the access gates are all complete with locks and electric underground. And the seeding, most importantly, is finally looking like it should.

We have 140 head, heifers, lead cows and cleanup bulls, out on some good grazing here at River Oak. And, as usual, we are already looking like we are lagging behind in our rotation and our attempt to graze in a timely manner. It seems like more than ever, but probably just my immediate reaction, the grass leaps up when the conditions are right, but not until. As in most things we do, timing is everything, and good timing is becoming more of a challenge.

We have ventured into the new lease arrangement after a lot of thought and discussion. So far, the arrangement seems to be really working. Carson is a hard, quick worker with a tremendous cattle background. I find myself wanting to teach every day, but then realizing that some knowledge can best be learned by him. It is, therefore, important that I hold back on some things and wait for the right moments for the teaching. Overall, I feel really good about where we are in our relationship and how we have progressed so far.

I am really proud to be an Illinois Beef Association and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association member and see them doing the work necessary to get our industry on the long road to recovery. It has been especially good to receive the membership updates from NCBA keeping us informed. The media is sometimes irresponsible in taking stories and broadcasting them before all the facts are known. The well-being of our animals has always been of utmost importance to beef producers. When we start hearing the national press talking about euthanasia, then we need to set the record straight as quoted from the latest NCBA Update: We don’t utilize euthanasia as a supply management tool; we aren’t euthanizing cattle during this crisis; and we care for the health and welfare of our animals and are doing everything we need to keep them safe, healthy and well-fed.

Some other random thoughts: We need packing plants to function in a mode of maximum security and safety. Why not open the CRP for grazing and haying on June 1, without cost, to soften the extra feed requirements for marketing ready cattle such as culls and feeders and stockers and compensate holders of market ready fats on a per day basis for extra feed requirements.

I hope you are all keeping safe and helping work through this crisis by following health guidelines. Only by everybody working together can we whip it.

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