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10/21/2013 10:39:00 AM Early storm may affect beef prices next year
When I married into the world of agriculture, one of the first things I learned was there is a breed of beef cattle called Herefords. They are a beautiful reddish-colored animal with white markings. I learned much about them from breeding, to birthing, to raising them for the show ring and to cry over them when one final fate was known. There was a beautiful movie and book at that time called “The Rare Breed,” which starred Maureen O’Hara and James Stewart. Forgive me if, while I’m trying to remember much, you remember differently, but here is the story. The movie is placed around the late 1800s and and is about a cattleman from England who is going to bring a Hereford bull named Vindicator and show the Longhorn cattlemen of Texas that a beefy white-faced Hereford could produce better meat than the Longhorn cattle. “The Farmer” and I have enjoyed this movie over the years because it is rerun at least once a year. The strange fact is “The Farmer” has managed both Hereford operations and a Longhorn operation. For those who don’t know of the Longhorn breed ... they have very “long horns.” Herefords can be either polled, meaning no horns, or they can have horns, but not as long and sharp as the Longhorn. Back to the story of “The Rare Breed.” The Englishman who started this journey from England to the United States dies on route and his lovely redheaded wife becomes bound and determined to carry on the plan. The thought is that the Hereford cattle could survive better than the Longhorn on the Texas range and produce a better meat. But as all know, Texan cattlemen are a tough breed and their determination to give the “lovely redheaded” woman all the trouble they can in reaching her goal of breeding a Hereford bull to a Longhorn cow is endless. With Jimmy Stewart by her side as a protector, the story becomes interesting. The Hereford bull is turned out with the Longhorn cows in hopes that breeding will take place and the mission is accomplished. In the meantime, the days and weeks pass with hopes for an offspring cross, when a horrid blizzard occurs and the herds becomes stranded in the blizzard and the Hereford bull dies in that storm. Just as the “redhaired” lady wipes away her tears, she looks further in the snow and low and behold, there beside its Longhorn mother is a Hereford newborn calf. Why did I think of all this at this time? Because as I type this the 15th of October, the cattlemen and ranchers of South Dakota are dealing with the loss of their herds to an early winter storm. The storm hit before the animals, who appeared to be mostly Black Angus, could seek shelter from the cold. They had nowhere to go for protection. The storm came without warning. Ranchers, who had a tough 2012 because of drought, have now not only lost this year’s crop, but their herd for future production. From ABC News comes the announcement that, “the Stock Growers Association, the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association and the South Dakota Sheep Growers Association are seeking donations to a relief fund that has been set up to help ranchers, and a couple of Montana groups are asking local farmers to donate cattle and sheep.” This is devastating, not only because the loss is being estimated at 10,000-20,000 livestock dead and the numbers will surely climb, but what do you think will happen to beef prices at the market that surely will affect you as well? “If it isn’t one thing, it’s another.” That is my new saying. Ciao!
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