Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summers here!

The #NWP2P <span style=Summer, sweet sweet summer, finally here and manifesting itself in the glorious way that it should. For a cow calf operator here in the Pacific Northwest summer does not mean that there is not enough things to do but it does mean you have some flexibility in your day and the real plus is that the cows are feeding them self on natures bounty of growing grass. It is also a great time because it is often the time of year that the cows look their best. Slick, fat with growing calves standing beside them. Memories of past calf crops and the calves that specific cows have raised in the past flood your mind as you work among these amazing animals. The weather can at times get a bit too hot to be comfortable and everyday irrigation water must be attended to but compared to snow, ice, cold and feeding supplemental feed daily to cattle it is a great time. We pushed right up into the mid to upper 80's today but there was a nice breeze and it was a great day.

I was dragging a bit as yesterday was a long but informative day. I was up at 3:30 a.m. and Chelsey and I left at 4:30 a.m. to drive to Ellensburg. There we met 4 other cattlemen and traveled to Lynden which is in the very north part of western Washington near the Canadian border. We had our monthly WCA executive meeting and then did an afternoon tour of a river basin on the west (wet) side of the state. We learned about river biology, regulations, shellfish growing in Samish bay and how some of those regulations are affecting members of our industry. The weather was great and some fellow cattlemen had put together a great and informative tour. Thank you to all that participated to make it a very great day. We did not pull back into the driveway until midnight and once again Chris and Dakota covered chores so I could be away to serve industry. I am a very luck man indeed and appreciate all the help my family has given me over the time of my term.

This evening Chris and I traveled south to Pasco for a dinner sponsored by the Washington State Beef Commission (WSBC). For those who do not know our industry deducts $1.50 per head from every transaction of cattle sold to fund our promotional efforts and advertising. The WSBC does a tremendous job for us and tonight was the mid point dinner of a great program they sponsor each year. The Northwest Pasture plate tour takes chefs and food service beef providers on a 2 day tour to educate them about modern beef production practices. They see a cow calf operation, a feedlot, a packing facility and have speakers to answer questions about what we do daily. I had a few very great conversations with people outside our industry tonight about what I do for a living and my role in producing nutritious, wholesome, high quality, and great tasting beef for a hungry planet. It is such a paradigm shift from years ago of how we conduct our business.

Some people are reluctant to embrace this new era but personally I just love it. I have always been fascinated with what people do for a living. I once spent most of an afternoon with a Peruvian sheepherder in southern Idaho talking about what he did for a living because although it is animal agriculture it is very different from what I do. To live in this country with so many opportunities and options and learning how different people have approached and ultimately succeeded in how they make a living is something that has always amazed me. To talk with these people who are the last link between my product of beef and the final consumer is so informative and educational. The hope is these conversations and information sharing helps to promote a vibrant, profitable and sustainable beef industry. I for one am a believer that the path is correct and events like this one helps everyone in the production and service chain to have years of success. Thanks to everyone who is attending and participating in this event.

Well this is one of those blog post that I feel is boring and humorless but the kind I am going to have to post now and again to have any consistency here. I am trying something new here by posting a "twitpic" from today's tour. This may have some editing time over the next bit of time. OK, it looks like it is posting but you will have to click on the picture to see it full size.

Today's real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the Red Backed jumping spider aka phidippus johnsoni, one of which seemed to want to make sure I did not open an irrigation valve today.