Following the circle of life

Successful graziers must leave linear thinking behind

By Allen Williams and Russ Conser

Lion King, as with all Disney movies, has a great plot and some catchy tunes, but also a deeper moral to the story. In this case it is about the “circle of life.”

Circles have no beginning or end. If we start anywhere on a circle and follow it around, we end up in loop coming back to where we started. The Lion King circle was about the big loop of life and death.

Continue reading “Following the circle of life”

The savior may be fake, but the money is real

By Joel McNair

The headline above Timothy Egan’s column in the June 21 edition of The New York Times assured that “Fake Meat Will Save Us”. I was very relieved, as it seems that we do need saving, and the idea of a fake savior is appropriate for the age, I guess.

Seriously, this was just another example of a well-known intellectual — Egan is an award-winning environmental and political writer — falling into the trap of employing trendy, but bad, information and faulty logic in reaching a popular “big picture” technological solution that makes absolutely no sense. Continue reading “The savior may be fake, but the money is real”

The fallacy of ‘feeding the world’

Allen Williams

Most grain isn’t going to people

by Allen Williams
When you ask American farmers what they are doing on their farms, they will often tell you they are “feeding the world”.

This is stated with considerable pride. We feel we are doing the world a huge favor through the sacrifices we make as farmers. We are continuously told that by some not-too-distant date there will be 10 billion mouths to feed, so we have to ramp up production even more. Continue reading “The fallacy of ‘feeding the world’”

Price alone won’t solve our problems

By Joel McNair

Many dairy farmers believe that low milk prices are the biggest danger to their livelihoods. For more than a few, the thought is that the best solution would be a Canadian-style supply management program to boost milk prices and keep them at profitable levels.

I don’t buy all of the arguments for quotas and such, and there is no reason to believe that our elected representatives will ever enact anything approaching Canada’s system. Continue reading “Price alone won’t solve our problems”

How a sorghum-sudan mix saved our summer

Daniel Olson in field

By Daniel Olson

Every so often, you need a win. You know what I mean: just when you feel like the elements and the elected are conspiring against you, by some stroke of luck and timing you actually get it right and have an uncontested success.

That’s what a sorghum-sudangrass mix was for us last summer. We were very fortunate, because we had bet big on it by planting about 250 acres of the stuff. It rewarded us by yielding incredibly well, giving us some good grazing and a bunch of feed for the winter. Continue reading “How a sorghum-sudan mix saved our summer”

What to tell environmentalists about cows

Latest research shows that good grazing is good for the planet

By Allen Williams and Russ Conser

Somewhere along the road, cattle got a bad rap. Just when the fear that eating animal fats will kill you appears to be fading, concern is growing that cattle are intrinsically bad for the planet.

So, it’s refreshing to see some countering truth peek through the clouds of fear in a brand new scientific paper from Michigan State University, “Impacts of soil carbon sequestration on life cycle greenhouse gas emissions in Midwestern USA beef finishing systems” (Stanley, et. al., 2018). Continue reading “What to tell environmentalists about cows”