There’s a new agriculture publication available, so this week we’re going to go FarrrTHUR in our reading materials. Thanks for stopping by!
It’s a publication focused on small herd producers – meaning those with fewer than 100 cows in their herd. It’s a national publication dignifying our role in U.S. beef agriculture. I’ll admit I almost cried when I found out this magazine would be published at all – but especially by Drovers, our nation’s oldest livestock publication.
Why all the excitement and emotions about a new ag-mag?
1.) #RespectTheBivocationalBacks – Give them a honed publication.
Small herds carry a much larger portion of the beef industry than most consumers realize. In fact, small herds have been carrying their share of the U.S.’ cattle industry throughout the changes of 20th and 21st century agriculture – therefore the average beef cattle herd size in the U.S. is 40 cows. With these average herds, the U.S. is producing roughly 20% of the world’s beef supply – that’s more than any other country.
Can you see why respect is due this group of people who heft a remarkable portion of the work required to feed the world a valuable protein? These small herds yield food and profitability via their bivocational…
keepin’ granddaddy’s herd going
buying our own farmland dream
culturally misunderstood (not a hobby – rather a calling/ heritage/ must do way of life)
industry overlooked (Ouch – but yes, the beef industry hasn’t always highlighted our small greatness)
keeping up with agriculture changes and management innovations
ever consistent and ready to grow
2.) The editor lives the bivocation-small herd life:
The editor of Cow/Calf Producer is Mary Soukup. She’s a small herd producer, too, who goes home and works cattle after work. Here’s an excerpt from her opening letter:
3.) It’s not a hobby farm publication – praise Jehovah.
Let’s face it – when you work a day job so that you can go home and farm, your eyebrows skid past your hairline when people call you a “hobby farmer” and think they’ve properly understood who you are and what you do.
No offense hobbyists and homesteaders – no offense intended at all because I respect how you are feeding your world. You are welcome to glean from this agriculture business and management publication – it’s got goodies you need, too. But for the record, this is not a hobby farm publication. It’s the first official beef industry publication aimed solely at small herd producers – because we merit it.
4.) WANTED: geographical understanding
Besides all the reasons above, I am especially pleased for this acknowledgement of and investment in my small herd world because of how these numbers spread out across our Southern farmland.
Remember the average U.S. beef cow story is about 40 cows long. It’s a nice story anywhere in this country with remarkable people working hard.
But get this – approximately half of this amazing U.S. cow herd is in the Southern part of the country.
So, if we play with the numbers from #1 and #4, we have a thought to mull over:
the U.S. supplies 20% of the world’s beef
+ about half of the cow herd is in the Southern U.S.
+ the average herd size is that little 40 head herd you pass on your daily commute.
= this means my people – my amazing, precious to me, Southern FARMily is dishing out 10% of the world’s beef.
Never, ever wonder again if greatness comes from small, countrified spaces.
Granted my cows don’t necessarily understand that they are Southern cows, excepting heat-induced moments of awareness in July, August and half of September. Still, the reality of the dignity assigned and information provided in Cow/Calf Producer is muchly appreciated – and my cows will directly benefit from it.
So, go forth, subscribe to Cow/Calf Producer.
Please get the word out!
I was honored to write and photograph for this issue of Cow/Calf and you can find that on page 13.
More FarrrTHUR. The cows say hi!