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Guess what, Joaquin?  I don’t know a single thing about acting, how to pursue an acting career, or what it takes to win an Oscar and I don’t pretend to know about anything about it either. 

I have seen several movies you have starred in and a personal favorite is when you played Johnny Cash in "Walk the Line."  Speaking of Johnny, he sings one of my favorite songs that really isn't just a song to me, it’s more of a personal anthem to many things in my life including standing up to people like you, Joaquin, that try to share a story that you know nothing about.  That would be like me using my platform to talk about my thoughts and beliefs on the truths of being an actor.  That favorite song of mine is titled, “I Won’t Back Down.” Here are the lyrics in case you aren’t familiar with it:

I won't back down

Well, I won't back down, no, I won't back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won't back down

Gonna stand my ground, won't be turned around
And I'll keep this world from draggin' me down
Gonna stand my ground and I won't back down

Hey, baby, there ain't no easy way out
Hey, I will stand my ground and I won't back down

Well, I know what's right, I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin' me around
But I stand my ground and I won't back down

Hey, baby, there ain't no easy way out
Hey, I will stand my ground and I won't back down
No, I won't back down

What do I know?

What do I know?   I know about caring for animals. I know about waking up at all hours of the night to check on a heifer that is close to calving.  I know about the sacrifice that my family, my parents, and the generations before us have made to feed the people who CHOOSE to eat products that we produce.  I know that I would never speak about a profession or way of life that I have never experienced. And I know that I WON’T BACK DOWN. 

I will not back down

I will not back down from the scare tactics that you use on your platform to outweigh our real-life stories that I share on my platform.   I will not be pushed around by actors or activists that have never walked a day in my shoes and that are not even interested in learning about it. I will continue to stand my ground and beliefs about a way of life that feeds and cloths the world for those that choose to partake.

So, Joaquin, in closing I want to thank you for fueling my burning ring of fire to continue sharing the stories of our Iowa life, the stories of other farmers and ranchers and the true stories of what occurs in our barns and on our land.

Sincerely,

A proud artificial inseminating livestock producer, woman, and lover of the land.

You are doing what to me today?  I feel like that is the look this cow was giving me today.  I feel ya, girl, most women don’t love that yearly exam.  Fall cattle work is much like that yearly check-up that we all need to prevent health problems and catch them early if we can to prevent bigger problems.

Preg Checking

Each fall we gather all of the cattle to give them the once over that is very similar to a yearly checkup.  Females will get “preg checked” this means that the veterinarian will palpate the cow or heifer to check to see if she is pregnant.  In some cases, the vet will use an ultrasound machine to identify the gender and to get a better guess of when the calf will be due.  We know when most of the cattle are due based on artificial insemination dates and when cows were in heat if they were bull bred.

Knowing the gender of the calf when a heifer is bred helps the producer to know which heifer they might want to pay closer attention to as they get closer to their due date.  For example, a heifer that is pregnant with a bull calf or twins will need a little closer watch as her due date approach versus a cow that has had five calves with ease.

Vaccines

All of the calves and cattle will get vaccinated.  We give a 4-way injection to prevent disease. This will prevent our cattle from getting respiratory diseases that could kill them or cause them to become very ill and go “off of feed” which means they will stop eating which will impact their rate of gain.

Pour-On

All cattle will get “poured”.  This means we will spray a liquid on their backs. This liquid will prevent parasites and other bugs like lice.  We want to prevent parasites from living on our animals because parasites can create havoc with their digestion, impact how they absorb nutrients and can impact their immune system making them more susceptible to disease.

These insecticide ear tags help in the summer, but pour-on does the job in the colder months.

Castration

Bull calves will get cut or banded during this process.  We chose to band all of our bull calves this year, which means that a thick rubber band was placed around the top of the testicle sack.  In about 3 weeks the sack will fall off and dry up and the bull calf is then considered a steer. We have done it both ways but felt that banding would be the easiest route to go this time. If you decide to "cut" the bull calves then you can enjoy rocky mountain oysters!

That's a wrap

When cattle work is all finished then there are some times some tough decisions to make. Animals that aren't bred and aren't going to produce calf in the next year probably need to be culled from the herd, as they will end up costing the producer quite a bit of money in feed and vet work. They could be kept until the next breeding season and that is a decision that the producer has to make based on their balance sheet.

Are there other things you do when working cattle on your farm or ranch? Any fun traditions that your family has during cattle work? Have you ever tried rocky mountain oysters?

From the gravel road-

Jen

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