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Thanks to the Gentle Giants Facebook page for this one.

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This is a commercial for Dodge RAM pickup trucks but the cause is a good one.

On April 26, you can support the Future Farmers of America (FAA) just by taking a test drive.

As announced during the CBS broadcast of the Academy of Country Music Awards on Sunday night, Ram Trucks is continuing its support of the National FFA Organization with “The Next Crop Project.”

FFA members, families, friends, alumni and the general public have an opportunity to take a short test drive on Saturday, April 26 at more than 120 Ram Truck dealers nationwide. Each test drive earns a $20 donation to FFA – with a majority going to the local FFA chapter!

FFA chapters and FFA alumni affiliates are encouraged to get involved with the event as volunteers to help out. If your FFA chapter is interested, please call program headquarters at 586-776-7200.

FFA and Ram are committed to shining a positive light on American agriculture and “The Next Crop Project” is a continuation of Ram’s “Year of the Farmer” campaign. Ram and country music artist Easton Corbin have also been touring the country putting on exclusive concerts for FFA members. Corbin, a former FFA member, attended the 86th National FFA Convention & Expo last November.

For a list of participating dealers and more information, check out the Next Crop site: www.ramtrucks.com/NextCrop

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Photo Credits, Don Holtz

Photo Credits, Don Holtz



MOST AMERICANS HAVE NEVER STEPPED FOOT ON A FARM OR RANCH OR EVEN TALKED TO THE PEOPLE WHO GROW AND RAISE THE FOOD WE EAT. FARMLAND WILL TAKE AN INTIMATE LOOK AT THE LIVES OF FARMERS AND RANCHERS IN THEIR ‘20S, ALL OF WHOM ARE NOW RESPONSIBLE FOR RUNNING THEIR FARMING BUSINESS.

THROUGH THIS FILM FROM AWARD-WINNING DIRECTOR, JAMES MOLL, YOU’LL STEP INSIDE THE WORLD OF FARMING FOR A FIRST-HAND GLIMPSE INTO THE LIVES OF YOUNG FARMERS AND RANCHERS. LEARN ABOUT THEIR HIGH-RISK/HIGH REWARD JOBS AND PASSION FOR A WAY OF LIFE THAT HAS BEEN PASSED DOWN FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION, YET CONTINUES TO EVOLVE.

DIRECTOR JAMES MOLL TRAVELED ACROSS THE COUNTRY MEETING YOUNG FARMERS AND RANCHERS. WATCH THE TRAILER TO CATCH A GLIMPSE OF STORIES SHARED DURING HIS INTERVIEWS. THIS FILM WILL BE RELEASED IN SPRING 2014.

THIS FILM WAS MADE WITH THE GENEROUS SUPPORT OF THE U.S. FARMERS & RANCHERS ALLIANCE ®.

You can get more information at their website by clicking HERE.

If you have problems seeing the video below click HERE.

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How long does it take you to catch and load your horse? Russell Higgins 4-star senior Parelli Instructor

You can get more information at his website by clicking HERE.

If you have problems seeing the video below click HERE.

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You can get more information at her website by clicking HERE

bonnieBonnie Riedl would place her love of and interest in horses at the top of her list of favorite things. As an owner of five horses, she is devoted to caring for them. So when she noticed that her paint horses were experiencing sunburn, she set out to do something about it and My Pony Sun Block was born.

“As a licensed esthetician and LPN, I know what serious damage the sun can do to the skin,” Bonnie said. “Treating damaged skin, for the past twenty years, has made me doubly aware of the risk of skin cancer and that doesn’t just apply to people. In my practice I also treat many patients who have recently undergone laser repair of their skin. After laser treatments they can only apply a very limited number of products due to the sensitivity of the skin. I thought ‘Why couldn’t a similar type of product be applied to my paint’s un-pigmented and sun sensitive areas?’ ”

Bonnie began working with different formulas, in an effort to create a topical product that would provide authentic, non-allergenic skin protection for her horses. Initially, she tested it on her own horses and had wonderful results. Riedl then conferred with several equine veterinarians and found them to be equally excited about the product. ” My Pony Sun Block, became just what the doctor, or in this case the veterinarian ordered,” shared Riedl.

“It is gratifying to be able to share this exciting new formula with other horse owners around the world. Owning a horse requires a great investment of time, love and money, and owners want to care for their pets in the best possible way. My Pony Sun Block will help to insure that horses get the best available protection from the sun through a product that is both easy to use and affordable too!” said Riedl.

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Ruminant animals, such as cattle, sheep, buffalo, and goats, are unique. Because of their special digestive systems, they can convert otherwise unusable plant materials into nutritious food and fiber. This same helpful digestive system, however, produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas that can contribute to global climate change. Livestock production systems can also emit other greenhouse gases such as nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide.

You can get more information by clicking HERE.

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logan-hawkes-swfpBy Logan Hawkes
From Southwest Farm Press


Prolonged drought conditions and unexpected wildfires plagued many farmers and ranchers across Texas and the Southwest last year, causing them to suffer unexpected losses in revenue. But many of them are now discovering they face added tax liabilities because the Internal Revenue Service considers insurance settlements on the farm and ranch as taxable income.

A Texas AgriLife risk management specialist is advising agricultural producers who suffered losses as a result of a federally-recognized natural disaster that they may qualify to defer taxes due on insurance settlements or capital gains from livestock sales last year for up to four years, provided they make use of the appropriate IRS forms and follow procedures required to secure deferment options.

“This will affect farmers and ranchers who lost physical improvements or animals on the farm and ranch last year. In the case of loss by wildfire for example, barns, fences, storage bins and other physical property may have been insured and these insurance payments or settlements, if issued last year, are considered taxable income. The same can be said for livestock producers who had to cull their herds because of drought conditions. In this case, the income, or revenue, coming from the sale of those animals could be deferred for up to four years,” reports DeDe Jones, a Texas AgriLife risk management specialist in Amarillo.

“If your operation falls into one of the 108 counties in Texas, for example, that were declared a national disaster because of drought, or even if it is located in a county adjacent to one that was included in a disaster declaration, then you would qualify for a four year deferment on capital gains received, whether those capital gains come in the form of selling off livestock or as payments from insurance,” she explained.

According to the IRS, insurance payments must be considered taxable income and so must revenue generated from selling livestock, regardless the reason you needed to sell them.

Insurance payments are income
According to IRS rules, while producers may be getting only pennies on the dollar for the actual losses they incurred, IRS still classifies the insurance payments as income. The same is true of liquidated livestock that was sold. The revenue from that liquidation is considered taxable income as it represents a capital gain.

Under normal circumstances, producers could defer taxes on capital gains for two years, but when a disaster declaration is involved, that deferment can be extended for four years.

“In the case of losses from wildfire, like barns or fences, this gives the farm operator time to replace these items, or, in the case of livestock, to replace the animals that were liquidated,” Jones said.

She warns, however, that if a rancher sells more livestock as a result of the drought than in a normal year, only the added livestock sold above what would normally be culled qualifies for the deferment program.

“At the end of the four years, you must show that you reinvested these revenues back into building up you herds to pre-disaster levels, otherwise you would still be liable to pay taxes on the difference,” she said.

For example, if you normally cull four head of livestock each year but were forced to sell 24 animals because of a lack of forage or feed, then the proceeds from the sale of 20 of those animals would qualify for deferred income status. But at the end of four years, if you fail to reinvest the full amount deferred the first year, you would still be responsible for paying taxes on the difference.

Jones says each type of loss requires a different IRS form. Options including Internal Revenue Service Form 4684, IRS code 1033 and IRS code 451, are available to help qualifying farmers and ranchers deal with these weather-related events.

To be eligible for deferment of losses caused by fire (Form 1033 election), producers must attach a statement to their tax returns indicating the date and details of their casualty, the amount of insurance or other reimbursement received, how the gain was calculated, and proof of a disaster declaration.

To be eligible for a 1033 election, producers must attach a statement to their tax return indicating the existence of an adverse weather-related condition, proof of a disaster declaration (if applicable), and documentation listing the amount of gain realized on liquidated cattle or other livestock. They should also show the amount and kind of livestock sold or exchanged, and estimate the number of animals typically sold or exchanged under normal weather conditions.

Under a third election, Section 451 of the tax code allows cattle owners to postpone gains for one year on raised livestock only. To qualify for this election, taxpayers must show that their principal business is farming or ranching and use the cash method of accounting. They should also demonstrate that the livestock would normally have been sold at a later date but were liquidated early due to drought.

“Extreme weather conditions experienced during recent years have produced havoc for Texas agricultural producers and caused many to face property damage and early livestock liquidations. Such unplanned events often create more revenue than usual in a given year, generating income tax issues,” Jones added.

Several options, including IRS Form 4684, IRS code 1033 and IRS code 451, are available to help farmers and ranchers deal with weather-related issues in excess of

normal business practices and Jones suggests they should contact a tax accountant to determine the option that best fits their operations and business plans.

The IRS rules and policy apply to all U.S. farmers and ranchers nationwide. In Texas alone, 108 counties were designated in a natural disaster declaration and during 2013 nearly 200,000 acres were lost due to wildfires. In addition, livestock herds were significantly reduced for the second year in a row.

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By Betsy Blaney, AP Business Writer
From USA Today



LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — The highest beef prices in almost three decades have arrived just before the start of grilling season, causing sticker shock for both consumers and restaurant owners — and relief isn’t likely anytime soon.

A dwindling number of cattle and growing export demand from countries such as China and Japan have caused the average retail cost of fresh beef to climb to $5.28 a pound in February, up almost a quarter from January and the highest price since 1987.

Everything that’s produced is being consumed, said Kevin Good, an analyst at CattleFax, a Colorado-based information group. And prices likely will stay high for a couple of years as cattle producers start to rebuild their herds amid big questions about whether the Southwest and parts of the Midwest will see enough rain to replenish pastures.

Meanwhile, quick trips to the grocery store could drag on a little longer as shoppers search for cuts that won’t break the budgets. Patrons at one market in Lubbock seemed resigned to the high prices, but not happy.

“I quit buying steaks a while ago when the price went up,” said 59-year-old Lubbock resident Len Markham, who works at Texas Tech. She says she limits red meat purchases to hamburger, opting for chicken, pork and fish instead.

Fellow Lubbock resident Terry Olson says she buys chicken and eggs now.

“I don’t buy (red) meat, period,” the 67-year-old said, admitting there’s an occasional hamburger purchase. “Not like I used to because of the price.”

Restaurant owners, too, must deal with the high prices. Mark Hutchens, owner of the 50 Yard Line Steakhouse in Lubbock, raised his menu prices for beef items by about 5 percent in November. Since then, the owner of the eatery has tried to make cuts elsewhere to avoid passing it on to customers.

“It really squeezes the small guys more,” he said of non-chain restaurants. “You just can’t keep going up on people forever. I just think you have to stay competitive and keep your costs low.”

White-tablecloth restaurants have adjusted the size of their steaks, making them thinner to offset the price increases, says Jim Robb, director of the Colorado-based Livestock Marketing Information Center. Some places now serve a 6-ounce sirloin, compared to 8- or 10-ounce portions offered years ago, he said.

And fast-food restaurants are trimming costs by reducing the number of menu items and are offering other meat options, including turkey burgers, Robb said. Chain restaurants also try to buy in volume as much as they can, which essentially gives them a discount, Iowa State University assistant economics professor Lee Schulz said.

“That can help them when they’re seeing these higher prices,” he said. “They can’t do anything with the high prices.”

The high prices are welcome news for at least one group: ranchers, especially those in Texas who for years have struggled amid drought and high feed prices. Despite the most recent numbers that show the fewest head of cattle in the U.S. since 1951, prices for beef haven’t declined along with the herd size as demand has remained strong.

But even as ranchers breathe a sigh of relief, some worry lasting high prices will prompt consumers to permanently change their buying habits — switching to chicken or pork. Pete Bonds, a 62-year-old Texas rancher and president of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, said that’s a big concern, especially as younger consumers start to establish themselves.

But such fears may be unfounded, Robb said. Three years ago, economists thought consumers would start finding substitutions for beef as the drought spread. “We’re surprised we haven’t seen more of that,” he said.

South Dakota rancher Chuck O’Connor is optimistic that consumers won’t abandon beef for good.

“I’m sure some are maybe going to cut back some, but to say that people aren’t going to buy it anymore, I don’t think that’s going to happen,” he said, adding, “I hope not.”

Beef isn’t the only meat with higher price tags. The price of pork also has climbed, largely due to a virus that has killed millions of young pigs. And composite retail prices for chicken in February were $1.95 per pound, the highest since October.

“I think these higher food prices are here to stay, including beef,” said Dale Spencer, a rancher in central Nebraska and the former president of the Nebraska Cattle Association. “As we grow the herd, we’ll have more supplies and prices should drop some at the market. I would not say a drastic drop.”

The long-term trend, Good said, is that more shoppers will choose cheaper hamburger over higher-priced steaks and roasts.

“There’s concern for the future but what’s the consumer to do?” he said. “Pay the price or do without.”

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You can get more information at their website by clicking Pink Tractor.com

Did you know:

In 1978, only 5 percent of US farms had female principal operators. By 2007, 14 percent of all US farms had female principal operators.

Nearly half of all farms operated by women specialize in grazing livestock, including about 45% in beef cattle, 17% horses and equines and 6% sheep or goats.

The average size of a female-operated farm is 210 acres.

The average age of a female primary operator is 58.8.

69 percent of all farm operators own the land that they farm, but 85% of female operators own the land that they farm!

The farms operated by women with the highest sales specialize in poultry, grains, specialty crops or dairy.

22.8 percent of male farm operators are college educated, while 31 percent of female farm operators are college educated.

For farms with female principal and secondary operators, the total number of women farm operators is 1 million!

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Mongolia’s minister of defense, Bat-Erdene Dashdemberel, left, presented U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel with a horse as a gift on Thursday. Credit Alex Wong/Getty Images

Mongolia’s minister of defense, Bat-Erdene Dashdemberel, left, presented U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel with a horse as a gift on Thursday. Credit Alex Wong/Getty Images

By Helene Cooper
Published in the New York Times



ULAN BATOR, Mongolia — Before Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel even landed here in this isolated landlocked country, he knew there was no way that he was going to be allowed to keep the horse.

After all, his predecessor, Donald Rumsfeld, didn’t get to keep the horse he got — and called Montana, so named because he said the Mongolian landscape reminded him of the state where his wife, Joyce, was born. Back in 2005, Mr. Rumsfeld became the first American secretary of defense to visit Mongolia, and he received Montana with great fanfare. And then he left him there.

The reason was Montana immediately brought up delicate issues of diplomacy, such as whether American taxpayers would have to pay for its upkeep. Such issues prompted much head scratching, and Mr. Rumsfeld had to leave Montana, a steed with a black mane, behind.

When President George W. Bush followed Mr. Rumsfeld to Mongolia a short time later, the White House quietly persuaded Mongolian officials not to gift him with a horse, and they complied. Mr. Bush did, however, have to drink the local brew — fermented mare’s milk.

More than eight years later, Mr. Hagel arrived and got some milk curd for his trouble. He nibbled on it at the airport before heading into the city.

As Mr. Hagel’s motorcade entered the imposing grounds of the Mongolian Ministry of Defense, his gift horse stood off to the side of a ceremonial yurt, its tawny tail swishing idly in the breeze. A Mongolian herder stood beside it, holding the reins and peeking around the yurt at the dignitaries. There was excitement in Mr. Hagel’s motorcade.

But first things first. Before getting his gift, Mr. Hagel had to go through the protocol of meetings with his Mongolian counterpart about the array of issues that dominate American-Mongolian relations — namely thanking Mongolia for sending troops to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mongolia’s minister of defense, Bat-Erdene Dashdemberel, had kind words for the strength of the American-Mongolian bond. “Mongolia is a peace-loving country,” the defense minister said of the country that still reveres its native hero Genghis Khan. “This principle is the core of the relationship.”

O.K., time for the horse ceremony. The herder brought the horse up to Mr. Hagel and Mr. Bat-Erdene gestured toward its mane. “This will be your horse from now on, you can name it.”

“Well, thank you,” Mr. Hagel replied. “I am honored.”

Then, for the moment everyone was waiting for, Mr. Hagel said, “I’m going to name this horse Shamrock.”

Huh? Not Nebraska? Not Omaha? Not even Cornhusker?

Nope, Shamrock. “Shamrock was the name of the mascot of the high school I graduated from,” Mr. Hagel said.. He said that period, when he was a football and basketball player at St. Bonaventure High School in Columbus, Neb., “was one of the most important times of my life.”

Then he turned sadly to Shamrock. “You be good while I’m gone,” he said.

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imllgres


Martin Black:
Published on Sep 25, 2013
- How your horse pivots on his front end is important for hindquarter control.
- Pivot forwards or backwards on a front or hind foot.
- The pivot foot is the one that bears the most weight for the longest amount of time. Ideally it would be still, but it should at least move less than the others.
- Backing around a foot requires the hindquarters to pull.
- Moving forward around a foot requires the hindquarters to push.
- It’s more important for colts to learn how to pivot on the front end with forward motion because this will come in handy during emergency situations.
- Pivoting back around a foot is useful for cow work.
- If you can’t feel the feet, you could have someone call it out to you.
- Do not lean over to the inside and try to look at the foot, this will take your weight off balance.
- You can use landmarks (dirt, weeds, etc.) to help you see which foot moved if you don’t have anyone to call it out to you.

If you have problems seeing the video below click HERE.

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From RFD-TV……..

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Very nice poem first published on the interestng Horse Listening website




Do you have a Golden Horse? You can spot him from a mile away.

He is “golden” because of his heart of gold. This is the horse that takes care of you even more than you take care of him. You know you can rely on him to not spook, not get unnerved and let you enjoy what it was you set out to do. In fact, it seem that he enjoys his job even more than you do!

If you have a Golden Horse, you will soon realize how lucky you are. You will never want to part with him. Because as you learn and grow through his graciousness, you realize how much you are benefiting from him, and how much he is giving you. Every ride becomes a gift and every workout is easy because of his willing nature. You become the rider of your dreams because he lets you!

Although that calm generosity can be learned by good training, upkeep and handling, some horses are just “born that way.” So, for all the Golden Horses out there, here is a poem of gratitude.

*****

The Golden Horse

Interested ears forward pricked,

patiently waiting through soft velvety nose-kisses,

the Golden Horse

loves the grooming attention;

two hours of brushing, polishing and wiping

with nary a fuss but more like a sweet relaxation

reminiscent of a day at the spa.

Solidly standing for the mount,

quietly ambling the first strides

into 100% effort.

Team player to the point

Of two becoming one.

Reciprocal listening, flickering ears back and forth,

gives and takes and loose flowing backs,

seamless communication seemingly telepathic,

mindreading aids and signals, snorts and strides,

bounces and swings -

there is no better synergy

than when two combine.

Patiently waiting through your confusion,

Kindly caring through less-than-perfect risk-taking,

he is the ultimate teacher

in your quest to grow.

One of a kind.

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Cliven Bundy walks in a pen at his ranch near Bunkerville, Nev. Friday, April 13, 2012. (John Locher/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Cliven Bundy walks in a pen at his ranch near Bunkerville, Nev. Friday, April 13, 2012. (John Locher/Las Vegas Review-Journal)



By Henry Brean
From the Las Vegas Review-Journal


Federal authorities will restrict access to almost 600,000 acres of public land for the next seven weeks as they prepare to round up what they call “trespass cattle” in the desert 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

The Bureau of Land Management’s temporary closure of the Gold Butte, Mormon Mesa and Bunkerville Flats areas takes effect today and lasts through May 12. During that time, federal officials and contract cowboys plan to impound several hundred cattle left on the range by Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy as part of a dispute that is about to come to a head after more than 20 years.

Bundy has said he doesn’t recognize the federal government’s authority to tell him what to do on land his family has used since 1877 but does not own. He said will “do whatever it takes” to protect his cattle and his property rights.

Federal officials have repeatedly ordered him to remove his livestock from a federal grazing allotment he stopped paying the government for in 1993. The BLM officially closed the former Bunkerville allotment to grazing in 1999 out of concern for the federally protected desert tortoise, but Bundy’s cattle remain.

The BLM made a similar move to impound the rogue livestock in 2012, but the operation was hastily canceled the day before it was set to begin in part out of fear of a violent confrontation.

Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie met with Bundy several times as the 2012 roundup was being organized, and he has been in contact with the rancher ever since. He visited the Bundy family at their spread along the Virgin River a few weeks ago, when it became clear that no compromise could be found to stave off federal action.

Gillespie said he hoped to convince the family to keep their protests peaceful.

“I didn’t get any assurances,” he said.

Nor did he have any assurances to give.

Metro has no role to play in the roundup, which will unfold on federal land under the supervision of federal law enforcement agents. There is nothing a county sheriff can do to stop it, Gillespie said.

“I have sympathy and understanding for Mr. Bundy, but I also understand that sometimes court decisions go against that feeling you have. I work within the confines of the law,” he said.

State agriculture officials are taking a similar approach. Spokesman Bob Conrad said the Nevada Department of Agriculture has no plan to intervene in what it considers a federal matter.

The department’s only role will come as cattle are rounded up and state brand inspectors are called on to examine the animals to try to establish ownership, as required by Nevada law and federal court order.

If nobody can make a reasonable claim to an unmarked animal, it becomes state property to be sold at auction, Conrad said.

The Nevada Cattlemen’s Association hasn’t taken an official position on the seizure of Bundy’s cattle, but that could soon change. President Ron Torell said the association’s executive committee will discuss the situation at a special meeting next week.

“We’re watching that very carefully,” he said. “We want to make sure we’re taking the right action.”

The temporary closure was announced in a Federal Register notice posted online Wednesday and slated for publication today.

According to the notice, the public will be kept out of pockets of land within the described closure area during the impound operation, but the remainder of the 578,724 acres will remain open.

The closure area includes almost all of Clark County’s northeastern corner, from Overton east to the Arizona border and from the Lincoln County line south to the northern tip of Lake Mead.

Starting today, the bureau will post daily updates and a map online showing what in the closure area is off-limits. The website is: http://tinyurl.com/leokzah

No exact start date for the roundup has been announced, but it is likely to be soon. The closure will last 46 days. The operation is expected to take about three weeks but could drag on for a month depending on weather, the dispersal of the cattle and how easily they can be caught.

The latest BLM count, conducted by helicopter in December, logged 568 cattle scattered across a 90-mile swath of federal land in the Gold Butte area, north and east of Lake Mead’s Overton Arm, but previous surveys have placed the number at more than 900.

Crews on the ground and low-flying aircraft will be used to herd the animals into corrals and stock trailers.

Access to the area is being restricted to “ensure the safety of the public, federal employees and contractor personnel,” the Federal Register notice states.

It goes on to designate two locations outside the closure area “available for members of the public to express their First Amendment rights,” though only one of the locations — picked at the discretion of the government — will be available at a time.

Gillespie is urging people on both sides of the fence to keep their cool.

“I’m always concerned when there are situations like this where there is so much emotion. I hope calmer heads will prevail like they normally do,” the sheriff said. “You’re talking about rounding up cattle. You have to keep that in perspective. No drop of human blood is worth spilling over any cow, in my opinion.”

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agriculture


Agriculture has changed. You used to plant your wheat or corn or beans at the exact times and in the exact order your grandfather did. The biggest thing to watch was the weather. But now it is much more complex.

From The Progressive Farmer (March 2014 issue)

1. Shifting Farm Structure (aging farm population, skyrocketing land valuation, increasing farm size)

2. Acceleration in Automation Technology (GPS, databases, data gathering instruments)

3. Biotechnology Strategy Evolves (GMOs, new chemicals, new biology techniques)

4. Customer Demand Specialization (eating local, industrial use, organic)

5. Resource Scarcity (arable land, water, food demand, changing weather)

6. Shifting Commodity, Risk-Management Environment (profit margins, government subsidies, regulations, export markets)

7. Meat Consumption: Global Growth, US Shift (developing countries want more meat, US wants to know about livestock origins and treatment)

8. Public Scrutiny of Livestock Treatment (animal welfare, transparency, costs)

9. Environmentalism’s Influence Grows (farm runoff, carbon offsets, water runoff)

10. Government Policy in Flux (continual uncertainty about policy and regulations)

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Cody Lambert, Kent Cox, Luke Snyder, and other PBR personalities talk about J.B. Mauney conquering Bushwacker.

If you have problems seeing the video below click HERE.

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If you want a great Bushwacker belt buckle check my Beal’s Cowboy Buckles store by clicking HERE



By Gary Mihoces
From USA Today



Bushwacker, a superstar among bucking bulls, is retiring at the end of October. That will mean a change in lifestyle for the 1,750-pound, chocolate brown bull accustomed to ejecting riders in seconds and being secluded on tour from other bulls so he won’t tangle with them.

Owner Julio Moreno plans to retire Bushwacker at his ranch in Oakdale, Calif. Priorities for the bull will be to relax and reproduce.

“He’ll have a pasture, maybe 15 acres, irrigated, nice clover, a little barn to come under, and he’ll probably have 20-21 girlfriends with him at all times. He’ll enjoy that,” Moreno tells USA TODAY Sports.

Moreno and the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) tour plan to announce Bushwacker’s farewell tour today in Oklahoma City, where Bushwacker will be matched with rider J.B. Mauney (pronounced moony) in a battle of No. 1′s on Saturday.

Mauney was the 2013 PBR world champion rider, and Bushwacker was the 2013 PBR world champion bull. They’ll meet Saturday in the 15/15 Bucking Battle, matching the top 15 bull riders and top 15 bulls from last year’s world finals (12 p.m. ET Sunday, CBS).

Last Aug. 17 in Tulsa, Mauney rode Bushwacker for the required eight seconds to snap the bull’s PBR record streak of 42 consecutive buckoffs over more than four years. Mauney is 1-10 against Bushwacker overall.

“In my mind, (Bushwacker) is the best there’s ever been. … It takes a real champion to ride him,” Cody Lambert, livestock director of the PBR and one of its co-founders in 1992, tells USA TODAY Sports. “And that champion is going to have to kind of get lucky at the same time.”

Bushwacker, also PBR world champion in 2011, has been ridden just twice in 52 times out of the chute since arriving on the PBR scene in 2009. He doesn’t mix with other bulls in the pasture or the pen.

“Not him. Bushwacker stays by himself,” says Moreno. He’ll have a pen. … Kent (Cox, the bull’s handler) lets him out once a day to exercise in an area. He bucks and plays, and that’s how his life is every day. And he gets fed super good.”

As Lambert says: “He has his own pen everywhere he goes because he’s so valuable, they don’t want to take a chance on him getting into a fight with another bull.”

Bushwacker will turn 8 this year. Some bulls buck until they are 10-12. Why retire him now?

“I want him to go out as the best bull,” says Moreno.

“Bushwacker is capable of going for longer,” Lambert says, “but it would be disrespectful to do it after he loses a step, if he slows down any.”

Moreno has never used Bushwacker for natural breeding, which he has done with other bulls while they are still competing: “I just didn’t want anything to get in the way of competition.”

Bushwacker has earned hundreds of thousands of dollars for Moreno in bucking fees from the PBR and performance bonuses. Lambert says Bushwacker alone won $200,000-$300,000 in bonuses as a 3-4-year-old. Had Moreno sold Bushwacker a few years ago, Lambert estimates he would have for up to $1 million.

“But the big value is the breeding,” Lambert says.

In past years, Moreno says he has sold semen collected from Bushwacker for $3,000 per refrigerated, plastic straw. He says he might raise that to $5,000 – if he sells any at all. But for Bushwacker, Moreno definitely plans natural breeding with female species (cows) at his ranch.

“Then I can have some little Bushwackers,” Moreno says.

Bushwacker was born in the spring of 2006. His father was a top bucking bull named Reindeer Dippin. His mother, Lady Luck, was the daughter of Diamond’s Ghost.

“Dianmond’s Ghost was a really good bull, but he wasn’t anywhere in Bushwacker’s league. But his father, Reindeer Dippin, was physically gifted like Bushwacker is,” says Lambert.

What are those gifts?

“He can jump higher and move faster and change directions faster than just about any bull,” says Lambert. “There are a few bulls that have those physical gifts, but then mentally he’s a competitor. He knows his job is to throw the guy off, and he does whatever it takes.”

Some bucking bulls are 2,000 pounds or more. Mississippi Hippy currently goes about 2,300. “Biggest on tour,” says Lambert.

Moreno says Bushwacker was about 1,600 pounds a year and a half ago. “He’s gotten bigger (1,750), but he’s in shape right now,” says Moreno.

He also has an attitude, even around his owner.

“He’ll try to come and hook you,” says Moreno. “I think Kent gets along with him better than anybody.”

He’s also photogenic. “He does like people coming to take pictures of him,” says Moreno. “He’ll stick his head up. … Honestly, I really think the bulls know he’s the greatest.”

Bushwacker’s career was threatened in early 2012 by bone chips in the ankles of his hind legs. But that was repaired via arthroscopic surgery by veterinarian Gary Warner of Elgin, Texas. “We didn’t know (pre-surgery) whether he was ever going to be able to buck,” says Moreno.

Besides Mauney, the only rider to stay on Bushwacker for eight seconds on the PBR tour and get a score was Thiago Paguioto at the world finals in 2009 (Bushwacker’s first PBR season).

“He doesn’t have a set (bucking) pattern where he always spins to the left or the right or he always goes two straight jumps before he does it,” says Lambert. “He feels the rider, and the tougher the challenge the harder he bucks.”

When Mauney rode Bushwacker last August, the bull was coming off a 15-week summer break. Saturday in Tulsa, Bushwacker also will be coming off a break. He hasn’t bucked since last October’s world finals.

Might he be easier to ride?

“Everybody says that. I’m not 100 percent saying that’s true,” says Moreno.

Mauney will find out Saturday.

Come October, after the PBR finals in Las Vegas, Bushwacker’s bucking days will be over. Some bulls live to age 14-15 or longer. He might spend half his life in retirement.

“Next year in the spring, I will turn him out,” Moreno says, “and just let him run his little 15 acres there and be the king again.”

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LucyToday’s interesting post is by Guest Blogger Lucy Pennine











When our horses look healthy on the outside, we assume that they’re healthy on the inside too. We go to every pain to care for them, to ensure that when we lay hands on our beloved equines their coats are so soft they feel like satin warmed by the sun, that they shine with a polished lustre, that their hooves are strong, and their forms more perfectly sculpted than any model’s. We enhance their natural beauty and athleticism until they are poetry in motion and we cannot tear our eyes from them. We know that to look and feel their best, they must receive proper nutrition, and most of us are devoted enough to spend hours poring over books and articles and browsing the internet to ensure that we give them the very best of everything.

But sometimes they lose condition inexplicably, leaving us worried and confounded as to how to fix them. We’re right to be concerned by poor body condition. Some people have a tendency to accept weight loss towards the back end of winter, but that’s the wrong attitude to have. If your horse has poor body condition it’s not receiving the nutrients that it needs. This could be caused by an underlying health issue which needs treating, or it may be something you can fix simply by providing a proper diet. You must consider your horse’s behaviour, the environment and your nutritional programme to determine why he fails to thrive.

Feeds and Feeding

To understand what’s going wrong with your horse, start by observing his eating habits. Is he struggling to eat his food properly, causing him to eat less? Dental problems are a particularly common cause of weight loss in older horses, but compromised dentition is relatively easy to remedy. Have an equine dentist check your horse’s teeth and fix any problems. If you have an older horse who has lost teeth or whose remaining teeth are in poor condition, soaked feeds are usually easier to eat and you may want to consider introducing a forage replacer to substitute your hay/haylage rations.

You should also review your horse’s forage. Although you may have all year turnout and ad lib hay/haylage always available in your horse’s stable, check its quality. You can send your hay away to have its quality and digestibility tested, although sometimes your horse will tell you all by himself if it’s not up to scratch by turning his nose up at it.

Finally, you need to make sure that you’re giving the right amount of the right type of feed to your equine. There is no magic formula as every horse’s requirements are a little different. Some are incredibly good doers who need less than recommended; some are very poor doers who need double the amount you would expect. Start by looking at the feeding guide on your feed sacks. They will tell you how much to feed a horse based on size and workload. Begin by feeding the recommended amount, increasing or reducing this based on your horse’s appearance. You might be feeding the recommended amount, but if it is too little for your horse then he will not be receiving the right vitamins, proteins or minerals from the food he eats.

Worming

If nutrition is not the problem but your horse is failing to hold condition, then it’s time to review your parasite control programme. A growing problem is the developing resistance to some types of wormers, particularly in small red worm (cyathostomin) populations. This means that we need to change the way that we think about worming. If you suspect that your horses are no longer adequately protected, have a faecal egg count performed to find whether your horse has contracted any equine parasites. If your worming schedule is no longer working, get in touch with your local feed store or vet to find the ideal programme for your particular area.

Medical Issues

Once you’re certain that your horse is on the right diet and that they are adequately protected by a worming programme from parasites, it’s time to explore whether your horse’s weight loss or lack of condition is attributable to a medical condition. Gastric ulcers and digestive problems are perhaps the most common medical causes of a reduced appetite in horses. So much of having a happy, healthy horse stems from having a fully functional digestive system. Maintaining a healthy gut balance fosters optimal nutrient absorption and a good appetite, contributing to a horse in peak condition.

Horse’s digestive tracts are designed to support a very specific lifestyle where they graze freely in herds for up to 18 hours a day. This lifestyle is low stress and low energy and involves constant consumption and a diet of primarily grass – very different to that of the modern domestic horse. Stalling horses for a large chunk of the day, feeding two or three hard meals and rigorous exercise can mean that, even if your horse appears healthy on the outside, their digestive tract is not getting the support it needs.

There are many supplements available to restore the delicate balance of the digestive system. Get in touch with a company specialising in equine nutrition, such as Equiform Nutrition, to find the best digestive supplement for your horse. If symptoms persist, then it’s time to call your vet.

Meeting his nutritional needs will allow your horse to live a healthier life. A healthy horse will always be a happy horse. If you love your equine, get his diet right; help him to feel as great on the inside as he looks on the outside.

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In this video you will see Cowboy Dressage Walk/Jog Test #1 This test is ridden and executed by Chris Newbert and Chico under the direction of Eitan Beth-Halachmy with commentary by Shawn McEntee.

This is just one of 8 more additional “how to” videos (all on one dvd) available for the new Cowboy Dressage Tests. All are highly informative and excellent visual teaching aid for anyone who wishes to ride and compete in Cowboy Dressage. Chris and Chico demonstrate the tests one by one and chapters are in place on the dvd to easily find each test.

For more information on the tests, rules, diagrams, court, shows and instruction please go to http://www.cowboydressage.com/competition.html

To order the complete dvd go to http://cowboydressage.com/storefront.html

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It’s important to know how to describe your horse’s vital signs to your Veterinarian, especially in an emergency! In this video Dr. Tom Casselberry describes the easiest place to take a horse’s pulse, what a normal pulse is, as well as what can elevate a horse’s heart rate. He also shows how to use a a stethoscope. Dr. Casselberry practices out of Fairfield, Ca.

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Today César Chávez’s birthday, March 31, is celebrated in California, Colorado, and Texas as a state holiday, intended to promote service to the community in honor of Chávez’s life and work. He died in 1993 at age 66.

Chávez co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) with Dolores Huerta. It was later called the United Farm Workers (UFW). When I was going to theological seminary in 1971-74 I became involved as a union organizer. This was about the time of the grape boycott (which eventually succeeded) and Attorney General Bobby Kennedy providing direct personal support.

Most of those working in the fields were families. Mom and Dad of course, often an elderly mother and frequently children. Even with all of them working they could barely survive on the wages at the time. I remember with tears in my eyes watching a 75 year old grandmother squatting in the middle of an open field with no cover urinating in public because there were no bathrooms or tented areas for privacy.

Regardless of your view of modern unions, the UFW was an amazing organization. Totally non-violent, fighting for causes like porta potties in the fields where they worked, two breaks during a hard physical outdoor with no shade 10 hour day, adequate tools – and a basic $1.25/hr wage (The federal minimum wage at the time for other workers was $1.60). It’s hard today to remember how bad the working conditions were.

I spent many weeks in fields watching the “authorities” fire shotguns and routinely arrest people, like me, for simply picketing and asking for better working conditions. I’m sure there were many good farmers in those fields, but unfortunately they mostly choose to remain silent.

I never saw the Union spend one cent on fancy things. Cesar took no salary. My organizers salary was $5 a week. We slept on church wooden floors. Great men like Fred Ross Jr. helped teach the Union volunteers how to do grassroots, door-to-door, house meeting organizing which built the movement in communities from the ground up.

If you question the movement please feel free to write to me personally and I’ll be glad to have a dialog with you. Was it perfect, of course not. Was there a lot of internal conflict, correct. In the end was it a righteous cause, definitely.

César (his first name was actually Colegio but he went by his middle name) and his wife Helen spent the night at our communal home in Altadena, California in 1972. He was visiting to support the Los Angeles organizers and as was usual with him, he did not stay in fancy hotels but slept at friends simple homes. His sons spent the night outside guarding our house, a normal routine because of the constant death threats. We offered him dinner but he only wanted an apple (he was a vegan). Three of us spoke with him for several hours learning more about his goals and strategies for achieving those, and how we could help. A truly memorable evening.

I eventually did direct work for him at his office in Delano and in the late 1970s saw him again several times at the Center for Employment Training in San Jose, California where I was working. He was one of the most humble, sincere, and kind people I’ve ever seen.

In 1973 the UFW held it’s first convention in Fresno and I was a minor player in helping organize that with Joan Baez who was active in the movement. Found a couple of pictures of that time.

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I’m glad to see there is a new movie about him, haven’t seen it yet. But I doubt it will convey the “grit” of what it was like on a daily basis. It was extremely difficult hard work. I was honored to know him. Sí, se puede! (Spanish for Yes, it can be done).




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By By Christa Lesté-Lasserre
From TheHorse.com

The kinematic variable of the relationship between the rider’s hand and the horse’s mouth is “of importance as it yields some information about the rider’s ability to follow the movement of the horse with the hand,” Eisersiö said. It’s very important, from a horse welfare standpoint, that riders continuously work on improving how they use the hand, she added.

Eisersiö and her fellow researchers studied seven dressage horses ridden by their regular riders at the sitting trot on a treadmill. The researchers focused on the horses’ head, ears, and mouth movements and compared these findings to the riders’ use of the reins and the phase of the trot. They also measured rein tension in three horses.

They found that when horses were “on the bit,” (with neck raised, poll at its highest point, and bridge of the nose slightly in front of the vertical, as seen in dressage competitions) they had considerably more mouth and lip movements during the suspension phase of the trot (when the horse has no feet on the ground) compared to the stance phase (when the feet are in contact with the ground). The horse could be reacting to unintentional rein pulling during this phase as the rider tries to maintain balance, Eisersiö said, but further research is needed.

Interestingly, the team said, rein tension on the left side tended to cause more mouth movements, while rein tension on the right tended to cause fewer movements. More research with more horse/rider combinations is necessary to explain and verify this phenomenon, Eisersiö said.

They also found that when the horse was ridden with loose reins and allowed a free, unrestrained position, the peak rein tension occurred in the mid-stance phase of the trot (the moment when the horse has two feet on the ground). Horses lower their heads naturally during this phase, Eisersiö said, which increases rein tension unless the rider follows the head movement with his or her hands.

Perhaps more importantly, the researchers noted, there are few “definites” when it comes to evaluating horses’ reactions to rider kinematics. There is great variability from rider to rider, Eisersiö said, which means each rider is going to be give different signals to each horse.

“Studying the horse’s behavior and its behavioral reactions to the rider’s interaction is important because it gives the rider feedback of the horse’s understanding of an exercise,” said Eisersiö. “It might also be a way to know if the horse is comfortable with the ridden work and, further, give us insights to what is going on in the horse’s mind.

“The bit in the horse’s mouth presses on sensitive oral tissues, and mouth behaviors are, in many cases, the way the horse handles the pressures in the mouth,” she continued. “The horse might be uncomfortable with the pressures applied on the tissues in the mouth and thus try to manipulate the bit in different ways to seek comfort.”

For improved horse welfare, Eisersiö said she encourages riders to manage their rein tension better. To do this, she said, riders should work on improving their seat. “The rider’s ability to follow the horse’s movements and separate the hand from the seat affects the kinematic actions of the hand,” she said. “To avoid acting on the horse’s mouth involuntarily, the rider should learn to follow the horse’s movements without effort and learn to separate the hand from the seat, never using the reins to get a steadier seat in the saddle.”

The study, “Movements of the horse’s mouth in relation to horse-rider kinematic variables,” was published in The Veterinary Journal.

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By Heather Smith Thomas
From Cattle Today

Grasslands are healthiest when grazed. The periodic mowing stimulates new growth, and manure/urine from the grazing animals (and trampling of grass to provide litter) adds the necessary nutrients to the soil to make the grassland more productive.
Throughout the history of agriculture, livestock production and pasture management have made a viable combination, keeping grasslands in a healthy state. Grazers complement the production of grass and other crops. The manure produced by the animals is the best and most natural kind of fertilizer. It provides essential soil nutrients that plant compost cannot provide, and a longer-lasting effect than commercial fertilizer. Cattle are a way to produce food or make a profit on whatever type of land you have.

Sustainable agricultural systems depend on using the resources at hand without purchased input like feeds, fertilizers, chemicals. Grass (or hay grown on your place) is a renewable resource that can be fertilized and harvested by cattle. In return, cattle provide food (meat and/or milk) and useful by-products, often on land not suited for field crops.

Thus cattle do not compete with production of human food crops, but complement them. Marginal farmland is better used for pasture or semi-permanent forage crops (not needing to be plowed up), reducing erosion and soil degradation. Manure increases soil fertility, and well managed grazing can make these marginal lands more productive as well as more environmentally healthy.

Kevin Fulton, a cattle producer in central Nebraska, uses mob grazing to improve his pastures—with a large herd in a small area and moving them to a new portion several times a day. He occasionally rotates crops on those areas after mob grazing. “We planted organic wheat after three or four years of intensive mob grazing, and got 100 bushel to the acre when our neighbors were getting 50. We’ve increased the fertility of our ground just with mob grazing and no added inputs except seed—no purchased fertilizer, and we didn’t even haul out any manure,” says Fulton.

“There are big benefits to mob grazing if you use it in conjunction with crop rotation. Some people don’t think we can farm sustainably or feed the world with organic farming, but we can–if we alternate livestock with crops. On our farm, we produce as much beef (grass fed) on one of our irrigated acres of pasture as we could if we had a corn/soybean rotation and harvested it and fed it to animals in a feedlot. We’ve cut out about 10 steps in the middle and a lot of costs. We’re not hauling the manure back out on the pasture or hauling the grain to the feedlot,” he says.

Letting livestock harvest the feed saves those steps and avoids some of the environmental and animal welfare issues if you can leave the animal on grass its whole life. Fulton says cattle producers need to go back to some of these methods, without depending on so much fuel, machinery and the other costly inputs.

“Since we didn’t use any chemicals in producing our wheat, when we had rain soon after we harvested that crop, we had a flush of regrowth of wild grasses. We later grazed that field and figured we had about $100 worth of grazing value per acre after harvesting our wheat. Our two neighbors across the fence got half as much wheat, and nothing else came up because their fields were sterile. All they had was wheat stubble until they planted a different crop the next year. By contrast we double-cropped our fields. Livestock are the key to sustainable farming,” says Fulton.

He used to farm conventionally, raising crops without livestock. About 10 years ago he started to get back into livestock and moved toward grass-based farming and eventually organic and grass-finished beef. The people who think livestock are harmful to the environment need to take another look at their beneficial potential. We need livestock for sustainable farming.

“Mob grazing works to advantage in several ways. One, the plants get more rest and recovery. Secondly, you are increasing organic matter because the cattle are eating a certain percentage of the forage and trampling the rest, which is incorporated into the soil. Every one percent increase in organic matter is equal to about 40 pounds of commercial nitrogen,” says Fulton.

Doug Peterson, NRCS State Grassland Conservationist in Missouri, says mob-grazing is now recognized as a way to restore soil health and plant vigor. “I was a soil scientist with NRCS for a while and have a strong interest in soils. About seven years ago Ian Mitchell-Innes (from South Africa) and Chad Peterson in Nebraska were both starting to get folks following their ideas about higher density grazing.”

He saw incredible results. “This is a phenomenal tool to heal and build up our worn out and degraded soils in this country. Here in northern Missouri, historically (pre-European settlement) our soils were probably close to 8 percent organic matter. Now, due to farming and continuous grazing, most soils are down to two percent. We have sucked organic matter out of these soils. Cropland is down to about 1.5 percent and well managed pastures about 2.5 to 3.5 percent. We have a long way to go, to correct this,” says Peterson.

“In my training, in agronomy and soil science, we were taught that it takes hundreds of years to build or restore soil. But we started seeing some interesting things with intensive grazing and trampling, adding carbon to the surface of the soil, feeding the soil biology. We now know that we can do this a lot quicker,” he explains.

“So I went on a quest to learn everything I could about soil health, the water cycle, mineral cycle, soil biology, etc. and came across a number of people who were making incredible improvements in soil health. I recognized this as a tool to restore the land and productivity of the soil,” says Peterson.

“Some producers have restored their soil organic matter to six, seven and even eight percent in just a few years. Along with that comes a tremendous increase in productivity. The trampling is a way to purposely feed the soil biology. Farmers feed their cows but don’t always think about soil needs. Any time we do something to remove the soil’s food source (crops or haying), we have taken something away. Even if we feed the hay back on the same land, we don’t get the full benefit. We might keep the minerals in the same field, but there’s no way we can spread it across that field as uniformly as by grazing it, to feed all the soil biology. If we don’t leave nutrients for the soil biology, we can’t keep them functioning optimally.”

The grazing animals eat the tops of the plants, trample the rest, and move on—coming back the next season to a very healthy pasture that benefited from the grazing, trampling, natural reseeding and deposits of manure to supply the necessary nutrients for future plants.

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George Takei found this one. Make sure you read the reviews.

This soft, stuffed “saddle” straps onto your back. Complete with a soft saddle horn and adjustable stirrups. For children ages 2-6. All cotton. Machine wash. Made in USA.

Click HERE to see it.

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Cowboy poet, Joel Nelson, recites the classic poem “Lasca,” at the 2013 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. The first known publishing of “Lasca,” written by Frank Desprez, was in the London Society newspaper (November 1882), and later picked up by the Montana Livestock Journal (June 16, 1888).

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