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Livestock Minerals
We get a lot of questions about the minerals we use and why. Below is a good summary of what we use, where we get if from, and why we use it. This is copied from an AD from Grass Farmer Supply. (click on link)
 
 
Cattle Selection
Longevity is the single-most important selection trait for livestock producers. It`s easy to see why. Longevity incorporates all the other traits: fertility, soundness, efficiency, production, performance, etc. Dr. Allen Williams puts all this together in his article, "Grass Genetic Selection 101."
 
We began our Red Angus herd with a set of teenage cows from Buffalo Creek Red Angus. These cows had stood the test of time, and many of their daughters make up the base of our herd today.
 
 
Original set of teenage Buffalo Creek cows with their calves on fall pasture. 
Producer Profile
The Stockman Grass Farmer magazine recently featured T & T Cattle and Lost Wells Cattle Co. in their producer profile section. Click here to view the article. It`s a short-and-sweet summary, but lists many of the products we use and what we consider our "competitive advantage." They did a good job, and my dad even got a chuckle out of it. Whenever people inquire, or have questions, my advice always includes a subscription to the Stockman Grass Farmer magazine. It is full of useful tips from like-minded producers.
ASA Featured Article
The American Simmental Association recently featured our business in the April issue of the Register. We enjoy the interviews, and any chance to get our story out there. Some of the history is a little off, but the overall message is spot-on. Click on the link to see the article: Grass-Fed, Fleckvieh Bred
Why All the Fat Bulls?
It`s been a busy winter! We have had record cold and snow, which has prompted us to begin feeding earlier than we wanted. We have had warm, open winters for the past few years, and almost forgot what a hard winter was. Thus the drought in posts. However, I wanted to pass along an article that I read recently in the ASA publication SimTalk entitled, "Why all the Fat Bulls?" I have been hammering on this for awhile, and have coined the term, "Is that for real?" It`s hard to evaluate bulls at sales when they are covered in fat. Indeed, that is not "real" and they will never see that condition again without those same "unnatural" inputs. The article is well written and provides great information of feeding and developing bulls. I`ve highlighted what I think are some important statements in the article. The take-home point is that excessive fat covers up many flaws and is detrimental for fertility and longevity.
Chemical Free Beef
Many toxins are dangerous in very small quantities. It makes sense that we should avoid these toxins, whether they are being tested for or not. Buy your food from a trusted source, and preferably locally. Dr Mercola discusses some of the dangers of hidden toxins in his article Dangers of Hidden Poisons in Your Food.
Ancestral Diet is the Key
This is one of the best articles I have seen on Fats and Proteins vs. Carbs. We need to be able to separate the main-stream marketing ploys from the facts when it comes to healthy eating. Dr. Sears takes a look at our anthropology to explain our current state of health. Click here to read his article.
Ranch Management
I often wonder if I`m doing all I can to improve my ranch management skills. Sometimes I fall into an arrogant spell, and think that I have it all figured out. This type of thinking limits progress and puts the brakes on advancement. Sure, many ideas can come from ingenuity, but it never hurts to listen to someone else`s ideas. Finding ways to adapt other peoples` successes to your operation is key to success. I have caught myself saying, "That will never work in our environment." It`s only when I recognize this defeatist attitude and address my pride that I can admit that maybe there is more to learn. Many ranchers get stuck in the mode of, "This is the way we have always done it." The only thing this type of thinking will guarantee is that you will be limited to historical mediocracy. Burke Teichert does an excellent job of explaining ways to improve Ranch Management skills. Click here to read his article.
Fats or Sugars?
Dr. Al Sears combines a great sense of humor with some sobering facts about FDA policy and real health. He gives you the facts, and doesn`t mince words. Just another reason not to rely on the government for your health information. Click here for the full article.
Why Grassfed Trumps Grain-fed
Chris Kresser explains the benefits of grassfed meats over their grain-fed counterparts. Most people are aware that grassfed meats are healthier, but few know why. Chris explains the difference and why you should care: Click here for the full article.
Food Frontiers
In the last post, I briefly mention treating food as medicine. The constant response I get is that good food is expensive. My response to that has been, "pay for it now (with good food) or pay for it later (in medical bills)." Not to make light of people`s financial situation, I know how difficult it is to eat healthy. I also know how important it is, especially for growing kids and pregnant women. This article (and associated documentary) showcases a few innovative ways to improve access to healthy foods. 

`Food Frontiers` Documentary Reveals the Changing Landscape of the American Food System

High-Fat Diet Fights Cancer
I`ve read a lot about Ketogenic diets and their benefits for fighting cancer. This article by Dr. Mercola reinforces this point. When we start treating food as medicine, I think we will start to see a reprieve in these tragic modern diseases.  How a High-Fat Diet Helps Starve Cancer
French Diet Healthy Because of ??
The secret to their health has finally been discovered, and it`s not what you may think. The article from The Wellness Blog sheds some light on what the French diet and Grassfed meat and dairy have in common. Full Article.
Saturated Fats ARE Healthy For You
Saturated fats have long been vilified as causing a barrage of health problems. It`s funny, though, how the low-fat, low-cholesterol diets that have been pushed on us the past few decades have failed to make us any healthier. Again, it`s time to look at history for the answers. Dr. Mercola does a great job reviewing the data concerning saturated fats. The conclusion: Eat more saturated fat! Grass-fed beef (and the fat) provide a great source of healthy protein and fat. Mercola article
Grassfed - Worth the Price
Organic and grassfed products often catch a lot of heat for their prices. I like to think of these holistic products as "custom made." The "custom" part generally means we are getting something better, something superior, not average. When I make the decision to "customize" the food I buy, it often leads me to think about my future, or the future of my kids. I have to ask myself, "Why would I want to skimp on my kids` development, or my kids` future health?" The issue is, of course, with the cost. Now we have more information to help us make healthy and longterm food buying decisions. Click on the link below to see the results of a recent study. 

New Studies Prove Organic and Grass-Fed Are Worth the Price

Bull Buyer`s Guide - Drovers
I`ve addressed the topic of bull buying in a March 2015 post. Recently, Drovers put out a similar article which goes into more detail about what to look for and how to find the right bull. I enjoyed the article, and was a little shocked to see this kind of advice come out of a major beef publication. Usually these publications tow the line for the major bull stud corporations, feedlots and packing plants. It was a welcome change from the "norm" of BS that we are constantly fed, and gave me hope that a few more people are starting to see that change is necessary. It all comes down to selecting a bull from a reputable producer who raises cattle to be sustainable and profitable. The article explains some of the problems with EPD Indices, discusses the value of heterosis, and talks about size, type, and quality. My favorite part is the discussion on "fancy, sexy bulls" near the end of the article. All joking aside, buying a bull that adds value will help move your herd in the right direction. Drovers Article
Unsustainable and Unprofitable Cow Herd Trends
An interesting article in Drovers magazine points to mounting data showing the American cow herd is becoming less productive and requires more inputs. Calf weaning weights have not changed in over 20 years while cows have become higher maintenance. Seedstock producers and feedlot buyers are pushing these type of cattle at the commercial cattleman`s expense. The sad part is that many cattleman will not see it coming and will go out of business. Moderate cattle that thrive on grass with minimal inputs are the only answer to this problem. One of the suggestions is to "Purchase bulls out of cows that are managed like yours, or worse; have never missed a calf; and calve early." At T&T Cattle, we track exposure dates on our cows and check the calving dates to ensure all replacement heifers and bulls calve within the cows` first 2 cycles. We only keep bulls from cows that have never missed a calf. At calving, our cows are scored for udder quality, maternal traits, and disposition. At weaning, our cows are weighed, measured for hip height, and given a body conditioning score (BCS). The calf`s 205-day adjusted weaning weight is compared to the cow`s BCS-adjusted weight and an efficiency percentage is calculated. We shoot for a 50% efficiency score. Last year our entire herd (commercials included) averaged 49.9% efficiency. Our cows are pushed hard to make sure their bull calves will perform for you. We want to help you improve your genetics, not just sell you a bull.
 
After-the-Holidays Detox
For me, the Christmas season usually includes splurging. I`m not talking financially, but about all the holiday candies, cookies, and desserts. It generally gives me a stomach ache, but I can`t help myself. Kelley Herring shares in her blog foods that help us detox from daily chemical exposure. Or, if you`re like me, detox from my holiday sugar high. The best part: grassfed meats should be part of a healthy diet that help our bodies detox all year long. Kelley`s Article
5 Reasons Why GMOs Should Be Labeled
The consumer should be given the proper information to make buying decisions. Of course, many GMO companies are afraid that if they give consumers a choice, GMO products will suffer. Isn`t this the whole belief behind capitalism? Shouldn`t supply and demand drive the markets, not corporate interests?
 
 
Farming Success with Joel Salatin
Come for the information - stay for the entertainment!
Joel has a way of getting his point across in a very entertaining way. However, the message is equally important. He goes through 10 steps of successful farming that are eye opening. He answers questions that we all have about making a living in agriculture with great wisdom and insight, and addresses the pitfalls that farmers face. Enjoy and share with other young farmers/ranchers who would like to get into, or continue in agriculture, but don`t know how to make it work.  Joel Salatin - 10 Thread to Farming Success
Fenceline Weaning
Weaning calves used to be a stressful time for the calves, the cows, and us. This was also the time when we placed the calves in the feedlot and fed them hay until the spring green-up. We would spend the next couple of months feeding and doctoring calves. Fenceline weaning has simplified the entire process. The majority of the stress on the calves is from the separation. By weaning calves across the fence from their mothers, they can still see their mothers and their anxiety is greatly reduced. Plus, they can continue to graze in the pasture, so no expensive feed, and very few sick calves. We have made it many years without any sick calves.
 
Another great tool I learned from my Grandmother was to wean on a waning moon. This comes right out of the Farmer’s Almanac and matches up weaning time with the cow’s natural milk production cycle. It’s all about gravity. Just ask any wise dairyman when their cows’ greatest milk production occurs. They will tell you that it’s around the full moon. And conversely, the least milk production is around the new moon. We have noticed that the cows dry up quicker and don’t fight the fences when we wean on a waning moon. The calves will bawl for a day or two, then go right to grazing and forget all about their mothers.
 
We try to wean our calves when they are older (8-10 months). These few extra months help to boost the calves` immune system and keep the cows from becoming obese. With easy fleshing cows, we find ourselves looking for ways to put pressure on them, rather than prop them up. Great genetics and a few “old school” tips sure make this “new age” ranching more enjoyable and profitable!
Gabe Brown and Soil Health
We were able to attend one of Gabe Brown`s seminars on soil health recently. Although we have read through much of his work, meeting him in person and getting to ask him questions directly was a great learning experience. It helped that our dad was able to go with us, and get his questions answered first-hand. A day with Gabe probably saved us a month of explaining! No matter where you are in your farming and livestock projects, from novice to expert, seminars like this help re-engerize and re-focus your efforts. Sometimes the naysayers start getting to a person. Talking with Gabe provided great positive reinforcement for what we are doing, and helped us lay out plans for future projects. Especially in our area, knowing what species will work for no-till cover cropping and cash crops probably saved us 5-10 years of experimenting.
 
Bob, Bobby, Gabe, and Brendan
Bull Buying Season - Don`t be fooled!
For ranchers and producers, it`s the time of year when most of us are looking for bulls. Unless you were smart, and already bought them this past fall. Average sale prices so far this spring have almost doubled last year`s highs for many seedstock producers. With bulls selling in the $5-10K range, make sure you are getting your money`s worth. Just because someone else is willing to bid you up that high, doesn`t mean a bull is worth that much. From personal experience, the auction ring environment has left me with many regrets. I think for a lot of people, it is addicting, similar to gambling. I know I`ve had my heart pumping a few time at sales in the past. I came to realize that I was being sold on the hype, and not necessarily on the quality of the bulls.
 
I don`t care what anyone says, if a seedstock producer`s bulls are gaining like fat steers, they are not going to last. Sure, they look fat and shiny, but you can cover a lot of defects with a little extra fat. And you will pay for that extra fat many times over in lower fertility and reduced longevity. Unless you plan on keeping a grain bucket in front of that fat bull all summer, don`t expect him to look like that in the fall. And his calves won`t look like that either as yearlings, unless you pack that grain bucket for them too. Man, that`s a lot of grain buckets to pack around, not to mention all the grain!
 
Standard industry practice is to put one bull with 25 head of cows, and you should get 4 years out of that bull. I say "should," because his grain foundered feet might not make it that long. Simple math says that a $10K bull over 4 years will cost you $100 per calf. Now, what if you could get 40 calves per year, and 6 years of use out of a forage fed bull for the same price? That comes out to about $42 per calf. And that is a conservative estimate! We have put our herdbull, 116Y, with over 50 cows for the last 3 years. And we expect to do that for another 5 years. For that same $10,000 bull, the cost would be $25 per calf. So, you get 4X your money`s worth for the forage fed bull, or you can afford to pay 4X as much. Plus, I can guarantee that you won`t have the "after-auction regrets."
 
Most bull buyers already know all this. So why would anyone want to pay too much for a bull that is almost guaranteed to fall apart? Good question. I think the answer has more to do with social interaction and psychology, than with logic. These big seedstock producers are good at turning a sale into the "social event of the year!" Even if people go just to see their neighbors and friends, they often end up making a purchase that they later regret. I`m not telling anyone not to be social, but if you`re an alcoholic, shouldn`t you avoid the bar? My favorite is the seedstock producers that say they, "are now focused on moderate frames, longevity, and low-maintenance," but continue using the same AI sires. What has changed? There are 2 parts to the puzzle; you need the right genetics and proper development. Neither works well by itself. If seedstock producer X`s bull didn`t last 3 years in the past, what makes you think his bulls are any different this year? Look for a seedstock producer that runs his cattle harder than you do, or at least as hard.
 
In closing thoughts, my purpose is not to disparage other producers, but to show that there is another way. Ranching can be profitable and fun, and it should be. How else are we going to continue this way of life? Or encourage the next generation to follow in our footsteps? However, "profitable" and "fun" are directly related. Make wise decisions this year. Look for new ways to be innovative and profitable, and don`t be afraid to think outside the box. History has many lessons for us. We need to make sure we are learning from our mistakes, and not chalking another one up to "bad luck."
Defending Beef - The Case For Sustainable Meat Production
A review of the book "Defending Beef" was recently published in the LA Times. The book makes a case for cattle as necessary to the restoration and future health of the planet and its people. The author, Nicolette Hahn Niman, is a trained biologist and environmental attorney (and interestingly enough, also a vegetarian). She debunks many myths and addresses such things as greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, overgrazing, and many environmental questions that conscientious objectors have with cattle and beef. She cites many sources to draw her conclusions from, and presents her book in an interesting format. Review: `Case on Sustainable Meat` takes on many sacred cows
 
 
 
"Bought" - The Documentary

"Your health is now brought to you by Wall Street. If you thought they hurt us with the banks, wait `til you see what they are doing to our health care." – Jeff Hays, "Bought"

 
Exposing the truth is always a good idea. Many horrible things have happened throughout history veiled in secrecy or misinformation. It doesn`t matter where you stand on these issues, just make sure you are fully informed. This documentary exposes the hidden agendas behind many of our modern day problems. Follow the link to watch: Bought - The Documentary.
 
Signs of Nutritional Deficiencies
Dr. Mercola puts together another great article on the signs of nutritional deficiencies. We use the same type of protocol to identify nutritional deficiencies in our cattle: we watch for signs. In livestock, however, it gets complicated because there is no verbal communication. Most of our observations are anecdotal, and if we make a mistake we may suffer a financial setback. In humans, it is much more serious. That is why it is imperative to seek advice from a healthcare professional (i.e. dietitian) if you are having severe symptoms. For improving overall health, though, there are many things you can do yourself. Sometimes complex issues can be related to something as simple as dehydration, like fatigue, headaches, constipation, and muscle cramps. Knowing what to look for can be a challenge. Supplementation may be necessary to clear up more severe deficiencies. However, eating right can prevent many deficiencies and promote better overall health. Leave the white sugar, white flour and white rice behind and start eating nutrient dense foods like grass-fed meats and dairy, and farm-fresh eggs. And don`t forget your organ meats like liver and heart. There is a reason your Grandparents cooked organ meats on a routine basis. They are packed with vitamins and minerals that you just can`t get from our modern diet. Full article
Regenerative Agriculture - The Natural Solution to Better Crop Yields
Regenerative Agriculture is the process of increasing crop production by naturally building soil health and fertility. Farmers and Ranchers have been fed a steady diet of pesticide and herbicide use for years by leading chemical companies, touting this as the solution to increased crop yields. However, when super-weeds and super-bugs that are resistant to these chemicals become more abundant, the answer from these same companies is more chemicals. GMO crops, with their increased chemical dependance, have not been shown to improve crop yields. The video clip at the beginning of the referenced article shows farmers who have had enough of the chemical company propaganda, and are finding higher crop yields by improving soil health. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is helping farmers in this effort. Their observation is that improving the soil health naturally also improves the water quality and habitat for flora and fauna. 
The Link Between Celiac Disease and Roundup
Roundup is being used to harvest wheat, as it results in slightly higher yields. This practice has only been around for about the last 15 years. Dr. Stephanie Seneff has found in her research that the use of Roundup to harvest wheat is strongly correlated to the rise in Celiac disease. The use of Roundup (Glyphosate) results in a wheat that is highly indigestible, causing an immune response. This response expresses itself as Celiac Disease. For more, please see the full article.
Building Soils in Your Garden
I enjoy gardening. I have treated it as a pilot project to see what might work on the ranch. I also enjoy the benefits of the home-grown produce. However, I am not a fan of weeding. Dr. Mercola recently posted an article on building your garden soils with wood chips. Wood chips can build soils and reduce water consumption and fertilizer use. It makes sense. In farming, ranching, or reclamation, bare soils are not good. In plant succession, weeds are the first thing that grow in an attempt to provide ground cover. The same is true for a garden. If that cover is provided, weeds will not (and cannot) grow. See the article for more information on Bio-dynamic Farming.
Grassfed Steers at Fair
The kids finished up with fair this past week. It was another fun year, but I`m sure glad it`s over! The steers were from our herd and were raised and finished without grain. We had a few people comment to us that they couldn`t believe that our steers were not feed any grain. These type of genetics are so far from the mainstream, that people are in disbelief that they even exist. As an added benefit, the steers all placed about the middle of their class, with one placing as high as third. All 5 steers that were shown were sired by our herd bull, 116Y, and all had great dispositions.
 
 A40 was Talon`s first steer. He weighed 1037 lbs and is 7/8 Red Angus (1594460)
Healing the Soil With Holistic Managment
Attending a ranch day in Colorado reaffirmed the necessity of holistic management in agriculture systems. Allan Savory’s words were ‘life begets life.’ Many of our grasslands and rangelands are degrading simply because the animal has been removed. The number of animals that a piece of ground could potentially sustain would astonish many of us. Just as the animal needs the plant to survive, plants need the animal. Our misinterpretation of grazing systems is leading to degradation of our soils, which affects every aspect of our life. Watch Allan`s TED talk, and visit his website for more information.
Reasons to Switch to Grassfed Beef and Dairy
Dr. Mercola puts together a great summary of the benefits of Grassfed beef and dairy. We were quite surprised to see our Farm-to-Fork documentary embedded in the article! I think the take-home point is: Know your farmer, know your food. We can vote with our pocketbook everyday by the food decisions we make. Find a local farmer, go to your local Farmer`s Market, and buy locally sourced meat and produce. Full Article
“Extreme” Levels of Roundup Detected in Food
GMOs, resulting from “Roundup Ready” crops, are receiving increased scrutiny as more research becomes available. Some of this increased scrutiny can be attributed to a French court, who in 2009 found Monsanto guilty of lying concerning its claims that the herbicide Roundup was “biodegradable,” “environmentally friendly,” and that it “left the soil clean.” Recent research has shown that the active ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, disrupts normal body functions and induces disease. You can bet that if you are eating processed foods, you are getting a high dose of glyphosate. Not only that, but meat from animals that were fed GMO feeds also contain high levels of glyphosate. Glyphosate is now being looked at as a factor in many modern diseases and conditions such as Autism, Obesity, Crohn’s Disease, Allergies, Depression, Cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, MS and more. The marketing campaign behind GMO crops was very well funded. However, claims that “we can feed the world” with the “next generation” of genetically engineered (GE) crops is far from the truth. GE crops are not sustainable because they rely heavily on the use of chemicals; chemicals that are making our food toxic. And to make matters worse, GE crops are far less nutritious that non-GE crops. So, toxic chemicals and less nutrition: How are GE crops supposed to feed the world?

As farmers, we need to focus on sustainability. We need to enhance our soil microbial activity, which in turn leads to healthy soils and healthy crops. Conventional farming should be termed “mining” because it is removing hundreds of necessary minerals from the soil and trying to replace them with three, N:P:K (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium), in the form of synthetic fertilizer. Do you see the cycle? The same company that sells the farmer GMO seed, sells them the chemicals these crops require, buys the crop at harvest time, and lobbies the government to subsidize their practices. Chemical Agriculture, as it is now termed, is highly profitable for these companies, but the farmer only sees a fraction of this profit. I would liken Chemical Agriculture to crops on steroids. It may look great for awhile, but it can’t last, it is not sustainable, and the results will be costly for all. Read more here.
It`s time to brand!
Spring is always a busy time of year, thus the drought in posts lately. We are getting towards the end of calving season which means: It’s time to brand! I can’t think of anything more enjoyable than a good ole branding. This year we will brand on May 3rd. We have always had an open invitation to our branding, and again this year, we welcome anyone who wants to help, or even just watch. If you would like join in on the fun, drop us a quick note so we can plan for lunch. When I was a kid, this was the social event of the spring season. All the neighbors would come to help. Then we would spend the rest of the spring helping all the neighbors. Our branding usually began by getting up before daybreak (like 3:30 am!), saddling your horse, and getting the cows in before the calves nursed in the morning. This was a critical time, because if you got there later, the calves wouldn’t follow their mommas. If this happened, then a fun and enjoyable “roundup” turned into a long and stressful morning. Dad was always reminding us, “Come on, we have to get out there before the calves suck.” Most of the time the “roundup” part went smoothly. Once the pairs (cows and calves) were corralled, we would head to the house for a big breakfast, which usually consisted of pancakes, bacon, eggs, and sausage. This was the important meal of the day, because you didn’t get lunch until after the calves were branded. Sometimes that would be late afternoon. Again, dad’s wisdom rings true, “Better eat now; who knows when you will get to eat again.” After breakfast, we began by sorting the cows from the calves. Then the fun began! The ropers would start dragging the calves in and the wrestling would start. The smell of burning hair would fill the air. I can smell it now! After a long day of branding, we would head back to the house to eat again and break out the adult beverages. The rule was no beer until the work was done. Well, most of the work. Lunch was a quick affair, then back to moving the cows to the pasture again. The rest of the day (what was left of the day) would be spent catching up with the neighbors after the long winter. Today, our branding still involves many of the same things: good friends, good food, and good times!
PBS Farm-to-Fork Series
The Wyoming PBS Farm-to-Fork series on grassfed beef featuring Lost Wells Cattle Co. aired recently. The episode was put together very well, thanks to Stefani Smith and her staff. You can check out the commentary and other episodes at http://wyomingpbs.org/farmtofork.php.
Apple Cider Vinegar

We get a lot of questions about our cattle mineral program. People want to know what works and why. In addition to a trace mineral salt and natural mineral, one of our staples is Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV). It is becoming an accepted supplement to improve immune system function and overall cattle health. Thanks to the likes of Will Winter, DVM, and others who have explained the benefits and how it works. It wasn’t that long ago that we were getting some strange looks from people when we mentioned that we fed ACV to our cattle. As always, it’s imperative that you start with a raw (unpasteurized), unfiltered ACV. The distilled versions won’t work. We mix it 50:50 with water and feed it free-choice to our cattle. During cold weather, we use a heated trough. The benefits we have seen from supplementing with ACV include increased feed efficiency, reduced internal parasites, less biting insects, less scratching and rubbing, quick shedding in the spring, and healthy cattle with shiny hair coats. In the rare cases of scours or bloat, we drench our cattle with a 50:50 mix of ACV. One or two doses is usually all it takes. We purchase the organic ACV in bulk from Wick’s Livestock Nutrition (www.wickslivestock.com) to save on shipping. The nice thing about the organic ACV is that we can use it for ourselves as well.

We try to keep ACV in stock to supply small producers in our area who don’t want to purchase 275 gallons at a time. We have also provided it to people who have asked for it for their own use. The ACV we purchase comes from the same place that Braggs gets theirs. Braggs dilutes theirs to 5% acidity (from 6%), bottles it, and sells it to the public for a nice profit. See (http://bragg.com/products/bragg-organic-apple-cider-vinegar.html) for human uses and benefits.

ACV works great to bolster your immune system. I have used it successfully to treat any kind of stomach ailment, from the flu to indigestion. It also works great for muscle cramps, and for growing pains in children. To get my kids to take it, I mix 1-2 tsp of ACV in 8 oz of orange juice. My favorite is 2-3 tsp of ACV in a cup of hot tea with a tsp of honey. During hot weather, try it in ice tea.

The more we learn about the mineral needs of our cattle, the more we learn about our own mineral needs. ACV is an inexpensive supplement that works great for the cows and the kids.


Analyzing Cattle for the Grass-finishing Type
We recently enlisted the help of Steve Campbell of Tailor Made Cattle to analyze our cattle for grass-finishing characteristics. Steve is a student of Gerald Fry and possesses a keen eye for cattle that will finish on grass. He looked through our cattle, pointed things out to us, and showed us what to look for. I was familiar with Steve`s technique, but hadn`t really understood why these things were important. Like they say, "A picture is worth a thousand words." Steve spent the day with us discussing things from fertilizer and minerals to our own health. Our biggest surprise of the day came when we tried to run our herd bull, 116Y, in the chute to measure him. First off, he was too wide to fit in the alley to the chute! Then, Steve suggested we just crowd him up in the pen and see if we could measure him there. By the end of that session, we could have put a halter on him and led him off! I knew he had a quiet disposition, but I had no idea we could crowd him up and pet him like that 116Y getting measured. We learned much from Steve that day and are thankful for all his help, advice, and patience. See the Sires page for more about 116Y, including videos.
Joel Salatin - "Folks, This Ain`t Normal"
A prolific author, Salatin`s seven books to date include both how-to and big picture themes. The farm features prominently in Michael Pollan`s NYT bestseller Omnivore`s Dilemma and the award-winning documentary, Food Inc. His recent widely acclaimed book, Folks, This Ain`t Normal, takes a common sense look at our food: where it comes from, it`s current state of abnormality—and why we shouldn`t eat most of it. I`ve come to admire Joel Salatin as the voice of reason in a crazy world. He is entertaining to listen to. He speaks on common sense issues that affect all of us. Take a minute to watch some of his presentations. One of my favorites is Folks, This Ain`t Normal, taken from his book with the same title. For the short version, watch Joel on TedMed. He uniquely explains the concept of Biology vs Mechanics and shows why we should all be concerned. For more information on Joel Salatin, visit his website at Polyface Farms.
GMOs: What`s the big deal?
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are a major hot-button subject throughout our country. Most European countries have bans against them for public safety. Some farmers have said they couldn`t farm without them. Others, that GMOs save them in labor. I drive by a neighbor`s GMO sugar beets often and notice there are many weeds in with the beets. After spraying with Roundup, some weeds still persist. Could these crops be a product of great marketing by seed companies? An article from Dr. Mercola shows Why GMOs Can Never Be Safe and lists some of the common myths associated with GMOs. To use GMO crops, farmers have to sign away many rights. Once GMO crops are introduced to an area, all suffer the consequences, as unintentional use of GMO seed can put a person in jail. See the story of Percy Schmeiser in David vs Monsanto.
UPDATE: As more information emerges about GMO crops, it`s clear to see the dangers of their use.
"Research reveals that glyphosate (the active ingredient in Monsanto`s herbicide Roundup) is unlike other conventional herbicides. Like many other herbicides it’s a mineral chelator. This means it immobilizes nutrients, making them physiologically unavailable for your body, or the body of an animal, in the case of livestock feed. But glyphosate is also patented as an antibiotic against a large number of organisms, and this is where it veers away from other agricultural chemicals. Like all antibiotics, it kills indiscriminately, so it also decimates critically beneficial soil bacteria, as well as animal - and human gut bacteria." See the complete article: GMO Alfalfa. For a litltle humor, watch the Daily Show clip at the beginning. It`s funny, but not funny.
2013 Fremont County Fair
The kids just finished up with fair the first week of August. Although it was fun and exciting, it was also stressful. The kids had 5 steers there this year. The steers are from our herd of grass-based genetics, and we get them ready for fair without grain. The only thing they get is ground hay, salt, mineral, and apple cider vinegar. The steers did well on this ration, ranging from about 1050-1240 lbs. Although they didn`t place well in the beef show, in the carcass contest they placed in the middle with an average IMF score of about 6% and backfat of about 0.3 inches. I saw a couple of the steers hanging in the cooler after fair and thought they looked good, if not a little fat. There will be little to no waste on those steers. The kids did a good job and had fun.
Averee showing `Big Red` in PeeWee showmanship
Selling Local
It`s a shame to raise quality cattle just to loose them in the abyss of the packers and feeders every fall. The conventional system of raising calves, selling them in the fall at weaning to be shipped east to the feedlots, then processing them the next fall and shipping meat back to the grocery store seemed crazy. Why not keep and sell the beef locally? It guarantees a better product with superior quality control, traceability, and has the added benefit of generating local business. Now that is real stimulus! With this new business model for ranching comes risk, which must be substantial, since there are not more people trying it. Or maybe asking a rancher to become a salesman is too much of a stretch. Whatever it may be, it definitely demands a new way of thinking.

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