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BeefTalk: Cowsonality Important to a Productive Cow Herd

Developing and maintaining a producing cow herd is no easy task, and doing that task well is close to the heart of every producer.

Even when the cows aren't tagged, every producer can pick out the favorite cow or cows and recite a unique story about many of them. That brings us to the topic of "cowsonality," the attitude and behavior exhibited by individual cows that contribute to their place in the development of a productive cow herd.

Those anecdotes are indicative of each cow's cowsonality, which, if positive, is an important trait to retain in the herd.

That brings us to the process of who stays and who gets marketed, along with the debate of raising or buying replacements. Producers realize that successful cow herds are more than just what is on paper. Knowing the cowsonality within your cow herd is important and is often the reason producers opt to raise their own replacements. Good cow families are the core of a herd.

In the fall, as the cows are gathered, perhaps some reflection from the cow's point of view is good:

"I have tried to keep an eye on you (the calf) as we follow the annual trek, a path I know well," the cow says. "I hope you learned as I prepare to 'cut the cord' and say goodbye, at least for now. This summer was pleasant. The grass now is not what it was earlier in the year. The chill in the air means the horses and riders will be appearing on the horizon to take us home.

"It seems like yesterday when all 84 pounds of you arrived (the same weight as my first calf) during a dark, chilly April night with no complications. I am glad my producer has chosen some warmer times to calve. I certainly do not miss those cold nursing periods with minus 30-degree wind chills.

"When you were born, I had a slight chill, but a good time, and the help were proud when their flashlight showed you up and nursing. A gentle 'moo' satisfied them and they moved on to check a young heifer calving just below the hill.

"As I get older, I appreciate a lighter birthweight. I remember your 105-pound older brother. I had to more than sneeze to pop him out, but I was in my prime, a strong 6 years of age and boss of bunk No. 9.

"Today, at 12, I'm holding my own. This year had good, green grass over our knees. The rancher said the crested wheat was good this year, and the trails in the native summer pastures were familiar. That next generation of 'know-it-alls' who took over Bunk 9 last winter had to ask for guidance through the wide-open spaces of the northwest pasture.

"After all, I know the choice spots to graze and nurture a young, growing heifer like you. The watering holes soon were learned by all your friends; the smell of summer grass was soothing and produced milk for your well-being.

"Summer was one of those dry, but sometimes wet, years when we had to look a little harder to find the grass at times. The grass was good as riders started to scout the pasture for all the family. I know well where your cousin hides. For some reason, she is always the last to come in. I guess she is smarter than the average, but to no avail.

"Your growth report card is great. You weighed in at 608 pounds, gained 2.14 pounds a day, framed in at 5.5 and weighed 2.48 pounds per day of age. I'm pleased at how you have performed, and I noticed you didn't get unruly when the herdsman gave you your vaccinations. That is a plus.

"I remember one of your sisters turning on the herdsman when she came out of the chute. I haven't seen her since. The crew mumbled something about disposition, and your father's temper, which your sister inherited.

"Let's enjoy these next couple of weeks. If history holds, once we are turned into the stubble, our final separation is not too far away. I noticed the word 'replacement' on the comment section of your report card. The other heifers averaged 536 pounds, so that puts your ranking very high. With a 5.5 frame score, you will fit in fine.

"My advice to you: Eat a balanced diet, watch your winter weight gain and wiggle your ears when you see anybody with a pipette in their hand in the spring. Now, I can feel Junior doing a few cartwheels getting ready for next spring's delivery, so we better get back to eating to maintain my current weight at 1,250 pounds and condition score at 6. At my age, I don't want to give the crew any reason to look twice."

At the same time, producers looking over the herd may be wondering, "What is that cow really thinking?"

Cowsonality is real and, when selecting replacements, I hope it is making the cow herd more functional and productive. The best advice for producers may need to be filtered by taking time to understand the cows within the herd, and after a lifetime of understanding, a producer becomes a rancher, one who knows the land and the cattle.

Remember to take care and appreciate that individual cowsonality, and that cow will take care of you.

May you find all your ear tags.

Outside Circle by Jan Swan Wood: High school rodeo info, Sturgis smoker, fundraisers, Cowboy Reunion

It's sure been a cold and dreary week or so. I hope by the time you read this we are back to more seasonal fall weather. There was quite a bit of moisture accumulated through all the cold though, both as rain and as snow. The snow melted right off and everything soaked in. The cool season grasses, like crested wheat, are sure growing. I'd be happy to see it warm up and stay that way until Thanksgiving. Took a trip to Rapid City yesterday and saw some alfalfa, probably fourth cutting, in big, fat windrows down by Vale. Oh it's beautiful and green and wet. Really wet. It should dry out enough to bale by about June 28, 2019. For their sake, I hope it's sooner.

For you high school rodeo kids or parents, when you are filling out the membership information on the NHSRA on-line portal, there's a spot that says updateme. You need to fill that out so the info on it is all correct. Also, when you've filled out all the membership stuff and paid your membership, you're not done until you print off all three forms and get them signed and notorized, then uploaded to the portal again. No forms will be mailed. If you have questions, go to your state high school rodeo association home page for answers.

The Sturgis High School Rodeo Booster Club's annual smoker will be Oct. 19 at the Knuckle Saloon in Sturgis, S.D. There will be a delicious steak tip dinner and salad for $13.00, from 5 to 9 p.m., and both silent and live auctions. It's always a good time to go catch up with friends for a visit too. Tickets sold at the door. If you have auction items to donate or just want info, call Chrissy Peterson at 605-347-1068.

I had a nice visit with Johnny Holloway the other night and he and Sharon are once again having their Cowboy Reunion at the First Gold in Deadwood, S.D. on Oct. 20. Happy hour starts at 5 p.m. with supper at 6. He says the bull session will last until the wee small hours. There's always a block of rooms at a nice group discount at the First Gold for this, so go have fun and spend the night. If you have questions, call Johnny and Sharon at 605-964-3088.

Gordon Livestock Auction Market will be having a horse sale on Sunday, Oct. 28, with loose horses starting at noon. Ride-ins will start at 2 p.m.. This is at Gordon, Neb.

Here's another of those "there but for the grace of God go I" reports. On Sept. 11, TJ Steele, Newell, S.D. rancher, rodeo hand, and all around good feller, was injured while loading hay. A couple of bales slipped and TJ ended up with a shattered and dislocated hip and a fractured and dislocated shoulder. He is home recovering but will be in a wheelchair for another two months. There is going to be a benefit to help him and Deb and their family with medical bills and living expenses. It will be on Sat., Nov. 3, 5-9 p.m. at the Branding Iron Steakhouse, Belle Fourche, S.D. Donations of auction items, and cash of course, can be given by calling LeAnn Gaer at 605-222-9544 or Betsy Burtzlaff at 605-645-2890.

There will be a reining clinic with Levi Hostelter on Nov. 3-4 at the Buffalo Berry Arena, near Sturgis, S.D. All levels are welcome to come. There will be two half day sessions for $200. Call Ashley Villmow at 307-680-5362 for details.

Thar's November Turkey Trot Sort will be at the Cam-Plex East Pavillion, Gillette, Wyo., on Nov. 10-11. Enter from 8-8:30 a.m., starts at 9. Call Zane at 307-660-9501 for more information.

The New Underwood Roping Club will be having their annual meeting Nov. 14, 6 p.m. in the office at the arena. Be there or be on a committee!

Now that it's been cold and snowy, it's a great time to be gelding those stud colts. They'll have time to get healed up before winter and be ready for education or turnout come spring. It's a good time to have their mouths gone through too as those wolf teeth will be showing up by now. While their laying around in lala land, you can also brand them.

We just had some of our horses in to the vet for dental work and it sure wasn't premature. It's amazing what a horse will put up with and still go do a day's work. Winter will be a lot easier for them, that's for sure.

Well, that's my circle for another week. Have a good one and be careful out there.

Baxter Black: Hung Up In The Fence

She was a pretty cow. A big polled Hereford but she was only half bagged up. So they sorted her off. These were pretty rangy cows and when they got separated from the big bunch they got nervous. Rex and Clair dropped her over into the "questionable" pen to run her though the chute. Rex wanted to check her bag.

The big cow had fire in her eyes when she saw Rex. She charged him! He raced to the fence. Clair stepped in front of the one-cow stampede and swung at her with a broken plastic whip. She changed directions, missed him by a hare's breath and cleared the fence herself!

I say 'cleared the fence'. I mean 'almost cleared the fence'. Rex was proud of his new fence. He built it of Red Brand welded wire 4 x 6 foot panels and cedar posts. He ran a line of treated 2 x 8's around the top. The cow in question drove a hind foot through one of the squares in the welded wire panel. She hung up and straddled the fence like a limp cheese stick crawlin' outta the bowl.

"Lemme run and get the bolt cutter, Rex. We can weld it back later."

"No. I wanna check her bag first," he said.

The way the cow was draped over the 2 x 8, her bag was at eye level. Clair could see the look on Rex's face. "Don't do it," she said.

Rex reached out, grabbed the proffered tit and squeezed. A foul smelling clump of cottage cheese hit him square in the face! At the same time he pulled, she made a tremendous effort to escape. She fell back down inside the pen, ripping off the welded wire panel in a shower of staples! She rose with the panel still around her foot.

Wearing her giant snowshoe, she stomped, shuffled and cha-cha'd her way back through the cows in the questionable pen. They spooked and scattered to the four points of the compass, but all unerringly, managed to find the new gap in the fence and join the rest of the herd.

All escaped except the cow with the fly swatter foot. Clair roped her and held her down long enough for Rex to cut the panel off with the bolt cutters. They let'er up and she followed the other cows.

Rex wiped a clod of curd off the bill of his cap. "Well," he said philosophically. "At least we know."

Lee Pitts: My Best Idea Yet

I've tried everything to make a living in the cow business. I bought expensive replacement heifers when the grass was green and the price was high only to have to sell them for beef eight months later when the grass and the market both dried up. I tried the registered business but the paperwork drove my wife nuts and four different breed associations invited me to quit due to the genetic damage I was doing to their breed. I even tried the hunting and taxidermy business but the only wildlife on the place is squirrels and you'd be surprised how few interior decorators see the beauty in a dead squirrel hung on a wall. But now I think I really have found a way to make money in the cow business: Lee's Everlasting Pastures Cow Spa, Hoof Salon and Memory Garden.

Currently one of the hottest business concepts is the spa business which gave me my latest and greatest idea yet. No, I'm not thinking about sending my wife to a spa, after all, who'd be left at home to do all the work? Here's my latest get-rich-scheme. We all have old and loyal cows who stood quietly in the squeeze chute, never got sick, didn't tinkle on the hay, always calved during daylight hours without any assistance and never failed to bring a heavy calf to the weaning pen. But in the twilight of their lives how did we reward their years of service? We loaded them up, hauled them to the sales yard and sold them to ruthless cow buyers.

I don't know about you but I always felt guilty doing this. So, to ease your guilty conscious, and help me make some money for a change, why not send your worn out cows to Lee's Everlasting Pastures, Hoof Salon and Memory Garden. For only $300 per month per cow, you can send those favorite toothless mommas to my place where they can sleep in late, drink spring water and eat hay so good it's usually reserved for Holsteins and horses. For the first time in their boring lives they won't have to sleep on hard ground nor will they be chased by horny bulls, barked at by pain-in-the-patoot Border Collies or harassed by wolves. There will be no snotty-nosed-calves tugging at their flanks either.

On their first day at the spa all cows will be deloused, dewormed, treated to a cleansing foot bath and be misted with fragrant fly spray. Optional treatments for your favorite cows include seaweed body wraps and feedlot mud facials. Cows can spend the day lazing around the hay shed or standing in pond water to rid themselves of pesky heel flies. There will be stretching, cow yoga and bovine pilates and what cow doesn't dream of an exfoliation by prickly pear cactus that will open their pores for a delightful eucalyptus oil body rub applied by my wife twice a day?

Our staff of scissor-hand-like clipper pros was recruited from only the best steer jockeys at Denver and they will comb, clip, and fluff the tails of your VIP cows. At great expense we've also employed Holstein hoof trimmers who will sand, paint and apply Swarovsky crystals to their hooves. And every cow will go home with their very own photograph standing in front of a banner heisted from the Fort Worth stock show so that for at least once in their lives your special cows will know what it feels like to be a Grand Champion.

There will be moo-tivational speakers to help your extra special cows get in touch with their inner bovineness and celebrity guest chefs Baxter Black and Mad Jack Hanks will barbecue psychodelic mushrooms for your cows while they chew their cud around a bonfire xof burning tires.

Should one of your old cows pass away while a guest at our spa you can rest easy knowing she'll be treated with dignity while being buried in our Everlasting Pastures Memorial Garden with a black draped backhoe. For an additional fee we can even arrange for a short non-denominational service by pastor Pitts.

Lee's Everlasting Pastures Cow Spa, Hoof Salon and Memory Garden was rated the number one cow spa in America by the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and The Ozona Stockman, Tri State Livestock News and Gulf Coast Cattleman.

Outside Circle by Jan Swan Wood: Tribute dinner, event series galore, meetings, steer wrestling clinic, BHSS consignments open

Did I miss something? Did I sleep through October? It feels like we went from September to November. It's kind of like how we didn't have April this year either, just 60+ days of March. It makes a person start searching for their winter woollies.

Tickets are on sale now for the 29th Annual Tribute Dinner at the Casey Tibbs Foundation/South Dakota Rodeo Center in Ft. Pierre, S.D. It will be November 3 with a social hour at 6 p.m., dinner at 6:30 and the program at 7:30. There's a wonderful lineup of folks being honored, plus one really good horse. This deal usually sells out and all tickets are in advance. You can either pick them up at the Rodeo Center ahead of time or call in and they'll hold them until that night. Call 605-494-1094 to get yours.

A Winter Family Equine Series has started at the College Barn, Gillette, Wyo. Age divisions are five and under, six to nine, 10 to 13 and open. Events are barrels, goat tying, calf breakaway and steer breakaway, mixed roping drawpot and a team roping drawpot. Enter there and barrel exhibitions start at 10 a.m. Dates are Oct. 10, Nov. 11, January 6 and 20, Feb. 10, March 3 and 24 and April 7 and 28. Call Gary Mefford at 307-751-2962 for info.

The West River Teamsters will be holding a meeting Oct. 12, 7 p.m., at the A and B Pizza, Mandan, N.D.

Entries are open for the Badlands LBR #4, 5 and 6 rodeos on Oct. 26-28. Entries have to be in by Oct. 16. Entry fees are $25 plus $10 for any event with stock, and is due by Oct. 20. Send entries to Badlands LBR, Box 137, Kadoka, SD 57543. There also going to be a 4D baarrel race the evening of Oct. 27.

The Golliher Fall Barrel Series will be starting up soon. Dates are Oct. 20-21; Nov. 3 and 17; Finals Nov. 18. Exhibitions at 9:30 a.m., Peewees start the race off at noon. If the weather looks bad, call before hauling. For more info, call the house at 605-642-5363 or Zeann at 605-641-2926.

Gillette College is also having a barrel series this fall. They'll have open 4D, Youth 3D, peewees, plus futurity and senior sidepots. There will also be open and youth poles. Dates are Oct. 27; Nov. 10; Jan. 19; Feb. 16 and March 2. Call Ginger LaDuke at 307-680-8975 or Anna Rorison at 307-299-4781.

There will be a steer wrestling clinic Oct. 27-28 at the Yellow Rose Arena, Platte, S.D. Instructors are 16x NFR qualifier Todd Suhn and 3x NFR qualifier Jake Rinehart. It's limited to 20 students and costs $300 with a $100 deposit. Stalling is available and lunch will be provided. Contact Kasey Hanson at 605-831-9854.

October 28 is the date for the Rope2Win Ladies Breakaway roping at the W Arena, Cody, Wyo. Enter at 9 a.m., rope at 10. $1500 is added with two full rounds and your can enter twice. There's an optional sidepot for the American Qualifier too. Call Ben Williams at 307-899-2857 or Kate Williams at 307-899-5031.

I'm excited to be going to this event myself! It's the Dakota 50/50 futurity, Maturity and Sale Nov. 2-4 at the NDSU Equine Center, Fargo, N.D. On the 2nd is the AQHA Ranch Horse Versatility Competition and Maturity, barrels to follow with $1000 added money. The Mane Event starts with a social hour at 6 and dinner at 7. On the 3rd is the Dakota 50/50 Futurity Show 1 with the 50/50 Weanling Sale to follow at approximately 4 p.m. You'll want to come early to see the older siblings of the weanlings being offered being shown. On Sunday, the 4th, is the Dakota 50/50 Futurity Show 2. For info you can go to http://www.dakota50-50.com, and you can request a catalog either on the Dakota 50/50 Facebook site or by emailing Nikki Medalen at med4@srt.com. There is always a lineup of weanlings at this sale that will satisfy the wants and dreams of any horse person, plus the folks are nice and it's a lovely facility. See you there!

The consignment deadline for the 2019 BHSS Horse Sale is Nov. 13. The sale will be January 25-26 during the Black Hills Stock Show. Applications for consignment can be found at http://www.blackhillsstockshow.com/events/2018/truck-defender-2-day-horsesale(2). They get way more applications than they can take as consignments, so don't dilly dally around but get those forms filled out and a nice video done of your horse right away.

Well, that's my shivery circle for this week. Hopefully we'll still get some fall after all this cold passes through. Have a great week.

BeefTalk: The Challenge of Managing Human Resources

BeefTalk: The Challenge of Managing Human Resources

Images

One person can only do so much.

One person can only do so much.

One person can only do so much.

One person can only do so much.

Having the right team is critical to the success of the cattle operation.

By Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist

NDSU Extension

A major challenge to beef production today is finding the right labor force with training, knowledge and common sense.

Factors such as pay, time and place are important, and, yes, the beef production business has lots of discussable points. But the bottom line is this: Having the right team is critical to the success of the day's desired outcomes.

Managers are challenged every day to interact and engage with those who work for them to meet the day's predetermined goal. Cattle operations do not often have human resource departments to assist with finding the right team members. That task generally is relegated to the manager.

I am not an expert, but allow me to share some "in-the-field" management training perceptions. One key is being positive: What can we do, not what we can't do.

Of paramount importance is management presence, which is necessary in serving and assisting the team. Managers need to be present, displaying consistent, predictable actions that make those they supervise relaxed and comfortable.

Jumping through hoops, opening opportunities in situations that seem stagnant, shifting excessive burdens or simply adding words of encouragement to move forward allows growth. People prefer consistent, predictable expectations within their daily life, at work and at home.

Another important factor is risk. Employees need an assurance that if they take a risk, they still have a supportive network behind them. Growth requires risk.

However, I believe people can become too complacent. A manager must know when congratulatory, appreciative praise is appropriate versus the occasional tap indicative of decreasing or mediocre work performance. I believe all people have the capacity to excel in their job within their own capacity to perform.

As a manager, appropriate acknowledgment must occur, regardless of perceived job importance or ranking. Productive efforts will succeed quicker from a strong, broad base within a well-focused team. Acknowledging the base is critical.

I believe not all people are congenial toward co-workers. Invariably, a negative person-to-person interaction within the work environment arises. The manager must understand how these relationships develop and why the situation persists, and take the appropriate action, which could mean seeking outside advice and professional help.

I also believe that managers:

Must be prepared to deal with crises, which occur even with excellent managerial processes – An appropriate assessment, evaluation and implementation of a response plan must occur with timely decisions and follow-up. All crises eventually must lead to preventive programs when feasible.

Are leaders who listen, evaluate and respond – Managers must maintain an adequate working knowledge of the disciplines they supervise to redirect or re-inspire employees successfully.

Must be fiscally savvy – The world still functions on money and, without money, even the best ideas wither. Appropriate fiscal management teams must be developed and utilized to assure a broad-based, thorough review of all aspects of management.

Must be a reflection on what life means and how we live – We each have an obligation for the future and are called to look for hope and inspiration. Leadership allows a self-determining planning process to focus on what we truly seek, which is a future that does not jeopardize future generations.

Are challenged to use present resources to move forward and opportunistically impact the future through leadership and service – Preparation and consensus-building within the many choices are critical. Managers need to look to the future and give witness to the determination of a successful future.

Need to challenge conventional thinking – A new consensus can turn the fork in the road into multiple options that enrich our spirituality, create viable communities and sustain individual lifestyles within various environments.

In summary, following lessons learned in biosecurity and crisis management, one person can hold only seven balls; the eighth ball always will fall to the ground. Management is no different; I can only do so much.

The key to success is knowing when someone is handing you the eighth ball. Oftentimes, as a manager, the response is, "I will do it myself!" Unfortunately, such a response only results in a tired manager at the end of the day and a less responsive team tomorrow.

The bottom line: People are people. People do not come with a set of instructions, yet their capacity to learn is exponential. Harnessing that goodness for the betterment of the whole is the heart of every good manager. And remember, yes, the cows are important, but people come first.

May you find all your ear tags.

Lee Pitts: Save The Ice Cube

I have lived for most of my life within 10 miles of San Luis Obispo, CA, or SLO as it's known. Normally I hate cities, long lines and traffic jams so I tend to stay away from places with stoplights, but as towns go, SLO isn't so bad. In 2010 National Geographic proclaimed SLO "the happiest town in America" while at the same time it was also named the third best place to live in the country. I wouldn't argue with that but the town is also known for some pretty kooky stuff.

SLO was the first city in America to ban smoking in bars and paper and plastic bags in grocery stores. In March it was one of the first cities in America to ban drinking straws in restaurants. If your average over-worked restaurant server who is working two jobs and depending on good tips from persnickety customers to make ends meet, gives you a straw without you first asking for one, he or she could face a penalty of $1,000 and six months in jail. There are actually straw cops staking out restaurants trying to nab the vile straw givers who are terrorizing America. Restaurants can't even substitute plastic straws with paper ones because that might entail cutting down a few extra trees every year, not to mention an outbreak of the much-dreaded soggy straw syndrome (SSS).

The bloated left-coast politicians say the plastic from straws pollutes the environment but if they're so worried about that why isn't California's own Nancy Pelosi put in jail for all the work plastic surgeons have wasted on her?

Personally, I don't think the straw ordinance goes far enough. Why stop with just the straws? How about all the parsley that gets wasted on restaurant plates every year? Is there a single soul in America who eats the stuff and yet why isn't there a garnish gestapo? And how about paper napkins? How many more innocent trees have to die just so you can wipe the mustard off your ugly mug? That's what shirt sleeves are for. If we'd just outlaw all the greasy chicken being served we could save entire forests.

The list of items wasted in restaurants is longer than the menu at Jack In The Box. We could turn the Mojave Desert green with all the water that's served but never drunk and do you really need that after-dinner mint at Olive Garden or the Waverly Wafers in the cracker basket at your favorite steak house? And don't get me started on wasted pickles.

I haven't even mentioned the thing that needs saving the most: ice cubes. How many more must die a slow, agonizing death in the bottom of a drink glass? Are you so deaf that you can't hear their screams? Every year there's enough ice melted in all the Big Gulps to provide the ice for every hockey rink in North America. Ice crunchers like myself should be locked up for ten years before they destroy any more cubes. And talk about climate change! Researchers at the Institute for Junk Science in Hollywood, California, say there's enough ice wasted every year in the bottom of drink cups to create ten icebergs bigger than the one that doomed the Titanic. Their melting is causing the temperature of the planet to plummet by two degrees every year! That's why not a single polar bear was spotted in Hollywood last year, according to Professor Alec Baldwin.

So I say, "Save The Ice Cube!" We can start by demanding that dying ice cubes be rehabilitated by refreezing them. And women's groups should be knitting little tiny sweaters for the disappearing cubes so they don't freeze to death. It's the least we can do.

I beg every small town, municipality and giant city in America, to follow SLO's example and save the straws, save the garnish, save the napkins and for goodness sakes, save the cubes. Why must they suffer a single second more? You can help by sending your tax deductible contributions to Save The Ice Cube (STIC) in care of my bank where I'll stick it somewhere the IRS will never find it. Don't let the little disappearing buggers suffer a single second more or they could soon end up on the Endangered Species List.

Baxter Black: A Minority Needs Help

What do cable TV and "Where your food comes from" have in common?

ANSWER: Television ag programming is beneficial, educational to the curious public people who eat food, and the food producers that provide the food they eat.

Interesting surveys: population of U.S. 327 million people that eat,

3.2 million is the number of food producers that feed them.

How do the 327 billion who eat communicate with the 3.2 million?

Television/internet is the biggest communicator in the country…on Earth.

Seventy-nine percent have a television, 77 percent communicate over internet.

National television is owned by a handful of merging moguls like Time Warner, Verizon FiOS, ComCast and other voracious traders who are deliberately together trying to eliminate the miniscule Ag/Rural networks that are left in the U.S., which includes RFDtv. Even the big independent ag programs like U.S. Farm Report, Orion Samulson and Superior Livestock use RFDtv to increase their coverage.

What can the 3.2 million Food Producers and those other mammals that want to know Where Food Comes From…do?

ANSWER: THE RURAL COMMUNICATION ACT 2018

"It requires each multichannel video programming distributor with 5,000 or more subscribers shall reserve 1 percent of its total bandwidth to distribute to all its subscribers video programming that predominately serves the needs and interests of rural America."

WRITE OR CALL your national politicians to support the act. If your representative gives you the shuffle then call the next day and the next. Surveys show 55 percent of consumers are interested in where their food comes from. If that's you, call.

Inform your politicians of the FCC Diversity Committee that requires 2.5 percent of cable and broadcast operators be dedicated to minorities including: Latino 17 percent of population, Black 12 percent, Asian 4.7 percent and American Indian .7 percent. Ranchers and Farmers of all colors, races and ages make up a mere 2 percent of our entire population. Talk about minority groups!

Why would officers of these mega telecoms that control thousands of 'broadcast bands' deliberately exclude ag/rural networks? ANSWER: They deem that the 2 percent minority of Food Producers are insignificant. Their ignorance of the essentials of life…FOOD WATER AND SHELTER is sad.

Direction from Congress is the only way to recognize that the agriculture networks educate, communicate, entertain and keep this valuable minority informed.

Ring…"Hello? Is this the office of my senator/congressmen? I'm part of the 3.2 million Food Producers that feeds you lunch. Are you familiar with THE RURAL COMMINICATIONS ACT 2018?"

How to find your state senators: https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

How to find your Congressmen: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative

Day Writing by Heather Hamilton-Maude: The pause before fall

It is a dreary, cool, and rainy day in western South Dakota. The perfect rain to get everything nicely soaked up going into fall; a beautiful day.

It feels like the earth's orbit slows just a bit for a week or two right now, during that in-between time at summer's end and fall's beginning. Mother nature takes a breath, and the ag community follows suit.

We all know that before long the early mornings and dark nights of fall work will be upon us. Crews pulling gooseneck trailers will be headed down darkened highways and backroads long before dawn's light, followed by cattle pots a few hours later. Vets will be spotted traversing the country like squirrels chasing nuts; empty coffee cups rolling on the floorboard, used OB gloves flapping in the pickup box, and a squeeze chute rattling along behind.

Wheat will be cleaned if it hasn't been already, and planted as always in anticipation of next year. Corn faces the combine, then a possible truck ride or two. Big machinery will slow highway traffic on a regular basis before long. Being a good hay year means there are also likely bales left to be rowed and hauled before winter comes.

On the wife front, it's a welcome if brief time of not having to reheat supper at 9 p.m. for her husband. For just a few days, everyone is home together for all three meals, with only a few grumbles from the man of house about not getting much done. Baked goods are popping up in an attempt to put off starting the furnace for a couple more weeks. The bills may even be sent off a few days before they're due.

The calf market is checked regularly, wheat and corn futures, too. Everyone knows the going rate to have hay hauled. Winter propane contracts are making the rounds, and folks are considering if, in order to pay for it, they ought to get that old bull sent to town.

Machinery is being maintained as it heads into or out of the shed. A couple guys are looking into a new bale bed. Kids are wearing considerably more clothes as the mornings are dewy and the nights are borderline cold.

Coffee pots are brewing an extra pot. Long underwear are out, and likely being worn. Feed rows and bunks are prepped for the calves soon to arrive. Water and fencing projects are nearly wrapped up. That constant list of little fix-its jobs is seeing several checked off. The wife wants to paint, so there's also a lot getting done out in the shop.

Perhaps things aren't going that slow, after all. But, it still feels like the world takes a pause. It's a welcome reprieve and a chance to get just a little bit caught up. In between summer's heat and fall's rush.

Outside Circle by Jan Swan Wood: Vezain injured, Fall Run Stray Gathering, barrels races, clinic, sorting, team roping

We finally had a hard frost here on Cottonwood Creek. That should take care of the flies until May. There are a couple of big ones buzzing around here in the house but they are slow enough that even I can get them swatted.

I saw seven bull racks go by this morning over on the county road. They were no doubt loading with yearlings or someone's calf crop at their destination. They came back by, one at a time, this afternoon. Makes me think back on the days of dayworking and riding on pasture cattle. Many 3 a.m. breakfasts and thermoses of coffee, snorty horses saddled in the dark and loaded into a trailer for perhaps a two hour drive to start gathering at daylight. I do and don't miss that. I think I miss being able to do it, not the actual doing now. Except on those perfect fall days, the leaves turning, grass golden, on a good horse. Yes. I miss it. Who am I kidding?

Rodeo is such a wonderfully dangerous sport. Last week PRCA bareback rider JR Vezain, Cowley, Wyo., had a big, stout bareback horse flip over on him out in the arena. He was badly injured and had surgery right away to fuse the broken vertebrae in his neck. He's in stable condition and is sitting up as of now and has start therapy. He has tremendous core body strength, is in the prime of his life, completely fit and determined, so I believe that he will recover. He and his wife Shelby have a strong Christian faith and are viewing this as a faith walk and testimony for Christ. They would appreciate prayers, of course. There is a GoFundMe account set up to help them with medical and living expenses for the immediate future. You can find it under JR Vezain Recovery Fund.

The Fall Run Stray Gathering Jackpot will be Oct. 6 at Wright, Wyo. There are three distinct cowboy ropings that day. The first is a pick and draw, up to four times; second is an open two man, bracket style; the third is for 18 and under, two person team. Sounds like a bunch of fun for the whole family and at the fabulous Ag Complex facility at Wright. For info, call Matt Gould at 307-359-3363, or Cole Fitzgerald at 307-391-1197.

Philip High School Rodeo Club, Philip, S.D. will be holding an open 4D barrel race double header at the Philip Arena, Sunday, Oct. 7. Exhibitions will run from 11-12:30, the open starts at 1 p.m. For more info, call 605-685-5063.

There will be a barrel racing clinic with NFR qualifier and Calgary Stampede champ Jean Winters Nov. 9-10. It $350 with a non refundable $175 deposit due by Oct. 12. It's at Matt and Kristen Zancanella's barn at Aurora, S.D. Text 605-880-2597 for details. You can send your deposit to Kelli Larson, 44572 186th St., Haiti, SD 57241.They will have an open jackpot on Nov. 11.

The Black Hills Sorting and Cutting Club will be having a sorting practice on Oct. 13 at Tiltrum's Circle T Arena, Hermosa, S.D. They will be numbering the cattle at 9 a.m., start at 10. It's a potluck as usual.

Wright Winter Series Buckle Roping will be at the Southern Campbell County Agricultural Complex (they could have a longer name…). Dates are Oct. 21, Nov. 18, Dec. 9, Jan. 6, Feb. 3 and the finals Mar. 3. You enter at noon, rope at 1 p.m. It has a 70% payback and you can enter up to four times. There's also dummy roping for the smaller set with three age groups. Pre-entries open on Tuesday before each roping or you can enter there. Call or text Lisa at 307-391-0555 or email wrightjackpotassociation@gmail.

The Fall Fundays Series at Kluz Arena, Gillette, Wyo., will be Oct. 27, Nov 10 and Dec. 8. Enter at 8 a.m., starts at nine. They will have every playday event known to the free world, plus a couple, and is open to youth from 0-18 years. Call 307-680-5362.

The 9th Annual Headless Horseman Open Barrel Race will be Oct. 27-28. Entry forms are on the website, ready to print, and information can be gotten there too. Go to http://www.millerranch.net under Triple Turn Classic. It will be at Bowman, N.D. You can also call 701-210-0379. Get you costume ready too!

The wind is about to blow me away, so I think I'll get off this ridge and call this circle ridden. Be sure and send me any events you have coming up or items of interest. Always glad to spread the word! Have a great week.