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USDA, FDA will oversee cell-cultured proteins

Last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration held a public meeting to discuss the use of livestock and poultry cell lines to develop cell-cultured food products. At this meeting, stakeholders shared valuable perspectives on the regulation needed to both foster these innovative food products and maintain the highest standards of public health. The public comment period will be extended and will remain open through December 26, 2018.

After several thoughtful discussions between our two Agencies that incorporated this stakeholder feedback, we have concluded that both the USDA and the FDA should jointly oversee the production of cell-cultured food products derived from livestock and poultry. Drawing on the expertise of both USDA and FDA, the Agencies are today announcing agreement on a joint regulatory framework wherein FDA oversees cell collection, cell banks, and cell growth and differentiation. A transition from FDA to USDA oversight will occur during the cell harvest stage. USDA will then oversee the production and labeling of food products derived from the cells of livestock and poultry. And, the Agencies are actively refining the technical details of the framework, including robust collaboration and information sharing between the agencies to allow each to carry out our respective roles.

This regulatory framework will leverage both the FDA's experience regulating cell-culture technology and living biosystems and the USDA's expertise in regulating livestock and poultry products for human consumption. USDA and FDA are confident that this regulatory framework can be successfully implemented and assure the safety of these products. Because our agencies have the statutory authority necessary to appropriately regulate cell-cultured food products derived from livestock and poultry the Administration does not believe that legislation on this topic is necessary.

Lia Biondo, with the United States Cattlemen's Association shared some thoughts in a live video announcing the decision. "FDA and USDA just issued a joint statement saying that the two agencies are going to jointly regulate foods produced using cell-cultured technology. We've seen a regulatory battle over the last year," she said. The decision for dual regulatory authority is exactly what USCA had lobbied for.

"This joint regulatory framework is exactly what's needed. Both agencies have a role to play. USDA regulates meat products."

Biondo said her organization believes that if USDA had been allowed to exclusively regulate the cell-cultured protein products, that the products may be allowed to be marketed as meat. They believe this may be part of the reason that some meat companies were lobbying for this approach.

–USDA/FDA news release and staff reporting

Roberts says farm bill deal close as lobbying continues

Roberts says farm bill deal close as lobbying continuesSenate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., who chairs the conference on the next farm bill, said Thursday that a deal is "darn close" and could be reached by Monday, Politico reported, while lobbying on the bill continued.

Roberts said the conference report under consideration contains provisions from both the Senate and House titles on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The House bill calls for stiffer work requirements while the Senate bill includes tougher enforcement mechanisms.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, agreed that progress had been made, Politico said.

The article did not include comments from Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., or House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., but a knowledgeable Senate source said all four key figures are involved in the current negotiations.

Meanwhile, a coalition of smaller farm, environmental and anti-hunger groups wrote the chairs and ranking members that Congress should "pass a farm bill that helps put food on the table for families in need, supports all farmers, and protects the environment."

"The bipartisan Senate farm bill earned 86 votes, a historic level of support. Like the Senate bill, the final farm bill should strengthen anti-hunger, conservation, and local food programs, support the next generation of diverse farmers, tighten farm subsidy loopholes, and reject anti-environmental riders. To achieve these priorities, Congress must commit to finalizing a farm bill that reflects the bipartisan compromise achieved in the Senate farm bill," the groups said.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall announced Thursday that Farm Bureau's advocacy team has issued an action alert urging its members "to let your lawmakers know how important it is that the farm bill be ready for the president's signature in the next few weeks."

The alert contained a link to send a message to lawmakers.

The Senate has left Washington for Thanksgiving week and the House is scheduled to leave today. Both chambers will return beginning the week of November 26.

Climate outlook for December uncertain as El Nino develops

December Climate Outlook Uncertain as El Nino Develops

BROOKINGS, S.D. – As El Niño develops in the Pacific Ocean, the month ahead proves to be challenging for climate forecasters, said Laura Edwards, SDSU Extension State Climatologist.

"For South Dakota, there is an increased likelihood of wetter than average conditions in the western two-thirds of the state. However, the eastern one-third of South Dakota has equal chances of above, below or near normal precipitation in December," she said, pointing to the December Climate Outlook released November 15, 2018 by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center.

There is some confidence that a wetter pattern may affect the Rocky Mountains and just east of that region in the month ahead.

The temperature outlook, Edwards said, is less certain for the next several weeks. "A lot of attention has been paid to a developing El Niño in the Pacific Ocean, which has often brought warmer than average temperatures to the Northern Plains in December. This year, however, it is a weak El Niño, and other atmospheric patterns can affect our region as well," she said.

Currently, Edwards said climatologists are looking at the atmospheric pattern over the arctic. "The current pattern favors colder than average temperatures over South Dakota, which is contributing to lower confidence in the December outlook," she explained.

For December through February, the updated outlook indicates that El Niño may be a more significant player after December. "The temperature outlook for the next three months shows elevated chances of warmer than average temperatures overall," Edwards said.

She explained that this is consistent with a typical El Niño winter that South Dakota has experienced in the past. Current forecasts show it is about 80 percent likely to develop fully in the winter. One source of uncertainty, Edwards said, a weak El Niño event is forecasted.

"Wintertime snowfall or precipitation is generally not well correlated with El Nino in the Northern Plains region," she said. "This year's outlook is consistent with history, and is projecting equal chances of wetter, drier or near average precipitation for the next three months overall."

Frozen soils help with 2018 harvest

Fall harvest is still underway in South Dakota, particularly corn harvest.

Edwards said the recent drier, colder pattern has helped harvest progress in areas of the state where soils were too wet to run equipment. "Soil temperatures are cooling and frost depths for most locations are around four to six inches deep as of November 15," she said. "Frozen soils reduce mud and can ease the burden of heavy machinery on the field."

–SDSU Extension

Justine Nelson enjoys ranch work, tack creation

It has been said that a Wyoming cowgirl is a force to be reckoned. She can ride, rope, sort, run a place-essentially by herself and still have a hot meal ready for a crew in less time than it would take a short-order chef. Add running a small business to that mix and you've got Wyoming's own Justine Nelson.

"The desire to build and create has been a part of me from my early childhood." Justine explained when asked the inspiration for her business. "My first efforts were directed towards outfitting toy horses. My sister has a bridle I braided, out of yarn, for her stick horse

when I was about 7 years old. Horse tack has always fascinated me, especially braided pieces. When I was about 8, I was given a set of simple 8 strand round braided reins. I tried and tried to understand how they were built. But unlike flat braids, which I could look at and recreate, the mechanics of a round braid escaped me. Finally, when I was in my teens I came across Bruce Grant's 'How to Make Cowboy Horse Gear'. I was delighted!" She went on to explain that, as teen on a budget, instead of using leather or cord she first employed bailing twine to braid. "After graduation and getting a job, I was able to work with paracord and eventually kangaroo. Learning to cut and bevel my own strings. Around this time I also started learning to tool leather and began building my skills in the construction and finishing of leather goods. I didn't come from a family of craftsmen, so I learned mostly from books, articles and lots of trial and error."

She went on to tell that in 2015 she attended a rawhide braiding workshop put on by Doug Groves in Elko, NV. "It was at that class that working with rawhide finally clicked for me.

Being able to feel a correctly tempered hide and to see how to correctly use the tools associated with cutting and beveling, made all the difference."

During the past few years she has honed her skill and has been rising as a top tooler and creator in Wyoming. Nelson can be found in her shop building just about anything. "Horse tack, personal goods such as wallets and notebooks, decorative items like custom brand pillows. All kinds of stuff!" She described and went on to share her appreciation for working with rawhide, "I relish the challenges that working rawhide offers. Each hide is unique, and even though I might make a dozen bosals, each one will offer it's own unique challenge."

In regard to time Nelson explained that she has to be strategic with hers and prioritize. "The 6 months when I don't have cattle here, I spend most of my time in the shop. But the rest of the year, the live cattle come ahead of the shop work. I do usually get at least 6 hours a day in the shop provided nothing is wrong with the waterline!"

Justine describes her key to success as "Producing a quality piece that is both functional and beautiful." She said to other women aspiring to start a leather working business, "I believe it was Duff Severe who said 'Saddlemaking (and rawhide) work is a medieval craft done with medieval tools for medieval wages' I try to make it clear that this is no get rich quick deal. You'll put a great deal of time and money into it before you get any back." She also described some of the frustrations that come with a women in a traditionally man's trade. "One challenge I still encounter is the belief that a woman isn't capable of building good cowboy gear. When I have a booth at a rodeo, etc I often hear the compliment 'Wow your husband is a really amazing craftsman.' They mean it well, but it's pretty frustrating to have your work immediately credited to a non-existent man!" She continues on with a skilled hand and a smile and said, "I am finding that my rawhide work is more easily accepted than my saddles. So for the time being, I intend to build my reputation as a quality gear maker with the rawhide. And perhaps, eventually focus more on the saddles on down the road."

In terms of clients, Justine Nelson has them spread across a wide swath of the country. Anna Burch from Oshoto, WY stated in regard to Justine's work, "Justine does beautiful work. Is precise and really makes an effort to perfect each piece. She is definitely gifted."

To learn more about Justine Nelson and JLN Custom Leatherwork just visit facebook.com/JLNCustomLeatherwork.

Nelson works on a ranch between Gillette, Wyoming, and Broadus, Montana. For half the year she runs between 150 and 200 cow-calf pairs. "I spend far more time maintaining the water system and fences than I spend doing 'cowboy' stuff. But I enjoy it." She stated. "Certain times of the year, branding, shipping, and hunting season I help out at the main ranch. Usually in the kitchen."

Along with her ability to handle numerous ranch tasks well, Justine is gaining a lot of recognition for her leather working business JLN Custom Leatherwork.

Grady Ruble is new SDSU Extension cow/calf field specialist

BROOKINGS, S.D. – Grady Ruble recently joined the SDSU Extension team to serve South Dakotans as an SDSU Extension Cow/Calf Field Specialist.

"Grady brings first-hand knowledge, research background and an attitude of service that will benefit cattle producers he serves," said Alvaro Garcia, SDSU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Program Director & Professor.

As an SDSU Extension Cow/Calf Field Specialist, Ruble joins a team dedicated to providing South Dakota's cattle producers with research-based, applicable information, resources and best management practices to help them increase efficiencies and profits.

"I'm looking forward to being a resource to help producers make their operations more economically efficient. I know I won't know everything, but I have a great team to work with within SDSU Extension as well as South Dakota State University faculty," Ruble said.

More about Grady Ruble

Grady Ruble is a recent graduate of SDSU, where he received a masters in animal science: ruminant nutrition with an animal evaluation specialization.

While pursuing his masters, Ruble coached the SDSU Livestock Judging Team, a role he accepted after serving on the team as an undergraduate.

Ruble's interest in livestock stems from his childhood. A sixth-generation cattle producer, Ruble grew up on a small seedstock operation near Albert Lee, Minn.

"Pretty much all I ever wanted to do was related to cows. What I would study in school was not ever a decision I needed to make. I just knew it would focus on cattle," Ruble said.

He showed livestock in 4-H and FFA and began judging livestock when he became involved in FFA as a high school freshman.

"4-H and livestock judging are a family affair. My dad grew up in 4-H and signed us up as soon as we could be Clover Buds. My dad also judged in college," Ruble said.

While attending SDSU, Ruble worked weekends for RJ Cattle Company, Mitchell. As a collegiate livestock judge, he had the opportunity to get to know many South Dakota cattle producers and their operations as he and his teammates practiced judging on their farms and ranches. He said these experiences got him thinking about a career with SDSU Extension.

"I enjoy learning about different cattle operations, seeing different breeding strategies and understanding producers' thoughts on what they prioritize to produce the type of animal they want," he said.

Ruble looks forward to meeting many more South Dakota cattle producers and learning about their unique operations and how SDSU Extension can serve them.

To contact Ruble, e-mail him at Grady.Ruble@sdstate.edu.

–SDSU Extension

S.D. missing and stolen livestock

The South Dakota Brand Board may pay up to $5,000 to any person who provides information leading to the conviction of any person for the crime of stealing livestock which are branded with a registered brand with the board. Please contact them at 605-773-3324 with questions or tips.

–South Dakota Brand Board

Serial Cattle Thief Ends Saga with Guilty Plea

CARTHAGE, Texas — Serial cattle thief Bradley Wayne Guthrey, 29, of North Little Rock, Arkansas, entered a guilty plea Nov. 1 for felony cattle theft charges that date back to 2014. He will serve five years in state prison as a result of the plea agreement. The conviction stems from an extensive investigation conducted by Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) Special Rangers with the assistance of multiple law enforcement agencies.

TSCRA Special Ranger Larry Hand and former TSCRA Special Ranger Toney Hurley led the investigation. In December 2014 Hand was called to the Panola Livestock Auction to inspect a suspicious load of cattle dropped off by Guthrey. While Hand and Panola County Constable Bryan Murff were on the scene, Guthrey returned. Upon seeing the investigators, he fled and led the two lawmen on a high-speed chase before crashing through a gate and escaping on foot.

After a seven-hour manhunt involving state and local police, K9 units and a Department of Public Safety helicopter, former TSCRA Special Ranger Hurley negotiated Guthrey's surrender by phone.

With the assistance of fellow Special Rangers Hal Dumas, Marvin Wills, Jimmy Dickson and Brent Mast the subsequent investigation revealed numerous additional thefts. During their 2014 crime spree Guthrey and an accomplice, Levi Boyd, were involved in stealing more than 70 head of cattle and equipment across Texas and Arkansas in addition to outstanding warrants in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

The wide-ranging investigation has led to numerous convictions across Texas and has kept Guthrey incarcerated in various jurisdictions since his 2014 arrest. The Panola County conviction is among the last related to Guthrey's spree of cattle thefts.

Hand used the sentencing as an opportunity to remind cattle producers about the importance of branding cattle. During the initial investigation, the suspect specifically told special rangers that he targeted unbranded cattle because they are not as easy for authorities to identify.

TSCRA would like to thank all of those involved in the investigation, especially the Panola County District Attorney's Office, Panola County Sheriff's Office and Panola County Constable Bryan Murff for their assistance on the case.

-Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association

Veteran salute: Sam Marty

"God has secrets that we aren't meant to understand."

After Sam Marty learned of two soldiers in his company literally blown into pieces a couple miles away from him, he wondered why it wasn't him. A pastor shared comforting words that he's held onto all of these years.

"I think about that a lot. I went and talked to a minister after that happened. It could have been me. I believe in God and Jesus. Maybe God spared me for a reason."

The Prairie City, S.D., rancher was drafted into the U.S. Army in early 1968. He was 20 years old.

Marty soon found himself in Fort Lewis, Washington, where the cold and damp April weather, along with mad, screaming drill sergeants made for miserable conditions at first.

He remembers that the coal furnace would often go out at night because the private assigned to refill it would sleep through his duties.

Marty said the company was composed of men from South Dakota and California. He recalls some serious teasing by the barbers when the "long haired hippies" were shorn.

There was fighting — he saw a soldier from Rapid City kick a guy's eye out, there was stress — he helped escort a man who experienced a mental breakdown. There was cold mud to crawl through, barbed wire to crawl under and a huge pile of sawdust to be moved, one helmet at time, for punishment when the company would "screw up."

Marty said the South Dakotans were generally quite capable of handling what was thrown at them.

"Back in those days, even the kids that grew up in town knew how to handle a rifle and stuff like that. They took orders well and were mentally able to deal with the stress." Many of the South Dakota recruits and draftees were Native Americans, he said, remembering that his bunkmate hailed from Pine Ridge. "He'd just gotten married and he was sure lonesome. We got along well."

When basic training was wrapping up and the company completed their individual physical assessments, Marty recalls earning around 297 points out of a possible 300. "I think there were only one or two guys that earned 300 points," he said. He remembers being paid around $43 per month for his time in basic training.

From the bone-chilling spring Washington weather, Marty was shipped to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, where he learned to survive extreme heat coupled with humidity.

Marty didn't know a soul when he arrived, but made friends as he had in Fort Lewis.

As a combat engineer, he learned to look for land mines, build bridges and roads, and more. He remembers the tick infestation in the area, but says he never found one on himself.

Although he hadn't been allowed to attend church in basic training, he could do so in advanced individual training, and took advantage of the chance. He also enjoyed another change — no kitchen duty.

After his AIT training in Missouri, Marty was allowed two weeks off. He flew home — being held up after offering an elderly couple his seat, but eventually he arrived home. It felt good.

Marty said he helped with day to day ranch duties and did not feel anxious about his future deployment to Vietnam.

"When you are young, you don't really grasp that, in war, people are trying to kill you. You think you are invincible," he said.

But he remembers the somber faces on his mother and father and sister when he waved goodbye from the bus window after the two weeks had passed.

Marty again found himself surrounded by people he hadn't yet met — this time at a base in Oakland, Calif.

One night he had gone to sleep at about 11 p.m., asking his friend to wake him if any important announcements were made.

"I'd fallen into a deep sleep. They read a group off and called my name. My friend said, He's over there.' They came and found me. I don't know what would happened if he hadn't."

The soldiers flew out at midnight, landing in Anchorage, Alaska, to refuel. Marty recalls the view from the plane after it took flight again. "It was really pretty. Unbelievable. The sun coming up over those mountains."

That was the end of anything pretty in his life for a while.

The plane refueled again in Japan, then finally landed north of Saigon, Vietnam.

"When I stepped out of the airplane that night, it smelled like big petri dish of mold. There were no sewer systems, which meant there were a lot of sanitary issues."

Marty said he and others immediately went to training on a firing range. "Again, you had all kinds of people from throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Ninety percent of them didn't have a clue about guns."

Taking apart and cleaning the rifle was a regular occurrence because of the sand, mud and water that would jam it up.

Soon Marty found himself in the Delta, in a town called Tan An, south of Saigon.

One of his missions was sweeping for mines. "Every morning we'd drive to the infantry camp to build bunkers and then we'd drive back to the base camp at night. We always had to sweep this one area of road. You were always locked and loaded with rifles and machine guns." Mortar and rockets from the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese were a regular occurrence, he said.

"When we would find stuff (land mines) we set it off. They may be small, or they may pile mud on the road and you have to clear that off using c4 (a powerful plastic explosive). If we detected something on the road, we'd circle it, put an 'x' in it, and the next guy would put explosives in it and detonate it."

It was easy for the enemy (the Vietcong or North Vietnamese) to booby trap the two to three mile stretch of road nightly, he said.

Marty recalls one heartbreaking day.

"We had stood around, about 15 of us, getting our mine-sweeping equipment on, then made our regular early morning sweep through the road."

Marty said his team then went about five or six miles to an infantry camp where they worked for the day. When they headed back to home base, at around 4 that afternoon, they came upon a jeep that had been blown up, about an hour before, in the very same spot the group had stood that morning.

"The Vietcong had found a 700-pound bomb that had never gone off. They transplanted it and waited for an opportune time to set it off. When we came back the road was gone from shoulder to shoulder. They'd blown up a jeep with two guys in it. There were body parts all over. I saw a rib from one of the guys, and picked it up, then set it back down. From then on, war became real."

About three months later, Marty stepped on a land mine in the same spot. Miraculously, the mine had been planted upside do wn. "I got shrapnel in the base of my skull and gravel in my back and whatnot. I don't know why I wasn't killed." It was afterward that he visited with the pastor.

Marty spent about five days in the hospital and later received a Purple Heart.

The Vietcong would spy on the Americans sometimes, posing as South Vietnamese, and taking jobs within the compound as barbers or other things, he said.

"The Vietcong would apply for army jobs. You didn't know who they were. They would get in there and step off the distance to this or that."

Marty remembers the compound being mortared every night. He slept in a protected barrack because the regular bunker was unsafe. "A lot of guys would sleep in the bunker, I don't know why. One night the door where I would have slept was shattered. I'd have been killed if I'd have been there."

The infantry soldiers and helicopter soldiers had the worst assignments.

"I was lucky. The infantry guys had it awful, just awful. They didn't have facilities like we did. They were wet all the time, never had a warm shower, no hot food."

Marty's company built roads in rural South Veitnam in an attempt to provide safe living conditions where the fighting had decimated the countryside.

He has not forgotten the poverty and squalid living conditions the Vietnamese endured. He remembers mothers prostituting their young daughters, families living in boxes on top of landfills where the flies were so thick "you had to cover your eyes and mouth when you went by."

"Those poor people. That's what communism, socialism, dictatorship gives you." Marty remembers the Vietnamese as a happy people, and the children as very inquisitive and friendly. "We always had stuff for them. They loved us."

There are some fond memories, too. He saw Bob Hope perform, as well as Ann Margret. "There would be Philippine bands, Australian bands. We played a lot of basketball at night."

Still the tough memories remain.

"I can't say enough about how awful it was. War affects everyone differently, but killing isn't natural. To see someone you killed is not natural. It's not right, but sometimes you have to do it."

War weighed heavily on those at home, too.

His sister had shared a story about his parents. "My mother was in the kitchen one evening washing dishes and she saw the sheriff drive up the road. She didn't realize he was coming to bring the ballot box for dad, who was the chairman of the voting committee in our precinct. She nearly collapsed when she saw the sheriff's car coming.

"That was a tense time for the family, those 15 months. That's one part of wars and conflicts that some people don't realize exists," he said.

Marty returned home after 14 months in Vietnam. He ranched his entire life and now serves in the South Dakota House of Representatives for District 28B.

Keystone XL Pipeline construction stopped

A Montana judge has halted the building of the Keystone XL Pipeline. He said he wants to allow more time to study impacts to the environment.
U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris gave the order Thursday to hold off construction of the international line intended to ship crude oil from Canada to Nebraska, and will connect with a pipeline that runs to Houston, said the AP.
TransCanada, based in Calgary was preparing to build the first stages of the pipeline in northern Montana. Pipe that had been laying in wait for years had been started to be shipped in preparation for the project into Western South Dakota.
Morris said the analysis done by the government didn’t look far enough into the cumulative effects of greenhouse gas emissions, the effects of current oil prices on the pipeline’s viability, or include updated modeling of potential oil spills, said the AP.
According to the AP, the 1,184 pipeline would be capable of moving up to 830,000 barrels of crude oil daily.

At the door

There all kinds who come to my door: those delivering and those picking up, some who are buying and others who are selling, folks we are expecting and some we are not. But, there is one group of people that are unique.

Jehovah's Witnesses.

I know what you're thinking, I've been there myself. There have been times, most of the time if I'm being honest, that I was less than thrilled to find a person or two stating they were Jehovah's Witnesses standing at my door. I already knew the Lord, and their timing was usually less than ideal, seemingly throwing an awkward wrench into my day. And, while I would visit briefly and allow them to share their message, beyond that I kept our conversations limited.

But, this latest group has been a welcome relief to me when they show up on my doorstep every other month. Two visits ago my grandmother had just died, and when they asked if I had a few minutes I honestly answered that I didn't at that time. They offered their condolences, handed me their monthly pamphlet with a verbal note that it had an article on grief inside, and were gone.

On their last visit my kids and I were just wrapping up shampooing carpets unexpectedly after our outside dog came in and used our house as her outhouse. The timing was probably not ideal, but their message must have been exactly what I needed to hear, as it has stuck with me since. After a half hour or so, they left, and I went on with my day.

But, in the days and weeks since that visit, it has struck me that Jehovah's Witnesses are the only people who come to my door specifically to talk to about Jesus, the Bible and getting to heaven.

I have given that fact a lot of thought.

It cannot be easy to approach a stranger and share your beliefs on a regular basis. It isn't always easy on an unregular basis in my experience.

I don't always agree with how they interpret some things, but they make me think. They are unfamiliar with the New King James version of the Bible, but comparing verses also reminds me that it is significant which version of the Bible I choose to study. On their last visit they asked about the Lord's prayer, and come to find out that is the same between them and I.

I'm not suggesting everyone needs to roll out a red carpet every time a religious group pulls in the driveway. Rather, I now find myself paying much closer attention to who is coming to my door and what they are giving or taking away from my home and family. This new perspective has led me to the decision that if someone at my door refocuses my day on the Lord, they are deserving of a few minutes of my time, whether I find it convenient and comfortable, or not.