Yvonne Hollenbeck: IF ONLY THEY KNEW | TSLN.com

Yvonne Hollenbeck: IF ONLY THEY KNEW

There is so much misconception about farming and ranching these days, especially through social media, the news, and trendy television productions such as “Yellowstone.” Not only is most of the filming done in Texas rather than Montana, but how they portray cattlemen and ranch life is a total sham. Wouldn’t it be interesting if the film crews were actually working in Montana and were to take actual footage of cattlemen and women in their element in this region during this past snow storm?

You would not see glamorous people shooting at neighbors they disagree wit,h and constantly spewing filthy language toward one another, but rather see men, women and children wearing heavy winter clothing and caps with ear flaps, trying to get livestock to shelter and feed during horrific winds and heavy snows. You would see neighbors helping neighbors as best they could, and the only tension within this group of people would be caused by lack of sleep, exhaustion and worry.

When I saw a lady’s post on Facebook complaining about the angry disputes and language on “Yellowstone,” she was chastised by others and told, “that’s the way it is on ranches nowadays.”

Obviously those people had no clue except for the fallacy gleaned from watching that type of programming. If only they knew what really goes on with folks in the livestock industry. It makes one wonder why we even try, especially with so many things out of our control, weather included. As I often do, I wrote a poem expressing my sentiment.


It’s a long way across Montana, or from here to Calgary,

and many miles to places like the Mediterranean Sea.

But perhaps the greatest distance that one can calculate

is the space between a newborn calf to the steak that’s on your plate.

There’s a lot of cash invested long before that calf is born

in cows and bulls and pastureland; in vaccine, hay and corn.

Not every calf survives its birth; not every cow will live,

no matter how much tender care the cattleman will give.

Several months of constant care and miles in saddle leather;

the rancher never takes a break no matter what the weather.

And no one’s ever guaranteed their pastures will withstand

drought and other troubles dealt from Mother Nature’s hand.

In the meantime he spends thousands on supplies to put up hay

and hope he has enough on hand to feed each winter day.

Most everything he needs to buy continues to get higher,

like diesel fuel, mineral, tires, posts and wire.

Then calves are weaned and some will die from going through the stress.

How many will survive through this? That is anybody’s guess.

Then after all the trials that a rancher must go through,

here comes folks from PETA claiming beef’s not good for you.

But we know Beef is healthy and those folks are all dead wrong,

and the cowmen will continue what they’ve been doing all along.

‘Though most have mangled fingers from a squeeze chute accident

or a couple that are missing, and a back that’s weak and bent.

So, hat’s off to all the cowmen and the things that they go through

providing safe and tasty beef for folks like me and you;

and remember all the miles, and the many steps it takes

to travel from a newborn calf to the steak that’s on your plate.

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