From the Missouri River Bottoms to the Sandhills of Nebraska

On December 27, 2014, we drove from my husband’s parents’ place in Columbia, Missouri, to Valentine, Nebraska.

We met my sister and her family at Saturday evening mass, after a 10 hour drive. Celebrating the Feast of the Holy Family was the perfect end to a perfect day. I was with my own family (husband and four children) plus my sister’s family (her husband and 5 children and son-in-law, plus little Clara Marie, my first great-niece, born November 3).

In addition, I was brimming with satisfaction, pride and pleasure, having just driven through the Missouri River bottoms and then across the state of Nebraska. Agricultural production, fed by power, was everywhere I looked. I’m thankful for the human ingenuity and inventiveness that carved something from nothing in what many would consider cold, uninhabitable, inhospitable places in middle America.

I wanted to stop and hug every land owner along Highway 275 and then Highway 20 for their care of the land and their animals! Of course, they do not do these things for my praise, approval or appreciation. They do them because it’s in their interest to do so. That is at it should be.

No centralized planning — no matter how smart the planner — could ever come close to yielding such bounty and beauty!

I hope you enjoy these images as much as I enjoyed the drive. (Thanks for driving, Matt!)  (If you click on a photo, it will open in full-size in another tab.)

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(Photos are in chronological order from just south of Omaha to just east of Valentine.)

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I sure do love agriculture!  I’m feeling slightly voyeuristic, though.  If your place is in one of the photos above and you don’t want it to be, let me know.  I’m in the Dalhart, Texas, phone book.  If your place is in one of the photos above and you don’t mind me sharing my appreciation of what you do, thank you.  If you contact me, I’ll caption the photo of your place however you want me to!  Special note to the man on the four-wheeler:  We were driving past at about 65 mph and I had no idea you were driving into my frame.  I only realized it half way through the snap.  Kudos to you, sir!  It’s easy for me to ooh and ahh at the snow when I don’t have to work outside in it!

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Attack Your Friends in order to Gain Credibility With Your Enemies!

Extra!  Extra!  Read all about it!  New way of fighting those who hate us is all the rage!  Don’t just read about it!  Jump on the bandwagon!  The sooner you attack other producers, the sooner you will…uhh…well, don’t think about that.  Just do it!

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A recent discussion within an Aussie Facebook Group centered on a Wall Street Journal article written by Nicolette Hahn Niman, the wife of the Niman Ranch founder and author of “Defending Beef: The Case for Sustainable Meat Production.”

The title was “Raising Beef Is Good for the Planet.”  I “liked” the article.

The subtitle was “Despite environmentalists’ worries, cattle don’t guzzle water or cause hunger—and can help fight climate change.”  I “unliked” the article.

I should know better by now than to give my stamp of approval on something before I’ve thoroughly read it!  While the article appeared to be a defense of beef production, it quickly became apparent that “sustainable” meant grass-fed.

In any case, the conversation had agriculturalists pitted against each other. Savory Institute disciples criticized graziers who were not following that “all-natural, one-with-nature” method of production.  Conventional cattle growers were on their piece of moral high-ground when comparing themselves to the intensive, “unnatural” feed lotting practices.  Australian feedlotters found their justification in comparing themselves to the huge feedlots of the United States who feed evil corn as compared to the average 2,026-head sized Aussie lots that feed wheat, barley and sorghum.

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One of our Aussie friends tagged us for our input.  Here is what I posted:

Interestingly, we have seen a change in tack from the anti-animal agriculture mob. Of course, they are still promoting vegetarianism through WWF, UN, PETA, Animals Australia, Mercy For Animals, HSUS, etc. But in the last few years, they began to push a wedge between agriculturalists, by getting us to point fingers at each other rather than fighting the true battles that need to be fought.

This conversation is typical of what we now see: don’t blame ME! I take care of my land and animals! Look at <fill in another area of production in which speaker is not involved>. They are much worse for the environment!

But in reality, it’s not grass fed versus grain fed beef; beef versus pork or lamb or chicken; meat versus veggies; American feedlots versus Australian feedlots; livestock versus row cropping; GM versus non-GM; Traditional versus “organic.”

The real battle has always been producers versus non-producers; centralized control versus individual freedom and responsibility. The real battle is communal management versus private property ownership.

The most incredible thing to me is that most agriculturalists know that the hypothesis of man-made global warming is absolute hogwash. And yet we are all still competing in the realm of perception as to who’s carbon footprint is smaller.

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I love ag!  I grew up on a cattle grazing operation in southeastern Oklahoma.  My husband and I owned and operated our own feedlot in Western Australia for 10.5 years.  We moved back to the United States in February of 2012 and my husband now manages a feedyard in Texas.  We are proud to be producers, no matter the segment, the management style, or the country!