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March 5, 2021 - From the President's Desk

New beginnings can be exciting. There's a kind of thrill in what awaits. Whether it's the changing seasons or, in a rancher's life, the season that brings the beginning of the calving season.

As I write this, we on the ranch are not officially calving, although there are those of you that are. With calving so close here at home, I am reminded of all the tasks that need to be completed before those first calves hit the ground. There's barn cleaning, assembling essential calving materials, having emergency equipment on hand and made readily available. The gathering and sorting of the springers to bring them closer to home. Ensuring the momma cows' extra need for nutritional feed is continually being met. Keeping a close eye on the cows with the likelihood that the birthing process will begin. These are just some of the essential preparations to be made.

This beginning proves to be a hectic time that will extend into the next couple of months. I still, after so many years of the calving season cycle, am amazed by the wonder of the birthing process. How a cow will nest and go off by itself to find a place to calve. The speed at which a newborn calf can stand and then go right to sucking. How quickly the cow and calf bond and their natural ability to recognize each other. How a mother cow gently talks to her calf; the pure instinct of both the cow and calf knowing instantly what to do and how it's done.

An incredible sight for a rancher and one that is sure to put a smile on his face and produce a chuckle is that of the older babies playing, bucking, and running calf races on a warm spring day. Just the sight of those healthy babies can warm the spirit.

New beginnings are mixed with both joy and hardships. As with calving, sleepless nights watching over the herd and dealing with complications. The danger of a devastating blizzard and extreme cold temperatures. Predators which somehow seem to be more abundant during calving are equally a hardship. Just the thought of first-calf heifers always brings on anxiety. This all proves to produce many extra challenges. But fighting through these hardships somehow makes a rancher stronger, smarter, and a little bewildered at how things always seem to turn out. Maybe not as planned but still ok.

I'm leaning on previous lessons learned, preparation, good weather, and a positive outlook to get through the calving season. With that, one can't help but look forward to this year's new beginnings and calving season with hopeful results that lead to an excellent calf crop and then onward from there to a very profitable ending.

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