9-year old cattle feeder wants to send a message to Colorado Gov. Polis
Paxton Pravecek, a Hulett, Wyo., cattle feeder has been paying attention to the happenings in the state to his south. He’s been following along with The Fence Post Magazine’s coverage of Gov. Jared Polis’ Impossible Burger lunch, his appearance at the Better with Beef event, his appointment of Ellen Kessler, an animal rights activist, to the state veterinary board, and the MeatOut proclamation.
Like many other cattle producers, Pravecek posted his support of agriculture on social media ahead of what became MeatIn Day. As MeatIn Day approached, Pravecek formulated and gathered his thoughts and determined what his message to the Colorado governor would be if he had the opportunity to visit. Since his mom doesn’t have the governor’s cell phone number as he requested, the 9-year-old cowman agreed to an interview.
Pravecek said he comes from a long line of cattle feeders and truly found a niche during the pandemic school closures. With feeders unable to ship cattle as quickly due to closures and delays, a local feedyard had a number of newborn calves. Pravecek, who was learning virtually from home, purchased the calves and raised them to 600 pounds, marketing them at a local salebarn. He has marketed one set and has another on feed. He’s planning to invest the revenue, minus the cost of milk replacer and feed, in his own cow herd and he’s particularly fond of SimAngus cattle and has attended a few bull sales this spring, he said.
“The governor should really support agriculture in Colorado,” Pravecek said. “He should know that eating meat makes you stronger and I eat meat every day. Our school provides locally raised beef for us and I’m lucky because I eat beef every day.”
He said he would like to tell the governor that the cattle are necessary to graze grass and turn it into meat and the fertilizer they produce is valuable to crops as well.
Pravecek said he would like the governor to know how much work and care goes into the process of raising cattle. For his operation, calves are brought home and bottle fed twice a day until they’re old enough to go on feed. If given the chance, he would also tell the governor about his own operation and that he’s already marketed 12 head of feeder cattle to help feed families. He said he’s also supporting local business, purchasing his grain and milk replacer locally.
Pravecek’s mom, Amy, said the experience has been a tremendous lesson in business for the young feeder. She said he was passionate about the industry prior to this but truly has ownership in it now as well.
“He was pretty excited to see his first check,” she said. “Once he started taking all the expenses out, it started dwindling down really fast.”
She said her niece and nephew were with them when Paxton marketed his first set of calves. He was holding his check, looking starry-eyed, and they were impressed with his new status as a “thousandaire.” That day, she said, he treated the family to lunch at McDonald’s.
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Of the approximately 2,270 acres that burned in the April 1, 2021, Medora, N.D., fire, rancher Doug Tescher said all but about 100 acres were U.S. Forest Service land that he utilizes for summer grazing.