Hanks: The ever-optimistic ag community | TheFencePost.com

Hanks: The ever-optimistic ag community

Jack Hanks

I am impressed by folks in the ag community because they always seem to be optimistic about the future of agriculture. I mean, folks have to eat, right?

Some folks these days don’t always understand where their food comes from other than the grocery store, but the farmers and ranchers are doing a “bang up” job of trying to educate them through various programs. And many of the writers and contributors to this paper do a good job of educating the masses.

I don’t mean to say that farmers and ranchers don’t have concerns about the weather, the futures prices and the overall state of affairs in our state and nation. Just the same, you will find positive attitudes regardless of the situation.

Agriculture is a challenge for all involved. You can’t just go out and raise cattle like grandpa did 50 years ago. I remember when I moved to the western slope over 30 years ago some ranchers were still using a three-way blackleg vaccine. That’s all they knew and by golly, that’s all they needed to know.

“You have to be on top of your game these days in the livestock business if you are a serious cattleman.”

Many calf crops when shipped would barely average 350-400 pounds. A lot of that was due to a short season and a lot of it was due to not wanting to bring in different types of cattle and bulls that would give you bigger calves.

You have to be on top of your game these days in the livestock business if you are a serious cattleman.

Recently, there was an article here in The Fence Post where a woman stated that if you owned an animal (speaking primarily about horses) that you needed to own it and take care of it until it’s time of death.

That all sounds good and humane; however, I have brought horses home that were not safe to use around the ranch so off they went. I didn’t feel bad about that at all!

And surely she wasn’t referring to folks that own sheep, hogs or cattle. My goodness if you couldn’t sell your calf crops or pigs or whatever, you just couldn’t stay in business. Just sayin’.

A recent search (Western Horseman Magazine – Aug. 17 by Ben Masters) found there are over 70,000 wild horses running on public lands.

The desired number has been suggested at 40,000 to 45,000 on the same lands. There are over 50,000 wild horses in feed lots being cared for at a cost of, get this … $50,000 each on average for their respective life spans. We should not be expected as taxpayers to foot that cost!

Back in 1973, President Nixon froze all commodity prices and I had just started a “back grounding” operation for calves at my Amarillo, Texas, place. Boy, that put a bullet in my head and I took a contract job to go down to the Mexican border and help gather wild cows out of the brush so a banker could get a “tally” on them to see if there were enough of them to cover the loan.

That was one time that I saw some “worry” not only on the rancher’s side but the banker’s and the cowboy crew itself as this was “wooly” country and wild, wild cattle. It all worked out.

Like Alfred E. Newman said, “what, me worry!” I was fairly new in the cowboy game and I came home with greater appreciation for what some folks have to go through just to stay fluid in the cattle business.

I watch a lot of rural television on R.F.D. T.V. and you just don’t see negativity like you do in other walks of life. It’s chicken soup for the cowboy soul and I always feel better and “justified” for leaving the corporate world years ago to become one of you.

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, stay as positive as possible under your own circumstances and THANKS! I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.❖