Friday, December 19, 2014

Cuba and Ag, Checkoff Called Off, Cowboy Nuns, and Dog Mania

Light Up a Cigar? Cuba, Politics, and Agriculture:  Not all agree with President Obama's statements regarding a thaw with Cuba, but it has been near unanimous approval from major farm and commodity organizations. Several issued positive statements about the outlook for increased agricultural exports to the island nation.

Checkoff the Checkoff:  Agriculture Secretary Vilsack said the USDA will not pursue efforts to create another checkoff under the 1996 commodity promotion law.

Cattle Ranching Is a Habit at this Abbey:  Nuns at an abbey in Colorado raise cattle, water buffalo, and llamas. According to the nuns, llamas chase away mountain lions to protect the cattle.

Hands Down--the Best Pet Video Lately:  This link provides the “pets at the table with human hands “ clip and a fascinating “making of” segment.

Speaking of dogs, these two blogs look at farm dogs and human foibles.

During my youth, we had several dogs, and some people might take issue with our nurturing techniques, but we never mistreated them. They were generally mutts, some strays, some passed on from neighbors, but the basic routine was this:  When we were kids, a dog would be in the front yard every morning when we emerged from the house; it would slobber, yip, and tag along with us all day; it would be a member of our football team and a part of any snowball fight although it wasn’t good at throwing things; and if I could talk my younger brothers into it, the dog would take alternate licks from their tootsie roll pops as we sat on the front step in the summer heat.


What is it about dogs? I grew up running pastures and playing in snow banks with several good farm dogs, but jobs and travel have kept me from owning dogs since, so I marvel at what people will do for a dog that, for all intents and purposes, has become a member of the family.

by dan gogerty (top photo from; bottom photo from 


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cow Jailbreaks and Bovine Folklore

When it comes to bovine folklore, Yvonne the German cow is still our favorite (see below). But new adventures are added periodically--and the "happily ever after" ending of these stories depends on perspective. Some end with an animal frolicking in the pasture--some with the smell of steak on the barbie.

The latest episode has mixed results so far. Four Idaho cows escaped from a meat processing facility, leading Pocatello police on a chase through the city’s streets. Latest updates indicate that one returned, two are still on
the loose, and one was shot. Some think the cows had outside accomplices.

Last year, a cow on the way to the meatpacking plant escaped to the roof of a transport trailer and cruised U.S. Hwy. 50 with a semblance of freedom—for a while. This cow tasted freedom, but soon enough, others tasted it. 

Some livestock have their own type of Shawshank Redemption. Animals—including cows, sheep, goats, and chickens—that escape New York City’s urban slaughter markets are given a second life at the Farm Sanctuary, which has taken in more than 500 farm animals from the city in the last decade.
Two years ago, Mike the Steer from New Jersey escaped from a slaughterhouse, forded a river, and negotiated the streets of New York. He was granted clemency, and we assume he is peacefully chewing his cud at an upstate farm.

Yvonne (left) gets a nose bump from her son 
The legend of Yvonne the Gutsy German Guernsey has a bit more “Mad Cow” quality to it. After she jumped an electric fence, Yvonne survived in the woods for three months: In that time, she had a near collision with a police car, evaded a helicopter search, survived a brief shoot-to-kill order, and inspired a hit song in Germany titled “Don’t Let Them Take Your Freedom.”

Capture hasn’t diminished her fame.  Apparently Yvonne’s story will get the Hollywood treatment from a German production crew, with an animated film called Cow on the Run.

Most feeder cattle aren’t going to attain superstar status. They’re going to end up on the grill. But you can't blame a cow for trying. 

by dan gogerty (top photo from, bottom photo from