Monday, May 24, 2010

Ranchers and the weather

I am at my parents house tonight. This photo was taken on my way home this evening. Normally there isn't any water in this location.
Weather is a big deal to everyone, but I truly believe there is no one that discusses it to the degree farmers and ranchers do. There are meteorologist who don't think about the weather to the extent agriculturalists do.
Let me put it to you this way- My parents know every person on the weather channel by their first name, and they each have their favorites.
This level of interest is because it impacts every action taken on a farm or ranch. For instance, this spring branding and shipping cattle and plowing fields and planting crops are all being delayed in this part of the country because of amount of rain we've had. When there's rain and mud roads become impassable and working cattle becomes difficult with muddy corrals and wet livestock. More work is created when fences are washed out or fields need to be re-worked.
While the weather may cause most peoples morning drive to take longer or make one wish they had remembered their umbrella, it can bring everything to a grinding halt on a farm and ranch. Then, when it stops everything has to be caught up.
So, when there's nothing to but watch it rain, farmers and ranchers talk about the rain. They talk about the weather regardless of the conditions.
No one dares to curse the rain, because we all know it will stop. The recent drought in this part of the country makes people extra cautious to say anything negative about moisture in almost any form. We know hundred plus degree days are looming in coming months and that we should enjoy these much needed inches of moisture.
But at the same time getting cattle worked and crops in the ground is necessary to our livelihood and has far-reaching consequences. Everything you eat, most of your clothes and countless other items you use, need and enjoy daily come from an agriculture beginning. For example, if cotton isn't planted that has a huge impact on the clothing industry. Yes, there is global trading, but U.S. agriculture is top of the line in almost all products, both in quality and level of production.
So we fuss and stew and discuss the weather almost constantly. But it's still raining, so for now everyone will continue to talk and thank God for the moisture.
If it stops we will work cattle tomorrow-and I will be taking my little camera for the first time, so we'll see how that turns out.

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