Austin Steele is our super-talented intern this summer. When given the task of talking to you all here on this blog, he chose to base his commentary on what everyone’s talking about, and what Missouri’s cattle farmers and ranchers are enduring on a make-or-break basis – the drought. He puts into perspective the uncontrollable challenge cattlemen and women are facing right now, and how the heat and drought have more of an impact than just increasing swimming pool attendance and electric bills. Enjoy!
Well, I hope everyone is staying out of the heat as much as possible. I know it’s hard to stay cool when the temperature barely drops out of the 80’s during the evenings, but staying cool and hydrated are key to staying healthy.
Just as you have to stay cool and hydrated, farmers have to make sure their livestock stay cool and hydrated as well, so that they can be strong and healthy.
A hard day’s work
It’s not an easy task. Farmers are outside every day in the heat, making sure that their cattle or other livestock have the proper requirements to survive in this heat. Most farmers start their work at or before dawn, mainly because it is the coolest part of the day. Most days, a farmer will have a half-day’s work done before the rest of us consider leaving for work.
Farmers’ livestock is their number one priority. They strive to make sure that their animals have everything they need, which in turn provides a better tasting product for you as a consumer. The less stress that the farmer can offer the animal, the better off it will be.
Drought takes its toll
However the farmer needs to watch his or her own stress level during this time of year as well. The summer can bring extra stress to the table, especially in extreme weather conditions, like the current drought in Missouri. Farmers’ stress and worries can pile up easily. They range from, “Will I have enough hay for my cattle this winter?” to “Will I have to dig my well deeper to have more water?” Or, “Will I have enough pasture to graze my cattle on?” and “Will I be able to afford the high priced feed?” It can even come down to “Will I be able to stay in business or will I have to close the doors on our family farm?” These are all questions that many farmers face on a daily basis when dealing with extreme situations and extra stress.
I encourage you to thank a farmer the next time you see one, because a simple “thank you” can go a long ways in boosting their morale and drive to endure these hard times. Just knowing that someone still appreciates their service means a lot. I hope everyone stays cool out there, and if you have to go outside, hopefully it’s to check your steaks on the grill.