I’m often puzzled by the notion that livestock are abused in pursuit of the almighty dollar.

I know some of that sentiment is generated by images seen on television or the internet of animal mistreatment. Just to set the record straight, I think anyone who abuses livestock should be out of the business. I do not condone abuse of any animal for any reason. Neither do the other farmers and ranchers I know.

But I can tell you about the welfare of my livestock.

My name is Justin Dauer, and I’m a fifth-generation farmer and rancher. My family raises cattle, corn, grain sorghum and cotton on the windswept plains of the Texas Panhandle.

The welfare of my livestock is a top priority each and every day. My family depends on the income generated from our cattle operation. I need a productive herd to make a profit. Although there is no room for shortcuts, there is room for good management.

And good management is what pays my bills and keeps meat in the supermarket for you at an affordable price.

So what is good management? On my ranch, it is:

  • Helping a mother cow who has trouble giving birth—even when the temperature is below zero with a howling wind.
  • Bringing an orphan calf home and sheltering it in the garage or utility room to give it an even chance for life.
  • Providing proper nutrition and plentiful water for my cows and calves.
  • Managing my herd numbers to where they do not overburden the land.
  • Checking my herd each and every day to make sure they are healthy. I give them vaccines to prevent disease. In the rare case that one gets sick, I call in the vet.

Healthy, fat calves are how I make my money. I need healthy bulls and mother cows to produce those calves.

No, my cattle are not treated as pets. Their purpose is to produce beef.

Good management keeps my cattle healthy and productive, providing income for my family and supplying a source of affordable, high-quality protein for yours.

Do you have questions about ranching in Texas? If so, leave a comment and let’s start a discussion.

The above post is from Justin Dauer, a Texas farmer and rancher from Panhandle, Texas. Justin is one of five guest bloggers who is talking about food and farming during Texas Food Connection Week, sponsored by Texas Farm Bureau Feb. 17-23.