To see Hank's April editorial, click here.

Dear Hank:

Get back under the truck, town dog (Drovers, April  2005, page 5). That bright-orange ear tag might be an inconvenience for a porch muffin, but it “ain’t nothing” for a real cow dog. Before I signed on to the Crying Eye outfit, I didn’t even have a collar to pin this ear tag on. Now, don’t think that I’m a country pumpkin or working a hick outfit  —  ’cause I even have an ID implant. So, if I ever get knocked off the pickup flatbed again and wake up loony, any vet can scan me and send me home. It seems to me that it’s a trade-off  —  lugging around a bunch of blood-bags all summer or sporting a neon-bright banner that’s functional, as well as attractive to the bitches around town. Just the other day I saw that flop-eared bitch from the Stone-Broke place flashing a neon-green tag at the feed store. She was sure proud of that “new for 2005” tag; I thought it was appropriate that there was a big EZ printed in red on it. The truck just rumbled over the cattle guard, so I have to go to work now  —  with real cows, don’t you know.

Moo Dog of the Crying Eye
(c/o Fred M. Hall)
New Hampton, Iowa

Hank’s note: Nice letter, Moo Dog, but don’t quit your day job!

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Dear editor,

I’ll never understand why people in any business do things without first taking the time to get the facts. Why should a judge get involved when he sure doesn’t know anything about export markets and how hard these markets are to establish. We have USDA and Congress to address this issue. Keeping the border closed has done damage to jobs and export markets that are going to be hard to get back. Not only have we lost jobs by not bringing beef in, but the export markets we have lost are going to be hard to repair. Canada and Australia are going after those markets and are not going to give them up easily. USDA should have let Creekstone and others that wanted to test every cow and do so until this thing could be sorted out. Check and see how many people were killed by drunk drivers last year and how many were killed by mad cows. Heaven forbid we have a mad cow with the border closed and we have no one to blame it on. As a director for the soybean association, we have been working to add value and develop overseas markets, so I understand the hard work and pain that goes into the process. People in this country need to get involved and educate themselves so they can make the right choices. I am surprised at how many cattlemen really don’t read much, and really haven’t thought about what is really going on. Let’s not be so quick to destroy markets over problems, but, rather, identify the problem and work to solve it.

Henry Walker
Mocksville, N.C.

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Dear editor,

I try to read every edition of Drovers and find it to be one of my favorites and most informative in the beef industry. I am a bovine veterinarian of 35 years and have my own cow herd.

    However, the article “Keep colostrums stored correctly” (Profit Tips, January, 2004, page 16) is poor advice from a biosecurity standpoint. Unless colostrums donor cows are tested negative for various diseases, specifically Johne’s Disease, the negative long-term impact on a beef herd can be enormous by using colostrums containing unknown antigens.

Kenneth Liska
Wayne, Neb.

Editor's note: The profit tip recommended collecting colostrum from a dairy or other beef cows and storing it in the freezer. Giving a calf colostrums from a cow other than its mother can transfer disease, especially Johne’s Disease.

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Dear editor,

I don’t know where Mr. Johanns can go and find an audience that believes him, but where he was last week  —  some small, remote place in Utah  —  is about as good a place as he can hope to find. Again, I suspect he is “toeing the party line” and hasn’t really thought these topics through and dare not speak his own mind either. Seems to be the norm today  —  should be called Republican robots, ha. Since most people would assume this is another “bashing letter,” I should include the press specifically. They have not illustrated this issue of live cattle from Canada. Why do the press not bother with a lengthy presentation of a complete story and instead prefer “sensational, warped pieces of the picture”? Solution. Honesty. This will never happen. The trade across borders in cattle from both Canada and Mexico is totally either unknown or misunderstood by the vast majority of Americans and I would estimate by over 95 percent of farmers. So, when Mr. Johanns says he’s for the “little guy,” why should they believe him? Frankly, why should they believe anyone or anything if there is no knowledge, truth or honesty? Most Americans don’t even know live cattle come from Mexico or Canada, and certainly don’t know why. And furthermore, they haven’t a clue whether they receive any benefit from it. Begin with explaining that to Americans, specifically American cattlemen and women, and you will have done a much better job. Thank you, and I hope you are listening. 

Charles Chassaing
Hattiesburg, Miss.

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Dear editor,

Regarding the article “Training the trainer” (Drovers, May 2005, page FM 1) on low-stress handling of cattle: I was a pen rider for 10 years in several feedyards, and most of the riders I worked with practiced low-stress methods when moving a sick calf from a pen. However, there are some situations where a large number of sick calves must be pulled when the rider is working alone. As a result, he is forced to handle the cattle faster. If other riders are at the pen alley gates, the cattle could be handled at a slower pace. Additionally, processing cattle can be a “timed event.” If the feedyard receives a large number of new cattle to be processed at the same time a number of older cattle need to be re-implanted and sick cattle treated, the crew is forced to work faster. The rattle that has replaced the hot-shot is then used as a club. Management is aware of this and believes that under these conditions, it is alright to temporarily disregard the low-stress method.

Bill Schalled
Guymon, Okla.

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Dear editor,

Thank you for your editorial “Adversary or customer” (Drovers, May 2005, page 5). If we keep beating it into these people that we are all in this together, maybe it will stick with some. We are all too often our own worst enemies. The antagonism and divisiveness along the beef value chain destroys our competitiveness with other protein sources.                                                                             

Randy R. Vrana
Corpus Christi, Texas

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Greg,

“One dog’s opinion” was outstanding – fun to read and well written. Of course, I think you do an outstanding job with the whole magazine.

Best,
Charlie Ball

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Great editorial in April. Keep up the good work. It sure sets a nice mood for reading the rest of the magazine.

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Get back under the truck town dog. That bright orange ear tag might be an inconvenience for a porch muffin, but it “ain’t nothing” for a real cow dog. Before I signed on to the Crying Eye outfit, I didn’t even have a collar to pin this ear tag on. Now don’t think that I’m a country pumpkin or working a hick outfit – ’cause I even have an ID implant, so if I ever get knocked off the pickup flatbed again and wake up loony, any vet can scan me and send me home. It seems to me that it’s a trade off – lugging around a bunch of blood-bags all summer or sporting a neon-bright banner that’s functional as well as attractive to the bitches around town. Just the other day I saw that flop-eared bitch from the Stone-Broke place flashing a neon green tag at the feed store. She was sure proud of that “new for 2005” tag; I thought it was appropriate that there was a big EZ printed in red on it. The truck just rumbled over the cattle guard so I have to go to work now – with real cows don’t you know.

Moo Dog of the Crying Eye

Fred M. Hall
New Hampton, Iowa

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After the dozens of e-mails I receive daily pointing out all that’s wrong and dire in the industry, Hank’s perspective on something we can all agree on was a refreshing break from the routine – thanks for his editorial!

Jodie H. Hettinger
Pierre, S.D.

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I am not a subscriber to your publication, but am involved in the beef industry through feed sales and AI services. I am a breeder and trainer of Australian Shepherd dogs, and Hank appears to be at least “part” Aussie. Hank left out one important issue in his editorial regarding ticks and the use of insecticidal ear tags on dogs, for their prevention. Several insecticides approved for agricultural use, specifically ivermectin, and other topically applied products are quite harmful and can be fatal to dogs. All Collie-related breeds (Border Collies, Aussies, Bearded - Rough and Smooth Collies) have a genetic mutation that causes adverse reactions to many drugs used on farms and ranches. Washington State University has conducted research and has identified the specific genetic mutation (MDR1) responsible for this drug sensitivity, and a test is available through them. Thanks, and I always enjoy Drovers, when I can find it.

Ray Schafer
La Junta, Colo.