Beef Cattle Awareness
Have you ever considered how a cattle farmer raises cattle? Imagine a new calf; there is a whole process that the farmer went through in order to have that new calf. They start out by having to get the cow pregnant in the first place, nurturing her through pregnancy, and helping with the birthing process.
We then move into caring for the calf. This includes all of the things the farmer does to provide for the calf at an early age (vaccines, checking on them, feed, etc). They talk about the time spent and money invested into the calf.
As the calf ages, so do the challenges of the farmer. The farmer has to modify feed, location, and health requirements. The farmer helps the calf adjust to life without their mother and adjust to eating grains and roughages. The farmer is ensuring the calf is aging correctly, avoiding health concerns. A discussion of antibiotics will happen, with the farmer ensuring the meat from this animal is safe for humans.
As the calf grows, it’s time to decide the future of the calf. A farmer has multiple choices as to what they can do with the calf. A farmer will walk through the process of what they feel is best for the calf and their business and family. The farmer discusses the challenges of deciding what to do with the calf.
As the calf prepares to leave the farm, the farmer discusses the strain this can have on the farmer and family. He recaps all of the care that he has given this calf, the time he has invested, and thinking about the resources he has used.
Once the calf leaves, the story changes from growth on the farm to growth at the next stage. Ranchers have the ability to sell their animals to local feedyards, local butcher shops, or sourcing their cattle to larger companies such as Cargill or National Beef.
We end the story by talking with the farmer, recapping their experience growing cattle to feed their family and population. They talk about the lows and successes of raising cattle, ending on a positive note.
Lacie Darnell is an agricultural education teacher at Norwich High School in Norwich, Kansas. Lacie has been an agricultural educator for the last eight years, with experience in southwest and south central Kansas. Lacie grew up in a small town, in which her family owned a large beef operation outside of Anthony, Kansas. From a young age, Lacie learned to love and appreciate the ranching lifestyle and has many fond memories of the farm in her childhood. From there, Lacie began being active in FFA which led her to her career in agricultural education. Her passions include agriculture awareness, specifically with animal agriculture, as well as plant and soil systems. Outside of teaching, she enjoys spending time with her fiancé, step daughter, dogs, gardening/landscaping, and attending sporting events.
Participant School & Location:
Norwich Schools, Norwich, Kansas