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Of Grass, Corn and Cows…

December 29, 2013

It’s funny to me the way tribes form. Look things rally around, sports teams of highly paid millionaires, politicians that look down upon us, certain brands of cell phones, or in agriculture, the way we make a living. Not just what we grow or raise, but the way we do it, the inputs we buy, the brands we prefer. If you do it differently than me, you’re wrong. Not only that, you’re not a “real” farmer, whatever that is.

Imagine a different beef industry, imagine we never put cattle in feedlots, what would ag look like? What would the landscape look like? Say America was the Hippy Grass Cow ideal, and had been for the last few decades.

Now, someone comes along and says, “By God, we need to be feedin these cattle corn! Here’s how we’ll do it, you guys take out loans, drill water wells and buy equipment, and pile up some corn! The price is too low? Here, have some subsidy dollars! Okay, now gather all the calves, put em in one spot, now feed em the corn. What, it makes the countryside stink? The kids wanna move away? Hey bub, I didn’t name your town Garden City, take it up with grandpa.”

” So, How we doin? Doin good, right? What the water wells are dry? Well shit boy, dig deeper! What, some people are still running em on grass? Okay, they can keep the grass, but don’t let graze it, call it… conservation reserve, that sounds good.”

” Damn you boys are good, that’s lot of corn! Too much? Well let’s find another use for it, ever heard of ethanol? Yeah, I know no one wants it, that’s why we’re gonna force em to take it. …yeah, a mandate, see? Sounds like Obamacare? Son, are you a terrorist? You just need to shut the fuck up and eat yer beef. Oh, by the way, it’s year end, you’d better get to the dealership and buy that new S series, ya don’t wanna pay any taxes do ya?”

Not my best work to be sure, but you get the point. We couldn’t invent a more inefficient, resource intensive system if we tried. And I am so damn glad my family never invested in it. I personally operate somewhere around 1500 acres, the family more than that. When I look out across it I see no feed bunks, no big blue tubes, no irrigation wells to keep drilling deeper. I’m on a first name basis with the parts desk, the salesmen don’t even know my name. If and when I get my grazing systems lined out, winter feeding expenses will add up pick up bed full of wire spools and posts.

You think you’re pissing me off ripping on grassfed? Please, I’m laughing my ass off at you.

– Hippie Grass Cows

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