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June 2009 Archive for Livestock Today

RSS By: Sara Brown, Beef Today

The Livestock Today blog is your place to learn the latest production news for the livestock industry.

The Story of Your Life

Jun 29, 2009

By Sara Brown

Finally an original show worth watching on HBO. Set to show later this year, a biography of Temple Grandin will feature Claire Danes in the leading role. Diagnosed autistic in 1950, Grandin is an avid speaker and author on issues related to autism and her work with livestock handling. Currently an associate professor at Colorado State University, she has used her own experiences to challenge and improve the way American agriculture moves and handles livestock. Her research of sweeping curved corrals and squeeze chutes has had major impacts on the animal industry.

Exact viewing dates of the film are not currently available, though it is in the post-production phase and still slated for a 2009 release. Claire Danes (recently appearing in Me and Orson Welles, Stardust, The Hours and Romeo + Juliet) plays a college-age Grandin who later became one of the most respected animal handling facility designers to date. Julia Ormond plays Grandin’s mother, Catherine O’Hare, her aunt and David Strathairn, a university scientist and Grandin’s teacher.

Grandin has authored more than 300 articles on animal handling, welfare and facility design. She has authored several books, two of which were on the New York Time’s best seller list, several videos, appeared in on numerous TV programs, and is an active speaker.

If a movie was made about your life, what would be the central theme? Who would play your boss, your husband or wife, and you? 

Further links:

This column is part of the Beef Today Cattle Drive e-newsletter, which is delivered to subscribers biweekly and includes beef industry analysis, market information as well as the latest beef headline news. Click here to subscribe.


If You Were a Millionaire Rancher...

Jun 09, 2009
By Sara Brown
Across the news this morning were photos and video of a 23-year-old rancher from South Dakota who won $232.1 million ($88.5 million after taxes) in the Powerball jackpot. (Read the AP article here.) 
Neal Wanless says he plans to spend his new fortune wisely. What impressed me, and most other people, were his comments regarding helping his community and repaying neighbors who showed his family kindness. The articles also recount his family’s struggle to keep the cattle, sheep and horse ranch going in Todd County, S.D.
If you won the lottery, what would you do with the winnings? I’m sure we could all come up with a list—more cattle and land to graze them on would be at the top of mine. What are your top five?

Goin’ Showin’

Jun 01, 2009

By Sara Brown

There is something about the smell of wood chips. It takes me back to the Missouri State Fair, unloading pigs from the trailer and waiting anxiously to guide (or rather push) my animal into the ring. The smell of a freshly busted straw bale brings back the time I learned the proper way to tie a 1200-lb. steer to the fence, after chasing him around the pen again. Cattle adhesive, Ivory dish soap, purple oil… the list goes on.

Those are the smells of the fair for livestock kids. Never do I feel more at home then when those smells waft together with cattle bawling, pigs hollerin’ and children laughing.

This Memorial Day holiday, as members of the Centralia, Mo., FFA Alumni hosted their third annual Jackpot Show, those memories came flooding back. From the announcers stand, I watched nearly 200 exhibitors bring outstanding quality animals through the ring. There were FFA kids, 4-H kids, and kids too young to belong to either organization. Parents and exhibitors circled the show ring to see who would win the champion prize.

Many of these kids don’t come from traditional farm families. They learn about how to raise livestock through teachers and mentors. They learn how to select quality animals, feed balanced rations and properly handle their animals. They learn responsibility, time management and financial accountability.

We often overlook this segment of the industry, but in reality it’s an important sector. While these may just be summer projects for a select few, we need to remember these are our future leaders of the industry, related company personnel and consumers. A local, county or state fair may be the strongest connection many consumers will ever have to the farm.

This year, take a moment to visit your local, county or state fair. Walk through the barns and visit with the kids about their animals. Then check our news section at for the Best of Show slideshow of photos from readers. This week’s pictures from the Centralia FFA Alumni Jackpot Show are posted below.

If you have pictures of kids showing and taking care of animals at the fair or other livestock show, we’d love to add them to our Best of Show slideshow. Pick your top five photos and e-mail them to

This column is part of the Beef Today Cattle Drive e-newsletter, which is delivered to subscribers biweekly and includes beef industry analysis, market information as well as the latest beef headline news. Click here to subscribe.


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