Grazing the Net
Greg Henderson and Friends
Our editors spend some time roaming the web looking for stuff cattle people and others in agriculture might find useful or entertaining.
Super Bowl Features Romance on the Ranch
Jan 30, 2014
You'll want to watch the first quarter of Sunday's Super Bowl when Chevrolet debuts its 60-second commercial for their Silverado HD trucks. (Here's the link in case you can't wait for the game.)
The spot continues the "hard-working" theme that past ads have featured only this one ends with a light-hearted twist. Titled "Romance," the video introduces us to a cowboy in the process of picking up a new Hereford bull described as "a very eligible bachelor." The handsome cowboy stops for a barbeque lunch before driving out to the ranch where he unloads the bull into a pen with four attractive young Hereford females. Music from the 1970s hit "You Sexy Thing" plays over the video of the moment the bull and heifers appear to have discovered love at first sight.
The ad represents a huge investment for Chevy and all Super Bowl advertisers. This year a 30-second spot sells for a cool $4 million, and average production costs are about $1 million. Is it worth it? Rob Siltanen, founder and chief creative officer of Siltanen & Partners, a Los Angeles-based advertising agency, makes the case that Super Bowl ads are a bargain.
Drone Helps Send Rancher to Jail
We've all met a few cranky farmers or ranchers in our time, but one North Dakota rancher's attitude has secured his place in history. Rodney Brossart's disagreement with a neighbor over some stray cows escalated to the point law enforcement became involved and a 16-hour armed standoff ensued. A U.S. Border Patrol Predator drone was used to locate Brossart and his three sons and they were arrested, making them the first Americans collared with the help of a drone, according to U.S. News & World Report. Brossart tried to have the case dismissed on the grounds that there was no warrant for the drone surveillance, but a federal judge rejected his motion. Brossart will serve 6 months in jail for "terrorizing police," and his sons were placed on probation. "This case should never have happened," the judge said. "Chalk it up to stubbornness, to stupidity, to being at odds with your neighbors or any combination of those." Agreed. Next time just send the cows home.
Squirrels Threaten Infrastructure, Cows Could Help
So you won't run out of things to worry about, Eugene K. Chow makes the case that squirrels are a bigger threat to America's power grid than computer hackers. Lawmakers and security officials repeatedly warn us that a cyberattack is a real danger for which we must prepare. Chow's research, however, suggests squirrels and tree branches are more troublesome than hackers. His research found squirrels caused at least 50 power outages across the country during a four-month span last year, including a two-day span in June when four squirrel-related incidents left more than 18,000 homes in the dark. If squirrels or terrorists knock the power out, cows might help provide an alternative. Argentine scientists say they've found a way to transform cow gas into fuel using a system of valves and pumps to channel the digestive gases through a tube and into a tank. The scientists say each cow emits between 250 and 300 liters of pure methane a day, enough energy to keep a refrigerator running for 24 hours, or until the squirrels go away.
Veggie Vending Machine
We have seen the future of the vending machine and chips and sodas are on the way out. That is, if Luke Saunders' invention becomes mainstream. His "kiosk" dispenses fresh salads and snacks, not junk foods with the help of a touch screen. We think it's a great idea, but we see one problem – the machine must be restocked every day to keep the salads and other ingredients crisp. Junk food makers solved that problem years ago with monosodium glutamate, but that's probably not an option for Saunders.