One of my goals for was to put new content up about every couple of days. Boy howdy did I missed that one badly. If you’ve read or looked through the previous posts you’ll see lately it’s more like 1 every couple of weeks. Not good.

A big chunk of my time is traveling, meetings and conversations. Finding time to write about many of the issues that need to be brought forward to the public is often challenging enough. Doing so when I’m the moving target makes it about impossible.

At the moment I’m in Willcox at the Cooperative Extension’s “Being a Range Cow is a Hard Way to Make a Living” seminar. A couple of weeks back the location was Kingman and near the end of last year there was an edition in Payson. It’s good information and I’m there trying to give folks an opportunity to express their concerns and ask questions.

Last week it was a veterinary conference (everyday should be something of a learning experience; most states require us vets to formally learn something each year.) And for a couple of days this week I had the Livestock Services field staff in for training.

But the real point of this note is to let you know that you can post questions on this blog and I will eventually get a reply to you. Someone posted a question a day or 2 ago about my work on procedures for GOAPS. (No that’s not a misspelling.)

GOAPS is my shorthand for Government Operated Animal Pounds/Shelters. I’m in the review stage of providing a policy to these agencies that defines how to obtain controlled substances and euthanize animals. But during this stage other aspects of are being worked. For example, there are ~50 law enforcement agencies have been previously been designated as responsible for the controlled drugs. I’ll be making contact with folks from each of those so that we’re all clear on the process and expectations. My guess is there will be 2 to 3 times that number by the time all eligible agencies have been contacted that could be a part of this system.

What Keeps You Up At Night

I grew up on a farm in the hills of NC, up near the VA state line and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Feeding and checking on cattle was a daily chore, everyday of the year. There were usually a few horses, pigs, chickens and other assorted critters too.

During the growing season, added to the above work, were the matters of planting, tilling, tending, harvesting – tobacco, corn, some small grains, as well as hay and other fodder, the garden in the back yard. And don’t forget the ever-present fence building and repairing! (I can imagine some of you asking, “What’s fodder?”)

An Aside: I was in Las Vegas last week for the Western Veterinary Conference. One of the speakers was giving a talk on pasture management and it turned out that he was on staff at NCSU. He remarked how he discovered you could actually feed beef cows successfully on corn stalks. I had to call and tell my dad about this discovery. We laughed a lot. Seems even in the ag world all the old is now new (again.) Reminds me of one of my favorite Will Rogers’ quotes: It isn’t what we don’t know that gives us trouble, it’s what we know that ain’t so.

Back to the start of this section and raising crops – we stacked, baled, rolled more corn stalks (fodder) in the 1970s to feed dry cows than we did hay many years. Tobacco was a dependable cash crop and nearly all manual labor. I didn’t hear the term stoop-labor until long after I left home. And when I did, it took me a moment to understand what the person was saying. That was simply what we had called working for a living back home.

I’ll spare y’all the details of the dirt, gum, grabbing a handful of briars (or an occasional snake) or the gnats around your ears (and sometimes up your nose), the sweat trickling into your eyes and hours involved and finally get to the point of today’s ramble.

At the end of those days at some point well after dark, we’d come in the house; shower; maybe eat, maybe not; and collapse on the floor (it was cooler than the bed) and sleep. Other than birthing issues (not necessarily trouble, but you needed to check) almost nothing kept me up at night in those days.

Tuesday of this week, we wrapped up a field staff training session. It wasn’t nearly enough time to cover all our issues. But it was a start. I seem to be starting many things these days. I also seems to do a lot of running – meetings here, speaking there, listening to folks all around. And this work (my dad has his own comments on this type of work and yes he is still working on that farm back home) – the planning, writing, talking does wear on a body, particularly when the fruits of your labors may be a long time coming.

As many of you know this type of work doesn’t seem to yield the feelings from muscles well-worked and a mind at peace that can sleep. So at night we’re visited by many of the reminders that popped up on our computer screen or smartphone during the day.

...where do I find the funds to repair that truck and get him back to fully operational?
...that grant proposal is overdue!
...those position descriptions haven't been revised in a decade!'s been a score of years since policy and procedures were re-written!
...we've got field personnel who get abused and occasionally threatened for wages of about $1000/year of service! do we protect livestock and public health with even fewer people in the field in the near future and failing equipment?

This is nothing new for me, nor many of you. But one of those pop-ups in my head over the last several nights was the reminder of putting new content on RoamingTheRange. So this way maybe I’m providing you with more food for thought as well as being able to mark that pop-up off the list in my head tonight!

Enjoy the ride!