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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Hiker's View of Agriculture

I have a friend from England that I have mentioned on here before. While in Wyoming, she became a very close friend and we have been able to keep in touch since departing and after both of us have returned to our respective homes. She is from a larger town in England, and other than horses, really had no experience with production animal agriculture. She has developed a great interest American Agriculture and is looking for any way to keep learning while waiting a return to the States to study Animal Ag. She has found a sheep production class at a local university that she is attending at night. (I wish more people had such an eagerness to learn about Agriculture today!)

In a recent email she sent me this description from her instructor on the hiker's point of view of animal agriculture, and he gives a very good way of responding.

"So I heard a couple of interesting things tonight about cattle. One was quite relevant to the mountain grazing in Wyoming, when hikers go through and complain about cattle etc. Apparently the same thing happens here with sheep on the hills/mountains. People complain if they find a dead sheep or if one is lame etc etc. The lecturer put a really good spin on it. He said that what he says to his students is, "How many of you are feeling 100% today? How many have a headache? How many are hungover? How many have a graze/cut on their leg? How many overstrained at the gym last night and are a bit sore?" He'd usually end up with about 2/3 of the class with their hands in the air. But sheep have to be 100% on form every single day?!?! I thought he made quite a good point."

I thought I might share this seeing how it relates to a question from last night's #agchat, and hopefully many producers will find the point helpful to explain sick animals when consumers ask about them.

Let me know what you think!