Gypsy Wagon June/July 2019

By Betty Jo Gigot, Publisher

As we all know, every person in the world is affected by weather each and every day, but no one more than the agriculture community as we work to provide food for the world. Every morning as I fix my coffee, I ask Alexa what the weather is in Phoenix, my location; Garden City, Kan., where the farm is; and Denver, Colo., and St. Louis, Mo., where my sons live. Would you believe there has been a flood alert in St Louis since May 15? Think of where all that water has gone.

On an extended Easter trip to Galveston, Texas, I saw the results of flooding in Houston from Hurricane Harvey and the water marks on the living room wall of my brother’s family home in Galveston from Hurricane Ike. They had another massive rain event there over last weekend. Which brings me to this issue’s content.

More than a year ago when we were discussing the topics for 2019 CALF, “The Importance of Long-Term Planning” and “Doing More with Less,” made sense. Our goal here at CALF News is to continue providing our readers with added tools for their operations. Little did we know that Mother Nature was planning a full display of her power, again, across our readership. After the bomb cyclone took its toll across the middle of the nation, the title of this issue could well have been “Tragedy in the Heartland,” and “Doing More with Less” would have taken on added meaning.

Patti Wilson, our reporter in Nebraska, struggled with how to tell the story of the massive event in her home state. Experiencing the pain personally made it difficult to know how to explain the loss of livestock, farmland and infrastructure. Her story, “How Do We Survive?” (page 22) provides an overall view of the catastrophe. On a more personal note, our story about the Bill Rhea family (page 6) puts it on a down-to-earth level.

We also look back at 2017’s range fires in Kansas and tell the story of the Giles family in their recovery from those horrific days (page 14). These are all brave people with brave hearts. What more can I say?

But it wasn’t just the big events that took their toll this winter. Day after day of cold, snow and wind wore out everyone from the Kansas Plains to the East Coast. All anyone could say was, “Enough already!” I hope spring is glorious and your pastures are green for the coming months.

On a much more cheerful note, while attending a branding in Nebraska, CALF’s art director Kathie Bedolli had the chance to meet Georg Joutras. He was the director, producer and cinematographer for Ocean of Grass, a documentary about a Nebraska Sandhill’s ranch. As it turns out, we were a little late to the dance – many of you have already seen the movie in showings across the state. In an interview, Joutras was very humble about his contribution to the credible image of ranchers everywhere, only wanting to show his respect for a way of life. Let’s hope he continues with his vision.

Returning from Galveston after watching boats travel up and down the shipping channel for 10 days, I celebrated a birthday and am packing up to go north for the summer. Needless to say, weather – Arizona’s scorching summer – has something to do with that. I hope to see many of you at Beef Empire Days or Hy-Plains Research Center for a seminar or somewhere else as I take my annual trip along I-80 to revisit my old haunts.

Life on the road again is looking great, and old friends, a good steak and a bit of scotch are in my foreseeable future. See you down the road.