Gypsy Wagon June/July 2021

By Betty Go Gigot, Publisher

There are surprises every day. Six months to get a front door! No parts to fix the damaged sprinkler! Pipelines shut down by cyber terrorist groups! The pandemic and the election and just plain old time have made for a “re-imagined” world for us all, and for some of us “old timers” it’s an unsettling world.

I was reminded of that when I was contacted by students at West Texas A&M University recently, asking if they could write articles for CALF News. I had worked many years ago with Tanner Robertson, Ph.D., who teaches agriculture media and communications at the university. Robertson used CALF in the classroom, and three of the students decided an article for “Where’s the Exceptional Beef?” would be an interesting and fulfilling final paper. Those stories are being featured on our website, Meanwhile, Robertson asked if I would be interested in visiting with his junior and senior class about the industry. We set up a Zoom call for his class the next week.

Now, what to say? The week before, I had visited with one of the revered writers in ag news about the closing of several of the industry’s major magazines. His statement to me was, “I never thought I would outlive my career.” (One of those surprises I am talking about.) So, what do you tell enthusiastic young students about moving ahead in a very fluid job market?

I told them what you – as feedyard managers, ranch owners, veterinarians and small businessmen – all know. We all know that there are multitudes of opportunities in any profession. The number of fingerprints on one issue of CALF, from the editor to the writers to the layout people to the ad salesman and the rest of the support team that contributes to producing a product to be proud of, is in the dozens. The support team that it takes to produce a steak, as you know, numbers in the hundreds. As I visit further with those young people, I realize how blessed we are to have that young blood coming into our industry, changing or not.

In the early 1990s, I taught a similar class at Colorado State University for Gary Smith, Ph.D. The university had just started a master’s class in beef leadership, and he wanted his five students to understand how media would fit into their careers. Those five became five of the future leaders in our business. All excelled in walking the walk and talking the talk and furthering their chosen fields in associations, industry business, ranching and media. They have done it all.

This coming Saturday I will be celebrating the graduation of one of the daughters of the original five. She also has done it all in school and has opportunities no one could have imagined a few years ago. Cheers to the newbies and welcome to a surprising world.

Adding to the diversity of CALF News, we have three new writers this issue. Feature stories are by well-known writers Burt Rutherford and Wes Ishmael, and we have an analysis on the United Kingdom’s beef industry by David MacKenzie, beef and sheep director for Harbro, Ltd. New on are the stories by our college students and our weekly market broadcast by Wes Ishmael every Tuesday morning. Please check in there.

The staff of CALF News cannot wait to see all of you at the Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in Nashville in August, and hope you will join us at the Cattle Feeder’s Hall of Fame Reception. Be sure to look us up at our booth.