I sometimes get discouraged with the problematic issues of our time, but now and then I am pleasantly surprised when someone presents a positive image to the world and behavior we would all do well to emulate.  My young friend, Logan Strock, is just such a person.  He and another young gentleman, Daniel Jones, are farmers at heart – they’ve grown up involved in farming and animal husbandry, and if this country’s economic status will allow them the opportunity to make a decent living, will contribute a great deal toward teaching and feeding this country.

The morals and ethics of these young men reflect a Christian upbringing and a willingness to learn from others to improve their own farming set-ups.  They know more than I’ll ever know, and are always willing to advise me as I attempt to return to farm life after many years away from it.  With God’s guidance, I am living my dream – a new life with someone who shares my passions and who is enthusiastic about making our few acres meet our needs.  Over the years I’ve forgotten a lot of what I knew about gardening and raising animals, but Daniel and Logan are always willing to advise me or feed critters for us when we’re away.

The young ladies aren’t to be outdone either.  I’m excited when I see one of them has won a ribbon at a show for their cows or goats.  These are the sort of girls who have the skills to be help-mates to husbands and inspiring mothers for their children some day.  We are truly blessed to live in in the midst of such an inspirational bunch of young people.

Today I am passing along an article that I had absolutely nothing to do with writing.  I have inserted a photo of Dr. Grandin.  Logan is the author and did an amazing job.  I hope my readers find this as interesting as I did. Feel free to comment and encourage him as he prepares to head off to college.  This young man will go far in life.


Thinking With Cows

By:  Logan Strock

She has been called stupid and brilliant; foolish and groundbreaking; crazy and revolutionary. This woman has aided in the transformation of the modern beef industry, from one that focused less on animal comfort and more on productivity to a market that balances efficiency, production, and animal comfort. Whether you know it or not, chances are, you have used numerous of Dr. Temple Grandin’s results in your own operation, from the way you drive cattle, to understanding cattle behavior and even through the designs of your cattle handling facilities.  

In my family’s beef operation, I have seen the numerous benefits of Dr. Grandin’s studies in her research behind the cattle squeeze chute. When the cattle enter the chute, they immediately calm and are much easier to handle. When a cow is calmed, the risk of injury is drastically decreased, in turn, increasing efficiency in the modern beef operation.

Dr. Grandin’s studies have proved not only to be easier and more relaxing to the cattle, but more economical to the beef cattle producer of today.

According to Colorado State University, “Her curved chute systems are used worldwide and her writings on the flight zone and other principles of grazing animal behavior have helped many producers to reduce stress during handling.” Dr. Grandin, a lifelong patient and advocate of Asperger’s Syndrome , studied and found that incorporating slow, graceful curves into her designs would help calm the cattle and make them easier to handle in the chute, again directly decreasing the risk of injury. In many cow/calf operations, if a brood cow is lost during the working process, not only has the producer lost the investment that was in the cow, but raising a calf that can be sold at market now relies upon the producer instead. A curving gait is natural to cattle, as exhibited by the fashion in which they travel distances across the pasture. The next time you are checking your cattle, notice the pattern of the trails left across the pasture. As a rule, they are curving and very organic in nature. Dr. Grandin noticed this trend and designed her facilities to mimic this natural motion.

The Center Track restrainer is a conveyer belt-like piece of equipment that gently holds the animal under the belly. This Center Track Restrainer holds the cattle steady as they move towards slaughter. National Geographic describes this device like this “It works and looks like a bowling ball return system. Cattle straddle a track that lifts them up by the belly and propels them forward.” This device also helps to keep the cattle calm, maximizing effectiveness when the animal is stunned to be harvested. Rushing cattle through a chute can often cause them to harm themselves and others around them by spinning around in the chute and falling down and potentially breaking an extremity or even their neck. This device also helps to eliminate the fear of a botched harvest. If the animal that is to be harvested can be stunned effectively the first time, not only is the animal in less pain, but the harvest can move faster, increasing efficiency. Dr. Grandin studied the Center Track Restrainer extensively and learned of its benefit not only to the cattle, but to modern beef operations across the world.

Through her disability, Dr. Grandin is able to think and reason on the level of the animals, enabling to understand and develop systems that are best suited to their needs. In much of her research, Dr. Grandin behaved like the animal she was studying, in their respective handling facilities. The triggers that Dr. Grandin noticed such as moving objects and bright lights, also trigger fear in the animals being harvested. Eliminating this fear leads to a much faster, safer and productive harvest.

Dr. Grandin has revolutionized the beef industry through her studies of animal behavior, allowing the producer to become even more efficient in producing healthy, nutritious beef for Americans to consume.