September has been warm and dry in the southern part of the state. It has been great for drying down our late-planted corn crop, but it has been terrible for establishing new pastures. I have sowed fescue in August that germinated and died. I have replanted and am still waiting for germination. The new hybrids of fescue are quick establishing and, in most cases, very hearty. I still believe I can make it work, but it would be nice to get a soaking rain pretty soon. Our growing season is running short.

I have been taking some orders for freezer beef for this coming year. I find it interesting listening to people and answering their questions about how we manage and feed our cattle. Antibiotics and steroids are a hot button in the public’s eye. As a beef producer, I always follow label directions and never administer any product off label. I am Beef Quality Assurance certified, as well as all of my employees. I have found that there is more to it than that. Public perception is a challenge for livestock producers every day. It amazes me how they think and what they can believe. Just because I use products that they would deem unhealthy does not mean that I favor profit over their safety. The fact is all living animals and even plants contain hormones like the ones I supplement my cattle with.

By bringing the cattle inside, I seldom ever have an issue where I would need antibiotics. I spend time to invite the public to come see our operation. They have a right to know how their food is produced. Otherwise they know only what they see on television or what they hear other people say. This past week I was observing shoppers — in general, I am speaking of moms — at the grocery store. They walk past the meat counter and pick up a package of ground beef. I noticed they spend time reading labels and maybe looking at color or texture. It is true they pay attention. I tell my story when I get a chance in hope that they will have a better understanding.