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Read online content from popular columnists including Ryan Dennis and Yevet Tenney, as well as comments from Progressive Dairy editor Karen Lee.


If there’s one thing found on a farm regardless of all else, it’s barn cats. They roam everywhere, living detached lives in dusty rafters and bedded stalls. The barn cat is a strong animal because he has to be.

He sometimes eats road kill, is stepped on in the freestalls and spends lonely nights in the corner of the haymow. Sometimes barn cats explode in tractor radiators.

Their populations billow and shrink by the frequency of drop-offs and manic breeding. At any time there was always at least one that stuck out and later symbolized a childhood era.

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Nowhere in my original plans for this issue are the words “robot” or “automatic,” yet when I page through this magazine I’m about to present to you, I find it weighs heavily on the topic.

I learned long ago you can’t time the news. In the magazine business, we try to plan out what we can. In fact, our schedule for 2014 has already been established. However, we also remain flexible to include timely information.

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I pledge:
my head to clearer thinking,
my heart to greater loyalty,
my hands to larger service,
my health to better living,
for my club, my community and my country.

The 4-H pledge was one of the first sayings that I had to commit to memory. As a young member of the South Side Eagles 4-H Club, I could have been called upon at any meeting to lead the club through its recitation.

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“Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”

—Exodus 20:12

This commandment thundered from Mount Sinai thousands of years ago, written by the finger of God. It was good advice then, but it is more relevant today when there is a full-force attack on the family.

The attack didn’t start a few years ago. The march against the family started when the so-called enlightened flower children of the ’60s decided to rebel against the establishment.

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I find it especially annoying when someone tells me to consider myself lucky and then names a far-away country they know little about.

(While I hope, growing up, I had sufficient empathy for the children of Mozambique, I was able to realize that whether or not I finished my vegetables was disconnected from their fate).

Agricultural journalism carries the same headlines around the world when it comes to dairy farming: High costs, low margins.

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