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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.


I learned forward, hunched over the buzzer, as if the closer my brain was to my hands, the quicker they could react.

Omaha, Nebraska, 2004 – Junior Holstein Association National Dairy Bowl Finals.

My county team, Allegany-Steuben, had overcome an early loss in the New York competition to come back and win the tournament, representing the state on the big stage.

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We all know the welfare of animals is a growing concern for the general public and certainly an interest to producers. I recently heard an interesting philosophy which helped me gain a better understanding of the origin of varying viewpoints of welfare and how today’s farmers might be able to address them.

As David Fraser from the University of British Columbia kicked off the Dairy Cattle Welfare Symposium in Guelph, Ontario, recently, he suggested that in the past half-century the perception of farm animal care has gone through its own industrial revolution.

Similar to society’s shift in the 1700s, the use of advancing technologies converted the agrarian model of emulating nature to an industrialized model of controlling nature.

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Once again the gold, scarlet and orange leaves flutter to the ground, leaving the trees stark and bare against the blue sky.

The dates on the calendar fly as quickly as the hour changes on a digital clock. Yesterday was New Year’s; Valentine’s sped past in a flurry of hearts, followed by shamrocks and Easter eggs; then flags and fireworks flashed in the sky and were replaced by turkeys, ghosts and Christmas lights. All are gone into the sealed files of yesterday. I wonder where it all went.

Of all of the holidays, Thanksgiving is my favourite time of the year because it isn’t heralded in with a big fanfare of commercialism.

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It was late into the season, a transition from baling hay to chopping corn made awkward by challenging weather and running behind in fieldwork.

The first cutting that remained had grown coarse. The dried-out stalks of reed canary bent toward the ground from the burden of a dry summer.

Before cutting, my father drove through it with a pickup, trying to get me excited about cutting old hay before an imminent thunderstorm. “Relax and enjoy it,” he said. “Sure, it’s better than milking.” I looked up at the sky warily.

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Family traditions have always been an integral part of my life. We celebrate holidays and have family reunions, like many other families, but we have other traditions that fill our daily lives.

Like in the movie “Fiddler on the Roof,” traditions affect our daily lives. As Tevye says, “Because of our traditions everybody knows who he is and what God expects him to do.”

Traditions are like train tracks going across the desert. The engine pulls the other cars along the track to their destination.

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