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RYAN DENNIS

Ryan Dennis is the son of a New York dairy farmer and a literary writer whose early essays were originally published in Progressive Dairyman.

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The stray cows have gone from pests to a significant threat to the livelihood of farmers. Depending on crops on marginal land to survive, a farmer can have his entire income eaten or trodden on in hours by wandering herds.

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In October 2017, Ireland braced for Hurricane Ophelia. It was expected to be the worst storm in 50 years. Several days before it was to land, the government decided to close all schools, and the night before, the university too shut its doors.

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I don’t know what put the idea in my head, but I assume it was one of my father’s stories about making maple syrup as a teenager. Or maybe it was simply that it allowed him to buy a nice car in his teens.

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Farming is seldom at the heart of social and political controversy. That is not the case in South Africa, however.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has recently begun to make good on his promise to expropriate farmland owned by the white population and redistribute it to black citizens.

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My housemate brought home a virtual reality headset. Being somewhat behind the times, I still thought they were the imagination of science fiction. Slipping it on, I was amazed at how fast the physical world disappeared.

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In an age of alternative facts, spin doctors and stilted media outlets, it is up to the individual to question the information he or she is given. It is no longer enough to be told something or to see it on the television.

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