Labor Day weekend for most is filled with memories of family and friends gathered around the water or a BBQ soaking in the last days of summer. For many of us in production Agriculture, those memories also include getting around early to finish the chores before going off to the party. This is how it is for all holidays: July 4th, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and even birthdays!

This year I spent Labor Day weekend taking care of our 67,000 head of cattle, making sure everything was fed, watered, and taken care of before heading off for the afternoon. True we may not tackle the ‘extra’ tasks on a Holiday or weekend, but there is plenty to be done. Like the saying goes “if there is not future for Agriculture, there is no future at all. No Farmers. No Food. Be sure to thank a farmer or rancher for their hard work today!

Who does not like to watch the sunrise every morning. I get to watch the sunrise every morning on the never-ending horizons of the Panhandle.


Gotta get the cattle fed. Every animal is fed a perfectly balanced ration three times daily. And yes we do feed more than grain in the feedyard. Wheat hay, grass hay, alfalfa, wheatlage, and corn silage are just a few examples.

Getting our new cattle their vaccines and ID tags safely is my daily priority. Keeping the pens clean of debris and dirt is a constant task, but this skid steer helps to get the job done.
We ship fat cattle to the harvest plant which is only 20 miles from the feedyard. Many meat harvest facilities are located close to the location of animals. Cattle are sold weighing close to 1,200 pounds.

I receive cattle on a daily basis, yes even on Labor Day. The average feeder calf coming into the yard comes from a grass backgrounding program as a yearling weighing 700 pounds.

I do believe this stock tank has earned its keep. Young cattle coming from pasture situations may not be familiar with water from a tank, so I fill these large tanks with plenty of fresh water to familiarize cattle to water from a tank. This reduces stress on the cattle and reduces the amount of time takes for cattle to start eating a feedyard ration.

The end of the day comes not when the clock says five, but rather when all of the cattle are fed, watered, and taken care of. Life with livestock never runs by a time clock, but rather the tasks that must be completed.

If I’m lucky at the end of the day, I get to run out to a friend’s ranch and watch the sun set on the other never-ending horizon of the Handle. Although, most days I’m already thinking about bed so I can get up and do it all again.

Who knew that there is so much work involved in producing that steak on the grocery store shelf? This is only a tiny inlet to all of the work that goes on to get that steak from pasture to plate. There is so much more to the story.

Still have more questions about work in a cattle feedyard? Send me a message or leave a comment and I’ll be more than happy to answer them. I already am working on future posts that tell more about my day working in the feedyard to produce your beef! So stay tuned!

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