Little Something I worked up

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Well-known member
Dec 20, 2003
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North Central Kansas
This is a paper I wrote this time last year for history class. I think it's a decent read, it's long but worth it. Give me some feedback too, it'd be appreciated.

Jake Hauschel Per. 5

Back when the Wild West was still being tamed, when rustlers could still make a fortune on wild cattle, was the time when our country's beef business expanded the most. With the expansion to the West, Southwest, and Great Plains by the United States and the beef industry the demand and supply of beef was greatly increased. When in the mid 1800's Herefords were bred to wild longhorn cattle for improved growth started a revolution in our country's standard for beef quality.
The importation of British breeds such as: Angus, Shorthorn, and Devon came to our country they added to the legacy the Hereford started. They added marbling and fleshing ability to American cattle. These traits added to the value of the cattle and evolved into the cattle of today. I will give you a inside look on how these breeds and so many others have shaped the industry of then and now.
Free land and free cattle were the basis of the ranching industry during the cattle boom. Indian grounds and public lands were being given to the first man to put his name on it. The law of the land was whatever unbranded cow was on your property at the time of claim was yours. Large herds were established due to the abundance of Longhorn cattle. Longhorns were often some of the mangiest ugliest animals around, but they were free. A Hereford bull put out there would boost production and it often meant big bucks in return. Debtors and even millionaires came out of this business. Land and cattle were currency and if you didn't have enough of the two you were obsolete.
The ranchers had to make sure that your cattle had the home ranch brand and plenty of your own grassland to survive on. The invention of barbed wire was like another industrial revolution. Now the chances of rustlers making out with a few hundred head or unbranded yearlings getting mixed in with the neighbor's are greatly reduced. Even though the chance at a few dollars at your neighbors' expense is gone, so is his chance at being able to make a few dollars off of you. Big operations started to die off as land was broken apart, small ranches and farms started to dot the landscape.
The smaller herds allowed even greater room for animal improvement. The phrase "Bigger is better," became popular. Crossbreds were increasingly popular adding in frame and output of beef. Now even though these large animals were the outcome the profit available from those Angus- Longhorn or Hereford- Longhorn crosses seemed almost endless. A twelve hundred pound cow that you collected a calf bigger than her off of every year seems to have endless possibilities. Terminal crosses or cattle that aren't to be put back into the herd were created; this doesn't necessarily mean that all followed this rule… The cow killers of the mid century mark were born. These three thousand pound bulls were bred back to those small British breeds and the outcome was a 100+ pound calf at birth! Cows out in the rugged conditions of the day would keel over from exhaustion and/ or hip-lock. (Nerve pinched making it impossible to stand or walk) For this reason the black cattle were discriminated against because it was thought that they were too small to handle the demands of the era.
Now you probably wonder what all these breed names I'm throwing out at you are. The British breeds such as Angus and Hereford are known for calving ease, growth, and carcass traits. Angus both black and red originated in Scotland. This breed was chosen to be most desirable black so the two colors have become almost two separate breeds today. The Angus breed carries many desirable traits such as: marbling ability, fertility, docility, mothering ability, and they are polled (naturally hornless). Herefords were the main staple for much of the century. These red white faced cattle were cheap and economical. Their stay ability and fertility make them great genetics to adapt to the rugged western environment. These cattle made probably the longest run of any in the business. These animals were horned so they did not bring the hornless trait desired by most. Their horns had to be weighted down so that they would curl downward this was for safety reasons. The horns were safety hazards not only for the human handlers, these horns were often dangerous for other cattle in the finishing yards and at the farm's feedbunks.
The "cow-killing" continental breeds were the next breed groups to come to the grill. Charalois, Braunvieh, Simmental, Holsteins, Tarentaise, and many others came upon the scene in a boom. Only Charalois and Simmental caught on in the beef industry right away while Holsteins took a prominent stand in the dairy industry. Tarentaise and Braunvieh's effects didn't really start to take hold until recent years. Continental breeds are known for their size and milking ability. They were often too large to be crossed directly on the small British breeds and longhorns. Bigger breeds changed the business and made it so that the smaller breeds of Angus and Hereford had to change their size once again to accommodate the market. Herefords were once huge animals turned small then to a medium ideal size. Angus breed once "improved" to the ideal size of twelve hundred pounds regained the quality of calving ease and started to regain value in the commercial market.
The history of the beef industry has been a rocky and rough one. The unpredictability and reliance on the weather all take their tolls even today. The days of hundreds of cattle roaming the unfenced range are gone, the era of intensive grazing, Artificial Insemination (A.I.), and a drive for quality beef has arrived.
New more humane practices have been put into place to be pleasing to the consumer's eye. Rubber bands are now used instead of knives in most cases for lower stress levels in the bull calves which are losing their manhood. The focus has also shifted from gross pounds at slaughter to the quality of beef under the hide. Ultrasounds are now used to predict the quality of beef that will be available from a producing animal's progeny. EPDs (Expected Progeny Difference) are now used to project an animal's offspring's growth rates, production abilities, and overall size. Breed associations such as the Red Angus Association now have EPDs for stayability, longevity, and total breed reporting which is a program that makes it so that every cow and bull is tracked in every aspect that could be desired in the industry.
Marketing has also changed the face of the industry. Programs such as the CAB (Certified Angus Beef), CHB (Certified Hereford Beef), and many others have added value to the breed available. The CAB has made the biggest impact in the industry. Black Angus cattle will sell for more money than any others. The programs mandates for quality have made the CAB a standout among the rest. When you eat CAB steak you know that it will be meating expectations.

The programs that are here today that originated from the effects of the early half of the century. Problems that were then should be no more. Mass quality not mass quantity is now strived for. "Business breeds," are now taking long strides to creating the best animal available. The practice of A.I. is an amazing technique so that the best animals can be mated to create one of the best offspring available. As industry practices and standards have evolved so have the cattle in which we depend on.
The never ending strives for better animals are all part of the never ending fight for survival of the industry. Groups such as PETA have threatened the industry's practices. Changes have been made over the year to satisfy the consumer while also increasing production. Luckily for the industry fad diets such as the Adkins diet which are high protein diets help the demand aspect. Drought has wiped out many small operations along with a few large scale ones. Herd liquidations have led to a smaller number of cattle in the market which will increase prices due to lower supply. Another plus for the industry was when the BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy ) scare in Canada closed the border to beef transport. Prices soared and farmer's and rancher's pocket books finally fattened.
As you can see many things have attributed to the change of the beef industry. No longer will you find free cattle or free land, wide open range, or herds of hundreds of wild cattle. The once long cattle drives have transitioned to highways and semis. Every aspect of the industry has changed in one way, shape, or form. The focus has changed, and so has the effectiveness of how the producers achieve their goals. The industry will hopefully remain on the fast track and keep taking large strides of improvement.
now come on guys.... I don't care whether what you have to say is nice, mean, constructive, harsh it doesn't matter. I see you've read it now what'd ya think?
Sorry bout that. Just too long for me to sit down and read all in one sitting

Good paper. I think the Canadian border being closed is less of an influence than you think. See 'US beef production' under the 'USDA, R-Calf' Heading for an article I found the other day. Besides that, looks like an excellent paper. What kind of mark did you get on it? Good Luck

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