Author: Michael Rosmann

Why Cattle Are So Important To Humans

Cattle have contributed to the survival of humans for many thousands of years, initially as animals our hunter-gatherer ancestors pursued for food, tools, and leather, and which farmers raised for the past 10,000 years or so as livestock for meat, milk, and as draft animals.  Cattle also have become an indicator of economic status. In bygone eras and still for traditional Masa in central Africa and several other African tribal groups, cattle are a form of currency.  The right of Masa men to marry well in their culture hinges on the number of cattle owned by prospective suitors. In...

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Practical Considerations To Manage Farm Financial Stress

A January 2017 article entitled “Getting Ready for Farm Loan Renewal” by Tina Barrett in the University of Nebraska publication, Crop Watch, prompted me to write this addition to the ongoing Farm and Ranch Life columns about how current farm financial stress affects agricultural producers and what we can do to work our way through difficult times. Barrett is the executive director of the Nebraska Farm Business Association. She grew up on a farm in central Nebraska. Barrett’s article also appeared in her association newsletter, On Pasture. In a straight-forward fashion, she offered practical suggestions for dealing with stress...

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Current Farm Economy May Trigger Behavioral Distress

Farm economists and lenders last October estimated that about 20 percent of farmers would have difficulty paying annual farm operating and/or long-term loan obligations which are due this year.  The emails and phone calls I have received lately bear out their estimates. Farming overall is in a recession.  Specialized producers with ready customers for their goods, wealthy producers with cash reserves, and still others are faring satisfactorily. The economists and lenders whom I interviewed earlier estimated that half of “under-water” agricultural loan holders (10 percent overall) would possibly be able to secure back-up assistance from another source.  Some would...

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Economic Uncertainties Contribute To Farm Producers’ Anxiety

During the past two weeks I received four requests for assistance with farm economic uncertainty.  Two inquiries came from farmers with grave concerns about their financial situations; another came from a Farm Service Agency loan officer and one came from a farm business accountant. I can’t offer as much advice as I would like to these requesters, for the U.S. economy overall is in unfamiliar territory, with a new President and Congress that are figuring out their agendas and roles.  Planning a new federal “Farm Bill” also contributes “unknowns” to their deliberations. Today we look at financial resolution-seeking procedures;...

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A Love For Cattle

Raising cattle was one of the best parts of farming for me.  In particular I enjoyed producing and contributing to high quality beef animals in our registered Simmental herd for quite a few years, but not for as many years as I would have liked. Although producing breeding stock was profitable and fun, the need to improve the behavioral health of people engaged in agriculture was more urgent than raising cattle.  Taking care of my fellow farmers felt like my life’s calling; I had to step up. For several years, starting in the late 1990s, I traveled 218 miles...

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