Current Progressive Dairy digital edition


Read online content from popular columnists, including Ryan Dennis, Baxter Black and Yevet Tenney, as well as comments from Progressive Dairy editors.


As my entry into the civilian world becomes easier, I am often asked this question: “What lessons did you learn in Afghanistan that can help us understand our way of life here in America?” Let me provide two answers to this question in this month’s column.

At the top of the list are opportunities. In much of the developing world, and especially in Afghanistan, residents are old soldiers, illiterate adults or children, who if fortunate are attending a school. Or written this way, nearly everyone has few opportunities at joining the global economy and improving their way of life. The Taliban’s overarching objective was (and is today) obstructing learning, thus through ignorance avoiding the public free-thought process that might challenge them, revolt and demand change. They are today targeting schools and bringing harm to teachers.

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Flying to California to attend World Ag Expo in February, I re-learned an important lesson about the public’s perception of agriculture.

Interestingly, it was an in-flight game that recalled an obvious, but often forgotten, reality about today’s food consumers.

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In the musical play, Camelot, the queen sings a song that has become my theme song these last few weeks: “Where are the Simple Joys of Maidenhood?” Guinevere’s lament is, of course, about her lack of knights in shining armor who have shown their valor in battle for her or who have jousted for her honor. My lament is a cry for peace.

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I wrote a book titled Blazin’ Bloats and Cows on Fire! It referred to the flammability of rumen gasses and the spectacular, but rarely harmful, occasions when they are ignited.

I assumed that the predilection for ignition was confined to ruminants but, as is often the case, I was thinking too small. Dr. Charlie broadened my horizons.

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My friend Steve is in the avocado business, which I think makes him an avocadonist or an avocodinarian. He has many distributors (avocodlers) who count on him to keep them supplied. The freeze that hit southern California this winter wiped out the crop.

I called him after I heard him being interviewed on national radio. When he answered, he was in Chile! Turns out he was down there, and in Mexico (home of the guacamole), arranging to import Spanish-speaking avocados to fill the gap for the avocadophiles in the United States of Avocado.

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Winter has arrived in Michigan. In weather very similar to that of Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan, I have come from the cold and entered the cold.

My leave taking of Afghanistan is nearly complete. I am home physically. However, parts of me are still embedded in the U.S. military unit of soldiers, airmen and warriors. I was told by many of my friends in Afghanistan that the return home would be difficult.

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