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.


Recently, a dairyman asked me if I knew the requirements for becoming organic. Naturally, I tried to ease his obvious insecurity with humor. I told him that he’d have to let his hair and beard grow out and start wearing tie-dye shirts with sandals. I also told him I’d be on the lookout for a Volkswagen van, since producers have to use them as their primary means of transportation if they want to become certified.

Of course, in reality, it is a serious (and often sensitive) issue. Nowadays, it seems the line between organic and non-organic producers in this country is about as thick as the line between Democrats and Republicans. Not only are they severely divided, but they forget that they have to work together.

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Lately I feel the need to laugh! My life is a tangled web of one problem after another. I worry about the stupidity of politics. I worry about the war! I worry about the kids, I worry about the educational system, I worry about the housework and the price of gasoline. There is so much to worry about; I feel overwhelmed.

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Sammi is one of those children for which parents have great expectations but a healthy dose of apprehension. In other words, her self-confidence was bound to get her into trouble now and then.

As a 13-year-old ranch kid, she could rope and ride, do the chores, cook, read, shoot and take care of herself like most kids reared up in a country raisin’.

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As a Phoenix who rises from the ashes to rebirth, so Jack, the bull terrier, was the symbol of hope that rose from the cook shack conflagration.

Jack was past his prime; though hard of hearing and losing his sight, he still continued to make the winter trip to Walker’s camp in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. In spite of the cold, he slept outside near the cooking fire in his own dog bed.

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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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