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Ryan Dennis

Ryan Dennis is the son of a New York dairy farmer and a literary writer whose early essays were originally published in Progressive Dairy.

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There were times and places in history when stealing a man’s livestock got you hanged. From Vikings in the north to the cowboys of Australia, getting caught with another farmer’s animals was considered especially heinous.

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The nature of agriculture has changed consistently through the decades, becoming largely a global phenomenon.

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It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the typical American Christmas dinner originates from the United Kingdom. We may have swapped out the Christmas pudding for apple pie and shunned the British mainstay of brussels sprouts, but we still have the ham, mashed potatoes and gravy.

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We have tractors that can connect to GPS and drive on autopilot. An offsite mechanic can use telematics to access the onboard diagnostic system of a machine. Cows can wear sensing collars that send messages to a farmer’s smartphone if they’re sick or in heat. Let it be said farming has seen its share of advancements.

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I tend to be a quantity-over-quality type of guy. Instead of a nice pair of jeans, I’d rather have three cheap pairs of Levis to take the pressure off washing.

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Let us take a moment to appreciate just how versatile the cow is. We drink her milk and eat her meat. We can judge her, show her and tip her over. With a bit of spray paint we can play Cow Chip Bingo for a laugh at the county fair.

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