Terms in ag sound funny to the consumer

“Let’s go round up that pen of steers from the backgrounding lot to process.”

To the average person, this sentence probably sounds like another language. I know sometimes there are even terms that farmers and ranchers use that I’m not used to. It can become confusing when you really don’t know the meaning. I know I don’t usually ask what they mean, so I’m sure others don’t ask either.

If I didn’t know any better, this sentence might sound something like, “Let’s go rope a confined area of cows from the background over there to butcher.”

This really should be a good lesson to us in agriculture. We need to be better at defining what we mean by these terms. It’s important for others to understand them so they really understand about their food.

A Nebraska feedyard owner, once a foodie city girl from Florida, Anne Burkholder, does a good job of this in her blog, Feedyard Foodie. But she really understands the concept because she was once the consumer. She’s got quite the story and you should really read all about Anne by clicking here.

In her most recent blog, “Mama, why did you just say that calf was ‘green’?…” Anne explains a term that her daughter heard her say one day in the feedyard.

“This question came from my oldest daughter when she was learning her colors as a young child.  I was talking to someone on the phone about a group of cattle that had just arrived at the feed yard, and commenting that the cattle were“pretty green”.”

She goes on to say, “We all know that cattle are not the color green—so what was I talking about?  A “green” steer or heifer is one that is not carrying a lot of flesh.  “Green” is a term used by cattlemen to describe an animal that is relatively thin.”

Anne also lists a variety of terms that are often used in her feedyard and explains their meaning. Thanks Anne for taking the time to describe the production methods we take and do in agriculture and why we do it!

Read my similar post, "’Buzzwords’ in Agriculture".

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