The old year slips away, a new one slips in. Not a bad time for all of us looking at the things we can do to improve on our lives and farms in the New Year. Don’t make big promises, like you’re going to fix everything wrong, or paint the whole house in one fell swoop. Get some paint and start working on it. Put some time aside to do more. Be sure you have at least one gallon of paint on hand at all times. The further you go, the more you will be working towards having it painted. It surprises you when such a large job does finally reach the end.
A man once said you can fill a swimming pool, but a lake takes more time. Start replacing all your falling down corrals with what you can afford. You get one side replaced that’s one less weak spot you have to worry about.
If you don’t feed range pellets, buy some and occasionally signal them to come eat. Not with a horn, call the herd in by shouting or blowing a whistle, then treat them. A car horn will have them come when you don’t need them and no feed may be available.
Get on a good health program, talk to your county agent or a vet about what you should vaccinate for. Worm your cattle routinely. We used to worm calves when he worked them and found they were much larger at weaning than non-wormed ones. Fly control is worth the effort in larger calves to sell as well.
A friend of mine told me about something I never worried about. He has a RV hauler and bought new tires for it 6 months ago – at least he thought they were new tires. Going down the road, he blew one out at an inconvenient time on a trip. The blowout cost him over $2,500 in damage to his vehicles plus the loss of a day. He saved the blown out tire and investigated. Of the four tires he bought as “new” at the tire dealer, three were manufactured in the past year and one was 9 years old. Yes, you can guess the 9-year-old one blew out. All were the same brand and make. The dealer denied any liability, said it was done by a road hazard and they had no such guarantee.
At a recent meeting of the Oklahoma Statewide Electric Co-op Board, I listened to a very interesting thing going on over there – agritourism. There is an Oklahoma statewide board and your county agent can give you more information. Your operation can be put on a statewide map showing everything from events held on farms, maize operations, riding stables, dude ranches, hunting lodges, wineries and a whole host of ideas.
They also have economic studies on them, and cost studies that you can look at and actually have state employees that will help you figure out what might work as a side income on your place. The presentation showed lots of things that worked, like u-picks. However, you have to have patience to endure it. The interest in fresh grown farm produce is another. Oklahoma is a real leader in this and you might be missing a profitable sideline.
May your New Year be happy and a safe one. Until the next issue, good luck farming.
Western novelist Dusty Richards and his wife Pat live on Beaver Lake in northwest Arkansas. For more information about his books you can email Dusty by visiting and clicking on ‘Contact Us’ or call 1-866-532-1960.


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