Cows. “Stand perfectly still and don’t worry they are just as afraid of you as you are of them,” my grandfather instructed as I was given my spot on the pasture. The closer they came, the more afraid I was. But I stood my ground even as these massive animals came toe to toe with my five-year-old frame. I tried the stare down effect and as their eyes met mine their tongues fell from their mouths like long pieces of red licorice. Sure enough, they turned into the corral when they approached the line marked by me and my siblings.
That was branding day at Hofheins farms in Beaver, Utah. A memory that has been buried for more than 40 years but resurfaced after I read my friend’s facebook post. You see growing up on 2nd East in Cedar some of our nearest and dearest friends were the Bulloch and Mcknight families. On several occasions, they helped us in farming and other crises. Nope, we didn’t call our bishop or our home teachers, we called on the Bulloch clan. And as always, they delivered. There is something special about having folks like that in your life.
Now, the Bulloch family and many farming families like them are in trouble. Drought conditions are at their worst and feed for cattle is scarce. In fact, according to the U.S. drought monitor on June 17th Southern Utah was listed as dark red meaning exceptional drought- the most extreme rating. “Experts say conditions in Utah right now are similar to the Dust Bowl in the 1930’s” (Vaughen, 2021).
Thankfully, the Bulloch family has somewhere to send their cattle. After vaccinating, branding, sorting, and brand inspecting them, their first load of cattle is on its way to Oklahoma. For them, sending the cows away is like sending away family. It is not an easy thing.
Let’s all pray for rain so the Bulloch Family and farming families like them can bring their cattle home. Let’s pray for rain so more five year olds like me can take their place on the pasture and herd the cattle into the corral and watch their giant tongues fall from their mouths like red licorice. Let the rain come – Let families gather, work, and make memories. Let’s keep Southern Utah’s farming tradition alive.