Heifers versus Herefords?

Grab a seat. Get some chips and a beverage. Here’s another cautionary tale. Go ahead, I’ll wait here until you get back.

imagesOnce upon a time, I was actually much younger. This was before I got married so it really was some time back. ( I have been married over 30 years.) My parents were great friends with a family from a large city in Nebraska where I was actually born. These people were bred, born, and raised city folk. Nothing wrong with that. I just didn’t realize how much of a difference that really was (and is). This family came to visit our farm every year. This was huge. They had a son just a little older than myself and we would spend the whole week fishing. This went on for years.

This family also had two younger daughters and, logically enough, there came a time when that started to register in my fishing beclouded mind. (Fishing tends to overwhelm rationality at times. That is a story for another day.) I was talking to one of these young ladies one day about cattle and happened to mention Hereford heifers. Ok. Put the chips down for a second.  Here is the point of this story. The young lady replied ” What is the difference between a “heifer” and a “Hereford”?

I literally stood there a minute looking like one of the largemouth bass her brother and I had been catching out of our farm ponds for the last umpteen years: my mouth hanging wide open and a dazed look in my eyes. She was a more or less adult young woman who had been visiting our farm most of her life. She was reasonably intelligent and well spoken. She was a High School graduate. My mind struggled with the concept that she did not understand what a “heifer” was and what a “Hereford” was! The kicker, here, is that I tried to explain that a “heifer” was an immature female bovine and a “Hereford” was a bovine breed. I couldn’t get the point across.

I got the point very well. Fundamental information that is basic to life on a farm may be, and probably will be, incomprehensible to someone whose life has had little common frame of reference. THIS IS IMPORTANT! The whole raison d’être (look it up) behind this blog is that I feel the need to help expose people to a frame of life reference that is shrinking exponentially. I must always keep in mind that some of the references I make have to be explained in language that people who don’t share my background can understand. That is what Communication is! True communication is not just vomiting out reams of information. True communication is imparting information to others in such a fashion that they can absorb it, understand it, and implement it in their life. My “story”, and your story, and anybody’s story deserves to be told in the most comprehensible fashion possible. I may have to get out my iPad and my stylus and diagram that story with stick figures. Agriculture, rural Ag culture, deserves the best treatment I can give it.

Let me know if I get to spouting Agspeak “gobbledygook”. I work in Healthcare. I know how frustrated people can get when they don’t understand. Do you know what is worse? Worse is when people THINK they understand but they don’t. Being afraid to speak up and ask for clarification is even worse than that! Communicate with me so I can more effectively communicate with you! Let’s all try to learn a little bit.


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