Cattle Losses: A Sports Analogy

I talked with an area cattle official recently. He doesn’t work in the western Dakotas, but he’s concerned about challenges facing cattle producers there after the devastating October blizzard.

What non-aggies might not realize, he said, is that some ranchers lost many of their best young cows, their future “star performers” — the animals that would been the foundation of their herds for years to come. Losing the young cows hurts now, but will hurt even more in the future.

Like a sports team losing its most promising young players, I said.

Yeah, that’s a fair way of looking at it, he said.

At the risk of carrying the analogy too far, consider this:

Your high school varsity basketball team has several talented freshmen. These young players will be your team’s core in their sophomore, junior and senior seasons. They’ll be the ones who give your team a chance to win

Then, the talented freshmen are injured and have to give up basketball for good. Their loss weakens the team right away — and weakens its prospects in future seasons even more. Yeah, your team will find other players, but the replacements won’t be nearly as good and your chances of winning in future seasons will drop dramatically.

No doubt this is an imperfect analogy (aggies can email me their suggestions of how to improve it), but I think it gets across the point to people outside agriculture:

Losing any cattle is bad. Losing the future foundation of your herd is even worse.