Author Archives: blackinkmiranda

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I love God, my kids, my hubby, rural life, agriculture and working for CAB. I’m officially the director of producer communications, which basically means I get to learn from lots of smart people and pass that information along to lots of other smart people: you. I’m so lucky to work with cattle producers and other folks in this great industry. (Oh, and one more job perk? I get to eat lots of really yummy beef.)

Love is in the air…

So here’s a myth I love to tackle!

A week and a half ago, thousands of cattlemen gathered for the Cattle Industry Convention. Now, many of them are home and, like Steve, into calving.

But one rancher I visited with was already looking ahead to breeding. Thinking about his next infusion of genetics, he wondered if he should take his sights off quality in an effort to get more performance in his herd.

Heavens to Besty! Hold your horses! Oh my stars! The corny catch phrases for *shock* could go on and on, but let’s get right down to the knitty-gritty of mythbusting.

Myth–High grading cattle don’t gain well.

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Myths fresh from the hallways, forums in Denver

When I started Mythbuster Mondays a few weeks ago, I told you we hear these statements everywhere. Well, last week while I was at the Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show in Denver, I made note of a few details that could use a little straightening out. They’ll make good fodder for the rest of February.

Half the Black Ink team (Gary, me, Steve & Laura) kicks back after the first day, jam-packed with info-packed sessions.

During Cattlemen’s College a feeder addressed a panel as if to set the things straight, but he started out with the whopper that CAB is just about color, that 70% of his fed cattle are black and therefore go into CAB… “You and I both know that,” he said, with conviction and a half-smirk, like we were pulling the wool over consumers’ eyes.

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Mythbuster Monday: When is marbling made?

 Welcome to Miranda’s Mythbuster Monday! Today I’m going to tackle a myth that’s steeped in tradition. Usually I’m all about traditions, like playing board games at Christmas and getting to pick my own birthday dessert. But whether it’s tradition or just old data, this myth still persists. Time to toss out traditional thinking and investigate research from the new millennium.

 Myth: All the grade in cattle is made the last 100 days on feed, so nothing I do on the ranch makes a difference.

 Don’t tell that to Jim & Maureen Skavdahl, Marsland, Neb., who I visited with a few years ago.


The couple has been ranching in the Nebraska panhandle for decades, but it wasn’t until they started feeding cattle that they placed an emphasis on performance and carcass traits in tandem.

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A new tradition: Mythbuster Monday

When I was hired by CAB in 2006, I was stoked. I was finishing my senior year of college and like the typical fresh-faced grad, I knew it all. I knew I was joining an enthusiastic team that promoted the world’s largest brand of beef. I knew they were going to pay me to do what I loved: writing about and for the livestock industry. I knew CAB was a quality product. (They fed me well during my training!)

But, I didn’t know how much I didn’t know.

I soon began to hear rumblings from classmates, neighbors back home and even my own family, like, “Isn’t that just a black-hided program?” or “Don’t a lot of dairy cows qualify?” Well, the quick answers are “no” and “no.” But one more thing I knew? Those two letter answers never satisfy those who truly want to understand.

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On the ranch

Island vacation= cattle quandries in a new light

In previous posts to this Black Ink blog, there have been mentions of this Miranda gal. Perhaps a few readers are wondering, does she EVER work? Why hasn’t she made a peep yet?

Well, I am Miranda and I’m here to tell you that I do indeed work and keeping quiet isn’t my strong suit. I’ve been absent from this discussion because I was on vacation. My husband and I got married in college and took a grand road trip for a honeymoon, but in celebration of our first milestone anniversary (our 5th) we saved our pennies and left behind the Nebraska winter for our first island vacation, to Hawaii’s Big Island to be exact.

We did our research ahead of time and one thing that intrigued us about this destination was that more cattle than people inhabit the largest island of the volcanic chain. (Could be describing our central Nebraska county—well, minus the island and volcano parts, of course.) “Sounds like our kind of place,” we thought.

I’ll spare you all the details about the perfect weather and beautiful sights, but either because we’re used to putting in some miles to get anywhere or we just plain love a good drive through the countryside, we spent quite a bit of time checking out the lay of land in our tiny rental car. I was forever asking to stop and take pictures, like this:

And this:

And this (yes,that’s the ocean in the background):

I couldn’t help but think about all the folks I’ve talked to in cattle country who say things like,“We’ve got to have cattle that withstand these cold northern winters,” or “Of course, we have to find cattle adapted to this kind of heat.” In Hawaii, the average temperature only varies by a few degrees all year long (average highs 79 to 83, lows 63 to 69). Rough, huh?

Then while I was musing about how easy it must be to ranch in Hawaii, a little voice in the back of my head reminded me that I hadn’t seen any bullracks, packing plants or salebarns that are common place in my part of the world. Yes, that rosy picture gets a little dose of reality when one ponders things like loading cattle onto boats and market access.

Sunset off the Kohala Coast on The Big Island of Hawaii

Just serves as a good reminder that ranching is never easy, even if it looks like paradise to an outsider.

May your bottom line be filled with black ink,


To learn more about ranching on the Big Island, read the Angus Journal series, “Big Island Beef”:

Big Island Beef

Parker Ranch

Ponoholo Ranch

Kahua Ranch

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