You don’t see cattle being fed like this in Western Canada. Actually you do on thousands of farms across the Prairies. But seeing these Black Angus cattle in a field in southern Idaho this week inspired me to resume my blog.
This photo was taken somewhere near Idaho Falls in southern Idaho — all new territory to me. After leaving Missoula, Montana earlier in the day I was greatly impressed how much ranching country there was through Montana, southern Idaho and into Utah.
The only measurement I had is that is sprawled for hours along I-15 heading south. Mostly short grass prairie running on endlessly through mostly wide-open, flat valley bottom, between mountain ridges. Although it was certainly spring-like weather, I saw few cattle actually out on dry, brown-grass range. Most were herds still being fed near to farmsteads — lots of new calves.
Many parts of this country reminded me of the open range and foothills along Highway 22 south of Calgary. And I guess if I need to see endless miles of short grass prairie at home I just have to drive from Wainwright, to Hanna, to Brooks and to Foremost along the east side of Alberta. There’s a bit of it there too. One thing on this trip, which so far has brought me to Salt Lake City, Utah, is that through most of that drive I saw very little annual cropping.
Near Pocatello, Idaho and then further into Utah I began to see a few grain terminals, irrigation systems, and controlled atmosphere potato storage sheds. But far more grass than grain.
And stopping in Salt Lake City for a day, I did check out the Mormon Tabernacle, which is the headquarters for the LDS Church. It is an impressive multi-spired grey stone building, on the east side of Salt Lake City not far from the Utah State Capital Building. I was going to join the church, but figured they had enough inspired leaders.
We’re heading off to Nevada tomorrow… and no, not Los Vegas, the sin capital, Sodom and Gomorrah of the southern United States…although my wife thinks a day trip to see the casino’s wouldn’t be a totally bad idea. We’ll see how that goes.
Our destination for a few days is a small city called Mesquite, which according to a friend of mine is a “really good bargain”. We’ll see what we find there. There is a rumor they may have a golf course or two.
(And if anyone asks the driving time from Calgary to Salt Lake City, roughly driving the speed limit is about 16 hours.)
Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary. Contact him at 403-592-1964 or by email at [email protected]
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