Penned in the United States' Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, this statement has been called, "one of the best-known sentences in the English language." For Americans, this sentence is a reminder that we have the right to a happy, full life built upon the entrepreneurial spirit. As cattle producers, we live by this sentence everyday in our pursuit to raise a safe, wholesome product to feed the world, while also tending to the land and the livestock under our care. Much has changed in the course of history for beef cattle producers. How about a lesson on the spirit of the American Cowboy?
At the end of the American Civil War, Philip Danforth Armour opened a meat packing plant in Chicago, which became known as Armour and Company. By 1866, cattle could be sold to northern markets for as much as $40 per head, making it potentially profitable for cattle, particularly from Texas, to be herded long distances to market. In 1867, a cattle shipping facility was built west of farm country around the railhead at Abilene, Kansas, and became a center of cattle shipping, loading over 36,000 head of cattle that year. The route from Texas to Abilene became known as the Chisholm Trail, after Jesse Chisholm, who marked out the route.
While cowboys date back to the original vaqueros in Spain, the spirit and image of the American cowboy was solidified through Wild West Shows in the 1920's that relived the trials and tribulations of the Texas cowboy driving cattle up to Chicago. Today, the image of a cowboy hat is still the symbol of American freedom and independence for people around the world. Today, I would like to wish all of you modern-day cowboys a Happy Independence Day! Enjoy your weekend with friends, family and barbecue! God Bless the American cowboy!
BEEF Dailiy Quick Fact: On average, a single herd of cattle on a drive numbered about 3,000 head in the late 1800's. To herd the cattle, a crew of at least 10 cowboys was needed, with three horses per cowboy. Cowboys worked in shifts to watch the cattle 24 hours a day, herding them in the proper direction in the daytime and watching them at night to prevent stampedes and deter theft. (Source: Wikipedia)