Early March on the family ranch is a pretty tough time and location to beat, as far as Ray Peterson is concerned.

Bouncing across rolling hills of blue grama and buffalo grasses northeast of Nunn, CO, in a flatbed Ford F-250, Peterson can't help but grin and chuckle just a bit as he checks out the new additions on his pastures.

“I think it's my favorite time of the year,” he said, looking out the driver-side window at the dozens of newborn, Red Angus calves on his land. The babies born a couple weeks ago were chasing others similar in age, while the calves who first fell to the ground just a day or two earlier were cuddled next to their mothers, or hunkered down in any brush they could find, doing what they could to avoid the winter chill in the air.

It's calving season — for Peterson and beef producers everywhere — and not even the freezing temperatures that afternoon, the whipping winds or the gray, hanging clouds seemingly scraping the tops of the hills to the south — could force the subtle smile away from his face.

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