By Austin Snedden, Ranching Contributor, Valley Ag Voice

Cattlemans corner Austin Snedden
Austin Snedden

The fly is one of the most despicable creatures in the world. Besides being completely uncivilized and dining on trash and fecal matter, they also can spread disease to and amongst cattle, but probably the most sinister act of the fly is to annoy. Fall is the time that separates the men from the boys in the fly kingdom. The oncoming cold weather whittles the fly population down to the most rambunctious and obnoxious flies in the population. 

The other day I was repairing some barbed wire fence on a hillside that was about a forty-five-degree angle. I was already frustrated as I tried to work because the dry grass and loose dirt had already conspired and made me lose my footing about five times. As I am working to stay vertical while simultaneously holding fence pliers in one hand and a strand of barbed wire in the other, an unruly gang of fall flies showed up to harass me. I couldn’t tell for sure, but I thought one fly was wearing a jean jacket with cutoff sleeves, and another looked like it had a prison tattoo on its face and a bandanna on its head. While my hands were busy, these flies did some expeditionary buzzes into my ears and a few touch and goes on my face. You can’t bat at flies and stay busy with your hands at the same time. As one fly started buzzing into a holding pattern about a half an inch from my eye, I realized its intentions were not accidental–this little son of a larvae was trying to bait me into swinging a hand with a sharp fence tool into my eye or the other hand which was full of barbed wire. Erring on the side of not gouging my eyes out, my options were rapid blinking and head shakes, both of which were no threat and little deference to the flies. 

I realized I can’t fight flies and still work with both hands. Also, I can’t accomplish the fence repair properly with one hand. The flies had the advantage. The fly had a single focus and was using all its hands (or fly equivalent) to buzz and bother me, and I couldn’t focus on the fly because I had a job to do. My job was to fix fence, the flies’ job was to buzz and bother. At this point I realized the challenges that all businesses face and especially those of us in agriculture. The bureaucrats and regulators come buzzing in on us looking for an open orifice, but we have both hands engaged in production. If we remove a hand to bat at flies, we are taking time away from production. If we drop our work completely to shoo them away, our production stops, and the buzzing will return because while it is our job to produce, it is their full time job to buzz. The first good freeze will give us a break from the flies buzzing–maybe we need a regulatory freeze to give us a break from the buzzing of the bureaucrats. 

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