Thursday, March 24

We've got bulls on our mind

Yes, another week has gone away so quickly that I haven't even had the chance for a quick post. I promise I have some new photos to share of some of my springtime centerpieces featuring my glass bottle collection, and some photos of a perfect gift we recently received for Baby Martinez from Uncle Bob, but for now all I have for you is these ads, which are the reason I haven't posted in quite a while.

Mid-March is typically a very busy time for us here at the paper, as we're in the midst of bull sale season, and a couple of the regional bull tests have just wrapped up and are getting ready to offer their cattle at auction. That leads to a flurry of advertisements for us, which leads to more pages in the paper and special editions to make the most of the advertising opportunities.

One of the bull tests we feature, and the biggest one, is the Midland Bull Test in Montana, and these ads are the ones that I built for a handful of our customers. They take some time to build, as all the EPDs have to have tables made for each of them, and all the numbers be entered exactly.

'EPD' stands for 'Expected Progeny Differences,' and they show the performance of each bull that was in the test, as far as how much weight he gained per day, how much feed he's eaten to gain that weight, and other details along those lines.

The official explanation of EPDs is: Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) use performance information on a bull’s offspring, along with his own performance records, the performance of his sire, dam, and other relatives to predict how future offspring will perform. EPDs are used to estimate how the offspring of an individual will compare to the offspring of other animals within a breed. EPDs are not designed to predict the performance of one or two offspring of a bull, but rather the differences between two individuals of the same breed.

Anyway, all those numbers are very important to the people who are considering spending thousands of dollars to purchase a bull, as his genetics and performance will have a big impact on the calves they will market in coming years, as well as the replacement heifers they'll keep to add to their cowherd.

Typically, as usually happens in the newspaper business, all these ads are done last-minute, as the results from the bull test are compiled only shortly before our edition deadline. That's why last weekend I spent quite a bit of time in the office with Jody putting these together, while Tracy worked from her home in Kaycee. Publisher Dennis was kind enough to bring us Olive Garden lunch on Saturday.

I really don't mind spending the extra time to work on these special ads, because I enjoy design and layout, and it's a nice change from my usual job with the paper, which is mostly related to writing and editing.

Although, we don't get to be too creative with these ads, as they're meant to be strictly business and get the point across, and that's all. I thought the company name in the above ad was rather amusing, as you'd never catch anyone with a cattle operation in the West, or even the Midwest, naming their place anything like 'Majestic Meadows.'

So my time over the weekend, and Monday, was taken up with designing, building, proofing and correcting these ads, and thus my lack of time for blog posts. As soon as I finished with the ads it was time to turn my attention to this week's editorial, which includes two articles for the cover that required a lot of phone calls to collect the necessary information.

That's what's been going on around here, and if my camera had been in my laptop bag like I thought it was, I could share some of my house project photos from the weekend, but I guess that will just have to wait.

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