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Beefs and Beliefs

Editor Casts Humor Vote for Great Innovation

Maybe greatness is relative to where you are and what you’ are doing.

When I was getting ready to do the big historical issue of Beef Producer for June I asked the other Farm Progress editors for their ideas about the most important innovations in the beef industry.

They were a big help but Holly Spangler, field editor for Prairie Farmer in Illinois was the only one who told me a story.

Well, actually I think J.T. Smith in Texas may have …

Anyway, I love people’s stories and so I saved Holly’s vote for the most important beef innovation – with all its tongue-in-cheek qualities – to share with you readers.

Holly wrote to me:

“Hocus Pocus. (Hands down.)

“When I was a teenager, we showed cattle all over southern Illinois. And not just a couple; Dad’s theory was that as long as the trailer was running down the road, it might as well be full. So we’re talking anywhere from 16 to 24 head per show, one to two fairs a week, all summer. And at the big fairs – DuQuoin, Springfield – we had to fit everything. Which meant someone had to wash it all out at the end of a long, hot show day.

“That someone, as you may have guessed, was me. (I thought that extremely unfair, considering my brother put all that adhesive in there in the first place…shouldn’t he have to wash it out? But I digress.)

“The best known method – and the one preferred by my dad at the time – was to use something called Purple Oil. Work it into the hair wherever we’d used adhesive, then wash out. The stuff worked great at breaking down adhesive. But being an OIL, as you may imagine, made it a little hard to wash out.

“Hocus Pocus changed all that. Takes out the adhesive, rinses out easily – no shampoo! No scrubbing! It came out toward the end of my career as a Hinderliter farm hand, but I’ll be forever grateful not to find a gallon of Purple Oil in the showbox again. Ever.

(I’m kidding about this being a 10 Greatest. Mostly. But it was a fun trip down memory lane. Thanks for that.)”

Thanks to you, Holly, for the story.

Readers can find Holly’s regular blog on the Prairie Farmer homepage, or find a lot more of her family and farming stories on Facebook by just searching for her.


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