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Nebraska Rancher Uses Herd to Honor Frontline Workers

Katie James

January 13, 2021

For the last several years rancher David Schuler of Schuler Red Angus in Bridgeport, Nebraska, has had a tradition of creating “cattleart” with his herd at Christmastime, including recreating the ranch’s brand and spelling out Beef in a nod to the “Beef … it’s what’s for dinner” campaign. This past December Schuler was at a loss for ideas, until inspiration struck as an opportunity to honor emergency responders at the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Using a feed wagon and freehand design talent, Schuler created an EKG reading that led into a heart with feed. He then used a drone to take video and still images as the cows lined up to eat.

“We have close friends in many areas of the region and country who have had a stressful year with COVID-19 as first responders and healthcare workers. They have done so much this year, and I thought I could honor them the way I know best, through cattleart!” Schuler says. “I was scrolling through designs and this caught my eye as the best one.”

Schuler says that their herd is used to being fed silage and haylage rations to supplement dry matter they receive on stalks, and they come running to eat the daily ration. When creating art, time is of the essence.

“The key is to get done creating the design before they catch up with the feed wagon! They stay put in the design until they finish their meal, which takes about 15-30 Minutes. They love it,” he says.

While Schuler doesn’t have next year’s design planned out just yet, he does plan to continue the tradition.

“I hope to keep this tradition going and am so happy this one took off on social media and many healthcare workers saw that the agriculture community has their backs through this trying time!” he says. “I haven't thought too far in the future of what will be next, as I want to be in the moment through this season, but I can assure you this will continue! It's too much fun not to!”

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