Calling bull: Local calf named after Minnesota Independent’s Andy Birkey
While journalistic accolades can come in many forms — awards, peer recognition, a paycheck — here’s a new one to us: A bull calf born during Tuesday’s snowstorm was named after Minnesota Independent Senior Reporter Andy Birkey. According to rancher Barbra Peterson, who has a 92-head herd in Sandstone, Birkey’s reporting on reproductive health and social justice issues prompted the move. But his cattle counterpart isn’t alone: Peterson’s other cows are named after progressives, too, including the new calf’s mom, Barbara Jordan.
Young Andy Birkey, a Hereford Red Angus cross, was calved Tuesday, weighing in at 70 pounds, Peterson says. He’s part of a herd that likewise has familiar names: Tom Bakk, Paul Thissen, John Marty and most recently John Lesch. In addition to running the ranch with her husband, Peterson is vice president of Minnesota NOW, chair of DFL Senate District 8 and vice president of the DFL Feminist Caucus.
Birkey is “just so phenomenal,” she says, citing his reporting on bills that would ban certain kids of stem cell research and that would ban abortion in Minnesota after the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. “The Minnesota Independent is the only ‘paper’ talking about some of this.”
Also getting cows named after them: bloggers Rachel Nygaard and Robin Marty (founding editor of the Minnesota Independent). Both have been participating in the Pro-Choice Resources Bowl-a-Thon, which ends today; the rules state that whoever raises the most gets naming rights for cows in Peterson’s herd. But regardless of who wins, both will be commemorated on the farm.
“They’re both going to get one named after them,” Peterson said. “They just don’t know that yet.”