For several years USDA scientist Dean Anderson has been working on a “Directional Virtual Fencing System” that would send electronic cues to a cow’s ear so that it will move in a desired direction. This could be anything from the familiar “gathering songs” sung by cowboys during traditional round-ups, to sirens designed to motivate cows to move in a specific direction without inflicting physical pain. Because the vast open spaces on many ranches makes it challenging to relocate cattle, and because ranchers are serious about protecting and preserving the landscape, virtual fencing to keep livestock from straying or over grazing could one day actually help make ranching more sustainable, but there is still a lot of tweaking that needs to be done to make virtual fencing feasible for ranchers. As it stands now, buying a device for each animal, as well as the computer and software needed to manage them could be quite costly for the average rancher. Also, the fear of a technical glitch, which happens with even the most reliable of systems, along with the very real possibility of “virtual rustling”, would give most ranchers pause about trusting their “bread and butter” to virtual fencing.