Tag Archives: agriculture awareness

ALOT Class XVI Unites

12 Mar

ALOTLogoSmall-editedAgricultural Leaders of Tomorrow (ALOT) is a two year adult leadership training program that targets rural leaders and agricultural producers who have a passion to promote Missouri agriculture and strengthen their rural communities. The program enhances communication and leadership skills, expands knowledge of ag issues and encourages leadership initiative in local communities.

The ALOT Class XVI has so far visited Columbia and Jefferson City, Missouri and I am proud to say I was one of them. After the initial anxiety wore off I was blown away with the instant comradery the group formed. Over the first two weekends together we hadn’t simply met, we had united.

Columbia, MO was our first stop in the ALOT program that includes ten in-state three day sessions, a week long seminar in Washington D.C., and a two week international experience to a country that impacts Missouri agriculture.

Kristin Perry, executive director for ALOT, took a few minutes to share the rich history of ALOT and what she thought the take home message was from our first event.

“The program started in 1983 with a Kellogg grant that was sought by Dr. Bruce Bullock, Dr. Daryl Hobbs and Dr. Ron Plain. They wanted to teach people involved in agriculture how to be more involved in policy and leadership positions that would create a positive affect on Missouri agriculture.”

Kristin said her real goal in this program is to help everyone discover their passion and find how they can take an active role in the advancement of Missouri agriculture.

“Read more, listen more, learn more so you can become more involved, better informed and better connected for the future.”

Listen to my complete interview with Kristin and stay tuned as I chronicle our journey of leadership development in the ever-changing world of agriculture.

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State Fairs – A Family Affair

21 Aug

IMG_0332 editedI literally grew up at the Missouri State Fair. I was just a little one when I first attended the fair with my dad and I haven’t missed a year since. My dad worked for the Missouri FFA and ran the FFA Building during the two-week event. I remember hanging out with the State FFA Officers while running through displays of corn and soybean seeds, flowers of all shapes and sizes and thinking all the ag mechanics projects were my own personal playground.

The Missouri State Fair brings back so many great memories for me. We ate meals in the youth building, slept in the administration building and when my sister and I were lucky, we even got to ride some rides. But the best memories come from exhibiting Hereford cattle year after year. Whether we walked away with a blue ribbon or not, we did it as a family. I actually met my, now husband, at the fair. The 2014 Missouri State Fair marked our 10 year anniversary of dating. How many of you can say you met the love of your life at the fair?

IMG_0346 edited Now we stay in a camper and eat our meals around a grill with our friends and family, but we still show cattle at the fair. However, my family has grown. This past year we had the privilege of welcoming a new member to our family. Miss Harper James Johansen attended her first state fair this year. When we pushed her stroller up and down the aisles of the barn or carried her as we tailed one to the ring, I have never seen my husband so excited and proud.

State fairs across the country are a family affair. My daughter’s state fair moments have already begun, even though she won’t quite remember them herself. I look forward to watching her grow up exhibiting livestock, eating corn dogs and creating friendships that will last a lifetime. Thanks dad for instilling a love of fairs in me and all the hard work and good times that go along with them.

Cha-Ching

7 Jan

Price of Food PictureWe are just a week into 2014 and I have seen multiple news outlets and television shows talk about what food prices will look like in the coming year. We in the agricultural community talk food prices all the time. We are constantly following the market and clearly understand what drives the price of the food we eat. How much rain did corn crops get? How are herd numbers? What’s the weather been like in South America? And their are many other factors.

But, today I realized that the general public has no clue what truly drives the prices of their milk, bread, eggs and steak. They can make guesses, but it seems little thought is put into why they pay what they pay. I had the Rachael Ray Show on today and a segment called Financial Food Planning caught my attention. They surveyed the audience comparing two items and asked them which they thought would go up in price in the coming year. Many audience members were right and others way off. The question that keeps nagging me is do they know why they were right or wrong.

LearnVest.com CEO and Financially Fearless author Alexa Von Tobel explains to Rachael and co-host Bill Bellamy which foods will cost you more money in the new year.

Rachael Ray – Financial Food Planning with Alexa Von Tobel

In the segment Alexa does a good job explaining in a second or less why one item might be more in 2014 than another. I only wish she could have spent at least 5 minutes explaining to the studio audience as well as, viewers at home.

My mother-in-law gives calendar for Christmas each year. This year mine had a Garfield theme and after the cute comic strip you can flip it over for a Daily Extra. Today I flipped it over and it just happened to be titled: 100 Years Ago…Food Prices in 1914 Chicago.

  • Milk: 9 cents per quart
  • Eggs: 35 cents per dozen
  • Bacon: 28 cents per pound
  • Potatoes: 18 cents per pound
  • Sirloin Steak: 26 cents per pound

For the most part, 100 years ago the price of food was determined the same way it is now. Did people know then? I guess that is why I am rambling on about food prices today. Do you think about why you pay what you pay at the grocery store or at the pump? If you do, do you think your neighbor does? Does it even matter if anyone knows why the price of milk, eggs, bacon, potatoes or steak is what it is?

The #FoodD Conversation

20 Sep

food-dialogues-como-13-16U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) & Missouri Farmers Care brought the Food Dialogues to Columbia, Missouri. Expert panelists discussed animal welfare, livestock handling, conventional vs. non-conventional farming and much more. The purpose was to simply start conversations with consumers about where their food comes from and how it is produced.

Dan Kleinsorge, Executive Director for Missouri Farmers Care, spoke with me after the event and shared that the goal was to bring the consumer and the farmer closer together. That goal was met and the hope is consumers will have a better understanding of the food system. Dan also shared that they are working on some exciting things that will be unveiled in the upcoming year.

“I think there are two take home messages from the food dialogues. One is we’ve got to keep having these dialogues. We’ve got to keep promoting ourselves and keep talking about what we are doing, why we are doing it and how we are doing it. And do a better job explaining agriculture to the public. The other take away is that the conversation is not going away. This is something that people have really keyed in to these days and it’s going to be a big issue from years to come.”

Listen to my complete interview with Dan here.

Don’t worry if you missed the live stream of the event. The archived videos can soon be found on Missouri Farmers Care & USFRA’s YouTube Channels. You can also search the hashtag #FoodD to find out what those who watched it live had to say.

Crow Foods: Unethical Marketing by Chipotle

18 Sep

The Scarecrow

I have felt compelled to post something about the recent marketing scheme by the popular fast-food chain Chipotle for the past week. But just haven’t had the chance to sit down and get my thoughts together. Thankfully I know a few great agricultural bloggers from across the United States that have taken the words right out of my mouth. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, take a look at Chipotle’s recent campaign to sell burrito’s called, The Scarecrow.  Here I would like to share their educated and informative posts so you can understand the unethical marketing that has gone on behind Chipotle’s advertising.

Must Read Blog Posts:

Farming America by David Hayden – Hey Chipotle

Righteous Bacon by Diana Prichard – Chipotle’s Scarecrow Part One: Lessons in Corporate Greed

Righteous Bacon By Diana Prichard – Chipotle’s Scarecrow Part Two: A World of Pure Imagination, Indeed

Country Night, City Lights by Kelly M. Rivard – Integrity in Advertising, and Chipotle’s “Scarecrow”

Agriculture Proud by Ryan Goodman – Chipotle Takes on Big Food with Animated Scarecrow

Black Gold Farms  – The B Word

Buzzard’s Beats by Brandi Buzzard – Chipotle: A World of Pure Imagination

 

And there are more I’m sure. If you have five minutes, read just one of these and ask yourself if it’s okay to lie to consumers to simply sell a burrito.

 

So God Made An FFA Member

18 Feb

164408_10151453625740660_34121918_nThe National FFA Organization has been a part of my life since the day I was born. My dad was an ag teacher, so I was raised in the organization. Once I was old enough to zip up my very own FFA jacket I couldn’t wait to take in everything the FFA had to offer. The blue corduroy let a shy girl, who lacked confidence, blossom into a public speaker, leader and advocate for agriculture.

Later in life the National FFA Organization gave me the opportunity to share my passion with my students as a ag teacher. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing your students hard work pay off as they walk across the stage to receive their State FFA Degree or an award for a Career Development Event.

National FFA Creed Speaking

I can still recite the FFA Creed by heart and learned so much during my time preparing for the national competition. Thank you to my ag teacher, Laura Gaddy and my dad for all the long hours you put in to create that memory for me.

Today, the FFA is more to me than just memories. National blue and corn gold bleed through me each day. The FFA Motto of:

Learning to Do
Doing to Learn
Earning to Live
Living to Serve

Is a motto we should all bring into our everyday lives. Everyday is a learning opportunity. Our hard work gives us the opportunity to provide for our families. Everyday we should live to serve our friends, family and community.

Missouri State FFA Convention

This was taken during the Missouri State FFA Convention in 2003. I was a senior and my sister was a freshman. Both sets of my grandparents made the trip and of course my parents were always there.

It has been years since the FFA stood for Future Farmers of America, but the future of agriculture does rely on the FFA members from across the country. Today agriculture is not only about farming, but also about technology, marketing, science and AGvocating.

What does FFA mean to you?

I Am Proud To Be A Farmer

4 Feb

The Super Bowl for me, like many other Americans, is ALL about the commercials. And this year was no exception other than I have only had the chance to watch one so far. After spending a week on the road at the International Production & Processing Expo and then showing cattle at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, driving home late last night from Texas I couldn’t help but notice a particular link being shared by all my Facebook friends. Unable to watch it on the road last night, I woke up this morning and the first thing I did was click on one of those links to take in the harmonious sound of Paul Harvey’s voice. It gave me goose pumps even the second and third time I watched it.

Not only am I proud to be a farmer, but I am proud to be a former ag teacher, huge supporter and alumni of the National FFA Organization. Dodge Ram trucks Year of the Farmer is bound to be a success. Join the movement!

“You watch the video, you share a badge, the Ram brand makes a donation. Help us raise $1 million to support FFA and assist in local hunger and educational programs.”

 

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