Tag Archives: cattle industry

Family Blessings Leading Up To Sale Day

24 Apr

Sale Catalog CoverAs we have prepared for our annual production sale, we can’t miss the opportunity to update folks on issues our family has faced over the last couple of months. In mid November, a supposedly minor outpatient surgery on dad’s foot exposed clear-cell sarcoma, which had spread throughout his entire right foot. Our family learned that the only way to treat this form of cancer was to remove the foot halfway between the ankle and knee. During the first week of December we traveled yet again to Barnes Hospital in St. Louis for the surgery.

Our family has been so blessed with everyone’s thoughts and prayers. We all have felt the hand of God through this trial in our lives. So many have shared their pledge of prayers. It is certainly humbling to watch the prayer support through dad’s students and friends at Missouri State, the Aurora/Mt. Vernon communities and, of course, the cattle industry across the Midwest. Our prayers were answered when doctors shared that CT scans found dad was cancer free once the amputation was completed.

Recovery has gone very well. Dad was back at the university fulltime by January 2nd. He mastered the art of driving with his left foot. And as you can guess hasn’t missed a beat when it comes to the cattle. Dad only missed one Sunday at the piano bench and his left foot has taken over the foot pedals. This life-changing event has been challenging, but recovery has progressed rapidly because of his amazing attitude towards it. His positivity has allowed so many to grow stronger in their faith and remember that God doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle.

Dad can continue the cattle operation, teaching and working with students. He can spoil his first granddaughter, Harper James Johansen, born to Kevin and I on February 5th, walk Joanna down the aisle as she marries Neal Wilkinson in August and continue to climb the many steps to watch Jonathan march in the Pride band.

Dad began walking again with a prosthetic leg in mid February, but brags of catching a calf with only one leg on his hands and knees earlier this winter. Just the other day I watched my dad help his mom, who has two bad knees, down a step while leaving a restaurant. Then, she turned around and helped him balance the same step down. If you didn’t know the pair, you could have easily felt sorry for them, but not my dad and grandma. As I watched them help each other, all I could see was their smiles stretching from ear to ear.

2014 has started out with a bang for our family. God’s grace continues to bless our lives and as we have prepared for this sale we are once again reminded that none of this would be possible without you. Few things make my dad happier then creating mating’s that will help others grow their herds of “No Excuse Herefords.” We know we have a great offering to share with you in our 14th Production Sale. Thank you for being a part of our family for so many years.

View our online sale catalog here.

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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.

 

Calving…ET Style

10 Jan

January marks the start to a pretty busy time of the year for many farmers and ranchers across the country. Why you might ask? Well, the answer is simple, it’s time for those cows we bred last spring to start calving. Although the answer is simple, the process may not be.
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Many chose to avoid calving during this time of the year because of the chance of cold and inclement weather. We don’t have that luxury because most of our customers desire a spring born calf. Luckily, weather here in Southwest Missouri has been pretty mild compared to past years. But as many from around here know, that couldn’t easily change tomorrow.
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Because all of our cows are synchronized, they should all calve between about a two week interval. This isn’t an exact science and sometimes mother nature takes over and cows calve early or later than their expected due date. Just like in humans. Our group of calving cows are checked at least three times a day. Once in the morning, once before dark and then again at about 3am. How do you synchronize these pregnancies? The cows are implanted with a CIDR for one week. It projects a hormone making them come into heat at the same time and therefore bred at the same time.  Once the CIDR is removed the cow will come into heat seven days later.

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You might be wondering why this black, cross-bred cow has a white, Charolais baby calf. Our operation is a little different than normal. We run an embryo transfer (ET) herd. Those in the purebred cattle business want more offspring from their best cows. That’s where we come in. These breeders send us their superior mama cows (we call them donor cows) and we give them hormones that enables them to produce more than one egg during a cycle. While still in the cow those eggs are artificially fertilized. Then before they have time to grow inside the cow they are flushed out. This process is very similar to IVF in humans, but the embryos are either frozen in liquid nitrogen and stored in tanks or immediately implanted into recipient (recip) cows. These cows are similar to what people would call a surrogate mom. The recip cow carries the calf until birth and nurses it until it is weaned. Once it is time for weaning, the ET babies are then sold back to the purebred breeder and our recip cows are once again synchronized for their next breeding.

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Babies of different breeds, owned by different people are born each day on our farm. Because of this, records are extremely important. Each breeder is assigned a different color ear tag that each calf is given. The information on the tag includes: date of birth, sire, dam and the recip cows tag number. This information is also recorded in a notebook kept in the feed truck and is later entered into our computer database program.

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Calves are tagged right after they are born to eliminate any confusion later. This time is also the easiest time to actually catch the calf. They haven’t quite adjusted to life on Earth and don’t know how to exactly use their feet yet. But it is always a good idea to keep an eye on mama cow. She is typically very irritated by this process. Wouldn’t it be easier if they could understand that we are just trying to help?

For us here at Utopia Genetics, we will be calving out spring babies through March. We get a short break during the summer months and then fall calving kicks off in early September.

Does anyone have any memorable calving stories or tricks of the trade that help make this time of the year easier on both farmer and bovine?

BEEF – It’s What’s For Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

17 Dec
As a beef producer I am naturally a beef lover. I love to eat it and I love advocating for it. Last week I attended the Missouri Cattlemen’s Convention and I loved being surrounded by fellow Missouri beef producers who had the same passion as I do. During the convention I spent a lot of time with the Missouri Beef Industry Council crew and couldn’t help but absorb their wealth of beef nutrition information. Today, I want to share with you a few things I learned about how eating lean beef daily can help lower cholesterol and should be part of your heart-healthy diet.
  • A 3oz. serving of lean beef contributes less than 10% of calories to a 2,000 calorie diet, yet supplies more than 10% of the daily value for 10 essential nutrients:
Protein 48%
Selenium 41%
B12 37%
Zinc 33%
Niacin 25%
B6 20%
Phosphorus 19%
Choline 17%
Iron 12%
Riboflavin 10%
  • BOLD – Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet, is a clinical study conducted a Penn State University that evaluated adults with moderately elevated cholesterol levels.  They measured the impact of diets including varying amounts of lean beef on total and LDL cholesterol levels. Participants had a 10% decrease in LDL.
  • The BOLD diet included 4.0 oz. of lean beef per day. Here is an example of what you could eat on BOLD.
Breakfast: Egg w/ red pepper and onion (1 Tbsp. Each)
Low-Fat cheddar (1/4 cup)
Whole wheat bagel (1 small)
Margarine (2 tsp.)
Lunch: Sirloin w/ Sugar Snap Peas & Pasta Salad w/ light dressing
Apple(1 med.)
Dinner: Beef, Mango & Barley Salad (1 1/4 cup salad w. 3 oz. beef)
Dinner Roll (1 small)
Margarine (2 tsp.)
Snacks: Nonfat yogurt (6 oz.)
Low-fat granola (1/4 cup)
Almonds (1 1/2 Tbsp/)
  • There are 29 cuts of beef that meet governmental guidelines for being lean. Download the 29 lean cuts wallet card for an easy reference. Look for for these naturally nutrient-rich lean beef cuts:
Eye Round Roast
Eye Round Steak
Sirloin Tip Side Steak
Top Round Roast
Top Round Steak
Bottom Round Roast
Bottom Round Steak
Top Sirloin Steak
Brisket, Fat Half
95% Lean Ground Beef
Round Tip Roast
Round Tip Steak
Round Steak
Shank Cross Cuts
Chuck Should Pot Roast
Sirloin Tip Center Roast
Sirloin Tip Center Steak
Chuck Should Steak
Bottom Round (Western Griller) Steak
Top Loin (Strip) Steak
Shoulder Petite Tender
Should Petite Medallions
Flank Steak
Should Center (Ranch) Steak
Tri-Tip Roast
Tri-Tip Steak
Tenderloin Roast
Tenderloin Steak
T-Bone Steak

For more information check out www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com.  You can also get lots of great beef recipes from the Missouri Beef Council. Keep up with how Beef Checkoff dollars are being put to work by following @BeefCouncil and @BeefUSA on Twitter.

Behind The Auction Block

10 Dec

Sale day prep consists of a little bit more than just running cattle through the ring in the purebred cattle world. This past weekend we consigned a few of our Charolais heifers to the ShowGirls Charolais Sale. We also helped get them ready for the day. Take a behind the auction block look at what goes on before buyers gather in the stands.

Blowing drying the hair.

Each heifer and steer was given a bath the day before the sale. But just like a child playing outside, cattle don’t listen to you when you tell them to stay out of the mud. So, early sale day each one was ran back through the chutes and given a spot wash. Here I am blowing out the water and given the hair coat a final fluff.

Clipping tops.

Then comes the clipping crew to clip off any stray hairs that got missed a couple days before when they were clipped out.

Pulling tailhead.

Next comes a little bit of glue. Each will get the hair on their tail heads pulled using adhesive to make them look their best for the big day.

Clipping out tailhead.

Now time to bring out the clippers again. Here my husband is clipping off the long hairs on the tail head after adding the glue.

My view during the sale.

Once this process was repeated about 30 times, it was time for the sale to begin. This was my view during the sale. I put a comb through their hair one last time before they went into the ring as I ran the slider gates behind the auction block.

Good friend and photographer, Beverly Englert, took the following pictures during the sale. It’s always nice to have a professional around. Thanks Beverly for letting me share them.

Showgirls Crew

Here is the crew that made the magic happen. Thank you everyone for making the day a success!

Showgirls Jamie

 

No comment!

Showgirls Kevin & Jamie

 

We never get our picture taken together, because it seems I am always the one taking the pictures. Thanks again Beverly.

Showgirls Kevin DV

My husband, Kevin, also works for DV Auction. He is the one behind the scenes making it possible for you to watch sales from the comfort of your recliner.

 

Team AG – USFRA’s Food Dialogues – #FoodD

15 Nov

Since 9am this morning I have been glued to my computer screen as I watched the Food Dialogues streamed live from New York City. What are the Food Dialogues you might asked? Well, they were started by the US Farmers & Ranchers Alliance,  (USFRA) “is a newly formed alliance consisting of a wide range of prominent farmer- and rancher-led organizations and agricultural partners. This marks the first time agricultural groups at the national, regional and state levels have collaborated to lead the dialogue and answer Americans’ questions about how we raise our food – while being stewards of the environment, responsibly caring for our animals and maintaining strong businesses and communities.”

Today’s conversation consisted of dialogue on: Media, Marketing & Healthy Choices – Antibiotics & Your Food – Biotechnology (GMO) & Your Food. So, why is it so important for us to be talking about these hot topics floating around the agriculture industry? Because farmers and ranchers aren’t the only ones talking about them. Consumers across the country are asking questions. It is our job as agriculturalist to answer them. If we don’t tell our story then others tell it for us and it may not be the story that should be told.

Farmers and ranchers across the world farm differently. They use technology differently. What is feasible for me, may not be feasible for my neighbor or for a farmer across the country.  The fight should not be against conventional farming vs. organic/natural farming methods. We need to educate consumers about the food they are eating and remember we are on the same team. Team Ag!

Even though I was born and raised in the world of agriculture, I learned a lot of new information today about these issues. It will help me answer questions people have about the ever changing world of technology in agriculture. I have been even more motivated to share my story of farming. I challenge you to do the same. Maybe blogging isn’t for you. Then take pictures and use social media to help explain why you are passionate about agriculture.

If you missed this Food Dialogue, don’t worry there will be more. Check out what people said online by using #FoodD on Twitter.  You can also check out AgWired‘s photos of the event. Now that I have spent my entire day following the dialogue and live tweeting, I now need to play catch up on all the other things I need to get do.

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