Tag Archives: Livestock

More Than A Competition

14 Oct

wde-14-181-editedI am no stranger to livestock shows, but I recently had the opportunity to attend my first World Dairy Expo. I have to admit, some things are VERY different. Fitting is one of those on the long list. We are always in the mode of growing hair in beef cattle. In fact, I don’t think you can have too much. So, how do you fit a dairy cow who has such little hair?

That question and more were answered when I strolled through the dairy barns and got the chance to talk with Steven Nelson who won the youth fitting contest at World Dairy Expo. Steven lives in Grovespring, MO and that just happens to be my home too. There in the small southern Missouri town, Steven milks 45 head of cows with his dad. He is in charge of all the milking year-round, tackles hay in the summer months and works for his neighbor who milks 100 head. Steven plans to take over the family operation when he finishes college.

Steven further explains the competition saying he had one hour to get one dairy cow ready for the ring. “You have to blow up the hair on their top line because you want their back to be perfectly straight. You also blow up their belly hair and blend it in with their body to make her look deeper and fuller, but also making her look sharper and more angular.” A professional fitter serves as the judge and watches each contestant throughout the entire competition.

Steven didn’t bring any of his own head to show during the Expo, but was working for another Missouri string. He said it didn’t really matter how well they all did and that it was more about the opportunity because all the cattle at the World Dairy Expo were good.

Listen to my complete interview with Steven here.

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.

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.

 

Cattle Commentary

25 Feb

Stock Exchange Logo EditedThe Stock Exchange, powered by DV Auction, works hard to bring you news about the beef industry each month and recently launched a new weekly beef news show, Cattle Commentary. Each week we hope to share industry news, as well as, address issues facing cattlemen and women across the country.

After getting the first one under our belts, we are really excited about what the show can bring to breeders. My husband and I have been part of the DV Auction crew for over three years now and are true proponents of what the company can offer. When asked to host the Cattle Commentary, I jumped at the opportunity to dive into beef news and share the story of producers nation wide.

This week’s beef headlines include:
–Stanley Stout Livestock Marketing Center to be Dedicated at KSU’s 100th Cattlemen’s Day
–Cast your votes for the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame
–Sec. Tom Vilsack warns of posssible fifteen day furlough of all Food Safety Inspectors

Check out the first edition of Cattle Commentary below.

They also met up with attendees and exhibitors at the 2013 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show. Companies shared new products and experts gave insight into the future of the beef industry. You can find these interviews at here.

MCA Helps Preserve FFA

27 Nov

Last week I shared how Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs in the state of Missouri are being threatened by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (DESE) new Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP 5). MSIP 5 removes the priority for organizations like the FFA from a students high school education.

Bringing attention to this issue has got a lot of people talking about it and what they can do to help preserve vocational programs for the future of Missouri’s youth. The Missouri Cattlemen’s Association has done just that by releasing a Call To Action In Support of FFA.

The Missouri Cattlemen’s Association (MCA) submitted comments on behalf of its members today, Nov. 26, 2012, regarding changes that the DESE have proposed in a new version of the MSIP 5 that will impact CTE courses in high schools. The changes have direct implications on agricultural education and FFA.

The new wording in MSIP 5, in comparison to MSIP 4, does not emphasize CTE and student organizations such as FFA. It is important that the wording be clarified to keep these programs strong in the state of Missouri.

MCA is encouraging all cattlemen and cattlewomen to take action and submit a letter of concern. Comments must be postmarked by Nov. 30, 2012. Send comments to:

Margie Vandeven, Assistant Commissioner Office of Quality Schools
Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
P.O. Box 480

In MCA’s call to action they also included a sample letter for people to use. It includes three key points that DESE needs to consider changing before MSIP 5 is finalized. I also encourage you to share your own personal story as to why career and technical education programs like the FFA have made a difference in your life.

This morning I spoke with Mike Deering, Executive Vice President of the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, about their support for the Missouri FFA and the importance of representatives in Jefferson City to listen to those directly affected by the changes in MSIP 5.

Listen to my interview with Mike here.

Important Cattlemen Issues

14 Nov

I wanted to share a post I did for AgWired that truly hit home for me. Growing up in the wonderful world of beef production and now making a living from it has made me passionate about issues faces friends, family and fellow farmers and ranchers across the country I don’t even know.

Issues faces the beef industry and agriculture as a whole where a top priority for organizations who attended last week’s Trade Talk at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting’s annual convention. I took this chance to ask National Cattlemen’s Beef Association representatives about hot topics going into 2013.

Don Pemberton, Chairman of the NCBA Policy Division is also a beef farmer from central Missouri. He truly understands the ups and downs of the beef industry and brings a personal passion to his role at NCBA. Don discussed not only his outlook for the cattle markets and the Farm Bill, but how the recent drought affected him and his neighbors.

“We are doing what we can do from the Washington D.C. office. We need this Farm Bill passed, we are working with all of our counterparts to get congress to pass the Farm Bill. The version that passed the Senate, we are fine with. The version that passed the House Ag Committee, we are fine with. So, now that the election is over with I hope they can put politics aside and come together and get the Farm Bill passed before 2013.”

Listen to my complete interview with Don here.

Craig Uden, Chairman of NCBA’s Federation Division, works with all 45 beef councils across the country. He shared how Beef Checkoff dollars are going to educate influencer groups. These people consist of those vocal in social media, nutritionists, dietitians and others who really need to understand the difference between what beef is today and what they learned as a child.

“One thing we have seen with less numbers is less dollars. We have had to become very efficient. We have had very good organizational meetings to dive down and see where we need to be. One thing is we always want to get the money where the people are. How do we do that? We are working with a lot of influencer groups out there. The money comes in will be appropriated by the Beef Operations Committee and a lot of that will be directed to the state beef councils who are part of the federation to host influencers for tours. That has been very successful because a lot of people are removed from beef production and don’t understand how the cattle are raised and processed.”

Listen to my complete interview with Craig here.

NCBA is also urging US House of Representatives and Senate to provide farmers and ranchers with a permanent relief from the estate tax. The current estate tax relief is set to expire at the end of 2012 with exemption levels dropping to $1 million per individual and the tax rate increasing to 55%.

J.D. Alexander, NCBA President, said that at a minimum, NCBA supports extending the exemption level to $5 million per person and retaining the top rate of 35 percent until permanent repeal is achievable.

“If Congress allows current estate tax relief to expire it will have a devastating impact on the cattle industry. America’s farmers and ranchers are small business owners who cannot afford to foot the bill for government inaction. The fate of American agriculture and our economic recovery rests on there being certainty in the tax code and continued relief from the burdensome death tax.”

I challenge you to get involved and find out more about what NCBA is doing to promote beef, educate consumers and give a voice for producers.

2012 NAFB Convention Photo Album

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