Tuesday, July 30, 2013

We Can Get Along!

So much is going on in my life right now!  I have been on Three different college campuses in Three weeks!!    I went to Purdue, then the University of Tennessee Knoxville, and now I am at Oklahoma State.  Blogging while away from my computer is a challenge, but I am excited to tell you what has been going on with my message to spread the news that Beef is healthy and nutritious and that farmers across the country care.

A couple of weeks I ago I attended the Presbyterian Youth Triennium at Purdue University.  There were over 5000 youth from across the world in attendance and needless to say it was awesome!!!  It was great to get together with so many people for the purpose of worshipping the Lord, doing service and learning about how we can be the LIGHT in the world.  I met so many fantastic people including the girl in the picture above from Columbia, South America.  We became fast friends!  Through conversation and getting to know each other I found out that This girl is a....VEGETARIAN! Yep, that's right a veggie!  I decided to take the opportunity to find out why she was a vegetarian and what her thoughts on the Beef Industry were.  So for the next few days when we weren't worshipping the Lord we were talking about her thoughts about BEEF and HSUS, PETA etc.  I wondered if she supported animal activists groups.   They seem so radical, so I just wondered how many every day average vegetarians are supporting their efforts.  I was surprised when she said she supports animal welfare groups, but not the CRAZY ones.  Finding this out was a relief to me. I knew I liked this girl.
 I think Beef folks are, in essence, animal welfare specialists because animals are our livelihood and we are with them 24/7. We take a special interest in making sure they are cared for in the most humane and stress free way.   When I asked her why she didn't eat beef she said she was born vegetarian.  Both of her parents are so it just happened. She also told me that she had tried eating meat she just didn't like the taste.  We are all entitled to our own beliefs and I think that this is the core of this message.  We can disagree and still be friends!  To be truthful sometimes I don't like to eat veggies.  I just want people, meat eating or not, to know that we care about our animals.  We care in their birth, in their life, and in their death.  I say grace before I consume a meal and Thank God for it.  I ask that he bless it and that it nourish my body, and beef does just that.   I am so happy to have a friend that understands that I care about my animals.  We have common ground.  We can all grow together in our understanding of each other. 
  We finally figured out she brought a vegetarian shirt and I a BEEF shirt! So they next day we promised to wear them! 

Monday, July 15, 2013

SO God Made a Farmer

Another day in paradise

I was recently looking at some awful pictures that were supposedly taken from the livestock industries.  I of course, teared up.  I know that this doesn't happen often.  I know because I am in the business of farming.  I rely on my animals to provide customers with a great product.  All farmers and ranchers know that a happy cow produces a great product.  Animals are easily stressed by many things.  A good farmer knows how to identify those stresses and eliminate them.  When an animal is stressed they are unable to gain weight and get sick more often, so it is not in our interest to have a stressed animal.   In a rare isolated case that someone who shouldn't have animals at all gets a hold of a farm animal and doesn't treat it well everyone suffers.  The media locks onto those isolated incidences and that is all the public sees.   It hurts my heart.   Turning on the nightly news one can get very depressed.  The media covers sensationalism. They cover bad things.  They cover things that help ratings.  They don't come to my farm and film me with my cows.  They don't come to my neighbors farm and watch the milk cows follow him into the barn.  This is one of the reasons I decided to write a blog.  I am a woman of science and math and am certainly not good with words, but I decided that did not matter.  An occasional misspelled word or misplaced comma is no big deal to me.  What is more important to me is that the good side of farming be exposed.  The community that I love deserves to shine.  A farmers work ethic is amazing.  Their love for their animals, family and God is evident.   God made a farmer and they should be appreciated not demonized.   Just as their are rogue bad guys in every industry their are a million more good guys. So please remember that the next time you see a sensationalized story. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Tennessee Polled Hereford Field Day

I expanded my horizons recently and  I really liked it!

I was asked to go with the high school FFA kids to judge livestock at the Tennessee Polled Hereford Field Day held in Bryanville, Tn.  It is about a 3 hour drive away. We left at 6:30 and then stopped and ate at the official stop for aggies…..HARDEES!  We arrived to a beautiful little cove like place.  It was surrounded by corn crops, a white picket fence, huge oaks, and a beautiful quaint barn! When we pulled in we went to start helping and that’s when the work started!  A man in a cowboy hat approached us and handed us electric hot dehorners and rope! Our job was to basically burn rope, but we also burned ourselves in the process!  The rope was to be used later in the day. After we did this, it was time to judge some cattle! There was however a twist to this contest!  Usually for a
tie-breaker the officials pick a random class but not this one.  We were going to “Pick-A-Pair”.  Five cows and calves were separated and our job was to put the right cow and calf together for extra points if it came down to a tie!  I only got two paired up right, but later learned that I did better than others.  After the contest it was time to eat. We were in a different time zone so our stomachs had been growling loudly.  Following lunch, we had the most delicious homemade ice cream. I would have to say that was the highlight of my day!  I didn’t think anything could top the ice cream until we went into the barn and were instructed we were going to use the ropes we had burnt earlier to make rope halters!   I love making halter.  Two BEEF friends and I made around 25-30 rope halters all in about 45 minutes!  When we finished the halters, it was time for some more good stuff! A breeding soundness exam! I have never seen this and it was AWESOME! I’ve only ever worked with the female part of the equation and it was neat to see what the bull does to give the information.  We even got to see the sperm sample and identify the good and bad cells!  At the end of the day was the Tennessee Beef Council’s presentation on all the programs they do, which is a lot!  I was glad to see the farmers’ money being put to such great use.  I can't wait to go back next year!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Two Shows. Two Days. Two Showman

    Show season has definitely begun!  Two shows in two days! Boy were we tired! On Monday, June 24th we had our county show.  I participated in showmanship,  Commercial Heifer, and registered Heifer shows.  The Monroe County show team got some beautiful coral show shirts sponsored by Jennifer and Mark Houston of East Tennessee Livestock Center in Sweetwater.  They are always o supportive of us.   I won Senior Level 1 showmanship.  My commercial heifer, Friendly, won her class.  In the registered show I had three heifers to show: Savy, Natalie, and Batman (Danni).  They all won their classes and advanced to the final drive! Batman walked off with Champion Simmental Heifer and Natalie received Reserve Champion Heifer.  Upon receiving Champion, Batman was eligible for Supreme. The judge, Tyler Wilson, had us in the ring for a little while getting our nerves worked up!  He however ended up picking Batman for SUPREME! I love showing with all my BEEF friends and having that friendly competition. But, now it was on to the next show!
Lexy and I in Senior Level I showmanship
Elli and Batman in Cow Buddies
The second show was the very next day! This show was the regional show. Lexy, my best friend since we started showing together SEVEN years ago, and I took her truck and trailer up to Knoxville to set up our tie spots after we left the county show.  This was our first trip together with her driving the truck and trailer.  We have both just turned 16 so we were super excited.  When we got there, everybody was in full swing.  There was sweat pouring down everyone's faces, drenched clothing and red dirt going everywhere.   We found our tie spots and began unloading our tack.  After a lot of work we returned home only to come back the next morning for SHOW Day!  I placed sixth in senior high skill-a-thon.  This was not the best I have done, but considering the number of contestants I was happy.   After Skill-A-Thon, was showmanship. I placed third in Senior level II.  Friendly won her class in the commercial show and  Reserve Bred & Owned Heifer.  And, finally the registered heifer show!! Duh, Duh, Duh!! I ended the day winning Grand AND Reserve SimAngus Heifers!  We loaded up and pulled in the drive-way at nine p.m., we had just finished a 14 hour show day! shewwweee! 

Cow Appreciation

Cows. We all know they give us beef,  but what else do ya think they provide us with?  I have been teaching 3rd graders about cows at our local Farm City Day for over five years! When the kids come up I always get their attention by asking them, "Can you lick your elbow?  A cow can!"  Then I go into how cows eat grass and how they give us steaks and hamburgers.  I consider the education of the children that visit my cows on this day really important.  Most of them don't live on farms, some have no idea where food comes from and some have never even seen a live cow. I get excited about cows because they are amazing creatures.  Much of the land within our states cannot be used for crops, but cows convert the nearly eighty-five percent of unusable land into delicious nutritious beef. That is not their only purpose! Yesterday was Cow appreciation day and after I spent most of my day telling my cows personally how great they are I decided to appreciate them today on my blog.  So , I am going to talk about the important of the Momma Cow! Her main purpose while she is out grazing on the family farms pasture is to raise a healthy calf to be sold at the auction market when it is around 6-10 months of age!  When the farmer notices her declining in old age after she has produced many calves for the farm he may send her to be sold and put into our food supply!  Then she may be used to make leather products, jello,  crayons, etc.   Most every part of the cow is used in some manner! Everything except the MOO!  Check out this site for much more!  Cows make my world go round and yours too.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Fluffy Cows

Have you heard of THE Fluffy Cows?
   I have, well I actually knew about them long before they became famous!  Being a Beef Ambassador I love seeing all the hype but I don't want people to think "oh they are so cute, we can't eat them."  All animals are cute in a farmers eyes.  The fluffy cows just have that wow factor the media likes and I'm sort of glad.
  The only thing I want to say is that these fluffy cows, steers, or bulls are still providing safe, wholesome, nutritious BEEF. 
  Yes, fluffy cows are spoiled but when you actually think about it all animals that live on the family farm are! I spoil everything on my farm as do all my BEEF friends.  ALL beef cattle whether they were blessed with golden (I like black) locks or not spend the majority of their lives eating that lush green grass out back behind the house! 
Texas Tornado raised by Matt Lautner Cattle