Sunday, September 22, 2013

Your Questions Answered!

I asked my FaceBook friends to ask me some questions about BEEF to help me prepare for the National Beef Ambassador Contest! 
    I copy and pasted them below:        

Q1: Is it still safe to eat "steak tartare" ? I think it is, as long as you cut it or grind it yourself from a solid cut of beef under sanitary conditions. Do you agree? 
Q2: Do you think that the growth hormones used in beef is the reason so many young adults are now taller than their ancestors and so many girls now have such big feet?
Q3: Does the general public need to worry about receiving horse meat labeled as ground beef? Has that ever happened?
Q4: Is "pink slime" still added to ground beef? If so, what food chains continue to sell it?

Q5: OK, Madison, you asked: What is your take on the new Chipotle "Scarecrow" ad? What is the good and bad, and how do you think it will affect consumers? Is this another attempt at emotion-driven change after the failure of the first Chipotle Super-Bows commercial (2012) to drive the majority of consumers to food ethicism? And what are positive actions farmers can take to spread their most accurate message?

A1: So, I have never heard of "steak tartare" until now!  It is a dish composed of thinly sliced meat, onions, egg yolk, and capers.  Beef farmers go to great lengths to make sure that all our your meat is safe.  It is inspected by the USDA. Steak Tartare is served raw.  This raises eyebrows among people.  In our culture, it is  a rarity that we indulge in raw meat dishes, but in other cultures it is quite popular.   For food safety reasons we recommend you cook steaks to 145F.   This of course is not done with Steak Tartare.  It is important to know that there is some risk in eating raw animal products of any kind.  You should not eat this dish if you have a compromised immune system.  Often times, we decide to accept the risk and enjoy a special delicacy. Just know the risk you could be taking by not cooking it. 

A2:  No, I do not. Supplemental growth hormones in cattle continue to be used in the United States because studies have shown they pose no risk to consumers. The hormones are tested and re-tested to make sure they are safe.  Most animals are never given hormones. And the hormones that are are given in small doses through an implant in the animal's ear.  Some nutritional experts say children are larger because of their  increased consumption of  processed foods that is readily available in large quantities.   And some say it is just us evolving as we have for many decades.  Some nutritional experts agree we won't get much bigger because "nature says enough." I think it also due to our eating more than needed. We have year-round access, thanks to farmers and rancher, to all our necessary food groups so we are thriving far more than our ancestors or rather our grandparents ever had a chance to do. We are not limited as much by seasons as they were. 

A3:  The USDA has extremely strict regulations for our meat to ensure that you get 100% beef.  The USDA has a food safety and inspection service has inspectors at the cutting and packaging facilities to make sure they stay clean and uphold our standards. So no, they do not. We take pride in the fact we give you our best.

A4: Lean Finely Textured Beef is just 95% lean beef! The reason it appears less held together is because it is ground beef and has little to almost no fat! In my opinion it is a great way to utilize every bit of meat on the cow!  Lean finely textured beef is just BEEF.  It is the same meat in your steaks just ground up into ground beef! 
Recently four new states have added it back into school lunches. Lean Finely Textured Beef has been in our beef for two decades. It is a safe product.

A5: I think the commercial depicts it wrong, it is trying to show the packaging facilities in the same building as the farm.  The bad is just that, they are trying to put two things in one and we don't do that! The good, it is showing farmers that we need to step up on our education to the public! That is our job as farmers, ranchers, and ambassadors; to educate the public.  Still I think it will affect non-educated consumers.  I am always welcome to visitors on our family farm to clear up any misconceptions! It will hit the emotions, it hit mine! I think it hit me hard because I know I treat my animals with the upmost respect.  Farmers and ranchers care and we are capable of raising a quality product that you can confidently take home to your family.  

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Do I Have To Get Up???

 A week or so ago , I was headed to the Cumberland County Fair and I felt horrible. I was sick!  I was feeding that morning clutching to my roll of toilet paper when I thought; what would my livestock do if I had laid in bed?
This thought inspired this!  I don't know what they would do.  I can tell you they would be depressed. They would bawl until someone came and filled up their water and put their feed out! My Show Livestock are very dependent on me!  I may dread getting up year round at the crack of dawn but in the end I know that they need me and I need them! I ponder the thought all the time about what if my parents hadn't met and I grew up in the suburbs!  WOW! what an unimaginable life! I'm glad I was fortunate to grow up on the family farm even on days like these, when all I want to do is lay in bed!   But, I like being needed.  I like being a part of something bigger than me! And that is why I got out of bed that snotty congested morning! 
Have a great day ya'll!!! 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

What Do I Say

How many of you have ever been caught in a predicament? With what to say or what to not say or where can you go from here! I have been attending the wonderful National Beef Ambassador Contest the past two years.  I love it!!! My state, Tennessee, did not have a formal program.  I was introduced to it by a kind Cattlewoman from Georgia who told me I would be great at it and should compete as a write in entrant. The first year I competed in Wooster, Ohio.  We drove all night after my local Livestock Judging contest to get there.  The next year my family made a fun cross country trip to California  to compete.  I have made so many friends and learned so much during those competitions.  I cherish each connection I made.  My home made Beef Ambassador Handbook goes with me every where!   This year our state decided to implement the contest.   I competed to be the Tennessee Beef Ambassador and I lost!  I was told in both the media interview and consumer demonstration that they loved my passion and enthusiasm, but I still lost!  I asked myself  "Why?" over and over again.   There was no answer.  I had to reconcile this in my head. My mom has always taught me Not to base my worth on someone else's opinion.  I have wondered,  what don't they see in me.  I researched the words "likeability" and "first impressions".  I studied harder.... and then I took my moms words to heart and realized that just because I lost doesn't mean I am not a Beef Ambassador.   I do this everyday and no one can take that away from me.  My passion for BEEF goes deeper than any trophy or money can offer!

But, what do you say when people ask how you did?  I hold my head high and say I lost!  Simple as that.  I've had to work my way up the chain of winning in all aspects of my life.  I have never been the one with all the money, political pull, or friends in high places, but through hard work I have been a winner many times. I believe sometimes to stay humble, God holds you back a step.  It feels really good to win, but it's nice to lose sometimes too. It makes winning that much better!  Nobody is never happy about losing, some are worse at it than others but I've accepted losing and know it does not determine my future or my worth! There are so many opportunities, Tennessee is just barely a drop in this ocean of a world!  No matter what I keep telling myself, it is hard to tell someone that I lost! It is my pride that gets bruised. My point of this rambling post is: Everyone loses but not everyone makes the best of the new found opened doors.  Have confidence in who you are based on your own knowledge of that fact not someone else's opinion.
Ya'll have a great day!! I know I will no matter what!

Labor Day

  Does not having to go to work on a Monday make a Monday better?  We celebrated Labor Day this past Monday and most people were out on the water eating and relaxing! Labor Day was put into place to honor the social and economic achievements of American workers! I think that is really neat, because we all know how tough it is everyday to get up and go out and make a living.
   On the farm most Labor days are spent working.  The work never stops.  My dad and I were up working at the shop in the early morning fixing tractors and painting some equipment for an upcoming show.  Then we hauled hay.  Farmers are always having to look to the future and keep ahead in their work.  My point is that I celebrate Labor Day every day.  I love work!  When you do what you love the work is fun.  There is a lot of satisfaction in work done outside, for yourself and family, and work that leaves you tired.   Exhaustion and I are good friends, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
   We did do a little bit of laziness on Labor day!  We had big steak and lots of shrimp off the grill after our hard days work.  I could smell the steaks on the grill all the way in the field.  I guess all that hard work really works up your appetite. I kept working harder and harder so that nothing would interfere with my leaving the field to go eat!   Thankfully mine and the cattle's schedule went hand in hand and I was able to enjoy my dinner after a hard and fulfilling LABOR DAY!  I hope you enjoyed your day!

REMEMBER BEEF ITS WHATS FOR DINNER! and what a darn good dinner it makes after a hard days work!  Did you have BEEF on Labor Day!