Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Thursday, October 17th,  I hitched a ride with Jennifer Houston of East Tennessee Livestock Center  and we traveled to a social media workshop being held by the Tennessee Beef Industry Council (TBIC).  The TBIC had a fun day planned out with three speakers.  Lauren Chase, Ryan Goodman, both of Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA),  and Pamela Bartholomew from Pick TN Products,  were there to teach us about using social media to advocate for our cattle and/or our farms.   Everyone was excited to get started learning about Twitter, Facebook, Webpages, Pinterest and other social media apps.  We started the day by gaining a general understanding about why we should use social media and how it can impact our farm, and the typical consumers perspective of agriculture in general.   Then one thing that I took away from this portion of the day is that I am always doing something on my farm and it is probably of interest to those who are not familiar with how farms work.   I should be telling them about it..  I can do this through social media with words, pictures and video.  After lunch, we went to groups based on our level!  I sat in the front row, first seat..... This of course is typical homeschooler behavior .  I sat down next to the cutest older couple who own and operate Arrowhead Ranch.  Like many, they weren't raised with technology and truthfully they weren't too thrilled about having to get along with it either!   They now have a Facebook page, a website and a Twitter Account!   During the workshop, we used the hashtag Social Beef on Instagram and Twitter all day long so they were very practiced by the end of the day.  They looked so cute taking this huge step for their angus farm through social media!  We all chipped into help those that were new to the platforms and a fun time was had by all!   Sometimes technology seems frustrating and out of reach for those that weren't raised with it.  I understand that, and applaud those who reach out and grasp onto new concepts. If you are not moving forward in your business you are moving backwards.
 Once we got twitters made and all the other social media things people wanted, we closed the day out with a drawing for "Big Sky Boots: Working Seasons of a Montana Cowboy" which Lauren Chase made with the help of Montana farmers and ranchers.  I didn't get the book, but I came away with something greater.  The higher knowledge of #SocialBeef and friendships with TN farmers.

One of my favorite TN Girls (via Kentucky) Janna Sullivan
with the TN Beef Industry Council
Working hard!
Julie Walker!!!!
Lauren Chase, Me, and Ryan Goodman. Hashtag I love Lean BEEF!!

Monday, October 7, 2013

2014 National Beef Ambassador Program: It started with a shiny belt buckle

One sunny day at a cattle auction in Georgia a woman approached a girl in a shiny buckle...the woman, Mrs. Callaway, asked the girl about her buckle.  I don't know how but Mrs. Callaway felt or heard the girls passion through her words describing her life on the farm.  What Mrs. Callaway had up her sleeve next changed that girl's life, forever.  OK maybe a tad much exaggeration.  That girl was me and I was at that sale looking for replacement cows with my Pop.  Mrs. Callaway thought I was worthy to know about this program called the National Beef Ambassador Program (NBAP) and she also told me that Tennessee didn't have a program.  Duhh Duhh Duhh. I went home without any new cows but with information that could change the course of my life.
  A side story, before I had heard about NBAP I wanted to work in the CIA. Now I wanted to be a Bovine geneticist/nutritionist/ some reproduction and an embryologist.  That's a lot right!! Back to the story.....
  Well, I pursued this program but not before I forgot our conversation many times.  I actually forgot and then finally remembered our conversation about a month before the contest!  Not having an official contest in my state I had to find someone in the beef community to write me a letter of recommendation. I choose Mrs. Houston a very influential cattlewoman in my area whom I look up to greatly.  She got the letter written, we sent off the registration, and BAM I was on my way to the Wooster, Ohio 2012 NBAP contest. Look at the NBAP page.  They do their contest with the next years date because that's how the team will serve.  The Beef Ambassador contest has two divisions: senior and junior.  The junior division ages from 12-16, I was in that division. The seniors age from 17-21.  There were two parts of the contest I had to participate in: consumer demonstration and media interview.  I had the time of my life! That year we toured Certified Angus and Weaver Leather!!  I couldn't believe that so many prominent members of the beef community were in attendance and it was an excellent trip. A big bonus for me were passionate friends I made for life.
  Year 2012...September rolls around and my mom and I are talking about going again.  This year its in Sacramento, California.  That's a long drive from Tennessee.  We decided to make it a family trip.  We visited every important site on I-40 from Tennessee to California.  Then we drove up the coast of California on the road that runs along the ocean to Sacremento for the contest.  We had five people crammed in a little rental  KIA.  We stopped along the way and saw all our family across the US.  When we finally arrived to Sacramento we were exhausted.  I couldn't think about actually functioning let alone telling people about my farm.  Good thing it comes natural to me.  That year was probably the best. I knew the ropes and the people and what to look out for.
Year 2013...This years contest.  Tennessee finally got a contest! That made me super happy.  Long story short, I lost!  Now, I am glad I did though. It pushed me to be the best I could at this years contest in Springdale, Arkansas.  The home of one of my favorite cattlewomen! Geneice McCall, she is from a small town called Eureka Spring, Arkansas.  Anyways, the contest went on without a glitch.  I NOW thought this contest was the best!  I wonder if I can call them ALL the Best!   Why, yes, Yes I can! This is the third year I have gone and I tried with all my heart, soul, and mind to do the best I could do and make my mom and dad proud.  Before the awards ceremony I told my mom I didn't care if  I placed because I knew I did the best I had done in a long time, I had fun with it all.  I made so many networking connections and I was proud of myself for what I had accomplished that weekend. 
The awards ceremony...hmmm....I really can't remember anything from it except I won consumer demonstration high individual!!!!!!!  I then went on to receive second place. I was overjoyed.  I was crying and shaking.  I thought all the juniors did fabulous. I didn't think I could ever place but I did. You can watch some of the videoed contest here.  Well, another one was in the books.
I could post a million pictures but will just stick with this years!

"Vanna Whites" with the Truck that helped start Tyson.  It has had a few touchups!

Tennessee Senior and Junior Contestants in front of Tyson Discovery Center
Rachael Wolters and Me (Madison Martin)

The Junior contestants after the awards banquet with our ZTag contestant numbers

The Junior Winners L-R Katelyn from New Mexico, Me from Tennessee, and Phillip from Virginia

My favorite Californian Katie Stroud-  She is/was on teh 2013-2014 NBAP team

Juniors and Senior Contestants

L-R Zach-MN,  Me- TN, Sydnee-OK, and Annie-CA

L-R Sydnee-OK, Zach-MN, Me-TN,  and 2013 Beef Ambassador Team Members Erin-MN and Chandler- AL

BEEF Ambassador Contestants and current Team Members with the Arkansas Razorbacks!

Katie- AR, Kaylee-NM, Me-TN, Mason-NC

My favorite cattlewoman from Arkansas- Geneice McCall

Annie- CA
She is everything I am not!   I am so glad I met her through this program.
 We competed together in California last year and she got 2nd place!!!
  She is definitely a future leader in the Beef Community

Junior Contestants

The Juniors always having fun!

Three years later, Tennessee gets a contest and our Senior Contestant makes
 the Traveling Team!!!
 OHh, and I had a great contest too!
 I placed high individual in Consumer Promotion
 and 2nd place overall in the Junior Contest!!!!!
Waaahooo!!!! as Beef Ambassador Program Director Sarah Bohnenkamp says!
L-R  Me, Janna Sullivan- Tennesssee Beef Industry Council,
 Rachael Wolters-2014 NBAP Team, and Ryan Goodman- Ag Proud Blogger

My favorite people!!!!! I absolutely love this team---
The 2013 NBAP Team plus ME!!!!!!!!!
They grew so close and were always there for one another and me!
   I am so blessed to know them.
L-R Chandler-AL, Katie-CA, Erin-MN, ME, Jacquelyn-OR, Emma, AR

Friday, October 4, 2013

Akransas: The Natural State

     My Mom and I have always been the crazy Tennesseans who drive EVERYWHERE!  This past weekend we attended the 2014 National Beef Ambassador contest.  I have another post about the contest coming up soon!  We were told to take Highway 412 home from Bentonville, AR.  Ryan Goodman, AG Proud blogger, told us that on this drive we would see the Ozark Mountains and the Delta.    My eyes grew large at what he said next.  He told us we would see cotton ready to harvest, rice, and peanuts!  Not the normal Tennessee Crops.  Mom and I headed out, excited to veer away from the interstate and enjoy the 14 hour drive all the way back to TN.  We took a detour into Eureka Spring, AR on the advice of Geneice McCall, my favorite cattlewoman from Arkansas.  We really enjoyed this historic town and took lots of pictures as we walked around.   I should have brought my hiking stick because that little town is hilly! I love old buildings and places with character and this place had both. People where everywhere and the shops were really unique.  After leaving Eureka we continued through the Ozarks and couldn't help think that Arkansas really looked alot like home (East Tennessee).   We kept driving and driving and driving and eventually came to the Delta Region.  The soil looked really sandy.  Since I have never seen a rice field, mom and I were trying to figure out what they looked like.  We have grown peanuts in our home garden so those were pretty easy to pick out. The Cotton was amazing.   I had never seen cotton, but mom had.  We pulled over to the side of the road on several instances to get more of an up close look. It was all very cool!    In East TN we have mainly small cattle farms, soy beans, corn, and a few other crops so I love seeing the crops that are grown in other parts of the country.   East Tennessee is full of knobs and valleys, which I love but I've recently acquired a love for flat land so this was VERY appealing to me.   I was also astounded by all the chicken houses.  Of course, we were in Tyson Country!   I think my mom got annoyed because everytime I saw a chicken house (which was every few miles along the way) I'd say "Mom, chicken houses" over and over and over again!  Then the landscape went to rice fields and peanuts and then cotton and then we hit Missouri...and darkness!   We got home at almost 3 0'clock in the morning, but I didn't care.  I am so glad mom is adventurous.  She is always game for an "off the beaten path" experience and I am thankful that I get to have so many.  So here are some pictures I snapped from the car!



Wednesday, October 2, 2013

National Farm Safey Week

The most Dangerous of them all...... MY dad!

Pop and his broken glass cab tractor!  The air is having to work double time.  

Pop-the Boss Man-- the stubborn, strong willed one
        The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health states that,  "Over one million people are employed in agricultural."  The also relay that, "On average 113 teens under the age of 20 die annually from farm related accidents."  That is way to young to die. That is one of the reasons Congress implemented Farm Safety Week, which was last week.  On our farm we take safety very serious, well minus my dad and granddad!  They are risk takers and sometimes like recently it bit them in the rear! On a Hay Tedder ( a machine that spread the hay out so it can dry)  there is a string that raises and lower the sides.  My Granddad (Pop), got this genius idea of pulling the string attached to the tedder into the cab tractor and closing the window on the string to hold it so he wouldn't have to get in and out of the tractor to raise and lower it.  He then proceeded to drive on a rough spot on our farm, and BAM!  the string was yanked out of the window and the window shattered.  My Pop was covered in glass and the ground is still salted with glass shards, I'm just glad it wasn't where the cattle walk.  Jobs in the Agricultural industry are very dangerous because #1- we deal with machinery all day #2- sometimes very large animals are involved #3- kids are helping a lot.
My mom is what I call "Over protective".  She has always told me to stay away from this, run from this, don't touch this. etc. Despite her overprotectiveness (Is that a word?) Sometimes things happen. Statics can be seen here. The main fatality causes are tractor roll overs.  My Pop was in tractor when it turned over, once.  Luckily,  my dad puts roll bar cages on all our tractors so he was okay! Taking precautions can save a life, like it did for my Pop. I have noticed that stubbornness has caused a lot of pain on our farm! Haha! I was recently involved in an accident that could have been much worse.   I was unhooking a trailer from our BRAND NEW truck.  I had it on blocks but little did I know,  that there is science related  to block placement.  The trailer rolled off the blocks into the truck bed.  We now have two dents in the tailgate.  I'm just glad I wasn't under the trailer when it happened.  You never know what could go wrong.  I defintely could have lost my arm.  My dad is a risk taker and my mom is not, so hopefully I have a good balance of wisdom to listen to.   If you're going to do something stupid at least know you could die.  Think about it before you do and evaluate if the consequences are worth it.   Be alert around animals.  We think we know them but remember they are ANIMALS!! It always saddens me to hear about farm injury stories.  Most everyone I know lives on a farm and I care for them deeply.  I want you to be around for a long time! Be safe.