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Showing posts from 2017

Failed Farmer

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The beginning of October is usually a fun one!  Its time to think about winter, prepare for it (or lack of), and some early anticipated babies to arrive.  This story is painful because I feel like as a farmer I failed.  I failed because we lost a calf...and not just one but two.

     Tyra, the chi heifer, 312B was due to calve at the end of October but decided she wanted to do it Friday.  I usually check the cows before I start my morning errands but for some reason that morning I didn't.  I came home to a cow laying on her side, restless, upon closer inspection in labor.  I rushed everyone into high gear, we got her up and to the barn.  I then realized, once we got her calmed down, a tail was hanging out.  BAD NEWS. BAD. BAD. BAD.  I have little experience with pulling and re-position calves inside the mother but I knew it had to be done.  I checked while she stood in the barn and got Brandon (my boyfriend) to call a vet.  I felt the butt of the calf and could tell it was small an…

3 Things You Need to Know About Modern Agriculture

There are many many misconceptions about the agriculture industry.  I think a lot about how to "correct" the way the public views farmers and ranchers.  Being surrounded all aspects of ag I have come up with 3 misconceptions that consumers have about the agriculture community.  If you have any more you would like to know more about leave a comment.

ONE
     All products (GMO, DAIRY, BEEF, POULTRY etc) are safe, wholesome, and nutritious for you and your family. Farmers and ranchers work day and in a day out to make sure we have a great product.  I feel like a crucial thing to remember is we are consumers too. 

TWO
Don't let labels mislead you. It is federal law poultry cannot have added steroids or hormones.  GMOs have been around for more than 60 years, and there are no reported cases of them affecting humans.  

THREE
          Farmers and ranchers care and we are capable.  We, too, consume our products.  The same cow we put in the grocery stores is at our table.  Raising cro…

My Future is Our Future

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If you all don't follow my FaceBook page here is a quick recap.  I am competing in the College Aggies Online contest for the next (now) 8 weeks. The point of the contest is to learn more about other aspects of agriculture and to talk about it, publicly.  College Aggies even gives us mentors each week to mentor and at the end of the week rank our activities (social media and assignments.)  The top one gets scholarship money.        I am so very passionate about everything this contest values and strives for.  This week, week 8 is all about turkeys which I know nothing about but through the contest I have learned a lot.  Our assignment, are not always related to the topic of the week, is writing a blog post.



For my long- time followers this will be repetitive but to my new ones listen up!     I live on my families farm in East Tennessee where we raise registered Simmental for show and sale; we have also incorporated other breeds such as ChiAngus and Maintainers.  I love cows, co…

Organic Donuts

A man eats an organic doughnut, does organic mean healthy?  Organic by definition just means certified by the USDA that it meets their standards.  Their standards are: no fertilizers with added synthesized ingredients, conventional pesticides, GMOs,
    So this begs the question does it really differ in nutritional content, no.  The reason farmers and ranchers offer different methods of production because we too are different.  We are consumers of our own products and we each want something different.  We don't do it because one is better than the other, we do it because we are human.  Conventional, certified organic, or natural it is all safe wholesome, and nutritious.

I have attached a link to the USDA guidelines to certified organic because it has a big misconception around it--I will talk about the others in following posts.

National Organic Program

Dehorning--Please Do It

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This topic is controversial among some.
Athens Stockyard is the local stockyard in our town.  We usually have around 1100 head and with that comes a delicate balance of keeping the sale going, keeping the cattle cool and calm, and not getting hurt.  When a mean animal comes through we take certain measures like climbing gates, closing cross gates, or putting more stock with the one that is mean to try and calm them down.


I work where I can see what goes in the chute so I know what is coming.  The boys in the back looked at this cow, a dairy cow, and looked at me and told me to watch her.  My first thought was she isn't mean, she is a dairy cow.  Dairy cows are normally calm and nothing gets them going!  This dairy cow had horns and was huge, probably weighing in around 2000lbs.  I still thought she couldn't be that bad...until she went in the ring, the lady who calls out pens told us to get up and get out of her way. Oh crap!!  She might actually be a bad cat.  Then she calls …

Types of BEEF Identification

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The way I do things down in Tennessee is way different that my friend in WY or CA or even FL.         When talking with other producers about the way they ID I realized how little I actually knew about the different methods.  I have found FIVE different types of ID for cattle. Branding (hot/freeze), brisket tags, ear tags, EID, and ear notches.

     Branding: Branding is used more commonly on larger farms and ranches where the cattle are out on their own on wide open ranges.  There are two types of brands: freeze and hot.  Freeze branding is basically an iron formed into a specific combination of letters, symbols, and numbers to ID cattle easily.  A hot brand is a brand that is gotten hot over a fire but it is the same type of iron used in freeze branding.  This type of ID is regulated by the government by having a person at sale barns to inspect brands to decrease the rustling of cattle.
    Brisket tags:  I just heard about these from a friend who ranches in Wyoming.  I do not know ab…

The moment I hated showing cattle

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My first show after Mean Gene died was very hard.  I entered the ring and exited only to not have my biggest supporter waiting with the halter.  But, one thing that got me through was the people that surrounded me.  I felt hands all along my way to the ring.  I felt Pop there but I still didn't see him.  That was the part that sucked.  I have mourned long enough but now I don't want to show.  I could care less if I ever saw another show or walked in the ring....that is till I met VS DIVA!  She has a stacked pedigree.  She is out of the heifer we won Grand Champion % Simmental Heifer at the Dixie Nationals.  Her sire is a bull I feel in love with when Pop and I would check the cows.  No, I never met this bull, we didn't raise him, but we have a lot of his daughter grazing our pastures and I loved them.  (Black Joker is an old purebred Simmental bull)  I begged and pleaded to get semen on him for as long as I can remember.  I finally got my wish with this cross and then…

The Future is ME & YOU

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Passion is what you work hard for.  Its what you put everything into, your blood, sweat, and tears.  I get worked up over farm matters easily.  My dad and grandparents have always included me in the discussions of the farm matters including: money and management.  I used to take it for granted but then it dawned on me that one day it was all going to be mine. I was going to have to run it on my own with knowledge that I gained by being asked for my opinion at such a young age. So I started listening and taking into account how I would run things.  When asked what bulls to cut, or recipient cows to purchase I started putting more thought into it.  I think they started to notice because they are starting to put my thought into decisions, the final decision.
        We, my dad and boyfriend (and me) are getting ready to set on a new adventure that they have always wanted to do, I am just there for manual labor and my connections in the BEEF industry.  My dad is going to let us make some…

The Bad Kind of Family

I have been getting a lot of flack from my non-farming friends about missing out on things, not making it to places on time, always smelling, being on the phone etc etc.  I have gotten used to it but lately I have noticed how my family is the bad kind.  We are all the things my non-farming friends and family label us as.  The bad kind of family:

Rarely shows up on time
  I also have a bad habit of during finals helping a lot on the farm so I am usually late to at least one final because I can't leave in the middle of working.  We as a family are late because cows are unpredictable, oh so very unpredictable.  Graduation? they just wanna be fed. church? they just want fresh clean water. final? they hay needs to be baled.  Work clothes double as church clothes --or church clothes double as work clothes
There is nothing a little stain remover and Momma's special concoction can't get rid of.  On the other hand cows don't care if you are on your way out the driveway to a speci…

From Death Comes Life

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I was in the middle of my normal feeding schedule when I noticed something was not as it was supposed to be.  I had actually walked right past it to begin with but something felt off so I turned around and saw a calf sprawled out on its side.  I dropped the full feed bucket, which hindsight was not a good idea, and went over to the preemie calf.  It was breathing and had a strong heartbeat which was a good thing but it was weak.  It was now a 3 day old calf and our black lab was bigger than him.                I am the last person to ever give up on a living animal, I ran back and forth from the barn to where it was laying to get a hay bale, a bucket, halters, and its mom, Jana.  I was very much alone but my dad was on speaker phone sitting in the feed bucket!  I was leary the cows would eat my phone and then I would definitely be up a creek but it was all I had in a pinch.  I got the calf onto the hay bale but because it was so small dad said it may be putting pressure on its lun…

My Muddy Jeans

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I saw Nordstrom's new jeans advertisment this morning when I woke up for my animal science class.  Later, as I walked into my class, I couldn't help but notice that many of my peers were wearing muddy jeans.  They got up early to feed animals and take care of the farm before rushing to school. These jeans and these people are a familar sight to me and only after I saw that someone would pay over $400 for a fake pair of muddy jeans, did I start to think about all the worn out, stained with mud jeans in my own closet.  I realized that the clothes we wear tell stories about our lives.  The muddy jeans that farmers and ranchers wear are a testament to the hardworking nature of the life. If you have that much money burning a hole in your pocket I have the direct link, attached to the trendiest jeans on the market, at the bottom of this post.

A few stories behind my muddy jeans:


These muddy jeans took a dip in our pond when a calf fell in and I was the one willing to go for a sw…

Easter Suprise

I hope everyone had a lovely Easter.

  Our Easter started out like any other Easter, we were rushed to get everyone ready but dad was still at the barn.  He drove up in the Kubota to get breakfast with the news that would put our whole day out of whack.  He told us there was a cow down in the pond.  My first thought was how deep was she, like backhoe arm stretched way out, with us swimming to put ropes around her or just on the side with a foot stuck.  There are many hazards with having ponds and this wont be the first animal I have pulled out of one, but this cow has a special place in my heart.  Little Bit, never lost her class and was one of Pop's oldest cows.  She was an '02 model.  She was also one of the best cows, and we had a bright future planned for her after she calved.  Then she calved and all went down hill from there; she stopped eating, she got mastitis and had something else wrong in her gut.  Once we got her standing and walked out of the pond we all diapered…

Transitional Planning

I feel like I talk about this a lot but here's another blog post about my grandfathers passing.  This is a different kind of post however.  I am at the American National CattleWomen convention held in conjunction with the National Cattlemens Beef Association in Nashville.  This post is about transitional planning.  I had the privilege of hearing from Kelli and Donell Brown for R.A Brown Ranch out of Texas.  They say "Keep the ranch in the family and the family in the ranch."  They have been and are successful in keeping true to that saying.  Their history of transition planning dates back all the way to the 1800s or so, anyways, they have been so successful Donell has become a speaker and brought Kelli along this time to Nashville.
     They gave us so many tips that I can relate to because after losing the Man that built our farm we often look back and wish we had done these things.  They said one more thing that stuck with me because my grandfather wouldn't  let us…

I Would Do It ANYday

Word to my readers: this post is a little late!

  It was Christmas Eve Eve and my boyfriend had just left my house.  He called about 10 minutes later telling me "he almost hit a cow."  By this time it was around 10 pm, so it was already dark.  He told me he was at Gene's place so the cow was more than likely black.  I told my parents what happened and texted a man who rents land from him....he was out of town. That left me to go offer my help to this 80-something year old man.  If his age gives you any insight in why I said offer it should be this, he thought women should be in the kitchen.  A long time ago I knocked on his door to see if I could help him around his farm and he looked back into his house and said something along the lines of "I don't see anything you could do."  I eventually got him talked into letting me weedeat his fence rows.  Back to my story....I called him and got no answer so I pulled on my boots over my pjs and left the house.  I dr…