Posted tagged ‘ag ambassadors’

National Agriculture Day – How will you celebrate?

March 8, 2012

Happy National Agriculture Day everyone!!

Today, March 8th, is a great day for farmers and consumers alike! As producers it’s a reminder that all of your hard work and dedication towards producing food and fiber for our country is worth it. It’s a day to recognize the passion of those striving for the success of agriculture. For consumers, National Agriculture Day is a way for them to appreciate what producers do, and just how important their job truly is!

So how will you celebrate?

If you’re a farmer I challenge you to find new ways to connect to the consumer. Whether that’s writing a blog or just talking to someone in the grocery story is up to you! If you’re a consumer I challenge you to strive to realize the importance of agriculture in your every day lives.

Diane Gress, the winner of the National Agriculture Day Video Essay Contest, does a great job at describing what our country is facing in food production.

Visit to learn more about how you can celebrate National Agriculture Day!




Are you Satisfied With Your Dash?

February 20, 2012

I wanted to share with you all the poem that was read this past weekend at Uncle Don (Dr. Don L. Good’s) funeral.   The weekend was very much a celebration of a life well lived.  You could say that Don made the most of his dash. 

As we left Manhattan to come home I reflected on the poem.  Too often we wait to get involved in school or community activities, or are too busy to notice others around us.  It’s easy to identify problems we encounter, but takes more effort to be a part of the solution.  We may be focused on training for the next big step, feeling like in the meantime our life is on hold.  What we forget (at least I do at times) is that everyday is a part of our DASH.   Please take a minute, read the poem by Linda Ellis, and ask yourself if you’re satisfied with your dash.  If not, today is the day to start filling in the stories of your dash.

 The Dash
by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
from the beginning…to the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth
and spoke of the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
that she spent alive on earth…
and now only those who loved her
know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own;
the cars….the house…the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard…
are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left.
(You could be at “dash midrange.”)

If we could just slow down enough
to consider what’s true and real,
and always try to understand
the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,
and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives
like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect,
and more often wear a smile…
remembering that this special dash
might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy’s being read
with your life’s actions to rehash…
would you be proud of the things they
say about how you spend your dash?

Pinterest Agvocacy

December 30, 2011

So I recently joined the Pinterest “addiction” and I’ve been hooked ever since! It’s rather new but has quickly become popular, at least in my circle of friends. I have seen many Facebook statuses stating “Pinterest is so addicting!!” Warning: this is very very true.

Alright so for those of you who aren’t familiar, here’s my explanation. Pinterest is a website that helps you manage ideas – a virtual pinboard. It lets you organize and share ideas you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes. You can also find your friends and browse their pinboards!

But before you go searching for your perfect wedding dress consider this. Could this be another great way to advocate for agriculture? Besides pinning the things you like, you also have the power to create a new pin that will dive into the world of Pinterest. A few of my friends have already started.

Crystal Young pinned a link to her blog where she wrote about her opinion of Meatless Mondays.

Meatless Mondays

I also found this pin..

Which led me to the I Love Farmers…They Feed My Soul website.

Linking to your favorite agriculture websites or blogs is just a simple, quick way to get agriculture in the minds of your family and friends.

Or maybe you’re just looking for a new pair of boots and turquoise jewelry 🙂 Pinterest can help with that too..

Follow me, Paige Wallace, and many other Butler bloggers to see how we agvocate!




Ag Ambassador Executive Officer Team 2011-2012

September 16, 2011

2011-12 Butler Ag Ambassador Officers: Bailey Boomhower, Brett Moriarty, Maverick Squires, Taylor Graham, Emily Jackson

No one said it would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.

May 9, 2011

Usually I’m completely stoked for the end of the school year. I simply can’t wait to feel the freedom summer has to offer and spend countless hours on our farm working in the hay field and with cattle, going to shows and seeing old friends and making new ones.

But this year, it is a teensy bit bittersweet.

Saturday night was the Butler Livestock Judging banquet. No, I’m not a judger, but I’m the most loyal tag-a-long/groupie/roomie/friend those guys have ever had I’m sure! So of course I was in attendance.

And naturally, I got to thinking about my time here. How I was this close to going to the community college 15 minutes from home because I had no reason to do anything different. But then Chris Mullinix said he could give me an ag scholarship, and I thought “Hey, what do I have to lose?” At the time, I had no idea that I had a whole new set of adventures and ‘family’ waiting for me that I would never trade for anything. I don’t think I will ever be able to fully thank Chris for giving me all that through a simple scholarship.

Butler and the instructors here have opened countless doors for me. Not only do I have a few more bridesmaids for my wedding, but the professional people I have met is unbelievable. One of those happens to be the former CEO of Tyson Foods, Greg Lee, who came to speak at the Ag Department’s open house. The Ag Ambassadors has been a tremendous organization to be apart of. Together, our group has not only educated the public about the school’s ag program, where their food comes from and agriculture in general, but we have accomplished our purposes while making memories we will never forget.

Never for one minute have I regretted my decision to attend Butler. I fully believe it has prepared me for my next steps in life. I am looking forward to interning with Osborne & Barr, an agricultural advertising agency, this summer in Kansas City. This fall, I will become a Wildcat at Kansas State University to major in Animal Science and minor in Spanish.

If there is one thing life has given me a first hand account of during my two years at Butler, it is that sometimes plans will change. But everything and everyone come into your life for a reason. So take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. Always look for the silver lining in the cloud. I’ll leave you with a quote that a dear friend told me one time, and I think it fits perfectly:

“If you get a chance- TAKE IT!
If it changes your life-LET IT!
No one ever said it would be easy, they only promised it would be worth it.”

We’ve Come A Long Way, Baby.

April 29, 2011

Ya know, we sure have come a long way in techniques used around the farm for reproduction.

It’s just simply amazing what all we can accomplish by combining genetics, knowledge and technology. Almost mind-boggling at times even. What specifically I have on my mind is embryo transfer.

I mean, sure, there were many times that a farmer probably thought to himself, “If only there was a way to get more calves from this cow in her lifetime”, but who went through the trial and error to figure it out?

I’m sure a little research could answer this pressing question, but today we are simply going to talk about the process.

First, a teensy vocab lesson.

Donor- A female bovine of exceptional quality. This is typically a cow. Flushing heifers could potentially lead to breeding issues in the future.

Flushing- The process of collecting all the fertilized eggs from the Donor.

….I know, just stay with me here.

Estrus- A 12 hour window when the cow is in heat, or ovulating.

Estrous- The cycle as a whole, which lasts about 21 days. Note the similar yet different spellings of these words. There is a difference between the two.

Cystorelin- Hormone used to start the process over, or get the estrous cycle back to ‘square one’.

CIDR- Insert infused with progesterone. Read more about these puppies HERE.

Follicle Stimulating Hormone- Causes multiple eggs to be released during estrus. FSH for short.

Lutalyse- Shot that causes the cow to come into heat.

Angus- A breed. The black cow in the picture.

Hereford- Another breed. The red and black calf in the picture.

Setting up the Donor:

Day 1- Give a shot of Cystorelin and put the CIDR in the cow. Together, this will cause estrous to start over and hormone levels to raise so the female’s body think’s it is pregnant.

Day 5- Start FSH shots. 2 shots a day for 3 1/2 days. This causes multiple follicles to form on the ovaries, when there would typically only be one.

Day 7- Administer a shot of Lutalyse in addition to the FSH shots.

Day 8- Remove CIDR and give last FSH shot. The removal of the CIDR will drop progesterone levels and therefore kick-start estrus.

Day 9- Breed the cow 3 times. 1. At the start of heat. 2. 12 hours into heat. 3. 24 hours into heat.

This is Terry. He just became a Grandpa a few weeks ago. And he brought a Hereford cow to our place to get set up with ours.

One week later… An embryologist will ‘flush’ out all the fertilized eggs, or embryos. The average number collected is 6. The embryos can be put fresh into a recipient cow, or be frozen and stored in liquid nitrogen until ready for use.

Yes, reproduction techniques have come a long way, baby.

9 months later… Your babies are born! This is the rewarding part, when all your hard work pays off.

When you walk out into a pasture and see baby calves everywhere, you have one of those ‘moments’ that reminds you why you are in the ag business. Why your pay check is largely determined by mother nature and Futures markets. Why you don’t get holidays or snow days. It reminds you why you love this way of life and that you wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Hot and Dangerous

April 18, 2011

Hate to break your heart, but I’m not going to sing you Ke$ha’s song. But… 

Spring time in Kansas brings one of my favorite things to do on the farm- burning pasture! There’s something about having a controlled fire burning up all the dead grass and watching it spread all over the pasture that is really intriguing to me.

The burning practice catches a lot of flack. But the good out weighs the bad.

  • Kills unwanted/dead vegetation.
  • Gives new, more nutritious grass a chance to grow.
  • Cattle grazing have a healthier diet.
  • Not putting chemicals into the ground to achieve same results.

This video will give you a chance to see what it looks like while the grass is burning.

As mentioned in the video, several factors must come into play. A few of these include:

  • The wind can’t be too strong, or from the wrong direction.
  • You must have enough dead grass to make it worth while. Green grass is too full of moisture and won’t burn.
  • You need to have a water supply close by in case the fire starts to go the wrong direction.
  • It never hurts to have too many people, rather than not enough, when dealing with fire.

Here is Flinton and Paul, our fire burning crew for the weekend. You can see that they are sitting on rakes. They are used to move the fire along the grass. On the back of Paul’s 4-wheeler is a water tank. Always good, just in case.

I just helped with the very end of burning this weekend because my sister’s prom was Saturday! So I went with my mom and cousin and watched her in the Grand March.

No, I’m not short. She’s just ridiculously tall.

 Her and her friends were sure looking Hot and reeeal Dangerous that night! (They think they are really intimidating, and we don’t burst their bubble.)

Welcome to the World of Synchronization

April 14, 2011

Efficiency is a huge thing is the production agriculture world. I mean, when each farmer is feeding 155 people, new technologies must be utilized, environmental friendly practices are paramount, and having a little luck getting all your ducks in a row never hurt anyone.

New practices to make breeding cows more efficient are not only important, but encouraged by farmers everywhere! Artificial Insemination (A.I.) is a method that is widely used today. But when you are dealing with 100+ heifers, it can be tricky to know when just the right window of time is.

My sister, Esther, on a 4-wheeler helping move heifers from the pasture to the barn.

You see, there are about 12 hours during the heifer’s estrus cycle when it is the best time for breeding. In a perfect world, all the heifers will come into heat (which means they are cycling and are ready to be bred) around the same time. This is ideal because:

1) You won’t miss as many heifers since they are all ready to breed.

2) You will have a shorter calving time frame, which is good for a couple of reasons: so all your calves are the same age so they can be fed out about the same time, or for customers who want to buy large groups of ‘uniform’ looking calves.

This is why estrus synchronization is such a popular practice. There are a few ways to go about this, from feed additives to inserts called Cidrs. While we have done both at my house, lately we have stuck with the latter.

This is what a Cidr looks like. Infused with 1.38 grams of Progesterone, when inserted, the heifer’s body thinks it is pregnant due to the elevated hormone level.

This would be Esther’s close up for the day. Her and I were put in charge of this project. It was quality bonding time.

Here the Cidr is in the applicator, ready to do big things.

I really like this picture. I mostly just think it is funny. Esther looks like she isn’t excited to be the star of my blogs all the time, but secretly I know she loves it.

This process doesn’t hurt the heifer. In fact, it is so little they hardly can feel it.

The applicator is dipped and swirled in a disinfectant solution between each animal. Cleanliness comes first around here.

The Cidrs will be pulled this Saturday, one week after being inserted. The removal will cause the progesterone level to drop, the heifer’s body to realize that it isn’t pregnant after all, and therefore cause the heifer to cycle and come into heat so it can be bred at the beginning of next week.

Research, combined with technology, never ceases to amaze me.

Kids Say the Cutest Things!

April 7, 2011

I ran across this video somewhere on Facebook a while back, and thought it was too cute not to share! API Creative Media (American Angus Association) made the video, and as you will see Jerry Church made the letter 🙂

Voices of Ag: Connecting the Dots

March 3, 2011

Since I grew up in the agricultural industry, I am often given the opportunity to speak on behalf of the rural community when friends, classmates and co-workers who grew up with an urban lifestyle start asking questions.

I always look forward to these conversations for a couple of reasons. 1) I love tell my story because I am proud of where I come from. 2) I love helping them connect the dots to how they are connected to agriculture (food, clothes, by-products, etc.) 3) I love seeing their faces light up when you have explained production practices in a way that they approve of and want to know more about.

The American Angus Association has been producing a series called “I Am Angus”, and this week the latest segment aired. It was nothing short of awesome. I especially liked when Butler Alumni, Chelsea Good, shared her story about growing up and moving into ag law, and how she has opportunities everyday to advocate for us.

Temple Grandin was also featured on the episode. If you are not familiar with who this woman is, here are a few highlights of her resume:

  • World-renowned animal behaviorist
  • Reshaped livestock handling practices
  • Revolutionized harvest plants
  • Just recently included in Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People”

And the most amazing part about it? Ms. Grandin is autistic. She of all people had the excuse to sit back and not do anything, but that’s just not how she is. See for yourself:

***I Am Angus is produced by API Creative Media.