Posted tagged ‘Agvocates’

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 agday.org to learn more about how you can celebrate National Agriculture Day!

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

We heart beef!!

December 5, 2011

So just to keep everyone up-to-date on Butler Ag Ambassadors happenings….we are proud to announce we have successfully completed “Butler Beef Day”!! Wednesday, November 30 the Ag Ambassadors posted up shop in the main building on Butler campus and handed out beef information and beef jerky sticks! It was a huge hit, we handed out 500 beef jerky sticks in about two hours!

We owe a HUGE thanks to the Kansas Beef Council and their support of our event! Not only did they supply us with the beef jerky, but also beef pamphlets and yummy new recipes for beef!

Here are a few pictures from the event:

This is teamwork if I ever saw it! Taylor Graham and Kyle Wilson hold up a tri-fold as Maverick Squires traces letters!

 

Brett Moriarty and Alyson Moore search beef facts to post on the tri-fold!

 

I was in charge of rounding up pamphlets and brochures to hand out!

 

Our main talking point: Where's The Food....Without The Farmer??

 

Taylor insisted upon coloring only!!!

 

The finished project! (L to R) Kinzie Selke, Jared Wynn, myself, and Brett Moriarty were just a few of the Ambassadors that helped run the event!

Thanks to everyone that helped make “Butler Beef Day” an informative, fun event!!!

Those who say money can’t buy happiness have obviously never bought a show heifer.

August 16, 2011

Before school starts and the new sophomores and freshmen bloggers keep this going, I want to squeeze just one last post in.

The end of summer and recent completion of the local county fair has had me reminiscing about my show days.  This was my first county fair where I couldn’t show, and believe me it was a very different view to be an observer instead of a participant. Seeing my younger brother and many other 4-Hers have such success, many at a very young age, reminded me of all the great memories I have from my years in 4-H and showing livestock. Most of us bloggers come from a background of some level of showing experience, and I think many will agree, while we have an infinite amount of memorable experiences, certain memories stick with us just a little bit harder.

My brother and I with a few of our awards from my last county fair. (Guess who got all the height genetics in the family?)

For me, one of these memories happened my junior year of high school and revolves around my show heifer, Misty. I can still remember the very first day I saw that girl. She was standing out in pasture at JK Cattle Co. just up the hill from her mother, and I knew I had to have her. Never mind the fact my goal for the day was to find a purebred Shorthorn heifer that was in my (fairly meager) price range. Nope, the minute I saw that ½ Shorthorn, ½ Red Angus girl I knew I’d be doubling my budget for the day. (Side note: my mom will vouch for the all this. As soon as she saw the look on my face from seeing that heifer not only did she already guess what I just told you, but she felt it necessary to mortify me by saying, “The reason you don’t have a boyfriend is because you will never look at a boy the way you just looked at that heifer.” Thanks, Mom.)

What's family for if not to embarrass you, right?

Fast forward about 4 months. Misty had already been to her first show, and I was already dreaming of future backdrop pictures with her. It was a cold January evening and we’d recently had an ice storm. I can still remember the look on Dad’s face when he came through the door. I was about to head outside to feed when he stopped me and told me when he was out at the barn a few minutes earlier he heard a massive *CRACK* outside, and when he went to check it out my beloved show heifer was only standing on 3 legs. For those of you who have never walked out to the barn and saw your favorite 7 month old show heifer standing there with a broken leg, let me tell you it is quite possibly one of the worst things you will ever see. At that moment, all of my hopes and dreams with that heifer felt like they’d been flushed down a massive imaginary toilet. Take it from someone who rarely sheds a tear, I bawled my eyes out that night.

I’ll admit the reasonable thing to do would probably have been to put Misty out of her misery that night, but I was not ready to give up on her. Anyone who’s had a show heifer knows the kind of bond you quickly create, and that’s not something you give up on after one night. The only clinic in Kansas with the equipment to X-ray cattle is the Vet Med Teaching Hospital at K-State. As soon as possible, Dad and I loaded Misty into the trailer and made the drive to Manhattan. Second worst sight of my life: the developed X-rays of Misty’s leg. Misty had broken her left front leg, and she was not a frail-legged beast (translation for any non-aggies: her front leg bone is thicker than the average human femur). She had not just broken her leg, but had shattered it into fragments no thicker than a toothpick. The only option was to splint it and see how she took to it:  If she accepted the splint she still had a chance; if she didn’t, there was nothing more we could do for her.

Talk about a few sleepless nights! Luckily, Misty immediately took to this foreign chunk of rebar and duct tape on her leg! Before I knew it she was back home to get to healing, but only the trips back to Manhattan would tell if it was working.

Let me tell you something – miracles DO happen. Not only did Misty never go off feed for a single day – including the day she broke her leg – but she healed almost TWICE as fast as was expected! She even amazed the most experience veterinarians at K-State by how quickly she healed and how great of a patient she was. Not only did she stand up and lay down perfectly on schedule, but she learned how to use her splint somewhat like a crutch, allowing her to maintain some muscle tone.

I was told that if she survived Misty would likely never be a show heifer again. However with her amazing recovery, Misty not only attended a spring show that May, but went on to Shorthorn Junior Nationals, the county fair, the Kansas State Fair, the Kansas Junior Livestock Show, and the Kansas Beef Expo. Of course, with how much energy she putting into healing her injury she never grew into the show heifer she had the potential to be. We never had the backdrop photos I once dreamed of with her, but I was perfectly content with just being back in the ring with my girl. Nobody could even tell she had ever broken a leg.

Misty about to be prepped for her last show. Look at those big ol' ears!

Even so, this is not what I consider the most amazing accomplishment of overcoming her injury. The hope with any show heifer is that they can become a cow. Misty has had two steer calves so far, and is a productive cow who I expect to be around for a long time. My younger brother showed her first calf at county fair this summer. Granted he didn’t turn into anything special, but I still have hopes for her second baby. I can’t wait to see what she drops this January!

Misty with her two sons. (Please excuse the poor quality camera and the lack of effort in setting them up for a proper photo.)

After all we’ve been through and how far she has come, it is still an amazing site to see her run off over a hill when she goes out to pasture.

Would you ever guess that front leg right there was once shattered?

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.)

Breakfast Anyone?

December 22, 2010

What beats the smell of fresh pancakes, sizzling sausage and eggs, and hot coffee in the morning? In my book, not a whole lot can beat that. Lions’ Club Pancake Day is an annual event in my small little town. This is a by-donation event where breakfast is served all day long (the one time a year I eat pancakes two or three times in one day).  The Saturday before Christmas the local Lions’ Club members get up early in the morning to set up and start cooking for this big event.

Brady (one of the Lions' Club member's sons) and Dad hard at work serving food

Everyone's favorite table - Desserts made by the wives 🙂

Meet the entire population of Barnard – multiplied by about 3, maybe more. The entire community turns out to support the Lions’ Club, and of course just to gossip.  Many people turn this into a family affair, resulting in quite a temporary population increase.

Now what would a pre-Christmas event be without Christmas music and decorations? They even took the time to decorate my 4-H club’s sheep herdsmanship trophy with cute mini stockings and spruce up the old Barnard High School senior photos with hanging decorations.  (Fun fact: my dad’s senior picture is hanging up there!)

The biggest event of the day is when Santa arrives to visit with the little kids. Some kids need a little convincing to sit on Santa’s lap:Some kids just aren’t too happy about the whole ordeal (poor Logan!):and then there are the few kids who think sitting on Santa’s lap is just pretty cool. However, my favorite picture of the whole day is probably this one:

Meet Mason and Mya - twins born the day before Thanksgiving and the youngest members in attendance at Pancake Day. They were more than happy to sit in Santa's lap...well more like happy to be held by Santa...although they were asleep...that may have had something to do with their cooperative spirit

Of course, Santa has to have a ride! Since I would assume his sleigh only works on Christmas Eve the local fire department gives him a hand in getting to and from the Community Building:

I still think it’s super cool to see how united and supportive one small town can be. This year the Lions’ Club made somewhere around $2500 from this event. The main point of this event is not to just raise money, and it’s done strictly off donations. So I’d say that’s a pretty good turnout in a town of less than 100 people. What I really enjoy though is getting the opportunity to see everyone come out and just interact with each other and spend time with their families.