Monthly Archives: October 2011

Bee Thankful

A recent field trip to a local Apple Orchard -Curtis Orchard- reminded this farm girl to Bee thankful for the wonders of Mother Nature. The family at Curtis Orchard not only sell their products-apples, pumpkins, and honey- raised on the 80 acre farm but other products from nearby farmers.The Curtis Orchard’s History is rich with family traditions and still owned and operated proudly by family members.

On this field trip, classmates of my son started the behind the scene tour with a lively discussion about bees and the jobs they perform for the farm.  For you see the bees are the only workers on the farm that is not receiving a paycheck.

Did you know?


  • The Girl Bees, Worker Bees, do all the work collecting the Pollen, feed the Queen and other bees, and guard the hive.
  • There is one Queen Bee who lays 2000 eggs a day and never leaves the hive.
  • One hive can hold 20,000 to 100,000 bees. The hives at Curtis averae 80,000
  • The bees are the only workers on the Orchard that are NOT paid.
  • Male Bees, Drones, only job is to fertilize the eggs
  • When more eggs to produce Queens are laid, the current Queen uses her stinger to kill 4/5 eggs. The remaining new Queen Bee and the current Queen fight to death. The Strongest survives.


  • 300 Unique types of Honey produced in the United States
  • Honey can vary in color and flavor
  • The 60,000 or so bees in a beehive may collectively travel as much as 55,000 miles and visit more than two million flowers to gather enough nectar to make just a pound of honey!
  • Honey is a natural sweetener and contains a variety of flavonoids and phenolic acids, which act as antioxidants, scavenging and eliminating free radicals.
  • Honey is used in a variety of beauty products.  It is a humectant, which means it attracts and retains moisture-great for shampoos, cleansers, lotions, and conditioners.
  • Honey has antimicrobial properties. Most bacteria and other microorganisms cannot grow or reproduce in honey.  Therefore Honey does not go Bad.
  • Since Honey has the antimicrobial properties, it has been used as medicine.  It was found in King Tut’s Tomb.
  • In practical sense, honey can be used as ointment as tropical treatment to a wound. It also has been found to reduce scarring.
  • Honey is a natural cough suppressant.

Visit the National Honey Board’s Website for great recipes using Honey, Beauty Recipes, and great info on Honey.

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Posted by on October 30, 2011 in Dirt Trail, food


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Dear America

October 24, 2011-Food Day

Dear America:

I an American Farmer, urge you to start a real dialogue about the America’s Food System with me. For you see, today-October 24, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has declared it Food Day. For me, Food Day is 365. Disappointingly, instead of having an honest conversation with farmers, the CSPI has chosen to organize a campaign that spreads untruth about the way I raise my crops and animals to feed you.

Every day, I thank God for giving me the skills and natural resources to produce safe, abundant, healthy food for my country and the world. As a parent and consumer, I only support agriculture practices that are safe for my family and yours.

I raise corn, soybeans, and beef animals on my farm. I recognize the need to seek improvements, embrace new technology, and invest in continuing education to improve my part -the beginning- of food production to yield healthy choices to people everywhere.

Unfortunately, the CSPI purposely leaves one valuable nutrient-rich food from its list of healthy food choices –Beef, Pork, Lamb (Only seafood, low-fat dairy, and poultry). It is implied by the CSPI that animal proteins [excluding low-fat dairy and poultry] are unhealthy.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines-My Plate, My Health– recommends a balanced diet from all food groups-Fruits & Vegetables, Grains, Dairy, and Protein- combined with physical activity for a healthy lifestyle. The USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage people to “get more nutrition from their calories” by choosing nutrient-rich food among all food groups. The Meat and Bean group provides protein but not all proteins are created equally. Unlike most plant sources of protein, animal proteins such as lean meats supply’s most readily accessible and easily absorbed source of iron and zinc-essential nutrients for muscle growth and good health. Meat can help you to get the most nutrition-Protein, Iron, Zinc- all wrapped up in tasteful serving. Lean meat like Beef can help you get the most nutrition for fewer calories. Calorie for calorie, lean beef is one of the most flavorful and efficient ways to meet the daily value for 10 essential nutrients like iron, zinc and B vitamins and beef also provides 20 grams of protein per serving.

The fact remains most Americans including myself need to make better food selections, strive for portion control, and just simply get off the couch more.

My family is proudly among the 98 percent of U.S. Farms that are operated by a family or individual. As a ninth generation farmer, protecting the environment and my animals are a priority. The decisions my family makes on the farm is based on peer-reviewed science that is verified and respects the consumer values.

I urge you not to partake in questionable campaigns like the CSPI’s Food Day but engage in conversation with Real Farmers. It could be as simple as visiting a local farm or participate online- join the honest Food Dialogues everyday.

Thank you for attention on this matter and look forward to discussing the one thing that connects us all -our food


Cheryl Day, American Farmer

Read More on Food Day

Food Day – 365

Food Day?

USFRA Online

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Posted by on October 24, 2011 in Myths @ Ag


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Leaving the Dirt Trail

Yesterday, I hit the interstate system and traveled to Rantoul, IL to speak with 4th graders about Farming and Water.  I also enjoy sharing the agriculture story.  It is important for children to have real conversation with farmers.  This is one reason I volunteer as Croplife Ambassador.The Croplife Ambassador Network connects classrooms with farmers and individuals who work in agriculture.  We discuss topics from raising crops and livestock to feeding the world to protecting the environment.

Each classroom visit is different and new questions always surface. One group of the Rantoul students, took me off tasks as we got into a deep discussion about all the great things agriculture provides for them beyond food. My goal for every visit is to explain what really happens in the real world of farming and I always wonder if I accomplished that as I walk away.

As I checked into the office yesterday and explain to the School’s secretary why I was at the school, a student said “I know you“.   He went on to explain that last year he attended a neighboring school that I presented to last Spring.  He also told me the favorite part about my presentation.   Wow! Someone outside my community remember my classroom visit-Yes.

In the end, I hope these students remember the discussion about farming when they hear false claims about farming in the future. If I make them question the media hype then I have accomplished my goal.  If I make them think about a career in agriculture then added bonus.

Teachers and Parents:  If you want a Croplife Ambassador to visit with your classroom or group then request and view the presentations on Croplife Ambassador Website   .

Agriculturists:  If you want to share the story of agriculture then join us as an ambassador. Croplife Ambassador Network

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Posted by on October 19, 2011 in Dirt Trail


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5 Myths about Food

Today- October 16-is Blog Action Day, an annual event to focus bloggers on one global topic. The 2011
topic is FOOD- A fitting topic for this farmer. As a farmer, my life passion is all about using God-Given talents and his natural resources to produce food for the world. Unfortunately, the lack of knowledge about the food we eat is filling the consumer’s mind with fallacious statements about Food.

Therefore on this Call to Action Day, I present 5 Common Myths about Food

5. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is more fattening for me than
Table Sugar (Cane Sugar)

corn sugar maze

Fact: High Fructose Corn Syrup is sugar made from Corn. In fact, it is more accurate to call it Corn Sugar. Corn Sugar and Table Sugar has the exact same number of Calories. Corn Sugar and Table Sugar both contain Fructose and Glucose. Cane Sugar is 50% Fructose and Glucose. Corn Sugar is either 42% Fructose and 58% Glucose -OR- 55% Fructose and 45% Glucose. As the commercial says “Sugar is Sugar”. Our
body metabolizes it the same no matter if the sugar comes from corn or sugar cane.
Do not take my word for it, ask an expert.
High fructose corn syrup … is nutritionally equivalent to sucrose. Both sweeteners contain the same number of calories (4 per gram) and consist of about equal parts of fructose and glucose. Once absorbed into the blood stream, the two sweeteners are indistinguishable.”
– American Dietetic Association,
Hot Topics paper on High Fructose Corn Syrup, December
So why does the U.S. use so much Corn Sugar? In my opinion, it is Logistics. While we do grow some sugar
cane in the U.S., it is largely grown in more favorable climates of Brazil and India (top world producers). Field Corn is widely produced in the United States. It is easier and cheaper for America’s Food Companies to use a
home grown product.

4. Antibiotics fed to livestock and poultry are causing humans to be resistance to antibiotics.

2010 0412Image0036 (Meghan)

Fact: Farmers and Ranchers have been administrating antibiotics by the label approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after extensive layers of testing and protocol to treat sick animals, prevent illness, and maintain the health of animals for over 40 years.   As a result, the U.S. provides the consumer with the safest food possible.
Did you know that activists in Denmark called for the ban of all antibiotics? Result- more livestock and poultry became sick and required greater use of antibiotics. Furthermore, the ban on antibiotic in Denmark did not have a substantial impact on the incidence of antibiotic-resistant food-borne illness in humans  –
Experts actually concluded that overuse and improper use of antibiotics in humans is the leading caused to
human resistance to antibiotics. So a run to the border to obtain Mexican Antibiotics to take at will is more dangerous than farmers and ranchers administrating antibiotics supervised by licensed veterinarians by the label.Get the Facts.
Editor Note: Each farm or ranch has an established protocol for the use of antibiotic. As a farmer of a
cow-calf operation, the health of the animal is extremely important to me. I can only speak for my farm but we only use antibiotics to treat sickness. Our first line of defense for our animals that are under stress or going to be facing a stressful environment-weaning or traveling or extreme weather pattern-is to use a natural probiotic products filled with essential vitamins and minerals. If an animal is diagnosed as being ill then an antibiotic is administrated after consulting the veterinarian by the label.

3. Organic Food is more Nutritious


Fact: First of all, it must be noted that organically raised food, plant or animal, must be meet or exceed the
requirements of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to be Certified Organic. Every step of raising the crop or animal must be inspected and certified by the USDA or it is NOT CERTIFIED ORGANIC. The USDA has never claimed that Certified Organic food is more nutritious than conventionally produced
food. Certified Organic label defines the way the food was grown, handled, and processed.
Did you know that Certified Organic does not mean reducing Pesticides?

Organic fruit and vegetable growers use insecticides and fungicides that are approved for organic growers. These are inorganic substances (such as copper and sulfur), microbes and toxic plant extracts. They are all
registered as pesticides by the EPA and pass the same regulatory safety tests as do the synthetic chemicals used by non-organic growers.

However, since the inorganic substances, microbes and toxic plant extracts are not as effective as synthetic chemicals, organic growers spray more often than non-organic growers and use a greater tonnage of pesticides per acre than do non-organic farmers. –SafeFoodInc.Org

2. Genetically Modified Foods are bad for your health.


Fact: For years, scientists have been naturally cross-breeding plants and animals to create the most desirable traits. In fact, the use of yeast to produce bread was one of the earliest uses of biotechnology.
Simple Facts about Biotechnology
Biotechnology can be a scary scientific name but its definition is the use of scientific discoveries about living things to solve problems. Biotechnology borrows the good gene from a healthier plant and lends it to the weaker plant. As a result, scientists make more healthy plant with good genes. In nature we see this is all the time- The
survival of the fittest. So think of Biotechnology as the Survival of the Fittest with a BOOST OF INNOVATION.
Advances in Biotechnology,now allows scientists to extract desirable DNA from one species (naturally-
occurring) and inserting it in another.   These GMOs are commonly used in agriculture to create seeds that are resistant to disease or insect. This exciting innovation has changed the world of farming. We now can plant seed that does not require as much of pesticide to be applied.
The amount of land to farm or raise livestock is shrinking at alarming rate. We cannot scientifically
produce land. At the same time the number of humans in the world is rapidly increasing. The amount of food we produce must also increase. Technology advancements, like biotechnology, can increase the amount of food raised on the same amount of land.
For the consumer, plant biotechnology benefits the consumers today by:
  • Nutritionally-Enriched Food
  • Reduce Pesticide Application
  • Longer-Lasting, Fresher Produce
  • Allows farmers to produce more on less land

Read the entire Biotechnology Guide.

There is no scientific, peer-reviewed, documented research or FDA statement that says GMO foods is bad
for your health.   After all how long have you been eating products made with yeast?

1. Going Meatless can improve your health.

2363 00 20SpicyPortugueseBeefSteakKabobs thumb

Fact: Cutting out meat is not an instant remedy to improving your health. In fact it could do more harm than good.  The USDA’s latest information-My Plate, My Health– on a healthy lifestyle depends on a balanced diet from all food groups-Fruits & Vegetables, Grains, Dairy, and Protein- portion control, and physical
The USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage people to “get more nutrition from their calories” by choosing nutrient-rich food among all food groups. There is a large assumption that Americans are eating too much from the Meat & Bean group but in fact many Americans are not meeting the USDA’s recommended servings from this group each day. In fact, as you get older your body slowly loses muscle mass, strength, and endurance.
The Meat and Bean group provides protein but not all proteins are created equally. Animal Proteins
provide all of the essential building blocks (amino acids) that your body needs for optimal health. Unlike most plant sources of protein, lean meats supply’s most readily accessible and easily absorbed source of iron and zinc-essential nutrients for muscle growth and good health. Meat can help you to get the most
nutrition for your Calorie intake. Protein, Iron, Zinc, Vitamin Bs all wrapped up in tasteful serving.
Other thing to consider:
The biggest myth about Red Meat is its fat profile. For Example let’s look at Beef:  Half the fat in beef
is monounsaturated-the same type of heart healthy fat found in salmon and olive oil. In addition 1/3 of the saturated fat of beef is stearic acid. Researchers have shown that stearic acid has neutral or cholesterol lowering effect.

Posted by on October 17, 2011 in Myths @ Ag


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Wordless Wednesday

The END of Harvest 11

Last Soybean Field



Posted by on October 12, 2011 in Uncategorized


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The Real Farmer’s Share

I think every household is struggling with the increase cost of living.  The items at the grocery store seem to cost a little more or shrink in volume every week.  It is important to understand that the real share of the Retail Food Dollar for the Farmer is only 20 cents.

According to the USDA, off farm costs such as transportation, marketing, processing, wholesaling, and retail account for 80 cent of every dollar spent on food in the United States.

The Farmers Union illustrate this the best based on 2011 prices:

Food Costs

The Growing Season for U.S. Crops has been very challenging.  It seems that every region has faced large weather related obstacles:  Flood, Drought, Fire, Hurricane, Tornado.  Weather is one thing farmers cannot predict or control.  For my personal geographic region, we experience a very wet spring that turned into a drought over the summer months.  Therefore, our are is producing less corn and soybeans.

The press wants to blame the ethanol industry for the hight price of food.  Every year the real cost of the food you buy is direct reflection of the costs of each step from the farm to a product you buy in the store.  In addition for 2011, the shortage of crops due to the weather obstacles will also increase the cost.  It is simply supply and demand.

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Posted by on October 12, 2011 in Myths @ Ag


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