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Blazing Your Own Path

My daughter, Sierra, has reached a milestone in her life. This weekend she said good-bye to elementary ways and will enter the halls of high school this fall. I often tease her that school after the 8th grade is mandated by law and large fuss over 8th grade graduation is not real necessary but I am really proud of the INDIVIDUAL she has become.

My daughter’s maturity level reached years before graduating the 8th grade. I often contribute her good work ethic with living on farm. However in today’s world a child of a rural residence does not guarantee he or she will be raised with the same farm family values I was blessed with. Our parenting philosophy is old school. Raising  her in an environment that instills hard work, allows for disappointment, learning by doing, and old fashioned discipline.

Looking from the outside in, many may think we force our children into the world of agriculture but I disagree. We involve our children in activities on the cattle and grain farm.  We let them get their hands dirty and explore their passions.  Yes, the chore list around our house is different than our neighbors’ children but different does not make it wrong. We hope our children will leave our house with an independent spirit and strong pride of their agriculture roots.

So on 8th grade graduation night, my daughter a young lady that the school has classified as “shy” stepped up to the microphone and confidently delivered her speech.

Words wise beyond her years:

Quiet, outgoing, crazy, adventurous, competitive… All of these words describe our class from the inside out. It seems like yesterday we were starting kindergarten; that was over nine years ago. Along the way we argued, laughed, and we watched kids come into our class and we watched some go. For the past decade or so we have shaped into the young ladies and gentlemen that you see sitting in front of you today. As we get older we separate into different groups, but we still walk the hallways together just like that first day.

I would probably classify myself as a quiet, but crazy, and outgoing, but competitive person because

“I Show and I am the definition of dedication.
I have felt the despair of “the gate” and I know that I don’t want that feeling again, and                                                                                                                                 I have experienced the gratification of the handshake and I know that I want that feeling again, again, and again!
I have been to the first pen and I am going back for more!
I can see the beauty in a rock-solid “brace” and the grace in a “good drive.”
My favorite color is PURPLE!
If I have to, I’ll sort through 1,000 head and drive as many miles until I find “The One.”
There is skill in my hands, and magic and electricity in my step.
While my classmates are watching TV, I am feeding, weighing, exercising, planning and practicing.
If Mom’s got the video camera and Dad’s got a worried look it must be SHOWTIME                                                                                                                   I know that if it’s meant to be, it’s up to me.
I know the REAL value of groovy tops, jacked fronts, and crisp loin edges.
I know the best place to watch Grand Drive from is in the Ring!
I will avoid corners and “low spots” at all costs.
I can talk the talk and walk the walk and I’m not stopping until I grab the banner!
After God, my family, and my country, my stock comes next.
And if you need to find me … I will be in the barn!!!”

-Author Unknown

As most of you know this quote describes me 100 percent. To this day I’d rather wear a button down shirt, blue jeans, a belt, and cowboy boots with a harness on my back, my show stick in my left hand and my show heifer in my right instead of wearing this dress and heels. If you were to ask any person in my class who I am they’d tell you I am shy and that I have a passion they just don’t quite understand.

Now, if you asked my family and friends they’d tell you my life is something many don’t get the chance to experience. Because of the way I grew up, I was given the opportunity to take this dream and make it a reality.Since the day I could walk and carry a feed bucket, at the same time, my life has been revolved around the world of agriculture. I could not imagine where I’d be if I’d never been raised in an agriculture lifestyle.

Mom and dad, I’d like to thank you so much for allowing me to say that the life I grew up knowing is the life that I will forever live. But let’s face it if it wasn’t for you I could not say that my biggest passion is raising and showing Angus cattle. Also, I’d like to thank my family and friends for teaching me one important lesson in the past 14 years, chase your dreams.  I encourage every single one of you to find your passion and take it with you wherever you go. And I hope you allow it to lead you through the life you choose to live.

So, to the classes behind me I encourage you to open your eyes to start thinking about who you are going to be. As for my class, it might just be me, but it doesn’t seem right. It feels like only a couple weeks ago that we couldn’t wait to grow up. We couldn’t wait to finish high school, to go to college, and to take the path that we have always wanted to take. Even though we are stepping closer and closer to our adulthood, I pray that you never lose hope. That you always follow your dreams and never give up on something you can’t go a day without thinking about. I wish that you take the path less traveled by because chances are that it is meant for you. And most importantly I hope you all have thought about who you’re going to be because, kids, we’re going to high school!

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Versatile Blogger Award

As I was traveling for work, a thoughtful blogger and fellow passionate agriculturalists nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award.   I am truly honored.  Thank you Nebraska Wheatie and please visit her blog.  She shares a unique part of ag-working hard alongside her husband.

So Here are the Rules of the Versatile Blogger Award

1. Thank and link the person(s) nominating you.

2. List and pass the nomination on to 15 of your favorite bloggers.

3.  Tell us 7 little juicy tidbits about yourself.

4.  Copy this picture to your blog.

15 Deserving Blogs

1. Life on a Kansas Cattle

2. Tech Chef

3. Oregon Green

4. Boucher Farms

5. JPLovesCotton

6. The Farmer’s Life

7. Agriculture Proud

8. Common Sense Agriculture

9.The Couture Cowgirl

10. Crystal Cattle

11.Track My Crop

12. Ray-Lin Dairy

13.Darin’s Ramblings

14.  Pearl Snaps’ Ponderings

15. The Beef Jar

7 Tidbits about Me

1.  I would spend every day at a cattle show if I financially could afford it.

2. Big Cities are not so bad as long as I can just visit and never have to live there.

3. I cannot handle complete silence

4. I hate Chalk- I do not like the texture

5. I choose to remodel the barn before remodeling my kitchen.

6. I rather clean manure from cattle stalls then clean my house.

7. I know that nothing in my life would be possible without God.

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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No One is Worthless

Last week while I was working hard (earning my salary) educating agriculture association members, yahoo writer Terence Loose released an article on College Majors That are Useless .  Three of the five College Majors listed were Agriculture, Animal Science, and Horticulture.

Loose’s article is based on one study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ which surveyed almost 1,000 employers.  I have to ask….How many were Agriculture Based?

I give you this FACT from the National FFA Organization:

I proudly join the millions that are employed in the Agriculture Sectors.

Loose asks his readers, “Want to make sure you don’t pick a dud of a degree?”

Really, a veterinarian who started with an undergraduate degree is Animal Science is a dud.It probably never dawned on Loose and the average reader that many Agriculture (in general terms) majors are self-employed or small business owners.

A Career Path is never straight.  It takes curves, hard right turns, loose left turns, rapid downhills, steep uphills, and many potholes.  However, I do not call the women and men who work somewhere in the production process- to feed you, cloth you, and provide other wonderful products- a “DUD”.  Are we biting the hand that feeds you? A College Degree is necessary to earn a decent wage but the degree does not make the person.  Your experience, knowledge, and attitude makes one successful.

A College Major selection should be selected on passion and not how you can make the most money with little work.

In the words of Confucius:

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. 

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Do Not Feed the HSUS Monster | AGWEB.com

Do Not Feed the HSUS Monster | AGWEB.com.

As the year quickly draws to an end, the charities creatively seek your extra dollars in hopes you have the need to lower your federal and state taxes by giving to some very worthy causes. Although the time is clicking away to get your 2011 donations completed, I suggest that you investigate how each dollar of a charitable organization is actually spent.

If you are a loyal reader of my blog, you are quite aware that I do not support charitable organization that use Celebrities and expensive campaigns to mislead you on how the actual dollars collected are spent. What organizations like Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) do not tell you is the organization’s hidden agenda is to End Animal Agriculture. That is correct- the real goal of the organization is not to allow farmers and ranchers to raise livestock.
Putting that known fact aside, I want to explain why you should not support the HSUS with one dollar. Do not buy one of those cute T-Shirts with your favorite dog on the front or pledge to be a HSUS Humane Hero. In fact all the dollars collected by HSUS goes to the big scheme and very little go to the actual local shelter.
Read the 411 on HSUS

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Top Must Have Books for Kids

Similar to all parents, I am always searching for quality books that are both educational and entertaining.  Here is my list of top books that would make excellent gifts for a child in your life or donate them to the local school.  Each book has a wonderful heartfelt story written with true perspective and facts about farming and ranching.  Each book makes a great story to share as a family or for child to read on his or her own.

1) Levi’s Lost Calf written by Amanda Radke and illustrated by Michelle Weber

Young Levi rides out one morning to bring the cattle home from the pasture. After a head count, Levi is surprised that one calf is missing. Little Red, his favorite heifer calf, is nowhere to be found. Determined to prove his independence-and locate Little Red, Levi rides out with his horse, Pepper, and Gus, his trusty dog, in tow. The three sleuths search high and low around the ranch in search for the calf. Little Red stays hidden as readers are introduced to a bevy of barnyard animals throughout the search. A kid-friendly recipe is added to compliment the adventure and bring the cowboy spirit home to the reader.

Purchase online at CreateSpace

2) Little Joe written by  Sarah Neil Wallace and illustrated by Mark Elliott

It’s a cold December night and Fancy, the Stegner family’s cow, is about to give birth. Out pops Little Joe, a huge bull calf, and with him comes nine-year-old Eli’s first chance to raise an animal to show at next fall’s county fair. Over the next ten months, Eli, and Little Joe, learn some hard lessons about growing up and what it means to take on bigger responsibilities, especially when it comes to taking care of another living thing. But one thing Eli is trying not to think about is what will happen to Little Joe after the fair: it’s auction time, and he’ll have to sell Little Joe!

Purchase Online at Random House

2) The Beef Princess of Practical County by author Michelle Houts 

After years of waiting, it is finally Libby Ryan’s turn to shine at the Practical County Fair. Libby is filled with excitement as she and her granddad pick out two calves for her to raise on her family’s cattle farm, in hopes of winning the annual steer competition. Against her father’s advice, Libby gives the calves names, even though both steers will eventually be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Purchase Online at Random House

3) Heart of a Shepherd by Rosanne Parry

When Brother’s dad is shipped off to Iraq, along with the rest of his reserve unit, Brother must help his grandparents keep the ranch going. He’s determined to maintain it just as his father left it, in the hope that doing so will ensure his father’s safe return. The hardships Brother faces will not only change the ranch, but also reveal his true calling.

Purchase Online at Random House

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Scenes of the Fall- Wordless Wednesday

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Train Ride Powered by Beef

I am always amazed with the power of innovation and the numerous items we use everyday provided to us by animals.  Amtrak is now test running a train, Heartland Flyer, powered by a biodiesel mixture of diesel fuel and beef tallow [fat]. This renewable fuel now tops the list of animal-based products available to us everyday. Beef Fuel gives a new meaning to FUEL FOR THE FINISH-the slogan of Team Beef.

Amtrak announced that it received a $274,000 grant from the Federal Railroad Administration in coordination with Oklahoma Department of Transportation and General Electric to test the new biodiesel.  A University of Illinois Study, shows the animal-based biodiesel shows less pollution and lower emissions.

I am thankful everyday that animals give their lives to feed us and provide everyday essential items.  This animal-based fuel is example of sparking the power of innovation to lessen our need of foreign oil with a cleaner burning emission.  As result, Amtrak will be able to replace 35,000 gallons of diesel according to Roy Deitchman, Amtrak’s vice  president of environmental, health and safety vice president.

Beef Tallow is derived from the fat of cattle.  Traditional Cattle Fat, as illustrated in this graphic, is used in a variety items from chewing gum to cosmetics to insulation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is clear to see by the above illustration that animals provide us with items you use in your life everyday.  As we learned from the Oprah Show, every part of the animal is used.  In the last season of the show, Nicole Johnson-Hoffman, Cargill employee, without sugar-coating or rehearsed script guided Lisa Lang through a Cargill Packing Plant. As Nicole points out, “We never forget these are creatures of life..”, “we treat them with dignity. “

Today, the Heartland Flyer is the only engine running on Beef Fuel but time will only tell if this form of renewable fuel be an option for all diesel engines.

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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