Tag Archives: animal agriculture

Taking the First Step

The winter months are Calving Season for Day Cattle Farm.  Despite the cold temperatures and unpredictable Illinois weather, I personally enjoy calving season. The miracle of birth can provide a whole new perspective to your life.  However, I will not lie monitoring the labor process of an animal is quite stressful.  Knowing when to step in assist or just wait it out is difficult when the mom can only communicate with you through nonverbal cues.

This year we added new technology to our maternity ward – a barn cam.  The camera has allowed us to watch the first part of labor without making the mom nervous.

A photo taken of the tv feed from our ranch cam

A photo of the TV screen in the house from ranch cam feed

During the calving season, we place females in the maternity ward pens if they are in close to  their birthing date.  Although newborns can come anytime during the day, the night seems to be a very popular time and sport the most extreme temperatures.  In the morning we let the cows out to exercise and fill up on nutritional items unless they show signs of calving.  The cows still have access to warm barn.

On a rare day during lunchtime, my husband noticed that my daughter’s heifer, Champion, was embarking on her first calving. Fortunate for us, she chosen to come into the barn and was in full view of the barn cam.  Since this calf actually came without intervention and during the day , it was a wonder opportunity for me to share the first hour of calf’s life with the world.

An Angus heifer (female) just seconds after she is born.

An Angus heifer (female) just seconds after she is born.

Each mother cow have different personality.  It is natural for them to be extremely protective of the newborn calf.  After all designed by nature the cow will protect its calf from any dangers. So unless you are trained in handling cattle, it is highly advised not to approach any cow with a calf.

Now, I will admit I have all degree of protective moms in my herd.  In fact, I have cows that break the norm for allowing my family including my children to be in the pen during the birthing process and the first  hours of life.  Since my herd is small, it is easier for my family to build trust with each cow.

As soon as calf is born, a cow will begin cleaning and removing the birthing sack.  Since the majority of our calves are born during cold months, I will assist in cleaning process in order to avoid frostbite to set in.

After we are certain the bond between mom and baby have been formed, we will perform several tasks to keep the newborn calf healthy. Depending on the mom’s degree of protectiveness, we will either administrate newborn vaccination in the pen with the mom present or move her to a separate pen. In this particular case, Champion allowed us to coat the umbilical cord with iodine, measure for birth weight, and administrate newborn vaccination (just vitamins) while she licked her calf and us.

Champion takes a rest while she waits for her calf to take her first steps.

Champion takes a rest while she waits for her calf to take her first steps.

So in grand fashion let me introduce you to Champion’s first heifer calf, Daiquiri. She weighed 74lbs.  The next step in this healthy calf’s live is to take her first steps.  For me this is the most rewarding part of the birthing process. It always takes my breath away while I watch the first steps and wait to for the calf to take its first drink of milk.

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Posted by on February 27, 2013 in Life on the Cattle Farm


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McDonald’s Top Pork Buyer

Agfact #29

McDonald’s, with its Sausage McMuffin, McRib sandwich and breakfast platters, is one of the nation’s largest buyer of pork products, consuming about 1% of the nation’s total production.

More Facts about Pork

  • The U.S. pork industry generates sales of about $21 billion a year, according to National Pork Producers Council.
  • 21 billion pounds of pork were processed from about 110 million hogs in 2011.
  • A total of 2.3 million metric tons of pork valued at more than $6.1 billion was exported in 2011.
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Posted by on November 29, 2012 in Ag Facts


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Shrinking Carbon Footprint of Beef

Agfact Day #26:  

The carbon footprint of beef was reduced by more than 16% from 1977 to 2007. U.S. cattlemen raise 20% of the world’s beef with 7% of the world’s cattle, making the United States a leader in raising sustainable beef.

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Posted by on November 26, 2012 in Ag Facts


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Certified Angus Beef, Breaking Sale Records

AgFacts #15

About 2.2 million pounds of Certified Angus Beef®  are sold daily, generating an estimated $4 billion in consumer sales annually. In 2012, 811 million pounds of Certified Angus Beef® brand products were sold at distinguished establishments around the world. Nearly 14,000 licensed retail and foodservice partners in the United States and 45 other countries offer the premium brand.

  • The Certified Angus Beef ® brand is a cut above USDA Prime, Choice and Select. Ten quality standards ensure every bit is flavorful, tender and juicy.
  • Only 1 in 4 Angus cattle meets the highest standards to become the Certified Angus Beef ® brand, making it Angus beef at its best®.
  •  Every pound of beef is tracked from initial identification until it is sold to consumers, ensuring genuine Certified Angus Beef ® brand products
  • The same independent USDA graders inspect black-hided cattle (typical of the Angus breed) and give it a grade. All beef considered for the brand must be the best Choice, or Prime, beef – truly the top of the scale. This top-quality Angus beef is then evaluated again, using the brand’s set of 10 science-based specifications for marbling, size and uniformity. If it’s good enough to make the cut, then it earns the distinctive Certified Angus Beef ® brand label.

Certified Angus Beef Fact Sheet

10 Quality Standards of Certified Angus Beef

Go Rare 

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Posted by on November 15, 2012 in Ag Facts


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Let the Political Games Begin |

Let the Political Games Begin |

Let the Political Games Begin

FEB 08, 2012

Winter tends to be the season of meetings for the agriculture community. It also is the time of year that legislative agendas are in full swing. Each state has a different legislative schedule. In Illinois, we are at the beginning of the spring session, which keeps me knee-deep in mind-numbing reading material.

One of my loyal blog readers reminded me that I have been quite quiet lately. It is true that my blogging activity has been low due to a heavy meeting agenda, but I will never be silent.

In the spirit of the political atmosphere, it is necessary to take a closer look at the political games of extreme animal rights groups: the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), People for the Ethnical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Farm Sanctuary. The goal of these organizations is to veganize Americans, asking everyone to give up all those delicious juicy hamburgers/pork chops/cheeses/eggs to save the planet. They look for an emotional plea, changing the message for each audience and using the weakest link to accomplish their  organizations’ true agenda: not to support the local animal shelter (a great cause) but to end animal agriculture. Read my entire post on Let the Political Games Begin |
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Posted by on February 14, 2012 in Myths @ Ag


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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.


Posted by on November 6, 2011 in Uncategorized


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