Posts Tagged ‘farmers’

From National FFA 2012…

  • What it takes to keep sanity – LOTS of patience, some grace, a little sweet tea, and a lot of humor!
  • What it takes pay for the meals – ideally a parent sponsor on the trip with you!
  • What it takes to get 20 different kids in 4 different places at one time – 6 chaperones, 3 vans, and lots of calling and        texting…and some awesome code talk on the walkie-talkies!
  • What it takes to entertain high school boys – hand fishing at a koi fish farm!

  • What it takes to feed the world…some VERY ambitious, innovative, and determined farmers!
  • What else it takes to feed the world…professional, progressive agriculture companies to supply inputs to the farmers!
  • What the Ag Sales competitors learned today…from when they woke up this morning to when they head to bed tonight, the world gained an additional 210,000 mouths to feed!
  • What else the Ag Sales competitors learned today…extremely successful agriculture companies know that they are competing in this contest at this level and they will be sought after as future employees! Yes! It sinks in that all of the practicing and bonding time and embarrasing mistakes and do-overs…they pay off!!! These kids are the best of the best in the nation. They will be the ones who become influencers of the next generation to make sure we have enough to feed, fuel and clothe the world! I could not be more honored to have helped four of them get here!!!


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At first glance, what do you think are the occupations of the gentlemen in this picture? Maybe business executives? Accountants? Professional communicators? Health care professionals? Or, maybe owners of multi-faceted businesses??  And, where do you think they might be from?

Actually, these men hold each and every one of those jobs listed above, along with many more depending on the daily task at hand. How can that be you ask?  Because a farmer or rancher has to be able to do any one of those jobs on any given day. And, they happen to be from different states, all across our great nation.

When any of us head into the grocery store or out to the restaurant, or even to the farmer’s market, it is not uncommon to at least have a fleeting thought about some of the production work that went into growing the food that is there.

What many people often don’t think about is all of the work farmers and ranchers have to do off of the farm in order to have the freedom to continue doing what they love to do. Some days they may visit their banker or insurance agent. Other days can be filled with purchasing supplies and inputs. But why on earth would ranchers be standing around at a meeing in suits? Aren’t they more commonly seen in jeans & boots? Of course they are!


Common workwear often includes camo!

Today I was in Washington, D.C. with other beef producers discussing the beef community’s challenges and opportunities at hand. Think about teachers or health professionals or country music performers. Each profession has an organization for people with similar interests. In today’s world, those of us raising cattle for beef cannot stand idly by and let others determine our fate. We have to step off the ranch or feedyard – in our boots –

My boot is the fun black one with the super comfortable square toe!

and educate others as to what really needs to happen to keep healthy, safe, nutritious beef as an everyday meal option.

It is completely my honor to serve with absolutely “stand-up” men and women from all over the U.S. with as much passion as I have for beef and the entire beef community.

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When my brothers and I were in high school, our mom created these AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS treats! Each one is about 3 small bites of total yumminess! Tonight is Parent’s Night & our last regular season football game. So, as all good mom’s do, the mom’s for our “boys of fall” are bringing treats for after the game. My treat for them had to be nothing other than what Mom used to bake for us…pepperoni rolls.

A fresh batch of pepperoni rolls on the cooling rack.


My Mom - A Super Great Cook!

Tomorrow, I will share my special bread dough recipe that I use to make them – what more perfect tailgate food could there be? I have to leave shortly for our night at the football field, but first, I want to share today’s thought for Food Day…

Do you remember as a kid always being told, “You are what you eat”?  They(our well-meaning elders) were telling us that we don’t want to turn into candy or a french fry or a pickle or a strawberry or whatever was tasting especially good at the time, meaning that too much is not good for us. Though, I have to say, there are a few people out there who could use a little more sugar!

I have been thinking about what I eat as I go through this week and how it affects my body, energy, thoughts, and total “food happiness”.  Here’s what I came up with…leaves wilt, beans explode, bananas rot, and muscle…well, muscle just looks good on everyone!  I really do love fruits and vegetables of all kinds, but I think these ideas are just a good reminder that we need some of all types of food, but in moderation. Eating meat is good for my body, but I certainly need to enjoy plenty of fruits, veggie, and grains, as well as some dairy (we LOVE cheese at our house) to make my whole body chemistry work.

Fortunately for me, there are farmers growing everything that we don’t have on our farm so I can purchase everything I need to keep our kitchen stocked at our local grocery store. We are pretty good at growing wheat (which I do NOT take time to grind into our own flour), soybeans (again, they all go to the elevator), and beef (nearly all go to the feed yard), but I totally rely on others around the world for fruits, veggies, peanut butter, spices, coffee, bacon,and on and on. Just like many other businesses in the world have become specialized, so have farmers. Farmers have figured out what works best in their area and for their family and they grow crops or livestock accordingly. What a basic idea – do what you can do well and swap talents with others!

Alright – gotta go; it’s getting close to game time. I’ll be back tomorrow with that recipe!

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How about that title? I’m not going to make fun of any body shapes of farmers, I promise! However, before I write on, I have to say… a young man who spends his summer pounding posts and throwing square bales can be pretty easy on the eyes, girls! And how about us farm ladies out there? We can be in pretty good shape ourselves, can’t we? (I try, but gosh, the older I get, the more difficult it is – darn!)

Well – down to business – As I go through each day this week, I just keep having “Food Day” pop into my head! I am really excited to keep sharing the good, good things all types of farmers do to supply food. Did you notice there? – I said ALL TYPES of farmers. I applaud anyone who takes initiative to do the most they can with what they are blessed to have. Isn’t it fascinating that in agriculture, one family can earn a living on 5 or 10 acres, while another families may need 5000 or 10,000 acres (fun fact: there are some places such as parts of Wyoming where one cow requires 65 acres per grazing season just to survive)? Niche markets are perfect for the entrepreneurial folks, while commercial farming is much more suitable for the person who does not enjoy greeting the public or being a sales person; they can just haul their grain to town and call in to have it sold. Fortunately, our world offers plenty of demand for ALL of the products from all types of farms.

From our house, you can see farmground for as far as your eyes can reach.

The field in the picture above is soybeans during the summer. In Nebraska, 97% of all soybeans grown are fed to livestock. Soybean meal is very important in the diets of pigs, chickens, turkeys, and dairy cows. Our family does love to have eggs and bacon for breakfast &  the milk jug gets drained often – especially if it’s chocolate milk!

This is the Kansas City skyline view from a hotel room. I can't imagine there is much room to grow vast amounts of food for a number of miles.

Thankfully, there are families like mine willing to live 40 miles from the nearest Walmart-or stoplight-and 90 miles from the closest Target (that makes me kind of sad some days). Our small town provides all of the essentials in the grocery store so I can whip up some pretty good meals. One of my favorite things about living in a very sparsely populated area: I can go running on our gravel road & the likelihood of anyone seeing me is slim – thank goodness!

Obviously, cities are a huge attraction for many; there are more jobs, fancier stores, more activities. I understand. I LOVE visiting the city and all of the fun stores and restaurants that are there for my indulgence. I am glad other people want to live there, because as much as I love visiting the city; way, way more, I love living in a very rural area. Good thing we aren’t all the same!

So, as you have read through this particular blog, I hope I have encouraged you to recognize that food is o.k. whether it comes from your neighbors back yard or a dairy across the state (we only have about 140 dairies left in Nebraska, so I’m glad they each have lots of cows!) or a feed yard in Texas. Someones family is working to do what is best for them and they very much recognize that the end product must be safe while they are working to keep it affordable and make sure there is plenty of it around.

As for me right now – I’m off to get some supper. If I have to be in the city, I might as well eat at some amazing place that I can’t experience close to home! Happy eating, all.

Hey, by the way, you should visit findourcommonground.com or “like” CommonGound” on FaceBook to read blogs from other women from all around the country. They are amazing ladies w/ awesome stories & information!

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A long time ago I heard about people paying for someone else’s meal at a drive through or paying for the next person’s coffee at a coffee shop.  I love doing that for other people – I have seen them try to wave out their window and flag me down to thank me & of course, I just drive on.  It isn’t something I do often enough, in fact, it feels so good to make someone else’s day, that I really should buy other folks’ meals at least a couple times a month (however, heaven knows I don’t need to eat fast food that often, it just makes me feel like I have to run longer at night to burn off the fries!). 

Yesterday, I was standing in line to get a sandwich for lunch and had a good old farmer to farmer visit with a gentleman who happened to be traveling through the  area.  He was from South Dakota, traveling to Hastings (right up the road from where we live) to pick up a pump.  We had the standard weather, crop, cow chat…I think he was ok with speaking to me when I got in line because I chose to wear cowgirl clothes that day.  Anyway – when I got to the register, he was on his way out the door & he had paid for my lunch!  That was the first time I was ever on the receiving end of that type of random act of kindness.  I can’t find the words to describe how that felt since I am usually on the giving side of that scenario.  What a nice guy!

Those types of acts make me think of my Dad.  My Dad is so much like his Dad was…very kind and generous, expecting nothing in return.  When Matt and I were first married and trying to start a cow herd, Dad would never charge us enough for feed and care (we didn’t have our own pasture yet, so he let us keep our cows with his).  He just wanted us to get our feet on the ground and be able to have some cows.  I found out his dad had very generously helped him get started with cows as well.  I kept trying to insist that we pay, but he demanded that we repay him by doing something kind for someone else when we have the opportunity.  I can’t help but imagine how different our world might be if everyone had that mentality.  To  this day, Dad will give us vegetables from his amazing garden, meat from his freezer and loan us any piece of equipment we may need to borrow.  Yep – I’m lucky to have an awesome Dad!

My Dad on the left and Gramps (my Mom's Dad) on the right

Make yourself feel really good today  – go out and do something kind and random.

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As much as I try to stay current and at least know the names of the newest gadgets and gizmos available and don’t mind texting and tweeting and facebooking – I am still a country kid that likes to visit face-to-face.  Today, I did what thousands of others have already discovered and started enjoying – I joined Skype.  For many of you, that is probably not exciting at all.  For me…WooHoo!!!! – I can see who I’m talking to.  The bad part – they can see me, too; whether I have to itch my nose or scratch my head or make a frustrated facial expression or have really bad hair….it’s all there – no hiding anything!

I can see all kinds of great purposes for this new adventure I am delving into.  Meetings with slides to be shared can be more quick and efficient than e-mailing back and forth.  Gosh – listen to me!  My grandparents had to use the USPS to mail anything and they only had rotary dial phones….and that was just 50 years ago (or so??)!  We have definitely come a long way in making our world faster paced!

I can guess one of my favorite ways to use Skype will be in visiting with family who might also have it.  I’m sure that now we are going to have to add it to our home computer.  When I’m gone for meetings, I can see Matt and the kids – how great is that!

I have tried to get a little of my parents’ and grandparents’ influence into a few of my most recent posts & my cousin suggested I share a special piece of advice from our Grandma Ruby.  So – here it is…..

Grandma Ruby

When all of us kids were teenagers and especially in college, she told us that we should go on dates with lots of different people; try out all kinds of different guys (or gals for the boys).  Can you imagine your grandma telling you that?   “You know,” she would say, “whoever you choose to marry, you have to be able to look at across the breakfast table every day.”  What an outstanding tidbit to use during those years!  And, we all did a pretty good job of choosing our mates!

So now, even if I’m gone, I can still see Matt across the breakfast table in the morning!  I can guarantee, Grandma would never have dreamed that would have been possible – technology is a great thing, but it can’t replace a hug or holding hands.  As busy as we let our lives be, take time to truly enjoy those around you.  You’ll be glad you did.

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A day in the life of a farmer or rancher can be way too eventful at times and rarely do schedules go as initially planned.  Especially on farms or ranches where more than one family is involved (i.e. father, son, hired man, wife, daughter, another son, and so on), there is usually a quick early morning visit in the shop, barn, or around the kitchen table to discuss who is doing what for the day. The intent to keep everyone happy and make it to the kids’ ball games and concerts in all good.  As the granddaughter, daughter, and wife of farmers, trust me, that rarely happens without incident.  I remember even on my high school graduation day, my dad had to leave my reception for a little while to put some cows in.

Believe me, I am often right out there with them – wrecking the “schedule.”  I have learned that if the weather is nice and we are planning to work with the cattle, we do NOT make dinner plans with family or friends.  Guaranteed, we would be late and when we did get there, we would still have on our dirty cow-working clothes.

Schedule mishaps don’t happen just to livestock owners.  Last week when we were kicking off the effort for Nebraska’s farmers to donate to Red Cross for Japan I got a call from one of our key spokesmen from the Nebraska Corn Board.  I have to tell you, this guy and his family always look like that have it together!  When his phone call came, I answered and heard, “Dawn, I’m on my way, but I’m going to be late.  I’ve had grease this morning.”  Yes – grease, not grief! Ha!  Nice play on words!  I was so releived to know that they have break-downs happen just like we do!

So – I don’t want you to think everything about this is negative.  Some of the best family bonding times and problem solving events happen through unplanned interruptions on the farm.  I admire how my grandparents and parents have stuck together through decades of  rarely having supper on time and working together to make sure family and neighbors have what they need.  I have been completely blessed to have them as stellar examples.

Have a wonderful Friday – I know I will!  And, enjoy your day’s interruptions – they can turn out to be a tremendous blessing!

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