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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Agvocacy Goals

SMART Goals

Earlier this month, when I spoke about connecting with the consumer at the American Agri-Women Conference, I asked all the participants in my session to write down a goal of theirs regarding how they would become more involved in agvocacy. The participants wrote each goals down twice, keeping one sheet of paper for themselves and handing me the second one. 

You see goals should be SMART. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely, is how the acronym goes. However, I like to interchange Attainable for Accountable. By sharing your goals with others it gives you more accountability, just like when I shared my 101 in 1001 list on my blog. 

The goals that the participants wrote down ranged form blogging once a week, join Twitter to speaking to groups about agriculture, and going to law school so she stand up for family farms and agriculture. 

I love when others share their goals with me because it means that I might have some of the knowledge or resources to help them achieve their goals. What are you working towards? No need to wait until the new year to start thinking what you want to achieve?

p.s. Don't forget that December 1 is the last day to vote for the Best of the Barns Awards. I've been nominated in a couple of categories, and would love your vote. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ally's First Haircut

Pretty girl. 

This weekend the Boy and I played hairdresser and worked with our Hereford calves. Remember Ally from my feeding video? Ally is one of the heifers that we'll be keeping and hopefully showing this summer. 


Ally was pretty fuzzy so we decided we would shave her head out to see what was under all that fuzzy. 


The boy used a pair of clippers called sheepsheads to shave her head. 


Getting closer to being done. When we clip our cattle we put them in an aluminum chute. This keeps both the animal and us safe, as well it prevents them from moving around too much. 


Finished product! Doesn't she look great. We can't wait to get Ally back in again and clip on the rest of her body. We won't shave the hair anywhere else, except for her head and part of her tail. On the rest of the body we just trim off part of the hair to help extenuate her positive attributes and hid her flaws. 


These are two of the heifers, Firework and Shelly, that we'll be selling. We've been working on them quite a bit and they are well on their way to becoming awesome show heifers. Soon Ally will be standing their next to these girls looking just as fabulous. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Headed to Australia

No plane involved.

The Boy using a giant blow
dryer is dry Firework.
Thanksgiving is over, and it truly has been an awesome weekend. Time with friends and family, the Boy and I have been getting tons of work done on the calves that we will be selling at the Iowa Beef Expo in February and I am now about to take a trip to Australia... via my computer.

You see I have been asked to speak at the Future Focused: Young Australians Building Trust & Confidence in Agriculture Conference via webcast. These young people, like me, have a passion for agriculture and connecting with the people who purchase and use our agriculture products. The conference began yesterday and I have been following along on Twitter through the #FFAgOz hashtag. And through the participants tweets I found this YouTube video called Test Your Awareness. Watch below.


My results. Well I did get the number of passes correct, but I totally missed the second part (not giving you any answers here!)

Yes, this video is about cyclists, but how often do we miss the bigger picture. I've been giving a lot of advocacy presentations and speeches lately, and a common question that has been coming up is how do we deal with or change the minds of animal rights activists. The thing is we aren't going to change these peoples minds. There are some people that are so left or right of center that they will never be willing to listen to the other side of the story.

The people I want to connect with are the people that are looking for answers about their food. That may have come to their own conclusion about HSUS based on the cute kitty cat and doggy commercials they seen on T.V., and were unaware that HSUS donates less than half of one percent of their annual donations to shelters. 

The people that think you can buy hormone free beef. There is no such thing because cattle naturally contain hormones, way fewer than the cabbage you may eat. However, if you would like to buy beef that was not given any additional hormones that is possible. 

The bigger picture is pretty important. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A long way from home - Agribition show coverage

Family time for afar

This week is always a big event for my family. We are currently showing cattle at one of the biggest livestock shows in Canada called Agribition. The only thing is that I am not at the show this year. With a change in jobs I successful completed my first sale meetings this week, but that meant no trip home.

Thankfully through tweets, Facebook statues and online video I have still been able to keep tabs on the family.

If you have never seen a cattle show or are interested in the Simmental show at Agribition you can watch online right now. Blair's Ag is a Canadian company that has a huge commitment to Canadian agriculture and has sponsored an online video feed of the Agribition cattle shows. You can follow along with the show my using this show program.

Good luck to all the exhibitors. My family, High Country Simmentals, has already shown one heifer this morning, and will have a cow/calf pair and bull calf to show later on.

RJY Rival 13Y
Reserve Champion Simmental Bull at Fairfairm International

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dairy Cows and $800 shoes

Manolo Blahnik execs. take on dairy farming


I realize today is Turquoise Thursday, but when I saw this article I knew that Turquoise could wait one day. So come on back tomorrow and we'll talk Turquoise on Friday, and you can see what arrived in the mail for me this week. 


I can't embed the video, so you'll have to click here to watch, but the story talks about the Manolo President and Vice-President trading their New York lifestyle for the profession of dairy farmer ever Thursday through Sunday. 


I think it is pretty cool when people without agriculture backgrounds decided to take an interest in the industry that is so dear to my heart. And these guys jumped right in it. 400 head of dairy cattle, with 25 employees, and although these city boys admit they down do too much of the dirty work they aren't afraid to step into a barn. 


This morning on the Early Show two of my loves were brought together - cattle and shoes. And we aren't talking any old shoes, we are talking Manolo Blahnik shoes. I am too frugal with my money, and so lively will only ever be an admirer, but it wouldn't surprise me if my sister (check out her blog) would some day own a pair. 




You can read about Arethusa Farm, and hoGeorge Malkemus and Anthony Yurgaitis saved the farmland from developers and turned it back into a functioning dairy. And a dairy with some top show genetics. 


Now maybe I just need to figure out how I can swap places with them and work in the Manolo Blahnik shoe store a couple days a week. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Christmas Tree Tax?

The media got the story wrong

This past weekend I had an amazing opportunity to speak at the American Agri-Women's Conference, and while there I also got to connect with some awesome ladies and hear their agriculture stories.
Image Source.

Last week you might have seen the Christmas Tree Tax story in the headlines, and how Obama put a stop to it. Was this a good thing? Not in my opinion because that isn't the story. One of the ladies I met at the conference is a Christmas Tree farmer in Michigan. Since the beginning of 2011 a new Christmas Tree Promotion Board has been working on creating a check-off for Christmas tree farmers.

What is a check-off? Well my family pays a $1 per head we sell to the Beef Check Off. This money is then used to help promote beef, do food safety and nutritional research, among others things. The point? Well my family only has 40 head of cattle. Our dollars won't go very far in marketing beef, but when all the cattlemen pool their money together we can make a big difference.

Well the Christmas tree farmers wanted to do the same. A 15 cents check-off for every tree sold or imported, but this would only apply those selling more than 500 trees a year. The Christmas Tree Promotion Board feels like they need to have these dollars for marketing against their competitor fake Christmas trees - I'm all about the real thing. 


The Heritage Network's Vice President David Addington broke the story on the Heritage Network Blog The Foundry. He wrote “Of course, the Christmas tree sellers are free to pass along the 15-cent federal fee to consumers who buy their Christmas trees.” More taxes for American consumers in the middle of the Christmas season? Some present. Especially with the economy barely growing and 14 million Americans out of work. As Addington wrote, “Is a new tax on Christmas trees the best President Obama can do?”


The media ran his version of the story. A saw a couple Christmas Tree Farmer interviews, but those didn't even paint the right picture. They were with sellers that weren't familiar with the program because they sell less than 500 trees and wouldn't have even had to pay the check-off. My new friend from Michigan was more than in favor of having some dollars that could market fresh Christmas trees on a national level.  


And with all that media pressure and consumers in an uproar about this "tax" the program was cancelled. It doesn't surprise me, but it sure frustrates me. Why wasn't the farmer given the chance to give their opinion. Don't we know our industry the better than anyone else, and understand the best way to market our product. 


I sure wouldn't mind paying 15 cents more for my Christmas Tree (and that's IF the cost was passed on to me) if I knew farmers would have more money to promote their product, and hopefully in the end stay in business. I sure hope that the Heritage Network doesn't decide to come after our Beef Check Off. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

We need to find 1.6 million gallons of water for beef production

Meeting today's demand for beef. 

Now, before I start this post today I want to declare that I support choice and diversity in agriculture. I think it is really important that when you go buy your family's food that you have a choice. I love that at the beef counter you can choose between (traditionally raised - what the Boy and my family does), organic, natural, locally grown, etc. However, I do know that we aren't going to be able to supply the amount of beef this country needs by just partaking in one system. I know this because?

Well I cam across this really cool video last week called Meeting Today's Beef Demand. I wanted to put a few of the facts down on paper, especially for those that can get there dial up speed Internet to load the video.

In 1955, there were 165,931,202 people in the U.S., and 90,000,000 cows.

Today, there is 308,000,000 people in the U.S. and 90,000,000 cows.

Wait a second. How can the same number of cattle be feeding us today? Without the improvements we have made in traditional beef practices we would need 180,000,000 cows. And that would mean 440,000,000 additional acres of land.

Not to mention almost 1.6 million gallons of water per day. Yikes.

However, by supporting traditional beef raised with modern practices we don't have to find these additional resources. Family farmers and ranchers can conserve resources and produce more with less. So on a day when there are lots of reasons to say thanks I say thank you veterans for providing a place where farmers and ranchers can do their jobs.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Turquoise Thursday - Pin it

Hunks of turquoise are the best

Thanks to Pinterest and my friend Anna (who also does Turquoise Thursdays) I found this awesome turquoise pin. Don't look at the price that is not important. The third and fourth options are a little less expensive.

How cool would that be to have a turquoise pin? This is where my turquoise pin would appear.

- on a black blazer
- on a handbag
- add to a silver chain

Or you could wear it like The King Ranch Saddle suggests.



This the turquoise pin I'm talking about. 


Love it! 

And if you arm feels a little bare you could go with the matching turquoise cuff


I also like this turquoise pin found on eBay. 


I thought of another option - on my black peacoat. Can you tell I like black as much as I like turquoise. 


I am not a big heart person, but I think this is a cute option for a turquoise pin

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Suppertime happens twice a day

Who's hungry. 

We weigh the grain
out so we know how
much each calf is receiving.
Ok obviously I eat more than twice a day. I mean I need three meals a day and then my mom always called my a grazer. I think snacks are awesome! However, our calves that we are getting ready to show get fed twice a day, and then have the opportunity to graze grass or eat hay (dried grass in-between).

Last week I took this video of feeding time. I don't really explain the ration (grain mix) very well, so here is more of an explanation. It contains corn as well as oats, minerals, a little beet pulp and a few other ingredients like the pelleted stuff which is Sure Champ. Sure Champ is a prebiotic to help the cattle's digestive system function to the best of its ability.



Ally the heifer calf in the video is one of my favorites, however she isn't the one getting all the attention right now. Two heifers by the name of Show Goes On (Sally) and Firework are getting lots of baths, hair cuts and time spent on their hair. That's because in February we are going to sell both of them, and they'll need their pictures taken soon. Just another day on the farm.

Monday, November 7, 2011

And the winner is...

Drumroll please. 

First of all thank you to everyone who voted in the Best of the Barns Awards. Purple Banner Designs and I greatly appreciate your votes. The voting wouldn't close until the end of the month, so if you missed out there is still time.

Now for the important part the winner of the $35 gift certificate from Purple Banner Designs is...


Congrats Hayley, we'll be in touch soon. 

And don't forget Purple Banner Designs is a great place to do your Christmas shopping. Just make sure to have your orders in by November 26 to receive in time for Christmas. 


Saturday, November 5, 2011

I'm nervous, and got the goose bumps

It's game day

Today is a pretty important day. Teams across the country will be playing football, but there is one team I will be wildly cheering on, my K-State Wildcats. See today we play Oklahoma State. We had an undefeated season until last week when those ugly Sooners kind of dominated us. After so many straight wins in a row, we are looking for a W again.

Now I know that many of my close friends are Cowboys, and I know that many people that read this blog will be wearing orange today, so I am making a declaration. I will not smack talk you, if you are pleasant back. That way we don't have to put our friendship on hold.

Now for the goose bump part. If the hairs on your arm down stand up, obviously you don't bleed purple. Go cats, and remember EMAW.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Turquoise Thursday: Bundle Up

It's getting cold out there. 

Yesterday it poured in Iowa, and today the wind isn't supposed to stop blowing. Thankfully the calves have stayed healthy, but the Boy has definitely been keeping an extra eye on them. I'm pretty sure fall is almost over, and that means it is time to bundle up. Thus, I bring you this week's Turquoise Thursday!


Now who couldn't help but smile even on those cold winter days when wearing this turquoise winter jacket


Maybe you just need a hint of turquoise. Why not add a scarf, perfect for both indoors and outside! I love Southern Jewlz's selection of scarves. 

Turquoise head warmer from etsy. 
Also have you started to see the new rage in ear warmers? These crocheted head warmers have been popping up everywhere. I'll give credit to my Oklahoma girls, I saw tons of them wearing them last year, such trend setters. Charming Charlie's doesn't have an online store, but I bought a really cute on for a friend there, and they had tons to choose from. 


I love how this turquoise head warmer narrows that the back so it says in place better. 

Don't forget to enter the giveaway I have going on with Purple Banner Designs. You  have until Monday to enter! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Best of the Barns Giveaway

Vote and Win! 

Hello lovely, super, amazing followers. Why the extra sugar, well I have a favor to ask, but don't worry you'll there is a goody in return!

This week the second Best of the Barns nominations are up and I am up for three awards! Best Cattle Blog, Best Show Cattle Social Media Poster, and Ag Advocate of the Year. It is always exciting to see your name list amongst people that you respect. You have until the end of the month to cast your vote, and you are not required to vote in every category, but you do have to leave your email at the end of the survey.

Now here is the fun part. Some of my friends like Star Lake Cattle Ranch, Purple Banner Designs, Butler Livestock Judging Team, DRIVE and Southern Jewlz are also nominated!

She does horses too! 
Today we are going to feature Bethany of Purple Banner Designs. I LOVE Bethany's designs and have featured her on the blog many times. She custom makes tons of different baby items, kids clothes and these stuff cows called Stockyard Friends (totally want one of these for Christmas)!

Bethany is donating a $35 gift certificate to the Purple Banner Designs store.


Bethany has done bibs for me to give as baby gifts. 


You can also read about the custom nursery bedding she did for my good friend Robyn. You can not believe how soft that brown fabric is that is in the picture. 


I wonder if I can convince Bethany to make me one of these cow stocking hats in big kid sizes! 

Now for the important part how to enter. 

1. You must visit www.bestofthebarns.com and cast your vote, and then come back here and leave a comment saying you did 
www.bestofthebarns.com
For extra entries
2. Follow Crystal Cattle's blog and leave a comment saying you do
3. Follow Purple Banner Designs and leave a comment saying you do
4. Tweet about this contest, include the hashtag #bestofthebarns and leave a comment saying you did
5. Blog about this contest and leave a comment saying you did
6. Post about this contest on your Facebook page and leave a comment saying you did

Good luck to everyone. We'll draw for a winner at noon, on Monday, November 7. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Trick or Treat it's Moving Day

No goblins, just a lot of boxes

After a crazy week of packing up boxes it was time to move from my Missouri residence of near four years and head northeast to my new home in Iowa. I don't consider my self a collector or a pack rat, yet it is amazing home much stuff you can collect over the years.

And therefore the most logical way for a farm girl to move is a truck and livestock trailer.


The Boy brought down the stock trailer on Thursday night, and left it parked on our residential street through Sunday while we were getting engagement pictures done and spending some time at The American Royal. I am not sure what our neighbors thought. In a way they should be used to it. My roommate Robin parent's often laid over at our house with seed tenders and other farm equipment in tow. 



It all fit, with plenty of room to spare. I was lucky that the Boy decided that he would at least pressure wash the stock trailer out and lay some tarps down before we loaded everything. 

It was a little surreal arriving at our new home last night. I still had my trusty red suitcase, but it finally dawned on me that this time I could actually unpack it. Although, at this time I have no idea where I am going to put my stuff! Wish us luck with the merging of two closets. 
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