Monday, August 30, 2010

Angelina Jolie will eat Carrie Underwood's steak any day.

I love beef. 

Angelina Jolie is a carnivore. This actually doesn't surprise me one bit, but I am to glad to see it in print. In OK! Magazine the actress reveals that her secret to a healthy lifestyle is read meat. She is quoted as saying that when she followed a vegan diet her health suffered.

OK! reports...

"I joked that a big juicy steak is my beauty secret. But seriously, I love red meat. I was a vegan for a long time, and it nearly killed me. I found I was not getting enough nutrition."

And that is why I like to call beef nature's best multivitamin. The are 29 lean cuts of beef that all provide tons of protein, zinc and iron to keep you moving. Click here to download a wallet size version of the 29 lean cuts. Perfect for grocery shopping or while dining out.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Stepping it up a notch

Putting my face out there.

Hello readers. It was a big weekend, with a few important purchases. One of which I am now capable of putting together video blogs on my very own computer.

So check it out.

I am excited about my trip in a couple weeks, and being able to share everything I see and learn with you.

Friday, August 27, 2010

GISPA - if you want to stay in business you better pay attention

It's scary

Today in Ft. Collins, Colorado, there is a hearing that could change the way farmers and ranchers do business, and it's all about this thing called GISPA. The Department of Justice is holding a livestock competition workshop, where statements will be provided from individuals on either side of the issue.

So what is the issue? Well this is where I am calling in my good friend Chelsea Good. Chelsea has wrote to excellent posts on the Young Producer Council blog here and here. I would encourage to read them as full as I am only posting a portion of what Chelsea says, and I completely agree with. Here is part of what she wrote:

BACKGROUND As part of the 2008 Farm Bill, USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) was directed to issue regulations regarding poultry and swine contracts; arbitration use in contracts; and to establish criteria for the Secretary to consider in determining whether an undue or unreasonable preference or advantage has occurred in violation of the Packers and Stockyards Act.  GIPSA released their proposed rule on June 22, 2010.
So what does this mean for the cattlemen:
• New criteria require buyers to justify every single penny difference they offer to one producer over another. Inadequate justification for a price differential would give cattle producers yet another way to bring suit against another party.
• The proposed rule bans packer-to-packer sales of livestock.
• Order buyers will only be able to represent one packer.

• Under the new definitions included in the proposed rule, “competitive injury” and “likelihood of competitive injury” are re-defined and made so broad that mere accusations, without economic proof, will suffice for USDA or an individual to bring a lawsuit against a buyer.
And what does this mean:
It means that if cattle rancher A and cattle rancher B had to sets of cattle, same number in the pen, all black cattle and were the same genetically, however rancher A has done a pre-weaning program, knows the genetic capability of his cattle through years of performance testing and maybe even uses a source and age program. So when the packer comes to by his cattle he gets more dollars from the packer.

He deserves those dollars. He took steps to add value to his cattle and marketed them as a "superior product." Yet as Chelsea reminds us...

If the definition of competitive injury is changed, the door would be opened to frivolous lawsuits from trial attorneys. Packers will manage this law-suit risk by simply offering a one-price-fits-all bid for cattle. This type of pricing does not recognize variation between animals can result in value differences of up to $300.00 per head.

This could close the door to any premiums that individuals receive. The trail lawyer (someone who I think has no place in writing regulations for our industry) who brought GISPA forward wants to take a shot at the packers. However, it takes a shot at the producer. Sometimes, those premiums that we earn are the only thing that keeps us out of the red. And to the people that have spent years and dollars trying to improve the quality of their herds those benefits could go out the door.

So what can you do? You need to speak up. The problem is that this issue flew under the radar for awhile, and not enough cattlemen are aware of what is going on. Get on the Internet and start reading, there is lots of information out there now. Here is a great letter form that you can send to your representative. 

This is a scary issue. It could change the cattle industry more than many other issues that we have been faced with. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

7 Ranchers from 5 Countries talk about feeding the world

Last January I had the opportunity to meet with the delegates of the Five Nations Beef Alliance Young Ranchers Program. I discussed with them the importance of telling agriculture’s story and allowing consumers to have a better understand of our roles in food production. You might remember this video of Jill Harvie, it was the example I used. 

The Alliance represents five countries USA – NCBA, Canada – Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Australia – Cattle Council of Australia, Mexico – National Cattlemen’s Organization and New Zealand – Beef and Lamb New Zealand. Seven young farmers and ranchers from these five countries set out with their video cameras to capture a little bit of their livelihoods. They also shared on camera their experiences in agriculture and why cattle, the environment and helping feed the world is their passion.

During the last seven months video cameras and tapes have been rolling in from around the world, and I have been working on cutting them together into a finished project. What is interesting is that although there are many miles, landmasses, bodies of water and time zones that separate these cattlemen they all share many of the same dreams. They want to continue to remain on the land, protect the environment and make sure that everyone ends up with a safe and nutrition product on their plate.

I know standing up in front of a video camera can be intimidating, but it is one of the best ways to communicate with others. It combines words and visuals, and it allows the consumer to see what a farmer or rancher really looks like.

So take a look, and pass it around. The Young Ranchers group wants as many consumers as possible to watch this video. That means your banker, your “city” cousins, classmates or your children’s teachers. Keep on telling agriculture’s story.

Turquoise Wood - yes it's possible

Weekly eye candy

Last year during R3 and I's shopping spree at Cowboy Christmas during the NFR I saw similar products to the ones below. I love the little flecks of turquoise inlayed into the wood.

Black walnut wood bread board. Found here.

I LOVE this lazy susan. I think everyone should have a lazy susan of some sort. I always remember my mom having on of her table. An assortment of salt and peper, letters, paperclips, maybe even a syringe from the barn could be found on it.

Just adding it all to my wish list.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I love Meat

Filet, hamburger, rib eye, you name it.

A few weeks ago I came across this very creative photography Dominic Episcope, and it doesn't hurt that he loves to use beef as a subject.

If you love beef, be sure to check out the Healthy Beef Cookbook. I use it often, as it has a ton of great recipes.

He also currently has a display called the the United Steaks of America. Click here to see more of his creations.

Think I can ask for a United Steak the next time I go to a restaurant.

Texas. You can find lots of beef down there.

Abe Ribeye.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Picking Peaches - 101 in 1001

Updating you.

Time for an update on my 101 in 1001 list. And things have not been going too bad.

First, this weekend I headed to our towns local orchard to pick apples, peaches and blackberries. I couldn't believe how much fruit was on the trees, and it took no time for me to fill up my basket. Plus, it wasn't a bad way to work on the crazy tan line that followed me home from the Iowa State Fair.

More thank-you letter sent out. I was a little delayed in getting a few off, but I figure better late than never. What really lit the fire under me was the a sweet thank-you card that I got from one fo the junior members that attended LEAD. It made my day, and I knew by finally getting those cards wrote I could be making someone elses.

I got really close on the going to church 11 times in 12 months, but it has got to be 12 in 12. I have been sitting by these three older ladies that think my involvement in agriculture is really interesting. We had a great talk about the salmonella outbreak in eggs. I always love the opportunity for agvoacy.

I am also reading my third book, and no not my third book ever, but number three out of three on my list. It's called Leadership in Gear and there will definitely be a post on it when I am complete.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Turquoise Thursday - Lighting up my life

I came across this lamp on Ubetcha Apparel's website She is redoing her kitchen in copper and turquoise. Not a bad idea in my opinion, and I can't wait to see the pictures she posts. In the meantime check out this...

Isn't this lamp beautiful. Check out the website as it actually comes in lots of color variations. And be-warned, there is stick stock associated with it!  

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Who is going to feed you?

Can you grow enough in your backyard?

Again the debate charges on. Making sure we take care of the environment has to be our number one priority. Land won't be productive if we don't. However, that also means that we need access to the latest technology out there to do this efficiently, while increasing food production. 

Check this out. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Butter Cows and Pork Chops on a Stick

Iowa State Fair

This past weekend I headed across the state line to the Iowa State Fair, and trust me the people of Iowa like to tell you how big of a deal it is. It's the state fair of all state fairs, and it did a pretty good job of living up to it's reputation.

The boy was showing Herefords so inbetween working on the cattle and tack box socializing he showed me the finer aspects of the fair.

First stop the butter cow.

Yes, this is a cow made of butter, and accompying her were two Dr. Suess butter statues. According to this is a tradition that has been taking place since the 1900s. Each year the breed of the dairy cow changes, this year it was a Jersey cow. 600 lbs. of butter is used to make the statue. 600 lbs. of butter could butter 19,200 of slices of toast. Don't worry the Iowa State Fair is environmentally friendly and resuses much of the butter. I don't know whether to say good for them or ew.

Another must have at the fair a pork chop on a stick. Jon's parents took me over to the Iowa Pork stand for this state fair food item, and I must say it was delicious. The people ahead of us in line, and yes there was a line, said that is the only reason they come to the fair each year. If a pork chop isn't your thing don't worry the Iowa State Fair has more than 50 items on sticks for your consuming pleasure. Click here for the full list.

I also thought I better post a little corn since I haven't been able to do my corn report for awhile. This is actually a variety of popcorn. Fun fact of the day, did you know a popcorn kernal won't pop if there is a dent it in. Thank you Butler Community College Crop Science class.

And finally I have been getting some requests on seeing a picture of this boy that I reference too. Well here you go.

Just working on some Hereford cattle. He had a great day at the show, exhibiting the Reserve Champion Horned Bull, and had second in class with his bred heifer. I can't wait to be back there again next year.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Home raised beef, and that's about it.

I grew up on a farm.

A few months ago I had a conversation on Twitter with a young man from Baltimore. He described himself as an aspiring foodie, and was hoping to grow all of his own food one day. He asked me what it was like to grow up on a farm. My response, "The best thing that has ever happened in my life. I learned responsibility for livestock and land. My family was there with me and you can't beat home raised beef."

He told me I was lucky. And how great it was to have access to all that food. However, that is where he misunderstood. Even though I grew up on a farm and we had home-raised beef, and pork from a the neighbor down the road we still went to town to buy our eggs, milk, cheese, fruit and vegetables. He was really shocked.

He didn't think about the fact that where I grew up in Alberta the crops we grow are mostly barley, oats, canola and grassland for hay. Yes, our family could have had chicken but with my fear of birds that probably won't have worked out real well! And we didn't have the time to grow a garden. From June to August my sister and I were lucky to be home for more than two days in a row with all the 4-H camps, livestock shows and agricultural trips we were taking. My understanding is if you are not there to water, weed and harvest a garden it doesn't work out so well.

I consider myself a farmer, but I don't know if I could feed myself somedays. It takes time and resources that I don't always have access to. Something to think about and make sure the consumer understands.

This is sorghum. Where I grew up it isn't grown, but lots can be found in Kansas. 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

This is how we roll

Me and a couple blondes
As you read this I am likely sitting on a tack box at the Iowa State Fair. The boy is showing Hereford cattle this weekend. I am pretty excited to just relax and be around cattle people. They really are the best kind of people in the world. Like one huge family.

This weekend I also have two of the girls with me Miss Fabulous and Cgood. And if I would have found these cups sooner in the week I would have ordered some. I am thinking they might work great for football season.

The are from Junk Gypsy and you can purchase them here.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Turquoise Thursday - Smith and Western

Beads, beads, beads

There is a this great blog that I visit called The Farmer's Trophy Wife. She has some great interior design and fashion posts, and for never meeting we think much too much alike. She introduced me to a great store called Smith and Western, and they have some great pieces. Include these turquoise finds. 

A great bracelet, at a really good price.

Love this necklace, and it comes in multiple colors. 

And they would go great with this dress.

Take some time to go through this site. They have some great pieces at a variety of price points.  

A Year in Review

And a big thank-you. 

I'm going to let you in on a little secret I am a bit of a nerd. I really like looking at numbers and trends. I mean the numbers don't lie, they are measurable and mean something. For 365 days I have been tracking data on my blog, visits, what links get you on my blog, and what you are reading, and a year's worth of data makes me really excited. I know nerd. So today I would like to share with you a little and say thank-you.

State with the Most Visits:
Kansas, Texas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska (Can you say Midwest!) I am proud to say though I have had visitors from every state in the U.S.

56 Countries have visited my blog.

And these are the Top Ten Blog Posts:

2 Bar West Purses
Still don't have one, but loved looking.

Tough Enough to Wear Pink
A cause that is very close to my heart.

Chipotle I'm sorry, but it is official. We are over. 
I still don't eat there, and have another post, as soon as I can get the picture off my camera.

Last American Cowboy
As also my summer's get busy and I missed quite a few episodes, but what an awesome program.

Public Perception of HSUS Ad Campaigns
This group is going to continue to try and put us out of business.

Now These Are Boots
One of my first boot posts.

No More Yellowtail for Me Thank-you HSUS
Although, they promised to never donate again I still don't drink their wine.

Benefits of 4-H Besides the Head, Heart, Health and Hands Part
A funny post that received lots of comments.

I Can Feed the World Jill Harvie
A great project I got to work on, and I have an update for you soon.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tobacco and Tennessee Agriculture

Black Cows and Snuff

Yesterday, I mentioned that I spent last week in Tennessee for a youth leadership conference. LEAD - Leaders Engaged in Angus Development - is planned each year by my good friend Robin Ruff. This year 207 participants took part in agriculture tours, learned a little bit about Music City, and developed their own leadership abilities.

We toured two Angus operations during the conference - Deer Valley Farms and Robert Elliot and Sons. Both places raise Angus cattle, however tobacco is also big business for the Elliot family, as it is for many farmers in Tennessee and Kentucky. He is what I can remember from this awesome tour.

This is a tobacco field. The plant is quite tall and the outside leaves where huge. The outside leaves are also worth the most. The top leaves in this variety can go into cigars, while the leaves closer to the bottom may be used in chewing tobacco. 

Tobacco is all harvested by hand, and will be handled a minimum of 14 times from planting through harvest. Once the tobacco has been cut it is put on these rods. 

A rod like this with five plants on it would weight around 30-40 lbs. 

It is then hung in barns. There are multiple rows of tobacco layered on top of each other. Once the barn is full, then wood and sawdust is layered in below and a fire is created. It is more of a smoke fire than flames. The heat cures the tobacco.

Another thing that was really interested is this young lady is holding multiple tobacco seeds in her hand. They are very, very tiny, and are usually pelleted before planting. Once pelleted they are larger in size and easier to handle.

Tobacco is an interesting crops not only because how labor intensive it is, but also we all know what the end product is. Something that really isn't that healthy for us. However, as one of the farmers that toured us put it, tobacco has probably saved a lot of farm families from starving. They rely on the income from this cash crop. Maybe it is a stretch to compare but a lot of people think beef or sugar is unhealthy. Are we going to try and but sugarcane farmers or cattle ranchers out of business. That's the great thing about living in North America is we get a choice.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

These boots were made for walking

No I did not walk over a cliff.
Hello blogging friends. You may have noticed that I have been a little absent over the last week, so I hope you haven't gotten too tired of looking at the Montana landscape.

This past week I was in Nashville helping with a young leadership conference and then the organization I work for filmed a live show last night. To say the least it has been busy, but I can't wait to share some of the things I have learned with you.

But to begin with, one of my favorite stores I visited in Nashville was Betty Boots. They had an awesome selection of boots, jewelry and clothing. However, with my upcoming trip to Australia I left it all behind. Save, save, save, however that doesn't mean can't admire it.

I love the longhorn slip ons.

Got to throw in a purple.

Love turquoise alligator

And some turquoise tips.

Great stuff.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Don't fence me in.

Welcome to Big Sky Country

In July I got to travel to Montana. I love that state. I think everyone needs to visit it once. You might feel like all the worlds problems are slowly encroaching on your space, but you get out in Montana all those problems fade into that big blue sky.

It is true ranch/agriculture country. Wide open spaces filled with cattle and a good people.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Are you bored?

Think about this. 

Courtsey of Rev Run

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Power of Ag and Social Media

Tweet, tweet.

I love social media, and I love telling agriculture's story. They great thing about social media is that it is always changing, which means I get to be a continous learner. In just over a week I will have been apart of the Google Analytics club for over a year. A year's worth a data to see what you really find interesting on my blog.

I want to make the same impact on agriculture with my Twitter account @crystalcattle as I have with my blog. In 160 characters I can answer consumers' questions on food, tell them about growing up on a farm, or pass on industry information. They are thousands of farmers on Twitter and I can connect with them every day as well, allowing me to build my network.

And, now it's your chance to be apart of it telling your story through tweets. On Twitter the have an ever changing Top Ten Trending List. It's a list of the top ten words that are being found in tweets at that moment.

A year ago farmers dominated and pushed #moo into that Top Ten List. It all started with three farmers and Twitter users @FarmerHaley, @GilmerDairy and @RayLinDairy wanting to push agriculture, the dairy crisis and @FarmHaley's birthday into the spotlight. A year has passed and here is our opportunity to put the spotlight back on agriculture.

If you are a Twitter user I encourage you to #moo and I'll keep you all updated on what happens in the next few days.
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