Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Reverse Mentorship

Swapping ideas

How many times have you helped a coworker with their email, shown the boss how that facebook thing works or tried to teach your parents how to text? Or maybe you are the one asking for help. You want to learn, but technology seems to be outpacing you, and this younger generation with cellphone permanently implanted to their texting finger tips can just do it faster.

My new facebook page Crystal Cattle has information on a internship and tonight's #agchat mentorship topic
Enter the reverse mentorship.

I have been hearing about this business idea for awhile, and I often encourage the people I work with mostly - farmers and ranchers - to take advantage of younger more tech savvy people, especially when it comes to video and social media.

Today, I came across this story on Mashable's Business page - Why Your Buiness Should Consider Reverse Mentorship. The concept - pairing those younger, fresh out of college, social media savvy new hires with experienced, business savvy professionals.

A have a few years of experience under my belt now, but I still feel like I could refining my marketing, decision making and salesmanship skills from someone that has been in the industry for years. On the flip side I would love to see more of those industry leaders blogging, tweeting and facebooking.

In the article the reverse mentorship team spend 30 minutes together for the work day began. The end result was...
“[I] got him on Facebook; put his speaking gigs on YouTube; he’s on LinkedIn; we wrote 53 blog posts together over the course of a year, and you can tweet him.”
So what if you want to be mentored where do you start? Your church, the college kid that grew up next to your farm, your children, younger grads in your office. These young people are all a wealth of knowledge. And to those that are younger and understand social media, video, blogging, etc., feel free to market you skills and offer help. You never know where it might lead.

Things you can adopt

The season of giving 

It's that time of year when we are reminded to give, to reflect back on how fortunate we are and to say thanks.

Each year I make sure I take an extra grocery bag for food to the food bank, buy mittens for our warmth tree at church and usually take part in our adopt-a-family giving a work. They are small things, but I know they are making a difference to someone.

This year if you are looking for a twist on giving why not adopt-a-teacher? The Animal Agriculture Alliance has created the adopt-a-teacher program to help educate teachers and students about animal agriculture and issues like animal rights vs. animal welfare. Two subjects that greatly need to be discussed considering many teachers didn't grow up in agriculture setting and may not have all the answers their students are looking for.

For $35 the Alliance will send the teacher or school of your choice a Resource Kit. The kit includes "Myths and Facts of Animal Agriculture,a "Farm Facts Highlights" poster and "Farm Facts Highlights" booklet, along with carious other educational materials about animal agriculture. You can access more information on how you can adopt-a-teacher and share agriculture's story here

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cattle and Elephant - creative advertising

Thinking outside the box

I remember on my first trip to the American Angus Association I came across the "elephant ad" in their library, and thought now that's original. The ad was clear, and it made a point. Exotic cattle - Simmental, Charolais, Salers, etc., were too big, and Angus was a good solution.

I am Angus featured the campaign that was developed in 1984, and ran for two years before they decided that making fun of other breeds should stop. My family was raising those elephants at the time - Simmental cattle to be exact. After watching the champion drive in the Simmental female show at Agribition I am glad and excited about the improvements that our breed has made, and can certainly say we don't have anymore of those elephants.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Black Friday = Amazing Cowboy Boots

Happy Shopping

So I hope all of you are having a fantastic Thanksgiving. I am missing out on turkey and pumpkin pie as I have made a trip up north (aka Canada aka currently the Frigid North) to spend some time with my family and partake in Agribition.

However, I will not abandon my Turquoise Thursday followers and this time my friend Miss Fabulous has scouted out a deal for you at www.metboots.com Use coupon code THANKS10 for 10% your entire order.

Currently, I am in love with the Ferrini brand of boots. I cannot believe how reasonably priced they are. A couple friends of mine have now purchased them, including my sister, and swear they are comfortable.

Your Turquoise Thursday cowboy boots.

Aren't the tops of these fun! I think I would prefer a black patent leather bottom though. 

Now you can't forget about the boys. Here is a pair of cowboy boots for you. 

And the pair of boots that I hope will be sitting under the Christmas tree for me this year. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A little cattle humor

Cattle Comics

by Bob Lang

I hope you are all having a great week! 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thank You, America's Farmers

It's a season of thanksgiving.

I am extremely thankful I that I am headed to Canada tomorrow morning to spend time with my family and the Boy at Agribition, one of the premier livestock shows in Canada. It'll be a great time to catch up with friends and family, display and show our Simmental cattle, and hopefully allow consumers to catch a glimpse of where their food comes from.

I hope you remember to give thanks to the people that provide meals for our families and friends, and if you are on twitter this week use the hashtag #foodthanks

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Instead of pursing a career I could make money...

6666 Ranch
Instead of pursing a career I could make a lot of money at, I pursued what I love - Joe Leathers, 6666 Ranch.
This is my favorite quote from the I am Angus 6666 Ranch video. I think it speaks a lot about the people in agriculture. Farmers and ranchers are a group of people who have chosen to do what they love, and this is good for consumers. Because of the career path we have chosen, your family is provided with safe, nutritious and very inexpensive food. Also, while others have chosen careers that have led them to skyscrapers or concrete jungles we are on the land caring for it and protecting it.

I really like Joe's interview because he talks about how fortunate his children, and myself, are to have grown up in agriculture. We understand where our food comes from, and the effort, time and money it takes to feed a country. Something a lot of people don't understand much about.

And one other thing to consider. I talk a lot about the importance of telling agriculture's story, however, I think sometimes we spend too much time in agriculture telling our story to others in agriculture. We need consumers, politicians and decision makers to hear our story. So feel free to share this video or any other agriculture information with your banker, children's school teachers or cousins that live in the city. Let's make sure our story is being heard.

Friday, November 19, 2010

DRIVE - another livestock magazine

Who says print is dead?

I remember when I was younger fighting everyone else in my family for the Simmental Country or Simmental Register magazines when they arrived in our mailbox. I would quickly flip through the pages to get a sense of who is doing what in the business. Today the same goes for the Angus Journal, the Showbox, Show Circuit, Livestock Plus, BEEF, Drovers, etc. However, the problem is I flip.

I honestly don't care to read another article about scours or pasture rotation or bull tests. Now I am not saying that these aren't important subject matters and I can't learn something from them, what I am saying is that the magazines I read have become saturated with these kind of production articles, and once you read one you have read all of them. OR on the other hand I am tired of flipping through pages and pages of ads and show results with no real content.

It wasn't until more recently that I have been inspired by livestock magazines again. First with Lot One, the LiveAuctions.tv magazine and now my most recent find DRIVE. Have you ever noticed people love reading about other people?

The magazine has all the usual advertising suspects in it, but their debut edition also had a number of great stories. They were about the people I respect in the business, were well written, and had great photography to accompany them. Currently you can read the issue online.

All the articles in this issue were teasers, with the full articles being revealed in their January issue, debuting at the National Western Stock Show.

And onto another note. If you are a magazine editor and you would like to know what I would be interested in reading Rachel Williams Cutrer's (Ranch House Designs) new Modern Livestock Merchandising hits the nail on the head. I am really hoping someone picks up this column soon, so I can start reading Rachel's wisdom.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Turquoise Thursday - Coffee Table

It's back...

So my break from my Turquoise Thursday has lasted a little longer than intended, but I am bringing it back.

Not to long about the National Rope Supply catalog showed up at my house, and it had R3 and I oohing and ahhing over it. Two things in particular caught my eye.

I first discovered turquoise inlay wood when R3 and I took a trip to the NFR last year, and ever since the technique has been catching my eye.

Ideally I would love to have one of those display coffee tables where I would put pictures, banners and belt buckles in it. And ideally one day I will win the lottery to purchase of this! What are some of your favorite living room pieces?

Friday, November 12, 2010

North American International Livestock Exposition

Another cattle show 

The blog might be a little quiet during the next fews day, as I am headed to the North American International Livestock Exposition or the NAILE. I first started attending this show when I was in college for the Livestock Judging contest, first while I was attending Butler Community College and then while I was at K-State. Now my job takes me to Louisville ever year, and I don't mind one bit!

Louisville is such a great show with a wonderful atmosphere. The holidays are in the air, it's a chance for me to catch up with friends from all over the country, tension can be felt as college seniors compete in their last livestock judging contest ever, and Louisville just wouldn't be Louisville without those green shavings in the showring and the organist playing for the onlooking crowd.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the past couple of years.



Today, I am excited to be featured on Ryan Goodman's Agriculture Proud blog. Currently, he is running a series of posts from a slew of agriculture bloggers about why they are Ag-thankful during this time of year.

I encourage you to stop over there today and read my post. Ryan has a great blog to follow.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thank-you cards farm style

Just a little note

Ever have one of those days. Well I have been having a few of them. However, today there was a really bright spot.

Yes, that is a stack of thank-you notes that I received from some up and coming young cattlemen, that  participated in the American Royal Calf Scramble.

I think my favorite one is that green one hiding at the back. It said this...
Dear Crystal Young, 
Thank-you so much for sponsoring the calf scramble. You have made it possible for me to raise my 1st heifer. 
Sincerely, Jake xxxx
There was also a letter from a young lady named Aubrey. She wrote...
I understand that in 4-H or FFA a lot is done by volunteers and sponsors just like you. I want to thank-you for giving me this opportunity to support my livestock goals. I am glad my heifer is doing ok and I can't wait for the upcoming show year. I know this will be a rewarding project and one that I will remember... 
I think thank-you notes make the world a better place. I know that's corny and probably should be on a Hallmark card, but I believe it to be true.

And speaking of thank-you cards I am out! Visit my new Crystal Cattle facebook page or post below and tell me what are some of your favorite thank-you cards places.

I thought these would be cute for my K-State friends!

In Flanders Field - Today we remember

Take a moment.
Today it a day of reflection. To thank all of those who fought for us so that we could have freedom.
In Canada Veterans will sell these
plastic poppies and people where
 them in remembrance.
Growing up Flanders Field was one of the things I remember the most about Remembrance Day (that's what we call it in Canada.) It is an extremely famous poem, and especially familar with those countries that are apart of the Commonwealth.

The poem was written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae during World War I. It decribes the poppies that grew in the war torn fields, and thus the poppy quickly became a symbol of the war and remembrance.
In Flanders Field

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie,

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Need to lose some weight - eat a Twinkie

Sugar, sugar and more sugar. 

My alma mater is making headlines, no not for the unbelievable game against Texas this past weekend, but for the Twinkie Diet

According to CNN.com Mark Haub, a professor of nutrition at Kansas State University, decided to prove it isn't about what you eat, it all about the number or calories. 
For 10 weeks, Mark Haub, a professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University, ate one of these sugary cakelets every three hours, instead of meals. To add variety in his steady stream of Hostess and Little Debbie snacks, Haub munched on Doritos chips, sugary cereals and Oreos, too.
For a class project, Haub limited himself to less than 1,800 calories a day. A man of Haub's pre-dieting size usually consumes about 2,600 calories daily. So he followed a basic principle of weight loss: He consumed significantly fewer calories than he burned. 
The result - Haub lost 27 lbs., his bad cholestrol, or LDL, dropped 20 percent and his good cholesterol, or HDL, increased by 20 percent.

After reading this article, I thought back to the "Please stop eating anything with a face," article. Everyone has a different opinion about what we should and shouldn't be eating, which things are healthy and which are not. I believe that a healthy diet is about balance and moderation, and foruantely that means I am going to keep on making such protein, specifically beef is a part of my diet.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Only 2% of vet school students plan to work with large animals

Scary thought

It's been no secret that the number of large animal vets has been on the decline. Retirement is facing a lot of our older large animal vets, and with promises of more dollars from the small animal sector it is hard to replace those lost vets with newly graduated veterinarians.

On my family's farm road there are three vets within 10 miles of us, yet very rarely will any of them answer the phone at 3 a.m. to come and perform a C-section on a cow in distress. It is often the vet from 40 miles away that will come, and we are lucky to have him that close. There are many other farms and ranchers that don't have this luxury.

In a study conducted by the American Veterinary Medical Association only 2% of vet students from this year's 2010 graduating class said that they planned to work mostly with large animals. There was a second group at 7% that studied a mixed curriculum that included both small and large animals, but the respondents said they would still be leaning towards working with small animals aka our pets.

Photo courtesy of Gary Kazanjian
Dr. Stuart Hall of Lone Oak Large Animal Veterinary Services is one of the few large animal vets remaining in California.

So what does not enough vet mean? Well a recent Washington Post article titles Vet students choosing pets over farm animals lays it out.

It could mean an impact of food safety. Not only do vets perform activities to help our animals stay healthy, but they serve an important role in maintaining a safe food supply.

According to the Washington Post:
From 1998 to 2009, the number of small animal vets climbed to 47,118 from 30,255, while the number of farm-animal vets dropped to 5,040 from 5,553. And the AVMA found that large animal vets often earn a lower salary: an average of $57,745 compared to $64,744 for small-animal vets, according to a 2008 survey.
Many of my friends are currently vet students or are about to enter vet school. I can only hope that their love of agriculture and cattle will keep them on a large animal track.

Friday, November 5, 2010

A little K-State for Christmas

Love my Wildcats

When I moved across the border from Canada to the U.S. there were like ways that I was still able to keep my identity. I had Alberta license plates, an Alberta drivers license, maybe stretched out my "O's" a little more than others but they slowly were stripped from me.

I grew really found of Kansas, and even call Manhattan my American home. However, the job took me across the border again, this time to Missouri. The Kansas State Alumni Association has these really cook K-State licensee plates. I figure they would go perfect with all the other K-State paraphernalia on my car. One problem you can't get Kansas State University plates in Missouri. Sigh.

However, I am now challenging you Missouri and ever other state where a K-Stater resides because look at what Texas has done!

That's right real Texas license plates that have our trusty powercat on them. And a portion of the sales of these license plates goes towards Texas high school students attending K-State. Way cool. How about something like this for Christmas...

Missouri it is bad enough that you are making be have a front license plate so I can no longer adorn my car with my Kansas State Eat Beef licenses plate, so as a compromise please change a law or something and get plates like these. Thanks. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Farmers Care About Feeding Missouri

We growing it and we give it

On Friday I am excited to participate in The Farmers Care About Feeding Missouri food drive. The event is taking place across the state and I am lucky enough that my Hyvee grocery store is participating. The even better news the Missouri Beef Council is going to match donations pound for pound in the form of beef and dairy products! People are going to need some beef to go with all those cans of beans.

Although, Canadian Thanksgiving was in October and American Thanksgiving is still a little ways away the all Fall is certainly a time to be thankful. Another year of crops have been harvested, calves have been weaned and likely sold. It is a time for those in the cattle industry to gather for sales and shows, and to be grateful for each others friendship. I am healthy, happy, blessed and have a full stomach. Giving back is the least the I can do.

So if you are in Missouri here are the details:

Roughly 343,000 Missourians are experiencing hunger, and Missouri ranks 6th on the nation for "food insecurity."

Visit these locations on Friday, November 5 from 4-6 p.m. to make your donation.

Kansas City - Hen House (North KC location)
St. Louis - Dierbergs (Brentwood location)
St. Joseph - Hy-Vee
Macon - C&R Market
Fredericktown - Country Mart 

And feel free to tweet about this event using the hashtag #feedingmo

Now if you don't live in Missouri consider making a donation anyway. There are people everywhere that could use our help.

HSUS welcome to Missouri - Prop B passes

Agriculture is on the losing end.

American politics are interesting to me. I am a Canadian and can't vote, but I work here, and plan to make my life here. That includes one day citizenship, dual citizenship to be exact. Even though I can't cast my ballot what happened last night still affects me and my friends, the people raising and growing food for this country.

Prop B is an attempt to crack down on puppy mills in Missouri. However, it also was a successful attempt for HSUS to get their foot in the door, just like they did in California, and like they tried in Ohio. Agvocates for Agriculture and numerous other industry groups have wrote editorials about what Prop B means for agriculture, however what I want to point is something that is pretty scary wether the issue is Prop B or something else.

Courtesy of www.sos.mo.gov

13 counties decided the fate of Prop B. Kansas City and St. Louis to be more specific. 

If we want change made agriculturist need to stop talking to each other and move to where the people are. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

How to start your #agblog - agricultural blog

It's easier than you think

Lately, I have had lots of people ask me about my blog and how they can start one of their own. TrioAngus are some good friends of mine is Australia that just got their #agblog started.

Blogs are a great way to communicate about the importance of agriculture, and allow people to gain insight into the lives of farmers and ranchers like the Life on a Kansas Cattle Ranch blog by Debbie Lyons. Or they can be an extremely inexpensive way to market your livestock like my parents are doing with the High Country Cattle blog, and the Boy has his JJB Cattle Co. blog.

1. Choose whether you will use Blogger or Wordpress
As you start to look through other #agblogs you'll notice that these are the two most popular formats. I personally prefer Blogger blogs. I find the format extremely simple to use, and it is easy for my readers to comment. Also, Blogger is owned by Google, so it ties in nicely with YouTube, Gmail and Google Analytics.

2. Start writing 
If you are going to start a blog, you need to make a commitment to write or post. When I have free time I will write a group of posts and then schedule them to be strung out during my busy time. This way my readers will have fresh content to look at.

3. Share content
If you can't think of anything to say, post a picture or video. You might even want to link to other #agblogs of interest. Social media is about community and sharing.

4. Tell people about it 
Start spreading the message. Send out an email blast to friends, family and customers letting them know about your new blog, and to bookmark your site. Also, twitter and facebook are a great way to let people know you are posting. Also, be sure that your blog is included in blog rolls like Michele Payn-Knoper's Agrifood Resources. She lists tons of Farm and Ranch Blogs and Agvocate Blogs. Cattle.com is also a good resource for cattle blogs.

5. Find out if people are reading
I believe that if you decide to start to blog you need to do because you love sharing your message. However, knowing someone out there is reading can help you stay on track. One of the biggest things I hear from other blog friends is that they think no one is readings, because of the lack of comments they are receiving. Trust me people are reading, although I find though the agriculture community doesn't post a huge volume of comments. My solution is to add Google Analytics to your blog. This will help you track how many people are coming to your blog, what they are reading and where they are coming from. This is a nice tutorial to help you install Google Analytics.

I would love to hear some your advice as well. And if you have any questions please ask away. I am sure someone is wondering the exact same thing too! And don't forget to read Part 2 of this post here and check out the How to Blog Tab at the top of my blog for blogging tutorials. 

Out with October and in with November

Spooktacular weekend

This weekend was spent running, and not in a pair of sneakers, but it certainly felt like a marathon. I was very fortunate to have some of my best girlfriends and the Boy come into town for the American Royal and KSU/OSU football game. With stops at the airport at the beginning and end of the weekend, we filled our time with shopping at Nigros, Jack Stacks, Grandmas, I-70, Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Aggieville, 1-70 and Kemper Arena, all before heading home to hand candy out to the trick-or-treaters.

Weekends like this aren't really relaxing I would say, but they do manage to get me centered and refocused again. It is really hard to explain to those that didn't grow up in agriculture, but sharing a ag background with these people creates an instant bond. I am really lucky to have such a great group of people surrounding me.

So, here is to a great October, and let a whirlwind November begin.

The Boy's Dad is quite the pumpkin carver. He said that I might even get a crystal.cattle turquoise one next year!

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