Thursday, October 28, 2010

This One's For The Girls

Why do it? If you are a cattlemen, why do you care for your land and cattle? If you're a mother, why do you take care of your children? Why do farmers take excellent care of their land and equipment? Why do teachers teach? What causes us to do the things we do? I believe PASSION is the reason!

Cattlemen care for their cattle cause they are PASSIONATE about their health and well being. Mothers take care of their children because they love them and they are PASSIONATE about "raising them right". Farmers take excellent care of their land because they are PASSIONATE about producing good, healthy crops. Teachers write lesson plans because they are PASSIONATE about imparting knowledge to their students. Your PASSION is that thing that keeps you up at night, enthuses you in the morning, and pushes you through the day!

Why Agvocate? Several young people (ages 20-25) across the country are advocating agriculture. These young people are passionately telling the story of Agriculture. Why young people? As young people we realize that the future of agriculture rests in our hands. It is our responsibility to help our generation stay connected to the farm.

It is no secret that women do things with passion in EVERY area of their lives. Today, I want to highlight a group of PASSIONATE young women who are effectively telling our story daily through blogging, Twitter, and other social media outlets! This one's for the girls!

Celeste Laurent

Celeste is a senior at Western Kentucky University studying animal science and news editorial journalism. She grew up on a hog farm in Kentucky and was actively involved in 4-H and FFA. Celeste does a great job Agvocating all sectors of agriculture and writes a great blog called "A Farm Girl's Perspective".

Amanda Sollman

Amanda is a student at Michigan State University studying Agriculture Education and Communications. Amanda was actively involved FFA during high school and is involved in collegiate FFA at Michigan State. Amanda is very involved in the AgChat foundation and does a great job telling our story. Check out Amanda's blog "On The Journey".

Crystal Young

Crystal is a graduate of Kansas State University. She is originally from Alberta, Canada. She is passionate about the agriculture industry and works for the Angus Association. Crystal agvocates using her blog "Crystal Cattle" as well as through her position with Angus.

Kelly Rivard

Kelly is studying Interactive Media/ English Composition at North Central College in Illinois. She has a passion for agriculture, and corn, that runs deep. Kelly writes a blog called "Midwestern Gold" a blog that celebrates Illinois agriculture.

Whitney Wallace

Whitney is a recent graduate of the University of Missouri. Whitney uses her personal blog to encourage and guide young women in their career pursuits. Whitney also works for Missouri Beef Council and is an agvocate for the beef industry. Take a look at Whitney's blog "Professional In Pink". You can also get great tips and recipe ideas from Whitney at the Missour Beef Council.

These young women, and many others, are working hard to tell our story! I am proud of them and proud to be among those who are passionately trying to make a difference with genuine hearts, diligence and dedication. Thanks for all you do girls! YOU ROCK MY SOCKS OFF!

"This one's for the girls who love without holding back, who dream with everything they have; all around the world, this one's for the girls"

Happy Trails,

~ Anna-Lisa

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Road I'm On

I am a very blessed girl. I have a family and friends who laugh, cry, support, tease, encourage and love me. I am pursuing an education at one of the best institutions in the country. Learning tons each day about cattle production, agriculture, business, communications and several other areas that will benefit my future. The problem with schools like mine are that they are located in TOWN! WHY.. this is an epic failure of the land grant system that these institutions are located in large towns, booming with people and the hustle and bustle of life off the ranch. This morning when I woke up, I looked out the window above my bed to see the sun reflecting of the clouds in the West as it rose. This sight was gorgeous pink and orange. My initial thought... if the neighbor's house was not there I could see this beautiful sunrise, should I be living on the ranch right now, I wouldn't need that tall back yard fence, those telephone wires wouldn't be there... I could enjoy the beauty of the Lord's creation to its fullness. This sent me into a downward spiral towards a case of the Mean Reds.

What are the Mean Reds you ask? Well they aren't the same as the Blues. The blues are depressed, sad and for some they result in a dark bedroom. The Mean Reds on the other hand aren't necessarily sad, they aren't really depressed and when you've got a case of the Mean Reds, the last place you want to be is inside. Feelings of discontentment, restlessness, and the need for wide open western skies are common with the Mean Reds. Today I want to be on the South end of a North bound cow. I would love to be disgustingly dirty, sweaty and exhausted. But instead of getting up this morning throwing on grub clothes and a cap, I got dressed tamed my unruly curly hair and put on some war paint. Instead of feeling the sun's warmth on my face, and the fresh dirt under my boots, I will be walking on pavement and under the glow of light bulbs.

I know that the Lord's path will lead me back down a dirt road to a ranch and with faith I will continue to walk humbly with my God according to His purpose, I just really wish that today the road I'm walking on wasn't paved with asphalt.

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord. 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.'" Jeremiah 29:11

Happy Trails,

~ Anna-Lisa

Thursday, October 21, 2010

You've got choices!

Grain-fed beef, grass-finished beef, certified organic, natural beef, naturally raised beef... the list goes on. As a consumer you have so many choices in the beef meat case. For some of you this can be confusing and for producers there are many misconceptions of this marketing opportunity. There has been a lot of talk in the beef industry lately about working together, uniting, and striving toward common goals. A post by Ryan Goodman (AR_ranchhand on Twitter) started a huge discussion about the need of the cattle business to stick together realizing that our commonality rests in the consumer. We cannot do away with niche marketing because without it there would be little to distinguish our products for marketing. So in reality the your choices not only result in your happiness but also better prices for beef producers.

The national beef checkoff recognizes the need for you (the consumer) to better understand your options... there is a rack card published by the beef checkoff entitled "Beef From Pasture to Plate; Many Choices, One Commitment". This is most certainly true; while there are many choices for you in the meat case, there is only one commitment for all beef producers. That commitment is safe, nutritious, and budget friendly beef. No matter which type of beef you purchase ALL beef products are safe across the board.

The American beef industry takes steps to ensure that U.S. beef remains the safest in the world. That commitment starts with beef producer diligence on the farm and ends with safe food handling practices in grocery stores, restaurants and in your kitchen. With proper food safety measures you can rest assured that beef is safe from pasture to plate. There are a few important tips to keep in mind. Be sure beef is cooked to proper temperature; remembering that ground beef must be cooked to a higher internal temperature than steaks or roasts. Keep your foods out of the danger zone (temps between 40 - 140 F) this helps prevent the growth of bacteria. The last thing to remember is to keep your hands, counter tops, dish towels and utensils clean; washing them with soapy water after they touch uncooked meat.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wacky Wednesday - A Cowboy's Guide To Life

I recently read this and laughed, A LOT, so I thought I would share it!

A Cowboy's Guide to Life

Never squat with yer spurs on.

There are two theories to arguin' with a woman; neither one works.

Don't worry about bitin' off more than you can chew, your mouth is probably a whole lot bigger'n you think.

If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.

After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring.
He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him.
The moral: When you're full of bull, keep your mouth shut.

If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.

Never smack a man who's chewin' tobacco.

It don't take a genius to spot a goat in a flock of sheep.

Never ask a barber if he thinks you need a haircut.

Good judgment comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgment.

Always drink upstream from the herd.

Never drop your gun to hug a grizzly.

If you're ridin' ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it's still there.

When you give a lesson in meanness to a critter or a person, don't be surprised if they learn their lesson.

When you're throwin' your weight around, be ready to have it thrown around by somebody else.

Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier 'n puttin' it back in.

Always take a good look at what you're about to eat. It's not so important to know what it is, but it's critical to know what it was.

The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back in your pocket.

Never miss a good chance to shut up.

Happy Trails,


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wacky Wednesday - Consumer Perception

Hope you enjoyed the laughs!

Happy Trails,


Monday, October 11, 2010

"Angus" - Better beef?

I had the chance to spend this past weekend in Colorado. The drive from Stillwater, Oklahoma through the Texas Panhandle and up to Colorado through Raton, New Mexico is gorgeous. Aside from the beautiful countryside I also notice that at nearly every fast food restaurant we passed had an advertisement for something "Angus" on the billboard. This sparked an internal debate in my mind that I thought on for the several hours we spent in the car. How did "Angus" become a buzz word among consumers for better tasting beef? Do they know what Angus cattle are, the difference between Angus and Charlois... or even know that Angus is a breed of cattle? Maybe they merely notice that it is set apart, in terms of advertising, from the the other beef options in fast food restaurants? I have considered some statistics by Certified Angus Beef and USA Today while trying to determine a hypothesis, "ya know theory", so I will share those with you as well!

- 65% of consumers preferred some type of branded beef.

- 28% preferred their steaks branded as Angus beef.

- The term “Angus” outweighed any other branding term, including Prime, tender, organic and grass-fed in consumers’ perception.

- consumers said they preferred the term "Black Angus" beef to ground beef 11-to-1

Now the question is why, and I don't know the answer to this one... I would love to hear your opinion! What value does the buzz word "Angus" hold for consumers? Share with me please!

Happy Trails!

~ Anna-Lisa

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Are Vegetarians Alienated by Animal Agriculture?

In light of National Vegetarian Month...

Are vegetarians alienated by Animal Agriculture? Share your thoughts with me!

Happy Trails & Wacky Cow Tales,


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Agricultural Animals - Sustaining The Environment

October is National Vegetarian month. I am very intrigued that they would pick such an odd month to claim vegetarian month. I mean if you really want to make a statement choose a month always associated with the consumption of meat... November, everyone eats turkey at Thanksgiving, December, most people eat ham at Christmas, April, there is an increase of lamb and goat consumption at Easter, July, most people grill or have BBQ on the 4th... Seriously OCTOBER? Anyway this month is a great time to explain the important role that agricultural animals play in sustaining the environment.

Recently in one of my classes, Agricultural Animals of the World (Camel Production for giggles), I was reminded of the importance of agricultural animals to sustain our environment and I wanted to remind you as well! I was asked this question: What would you tell someone who thought that agriculture animals (livestock) are a luxury? The following is my response to that question.

Approximatly 1/3 of the world land mass is considered to be agriculture land. In other words only 1/3 of all the land in the world is used for agriculture. This is a very shocking statistic when you think about the fact that with that mere 1/3 of land, farmers and ranchers produce enough food and fiber to supply the entire world. Many people believe that the majority of agriculture land is cultivated and farmed, this can lead to claims of agriculture lacking sustainability etc. The truth is that only 1/3 of the agriculture land is devoted to cultivated farming.

The rest of the land is dedicated to native grasslands and rangelands. When we look at this in the grand scheme, only 1/6 of the world’s total land mass is cultivated. Because so much land is dedicated to native forages, our need for ruminant animals is very great. See, ruminant animals (cows, sheep and goats) have the ability to convert forages that cannot be consumed by human populations into animal proteins which are very beneficial to the human diet. Think for a minute what might happen if we were not able to utilize all of that native range to our benefit? Would it sit stagnate? Would it grow out of control and propose a fire hazard?

Maybe it would be developed into more urban areas and further reduce the amount of land considered agricultural. Ruminant animals are of the utmost importance to human populations because of their ability to transform non usable plant proteins to beneficial animal proteins. The best way I can think to demonstrate that agricultural animals are not a luxury is to think about ruminant animals. How many people do you know that enjoy eating yucca, tumble weed or sage? Cows don’t mind, in fact a cow on native range in Nevada would be more than glad to eat sage, and because of their amazing digestive system we then can benefit from their ability to eat plants that we are not able to digest.

Cows, sheep and goats aren't the only agricultural animals that help us to be sustainable. Pigs, chickens and turkeys help out too! These animals have the unique ability to be able to convert foodstuffs considered waste by humans into animal proteins for the human diet! The ability of livestock to convert what we waste, throw away, discard and are unable to use most certainly proves to me that agricultural animals are in fact not a luxury but a necessity.

October is a great month to explain the importance of livestock! How would you explain the importance of agricultural animals to a vegetarian person who does not believe agriculture to be sustainable? Food For Thought...

Happy Trails,

Photos Via Ryan Goodman & Oklahoma State University Extension