The Show Ring

“You do what to those cattle?!”  This is a phrase I’ve often heard when explaining to consumers about the show cattle side of beef production. They are often surprised that we not only bathe cattle, but blow dry, clip, condition and work hair on these animals, let alone put them on a halter and show them!


My first heifer, Bella, inspired me to keep raising cattle and start my own cattle company


Not every producer is involved in showing, but there are some that make a living out of raising show cattle, and others that just want to occasionally showcase the quality of the animals they breed.  Still others are involved through youth programs like 4-H and FFA that teach members about raising these animals and often inspire them to pursue careers within the beef field.

Supreme Cow Calf Open Show AD IMAGE -2

FFA helped me to develop my own start-up company, Ace Club Calves. We now exhibit our own cattle and have done well.


I’ll be very honest when I say that I would not be here if it weren’t for programs like 4-H and FFA.  I am a product of the show industry.  It is where I found my passion for cattle and learned innovative ways to raise them.  Without showing, I know that I would have never taken an interest in beef cattle nor found the passion I have for representing and advocating for this amazing group of people and their livelihoods.


Making a bond with your calf is an important part of showing. Remmy was a very special calf that I truly enjoyed


The show industry is a great program in which youth can be exposed to raising cattle and what it takes to do so, and helps them to earn a little money that they can either save or spend as they please.  It teaches responsibility, commitment, compassion and accountability through having an animal rely on you to care for it.  Success in the show ring only comes if you work hard and do things the best way possible.  You have to ensure that you and your animal have a mutual respect and love for each other if you are going to get anywhere.

One of the most knowledgeable and passionate people I know, Shannon is a friend that I met through showing

One of the most knowledgeable and passionate people I know, Shannon is a friend that I met through showing

Beyond the amazing qualities it helps to develop, some of my best friends have been made around the show ring.  There is just something about sitting in the bleachers watching cattle shows, or helping on another to clip or fit an animal that creates an inseparable bond.  Though we are all from different parts of the country, I know that I can rely on my show friends to always be there if I need advice or assistance.


From the Heart of Beef,


Not all “Cows” are Cows

Terminology to a beef producer is important. As a young kid growing up on the farm, it was important for me to learn the terminology, as well as the difference between the beef animals that we had on our family farm. Not only is it important to learn and call the animals by the correct terminology and names, but educating our consumers about this terminology is necessary. Throughout the entirety of the beef chain, all beef animals have their purpose that coincides with their correct term, or name.


A bull is an intact male. Bulls’ purpose is to provide semen in order to breed cows and produce offspring. Bulls produce semen starting at the age of ten months and produce until they are no longer able to provide a sufficient amount to use for breeding.


A cow is a female mom. Once the female produces offspring she is called a cow. A cow also produces milk in her udder for her baby.


A beef cows’ main job is to provide and care for her offspring until the farmer or rancher weans the baby-unlike a dairy cow that has a main purpose to provide milk for consumers, beef cows provide milk specifically for their offspring.



A calf is a newborn baby. Both male and female babies are called a calf when they are first born.


A steer is a castrated male. A steers’ main purpose is to produce meat. As an industry, we castrate and raise steers because bulls are very territorial. In comparison to a steer, bulls are also bigger and more massive in their front end rather than in the rump area. A steer is fed to market weight which is between 1200-1300 pounds which take approximately 18 to 24 months.


A heifer is a female that is one year old. All females are called heifers until they produce offspring, but until they are one year old, we continue to call them a calf or a heifer calf. A heifer’s purpose is to grow until they are able to be breed at the age of one and produce offspring 9 months after conception.


It is important to understand that not all beef animals can be, or are, called a “cow” because that is not the correct name or terminology. It is important as a producer and consumer alike to understand the difference in beef animal terminology, as well as the difference in production between the beef animals.

Beef, Barns, and Babies!




Every Day is Earth Day

Earth Day is this week! Farmers and ranchers were environmentalists before environmentalists started. Caring for the animals and the land is what makes working in agriculture so rewarding. You would be hard pressed to find a producer who is not working to improve the sustainability of their operation. We aren’t only concerned about our operation being able to produce for the next decade, but for several centuries to come. Measures such as planting trees, providing wildlife habitat, and rotating the herd to prevent overgrazing are just a few of the steps agriculturalists take to reduce their impact on the planet. These measures might make sense, but did you know agriculturalists are often avid recyclers? Here are some ways my family reuses and repurposes materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

  • Billboards: billboards are changed fairly frequently. After their life as an advertisement is over, they would typically be sent to a landfill. The material that billboards are made out of is very similar to a tarp. We use old billboard advertisements for several purposes. When we stack hay bales, we put a tarp (usually an old billboard) over it to keep the hay from being damaged by precipitation. If a stock tank is leaky, we line the bottom with an old billboard to save water and prevent the leak.
In action!

Leaky water tanks can even  be salvaged with the billboards!

Hay coverage

Billboards can be used as a tarp to protect hay bales from precipitation









  • Rubber Tires: Ever wonder what happens when you need to replace a tire on your car? One way rubber tires are given a second life is by compressing them into “tire bales.” The main way we utilize these tires bales is by arranging them into windbreaks for our animals. Wyoming winds can be very harsh, so the tire bales help the cattle have shelter from the harsh winter storms that frequent our area.


The tire bales can be arranged to provide a way to store grain.

The tire bales can be arranged to provide a way to store grain.

close up

The tire bales are made of tires that are no longer usable.


Tires can be woven into mats that help prevent cattle from slipping when they are handled.


These tire bales can be arranged to provide shelter.
















  • Mining Tires: Mining is big in Wyoming, and the tires used by mining equipment are not your average tires! These tires range in size from 6 to 13 feet in diameter! By cutting one tire in half, two water tanks can be made.
The cows love them!

The cows love them!


Repurposing materials doesn’t have to be complicated!








  • Guardrail: We purchase used guardrail that can no longer be used for the highway system. The main use for this is to build very sturdy corrals that will not need to be replaced for an extended period of time.

The guardrail and cable creates a very effective corral!

By no means are these the only recycled materials being used on our farm (or in all of agriculture!). Conveyor belting, sweeper brushes, barrels, pallets, and various containers are also materials that are often reused or repurposed in agriculture. The materials also vary from one location to another (just like feed does!). I would encourage you to speak to a local farmer or rancher to see how they reduce, reuse, or recycle on their operation, I bet their resourcefulness will surprise you!

Happy Meaty Monday!

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer

Community Service and Cattle{wo)men



Not only are cattlewomen and cattlemen very active within the agriculture community, they are also known for their roles in local communities.

45 heavy-duty trash bags, 5 hours and a rain shower later, we accomplished our mission!



This weekend, a massive community service event was hosted by my university. Fellow cattlewomen students and myself had the opportunity to reach out to needy members of the community.


Our assigned community member was Mrs. Bobby. Because of a severe stroke years prior, she was unable to keep up with her once beautiful flower gardens.



We spent the morning raking leaves, cleaning gutters, pulling weeds and conversing with a local community member. The elderly women depended on the help of others to help her clean up every year.



In the end, Mrs. Bobby said that in all the years she had been involved in the project, she had never been so impressed with the work ethic of the volunteers and the end result of the project.



Moral of the story: Beef producers are active in helping others and being involved in their local communities. Not only are many producers involved, but they often go above and beyond expectations. Producers know the difference between a job-well-done and a job-half-done. We do all we can to make a positive impact in our communities.

God bless, folks!

Kalyn McKibben

Blonde Beef Babe

Gourmet Beef At Home – Dry Aging

When I was in Washington D.C., I had the pleasure of dining with the Texas Cattle Feeders Association at the famous, “Capital Grille.”  At this wonderful establishment fit for senators, there were lots of premium beef selections, including dry aged steaks.  Since someone else was footing the bill, I decided to try one out and see what all the fuss was about.  And let me tell you, I am ruined for life.  That was some of the most tender and flavorful beef I have EVER had.

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Meat dry ages in a controlled environment


Dry aging is an art which beef is left in special rooms for several weeks and the moisture contained within the beef is allowed to evaporate and the natural enzymes break down the muscle fibers even further.   The temperature and humidity within these rooms must be carefully controlled so that the meat does not spoil.   All beef is wet aged, which means allowing it to hang in refrigerated rooms for a few days before being boxed and sold.

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An outer crust forms on the cut


This method of dry aging allows the beef flavor to intensify and results in a perfectly tender cut.  During the process, the outside of the meat develops a fungal crust, which is trimmed off before it is prepared.  Due to the length of time it takes to perform this process, the price also rises significantly; however, I have discovered that you can dry age your beef right in your own home quite easily!


103 Rib

To age at home, you will need a large cut of beef, preferably a primal.  Aging individual steaks does not work because after a week, the steak is entirely dried out.  A great cut to start with, and one that ribeyes are cut from, is a 103 rib.  Also, the greater amount of fat on the outside, the better!  This protects the delicious parts from drying out as quickly!  It is then recommended you place it in a special fridge at about 40 degrees fahrenheit, and place a fan to circulate air within it (a desk fan works great).  Then, allow the meat to age for approximately 21-30 days.



Removing the crust is essential before the meat can be prepared!



Before you can cook it, you will need to remove the outer crust, which is the molded and dried parts of the meat.  It is now ready for you to enjoy!  Here is a longer article on how to dry age beef

From the Heart of Beef,


Fluffy Cows 

Last year pictures of groomed cattle dubbed “fluffy cows” went viral on the Internet and were an overnight success. Many people who aren’t familiar with cattle or perhaps had only seen commercial cattle grazing were interested to see this new type of cow. Growing up around show cattle, I thought the concept was funny to say the least, but it’s definitely a neat segment of the beef industry to take a look at. Here’s a quick overview of the “fluffy cows.”

Fluffy cows are just highly groomed cattle that experience the best of care.

Fluffy cows are just highly groomed cattle that experience the best of care.

Fluffy cows are not a single breed. Contrary to what some comments on pictures and blogs might lead you to believe, fluffy cows are simply cattle that are more groomed than average. Many of them are purebred breeds, such as the recognizable Angus, but many are crossbred between two or more breeds.

OK…so how are they so fluffy? Fluffy cows get their fluff from intense levels of grooming. Many are washed and dried multiple times a day to keep them clean and brushed to provide the best conditions for hair growth. Most are also kept under fans or in air-conditioned rooms called coolers to keep them cool with all that hair. When at shows or other events, hair spray and adhesive may be used to stand the hair up – similar to some older human hairstyles!

Part of the "fluffy" process is frequent baths and blow drying.

Part of the “fluffy” process is frequent baths and blow drying.

Fluffy cows receive the pinnacle of care. Between multiple baths a day, a highly monitored feeding regimen of top notch feeds, spending the day relaxing in an air-conditioned barn and receiving constant grooming and other care, fluffy cows definitely lead a pampered life. While animal welfare is critical on all farming operations, fluffy cows go above and beyond to provide the best possible care for their animals.

So why? With all the work that goes into keeping fluffy cows so fluffy it’s easy to ask, “Why bother?” Fluffy cows are show cattle that spend the first two years of their lives being shown in livestock fairs and exhibitions, often through programs like 4-H and FFA. The project of showing livestock introduces kids to the farm, cattle and helps teach the value of hard work from a young age.

Showing cattle teaches kids valuable life lessons such as the value of hard work and that everything doesn't always go your way.

Showing cattle teaches kids valuable life lessons such as the value of hard work and that everything doesn’t always go your way.

What happens when they are finished showing? When cattle turn two years old, they are generally too old to show in most fairs. Some allow older cattle to show with their calf, but for most fluffy cows after they turn two they are demoted to just cows. They’ll spend the remainder of their life in the field like any other cow and hopefully one of their calves can be a fluffy cow too.

Will Pohlman

Take Time to Educate

As a part of being not only a National Beef Ambassador, but also a beef producer, my parents have always told me how important it is to educate my “city cousins”. Whether at the county fair or sitting around a school lunch table, as producers working for the betterment of the beef industry, we can all do our part and take the time to talk, answer questions, and show some of the daily tasks that happen on the farm-and what better way to do that than by having our consumers visit the farm and get a “hands-on” experience around the cattle.

petting April

Allowing our friends or fair-goers to stop and pet our animals shows them that the cattle are calm and non-aggressive animals.

Consumers today are four to five generations removed from farm life and continue to move further away from farming and raising livestock because of the vast array of career opportunities one has to pursue now. The one commonality between all people, no matter their background is that we all need food to survive, and understanding where your food comes from, not that it just happens to be on a grocery store shelf, is very important. As an advocate for the beef industry and an Agricultural Communications major, I find great pride in sharing with consumers where and how they are able to consume the food they do.

This past weekend I invited a friend home to learn more about the type of life I grew up loving-farm life! Although she had been to the county fair and has heard me talk about birthing season, weaning season, and show season, I wanted to invite her to spend time on the farm to ask questions about how we raise our cattle, as well as help complete the daily tasks that all farmers and ranchers do to ensure their cattle herds are safe and healthy.

carrying corn

Living in the corn belt of Ohio, on my farm we feed corn to our cattle as a part of a complete total mixed rational diet. We continuously talk to our nutritionist to ensure the ratios for our steers, heifers, and cows are appropriate for their age and body weight.


feeding corn

Feeding the cattle is the most important part of being a farmer. Without clean fresh water and feed our cattle would not be healthy and able to produce such a safe, wholesome, and nutritious product!

At the end of the day, it is making sure we make a valuable connection to our consumers. As a beef industry we talk about being transparent and having “our barn doors open” to invite consumers in to see our farms and experience and understand what it is we do to maintain positive heard health. As a producer and consumer myself I find it very beneficial when the time is taken to invite someone over that did not grow up raising livestock and give them an education about feeding and caring for cattle. Educating others about where their food comes from and the process from birth to harvest is important, and by taking the time to invite my friend home with me to have a “hands-on” experience on the farm allowed her to see first-hand the dedication and hard work farmers and their families put in every day striving for the best cattle heard and ultimately the best product for consumers and their families to enjoy.

open barn

Being transparent as beef producers is important. We always have our barn doors open and are willing to talk with and invite our consumers to spend some time on the farm understanding where their food comes from.

I encourage you to talk with a local beef producer near you and ask to visit their farm if you have questions about the beef industry or the process of ‘farm-to-fork’.

Happy Tuesday!


Spring Into Beef!

Spring is finally in the air! Calves are being born, animals are shedding their winter coat, and in Wyoming-the snow melts within a few days of the storm! Spring is by far my favorite season. I just love how the world comes to life, and green grass and leaves appear! It almost makes enduring months of snowy, blustery weather worth it.


As soon as it warms up, the hair starts flying!


One of my favorite parts of spring is the flavors. Some of my favorite vegetables to pair with beef are suddenly in season! It’s a fun way to avoid monotony in your meals.

Here are some delicious recipes to help you spring into beef!

  • Beef & Asparagus Pasta Toss:circles Ready in just thirty minutes, you can have a colorful meal ready to eat! This recipe is a great way to utilize ground beef. Ground beef should always be cooked to 160°F. Color is not a reliable way to ensure doneness.
    Want more information on handling ground beef? Check this page out.
    Did you forgot to thaw your ground beef before deciding to cook it for dinner, have no fear! The video below shows how to have recipe ready ground beef in just a few minutes.


  • IMG_7564Steak, Green Bean and Tomato Salad: To me, nothing says spring quite like a salad mixed with a variety of fresh vegetables. This recipe is great because it incorporates several different fresh vegetables into it. Although recipes are nice to follow, it can be fun to mix it up and add your own flair to it! Everyone has different tastes, so you can adapt the recipe to your preferences. This recipe is also super quick, and is done in 30-35 minutes.
  • Spring is a great time to fire up the grills! It’s finally warm enough to comfortably grill outside! Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner has a great recipe collection for grilling beef. With the baseball season underway, I can’t think of a better pairing than beef and baseball. Check out this recipe for Grilled Onion Cheeseburgers that are sure to please!

Spring into beef today! Happy Meaty Monday.

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer

Don’t Forget the Forgotten Rock Stars

Everyone likes to be recognized. There is something in us that strives for accomplishment. This week I attended a few awards banquets hosted by my college and department. At these banquets, alumna who had done extraordinary things, or donated copious amounts of money, were recognized and applauded. I found myself becoming a touch irritated.

scholarship 2014 casnr 2

Please do not misunderstand me, I absolutely love being apart of my university, college of ag. and animal science department family. And I am very grateful for their support and their awesome contributions. But somewhere within the multiple recognitions, I couldn’t help but think of the many farmers and ranchers who work so hard every day, and yet receive little to no acknowledgement.


Beef producers have a record of working never-ending hours and sacrificing social engagements to provide for their cattle. I can remember the many church services, family reunions, school receptions, and dinner dates I had to miss to get calves back in, treat a sick animal or feed mama cows.


They may not have discovered a new strain of unnamed bacteria, or donated millions of dollars to build a new building, but ranchers still devote a whole lot of time, effort, and commitment to providing us with the safe, wholesome, and nutritious beef we love. A simple “thank-you” goes a long way in expressing gratitude.


Moral of the story: those who make the biggest impact do not always receive the biggest recognition. Be thankful for the small things. Look for the people who are the silent servants. Be grateful for the people who may not have the most “important” title, but who contribute to us being able to enjoy the little things. Remember, do not serve for the recognition. Serve to make a positive difference.


God bless, folks!


Kalyn McKibben

Blonde Beef Babe 

Restaurant Quality Steak Anyone?

I don’t know about y’all, but I LOVE to go out to a restaurant for a good filet or strip steak!  There is just something about the way they were prepared that I wasn’t able to accomplish at home…UNTIL NOW!

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Believe it or not, you can make this right at home quite easily!


Being a bit of a pyrophobic (grills generally have scary flames), and the fact I live in an apartment, meant I didn’t get to eat steaks as much as I would have liked.  Then, I discovered the Two Step Method of cooking steaks, and my life was forever changed!  Now, I can have my filet and eat it too, all within the confines of my safe, flameless kitchen!

Cooking beef using this method is ridiculously simple and gives you lots of room for error.  First, you thaw your chosen cut and season it as you like.  I used Bodacious Red Soppin’ Sauce, Salt and Pepper.  While you are seasoning, get a skillet on the stove and crank it to medium high heat until it is nice and hot.  Using a pair of tongs, place the steak in the pan and allow the outside to sear for approximately 2-3 minutes per side.  I also throw a little butter in the pan, because let’s be honest, a little butter never hurt anybody!


Once your steak is caramelized and seared on the outside, transfer it to an oven safe dish and put it into a preheated 350 degree oven.  Now, here’s the real magic.  Step away.  Let the oven do all the work!  The thickness of your cut will determine when it is done, so I use a meat thermometer to ensure it is just the way I like it.  Make sure to pull your steak out of the oven when it is about 5 degrees below your target doneness.  Allow it to rest, and it will finish cooking and reach the perfect internal temperature.

This is an easy and fool-proof way to make restaurant quality steaks right at home!  Make one for just yourself, or wow your guests with your awesome culinary skills!  If I can do this, I promise you can too!

From the Heart of Beef,