The “Rock” on my Family Farm

Yesterday was a day that as a country we stopped to remember and thank those Veterans that had fought, served, and died so that we may live in a land that is free. Because of them we are able to graze our cattle on our green grassy pastures, rope the newborn babies on breezy sunny days, and most importantly live under the American flag flying high in the sky knowing that we are able to happily raise our beef cattle hand in hand with family and friends by our side. We have those brave men and women whom fought for our freedom to thank!

We all have someone that has been a part of our life and passed before us that have helped shape us into who we are today. From their bravery, encouragement, endless lessons and support, having them as a part of our lives have proved to be a blessing.

Yesterday was not only a day that as a family we honored and remembered the fallen soldiers, but also a day to remember and honor my grandma who would have been 75 years old, but passed away three years ago. As a farming and livestock family there is always one person who is the backbone of the farm and family, who you know you can always count on to have a watchful eye or give the right advice when times are tough. For my family, that was my grandma.

momo

A fantastic and beautiful women, my grandma, whom my brother and I called ‘momo’ always had a smile on her face!

My grandma grew up in the city, married my grandpa who milked cows, and then became the wife of a dairy farmer. Talking to my grandma as a young girl, I always remember her saying she would not have had it any other way and loved looking out the kitchen window seeing the cows laying in the pasture. Whether having dairy or beef cattle on the farm, she was always the rock that held our family together.

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My grandma showing her cow at the county fair in 1972. From milking the cows, feeding the baby calves, to showing, she enjoyed being a part of every step of the cattle production.

As cattle producers it is important to have that one person in your family that can always find the good in all situations. My grandma always saw the glass half full rather than half empty and had endless love and faith in her Christian beliefs. It was important to her that we gave thanks for our blessings and being able to grow crops and produce livestock in a free country. Whether it was early mornings, late nights, rainy days, or the long hours spent at the county fair, her love for her family and producing cattle ran deep.

Producing cattle and crops on the land of the free is a blessing that we should not take for granite. As many of us as beef producers are, I am very thankful for being able to live a life producing a product so that others may eat. With the love and support from my grandma as the family “rock,” it is easy for me to be thankful growing up on the farm with the many life lessons she, as well as farm life has taught me.

momo and me

One of the last pictures that was taken with my grandma after a cross country meet. She was one of my biggest supporters throughout all my different activities, including farm life and sports.

So as the business and hectic lifestyles return after this holiday weekend, let us continue to show gratitude to those that have passed before us; those that have allowed us to produce on the land of the free, and those that have had a hand in shaping how we live and produce our beef cattle on a day-to-day basis.

Happy Birthday Momo and thank you!

~Demi~

 

Labels Part II

As you continue reading the label of a package of beef, you might see words such as natural or organic. Most consumers (and even producers!) do not know the difference between the two.

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Most beef is natural, meaning that it does not contain any additives and is not more than minimally processed.

Certified organic beef must meet USDA’s national organic program standards. Organically raised cattle must be fed 100% organic feed, and they may not be given hormones to promote growth or antibiotics for any reason. Organic beef may be either grass or grain finished. Organically produced food does not differ in safety or nutrition from conventionally produced foods. The reason organically produced food is more expensive to purchase, is because this food is more expensive to produce.

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All beef choices are a good or excellent source of 10 essential nutrients and vitamins like protein, zinc, iron and b vitamins.

According to USDA, natural means that a product is minimally processed and contains no additives. By this definition, most beef in the meat case is natural. Natural beef does differ from “naturally raised beef.” Naturally raised beef is from cattle raised without added hormones to promote growth or the use of antibiotics to prevent disease.

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No matter what kind of beef you choose, you can be confident that you are feeding your family a safe and savory product!

When it comes down to it, the type of beef your purchase for you and your family is a matter of personal preference. If purchasing beef that has been organically raised is important to you, then you are more than welcome to purchase that product. For more information on the beef choices available in today’s market, please click here.

Happy Meaty Monday!

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer

8 Things I’ve Learned From Being “Little Missy”

I have had the awesome privilege to learn the ropes from some of the most talented cowboys and cattlemen throughout my life. From riding around in the feed truck with my dad as a toddler to processing cattle as an adult, I have learned from and worked with some pretty amazing men.

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Here are a few things I have learned from working alongside those of the male gender:

  • 11193276_10206535698890671_2534012049498191643_nEven small jobs are important. From opening gates, to simply standing in a pressure point, even though they might not be the most glamorous or exciting jobs, they must be done regardless.
  • 1891480_757927177636468_9106847382057324215_oIf you don’t stand up for yourself, no one else will. You have to have self-confidence. How can you expect people to believe in you if you do not believe in yourself?

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  • Sometimes being “Little Lady” isn’t so bad. At first, I would get a little disappointed after being referred to as “missy”, “tiny” and “little lady” all day, but now I have realized that there are many other nicknames that are much worse.
  • 10363094_10205980931861842_2272981806318305766_nEarrings and lipstick are always appropriate for working cattle. Just because you work with men, doesn’t mean you have to look like them.
  • 10427288_10205572936182205_8972511427448086822_nBe a sponge! Always maintain a desire to learn something new. There are always things you can learn from those around you.
  • 10633620_757927094303143_4526640089974822371_oBe classy. Even if you work around rough and tough cowboys, doesn’t mean you have to be the same way. You have to give them a reason to treat you like a lady, but still remain true to your passion.
  • 1941394_10205585826984467_7115879892127218968_oJust because you could possibly do it better than a man, doesn’t necessarily mean that you should do it. 
  • 11151009_10206524961022231_1800785543583917875_nActions speak louder than words. Generally, most things just have to be demonstrated in order to gain one’s respect. Be patient and do your best!

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Moral of the story: Yes, production agriculture has traditionally been dominated by men. But we can all learn from each other. Each has their right to their dreams. We must be mindful of those around us. Encourage when encouragement is needed. Teach those who need taught. And always be willing to learn. 

God bless, folks!

 

Kalyn McKibben

Blonde Beef Babe 

Five Tips to Master Memorial Day Grilling

With Memorial Day next Monday, beef is the number one protein of choice for this holiday, and grills will be heated up cooking steaks and hamburgers across the United States. As we invite family and friends over to enjoy a juicy steak or hamburger, here are five tips that you need to remember so you have the most savory and best experience this holiday.

1. When cooking steaks, cook for a total of 14 minutes, seven minutes on each side, flipping only once.

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Set a timer for 14 minutes, flipping the meat only once at seven minutes to get an even grill on both sides.

2. Steaks should be cooked to a minimum of 145 degrees whereas hamburgers should be cooked to a minimum of 160 degrees. The only way to ensure your beef is cooked to the proper temperatures is to use an instant read meat thermometer.

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Insert the instant meat read thermometer sideways into the thickest part of the beef to get an accurate temperature reading.

3. Use tongs rather than a fork to flip steaks and take steaks off the grill. A fork will pierce your steaks or hamburgers and the juices inside that add flavor and tenderness will be lost.

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Flipping steaks and hamburgers with tongs rather than forks ensures juices will stay inside the meat as it cooks and rests.

4. Let your steaks and/or hamburgers rest at least five to seven minutes before serving. The heat from the grill causes the juices inside the meat to flow and without letting your steaks or hamburgers rest prior to cutting them open, all the juices would flow out onto your plate and not cause as juicy or flavorful eating experience.

resting steak

Allowing your steaks or hamburgers to rest prior to serving it will ensure you and your guests enjoy a flavorful, tender, and juicy eating experience this holiday!

5. Cut against the grain of your steaks. Hamburgers, because they are ground beef, do not have a grain, but all cuts of steak do. It is important to cut against the grain of the meat so you do not have a chewy eating experience.

against the grain

Cut against the grain to keep the juices and flavor into the meat and avoid chewiness.

As you celebrate your Memorial Day with firing up your grill, remember these five simple tips so you and your guests have the best eating experience with the steaks and/or hamburgers you grill. Although this day is your time to shine as a chef, do not forget to thank the Veterans that have served so we can live in a free country.

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Happy Memorial Day, happy grilling, and thank you Veterans!

~Demi~

What Does the Label Mean?

When you go to the market to purchase beef, you are confronted with several different labels. All of these labels can be very confusing! One of the biggest labels with beef is grass fed. Most cattle are raised on a combination of both grass and grain in the United States because of our shortened growing season. Although it is not as common as grain finished beef, it is still very common to find grass-finished beef in most grocery stores. So what is the difference between grass finished and grain finished beef?

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Grass finished and grain finished beef differ in the final stage of production.

For both production methods, the calves spend their first few months of life with their mothers. They drink their mother’s milk and graze on grass pastures. Once these calves reach approximately 500 pounds, they are weaned from their mothers. Calves typically then go to stockers and backgrounders to graze on many different kinds of pasture all across the United States. If they are going into the grain-finished production system, the calves will start receiving grain to supplement their diets. The majority of cattle in the United States are then sold or moved to feedyards where they receive carefully balanced, nutritious diet for an average of 120 to 180 days. In the grass-finished system, the calves will continue grazing on grass pastures until they reach the desired weight. Cattle in feedyards typically reach market weight around 3-6 months faster.

The important takeaway from this is that nearly all cattle spend the majority of their lives grazing on native grasslands.

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For more information, click here.

All types of beef, regardless of the way it is finished is wholesome, safe, and nutritious. No matter what way it is finished, all beef is an excellent source of six nutrients and vitamins, providing more than 20 percent of the recommended daily value, and can be part of a nutritious and balanced diet. The decision between grass and grain finished is really a matter of personal preference. I would recommend trying grass-finished and grain-finished beef side by side like our team did in Denver to determine what your preference is. In my honest opinion, I could tell a difference between the two types but I am indifferent. I think that both kinds of beef deserve a place at the butcher counter, and in my kitchen. Not everyone feels that way, and that is okay! The beauty of choice at the meat counter is that everyone can purchase what they like.

Although there is a noticeable difference

At the end of the day, it is a matter of consumer preference!

Happy Meaty Monday!

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer

Beef Connection in the World of Ag

Beef producers work countless hours to ensure they are up-to-date on current beef products and practices. Raising their herd of cattle is their livelihood and depends on the current education and seeking out of answers. Beef producers however do not focus just specifically on successful beef production; they are also continuously gaining knowledge about other agricultural realms.

This past week I had the opportunity to travel with the Collegiate Young Farmers Club from The Ohio State University to take a 5-day road trip to Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina to tour equipment production headquarters, southern plantations, and crop facility headquarters. At the end of the trip, I was very grateful that I, along with six other OSU students had the opportunity to gain more knowledge about different sectors of agriculture. Being a part of the beef industry and seeking out continuous education is important, but the world of agriculture is combined through many different pieces and parts.

One of my personal favorites was touring a tea plantation and learning about the tea making process, different equipment used to harvest, as well as the history. Although making tea does not directly correlate to beef production, production methods and innovation is directly compatible between tea production and beef production. As a tea plantation, it is most important to start the new cuttings, or seeds, off with the upmost care for production, which correlates to starting off a baby calf, making sure that it receives the appropriate nutrients and vitamins to grow healthy.

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The tea harvester ‘combine’- unique to only the production of tea.

Another educational part of the trip was the Phosphorous Mine. As an important part of growing crops all around the world for people and livestock alike, phosphorus is a needed nutrient. While at the mine we had the opportunity to learn about the mining process, as well as see the process in action while in the mine. Spending the morning at the mine learning about the process of mining and why phosphorus is so important to the world of agriculture proved to me the connection between phosphorus, crop production, and beef cattle. Without phosphorus being mined, crops would not yield a product and beef cattle would lack food and nutrients.

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Phosphorus Mine in North Carolina

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The phosphorus mining machine that scooped up the phosphorus ore

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The part of the mine that loads the phosphorus onto both train and barge.

Learning about the world of beef cattle and beef production as well as promotions and educations is important to me and something that I continue to strive for through learning. However, being a part of agriculture means more than just feeding my cattle, it means understanding the world of agriculture and how different aspects, systems, and other lines of production all correlate and work in conjunction with beef cattle and beef production.

Monsanto

As a final stop of the trip, we toured Monsanto company and had the opportunity to learn and ask our questions about biotechnology corn and soybeans as a grain for livestock, including beef cattle.

 

.Demi

Thank Your Mom

I have been blessed with the most amazing mother I could have ever asked for. My mom is my biggest cheerleader, and is always pushing me to accomplish more than I ever could have thought was possible. I know that if I ever need advice, a kind word, or even just an ear to listen to me complain about my mundane problems-that my mom is there for me. She believes in me, even when I don’t believe in myself.

My mom has always been the glue that holds our family together.

My mom has always been the glue that holds our family together.

Being involved in agriculture, even our slow season is still very busy. Mom always makes sure that we always have a lunch and dinner, even when we are working late into the night in the fields.

Moma

My mom has been there for me through everything.

My mom has sat through countless excruciatingly long contests, just to watch me compete for five minutes. She really  sets a great example of what it means to put others before yourself. If I can be half as kind and caring as she is, then I will be doing good.

I would not have a clue how to cook if it wasn’t for my mom! She makes the best cabbage pockets. Cabbage pockets are a regional food primarily found in Nebraska. They are the perfect lunch for when you are on the go. My mom was generous enough to let me share her recipe for cabbage pockets with the world:

Be sure to thank your mother today, and everyday for all that she has done for you. My mom has shaped me into who I am today, and I am eternally grateful for that. Love you moma!

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer

The Lady Who Taught Me How To Be A Lady

It is hard to imagine my life without my mama. She wears many hats on the ranch. On top of the lessons she has taught us in grace, encouragement and humility, she has miraculously managed to keep clothes on our backs, food in our bellies and band-aids on our ‘boo boos’.
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My mama is the most incredible lady in the entire universe! Growing up, she managed the dairy farm while Dad was on the road, selling feed supplements. Today, she is a Speech Language Pathology Assistant at the local public school.

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Here are just a few of the things that make her incredible:

* She has bullet-proof faith. It can be the middle of the worst drought in decades or the worst ice storm on record and she still remains faithful because she truly trusts that God will always meet our needs.

image* She is the best cow-checking side kick. She will never turn down an opportunity to spend time with her kids, even if it is just to ride in the passenger seat of the feed truck or on the back of the fourwheeler.

image* She only sees the very best in people. She always encourages people to focus on their strengths and be the unique person God has made them to be.

image* She can save any baby calf. Even if the babies that are given a very low chance of survival, somehow Mama turns their chances around. She just has the motherly touch!

image* She smiles. From encouraging an autistic student to open up, to meeting new people in the grocery store check-out line, my mama exudes a welcoming joy that reflects her trustworthiness and kindness.

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Moral of the story: I am beyond blessed to have such a kind, loving, and exceptional role model to call Mama. Without her valuable encouragement, our operation would not be successful. Please don’t forget to show your mama how much you appreciate her!

 

God bless, folks!

 

Kalyn McKibben

Blonde Beef Babe

 

 

 

 

Cinco de Mayo Festivities!

Howdy Friends!

As many of you know, this past Tuesday was Cinco de Mayo!  I hope everyone celebrated with beef; I know that I did!  And it gave me a great excuse to take a break from studying for finals and kick back with a great friend and some awesome Mexican food!

My friend Logan and I had our own little party, which involved my mom’s recipe for enchiladas, homemade salsa and tacky Fiesta music.  We laughed, enjoyed dinner and had a fantastic time!  Now, my mom’s enchiladas are a winning recipe, and definitely a family favorite!  I would love to share them with y’all, so here goes!

Rolled Green Chile Beef Enchiladas

Meat Mixture

  • Hamburger
  • Minced Onion
  • Garlic Salt
  • Pepper
  • Green Chiles (we use Hatch Chiles we roast ourselves)

Brown meat with seasoning added to your liking.

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Green Chile Sauce

  • 1 Can Hatch Green Chile Enchilada Sauce
  • 1/4 Sour Cream
  • Green Chiles to taste

Heat ingredients until they are combined.

Coat bottom of pan with Green Chile Sauce.  Portion some meat mixture into a tortilla, add cheese and then roll.  Place rolled tortilla into pan, continue until the pan is full.  Top with remaining sauce and extra cheese.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes until heated through and cheese is bubbly!

“These enchiladas were the best I’ve ever had, and I generally don’t like enchiladas.  I never knew how scrumptious ground beef could be in this wonderful Mexican dish!”

-Logan

From the Heart of Beef,

Alicia

Making the Cut

Interacting with an array of beef consumers proves to be both educational and rewarding. These past few days, we had the opportunity to attend the Southern Women’s Cooking Show and spend four days teaching consumers about beef through interactive skill-set stations and cooking demonstrations. A personal favorite of mine, which also seemed to provide a wealth of knowledge to our event goers, was the “Making the Cut” skill-set station. In this station, consumers were taught the proper way to cut their steaks.

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The youth at the Southern Women’s Show were eager to interact and have a hands-on experience cutting the steak.

It is important to realize that steaks have grains in them. To achieve the best and most flavorful eating experience, one should cut against the grain, holding the knife to cut at a 45 degree angle. There are muscle fibers and tendons in our meat which help with the flavor and tenderization of the cut. Cutting against the grain ensures that the juices stay in the piece of meat, as well as when biting into the meat, you are now biting with the grain which adds for a more flavorful and juicy eating experience.

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As you can see from within this picture, the grains of the steak are vertical, therefore we knew to cut the steak horizontally short ways across the grains to have the best eating experience.

If you were to cut with the grain, when you go to bite down, all the muscle fibers and tendons in the meat would be pulling in many directions which causes chewiness. When we go to a steak house or cook our own steaks at home, it is important to check which way the grains are going in our meat. If you are unsure you can pull a little on the sides of the meat to determine the way the grains are going. Once this has been determined, turn your plate to be sure you are cutting your beef against the grain for the most flavorful, juiciness, and tender eating experience.

against the grain

Using your fork and knife to pull apart your cut of beef is important when you want to determine the way the grain is going so you can cut against it.

 

Happy Tuesday!
Demi