Students Engaging Students With Beef

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There is a major disconnect between beef producers and beef consumers. And being a college kid, the gap is unfortunately even greater among my peers on my university’s campus. I have the opportunity to be apart of an incredible organization known as Oklahoma Collegiate Cattlewomen. Last week, the organization took the initiative to dedicate an entire week to target college students and educate them about beef. The first annual Eat Beef Week was a fantastic hit! Each day offered a unique, creative way of engaging students to tell beef’s story.

Advocacy Workshop – Monday night students had the opportunity to gain useful tips to use when advocating for the beef community. From social media basics, to conversation starters, the workshop focused on encouraging students to tell their beef stories in a transparent, sincere way.

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Twitter Party- On Tuesday, people were encouraged to take part in a Twitter party hosted by OCCW. The topic focused around common questions surrounding the beef community, such as what measures beef producer take to make sure their cattle are taken care of. Participants had the opportunity to win Eat Beef merchandise also.

#EatBeefWeek #EatBeef @OCCW_okstate

 

Interactive Beef Campus Event- Wednesday, stations were set up in a high-traffic area that encouraged engagement from students. Stations included focus areas about the value of beef in a healthy diet, what cattle eat, and beef trivia. Beef samples were also available to passersby. This activity was very successful in encouraging genuine and honest conversation about the modern beef community.

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Beef Taste Testing- Thursday, OCCW members had the opportunity to taste unique cuts of beef that are not as common in our area, such as the tri-tip roast. Those in attendance also gained valuable information about many beef cuts as well as tips that will help to improve their beef-eating experience.

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Farmland, The Movie Screening- Friday evening, Farmland, The Movie was screened at a centralized location on campus as a way to show a transparent representation of where our food comes from.

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Moral of the story: those involved in the beef community have an incredible story to tell and we want to share that story with you! Take every opportunity to learn more about your food sources. Research credible sources and ask those directly involved with your food production to learn from the true experts. Educating and learning is all about conversations. Don’t be afraid to have those conversations.

 

God bless, folks!

 

Kalyn McKibben

Blonde Beef Babe

4 Things A Rancher Has in Common With A Hat Maker

This past week my team mates and I had the opportunity to visit a very talented hatter while training in Colorado. While touring the hat-making facilities, I was incredibly amazed at how much effort is put into each aspect of making the perfect felt hat. As we walked through each detailed portion of the hat-making process, I couldn’t help but notice how closely, what seemed like, two completely different businesses mirrored each other in their main goals. When it comes down to it, both beef producers and hat makers have the main goal of customer satisfaction. Following, are four distinct details I found astoundingly similar in both professions.

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  1. Customer satisfaction is a main priority. 
    Just like hat makers, beef producers aim to please their customers. Remember, beef producers are also beef consumers. We want to make sure we are doing everything possible to ensure our supporters are getting the most out of their beef-eating experience.

These are examples of the countless crown styles customers have to choose from when designing a custom hat. Similarly, beef consumers get to choose their beef preferences.

 

  1. Things change but things stay the same.
    Technologies change, preferences change, and generations change. But at the end of the day, the goal of the beef producer and hat maker is to produce a high quality product in such a way that meets the demands of customers, while remaining true to their driving values.

The “newer” hat steamer pictured is from the 1940s. The machine replaced its early 1900s predecessor. Sometimes old doesn’t always mean ineffective.

 

  1. Everyone has unique taste preferences.
    People have the option to personalize their custom hat. They can request bonded edges, a unique color, a special ribbon, a specific crown style, a desired brim length, etc. Similarly, beef eaters have tons of options. Grass-fed, grain-finished, organic, natural, conventional, rare, medium, well, tenderloin, ribeye, brisket, and the options go on and on… and on. People have the opportunity to mix and match beef cuts, degrees of doneness and raising methods… Perfect!

    Pictured, the hat maker is inserting a personalized hat band. In the same way, consumers have the power to personalize their beef-eating experience.

  1. Presentation is key.
    People often develop opinions of something new very quickly. First impressions and presentation are critical. Just like showroom appearances, beef advocates need to be prepared to depict the most accurate, honest, positive story to consumers.

Be honest. Have integrity. Be positive.

 

 

God bless, folks!

 

Kalyn McKibben

Blonde Beef Babe 

What 150 Calorie Snacks Look Like

 

Life has a way of becoming stressful and busy. If you are like me, you may tend to turn to food in hopes to curb that stress. When those stressful times strike, be mindful that some snacks may offer more benefits than others.

One serving of beef jerky offers 31.5g of protein and only 1.5g fat. Following are examples of what 150 calories looks like for other snacks.

Beef Jerky 

1.5 ounces

1.5g Fat

31.5g Protein

 

 

 

 

Rolo Candies: Minis 

8.91 pieces

7g Fat

1.4g Protein

 

 

 

Skittles: Desserts 

36.5 candies

1.6g Fat

0g Protein

 

 

 

M&M Candies: Peanut 

11.36 pieces

6.7g Fat

2.3g Protein

 

 

 

 

 

Trolli Peachies 

7 pieces

0g Fat

2.3g Protein

 

 

 

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups: Original 

1.4 cups

9.1g Fat

3.5g Protein

 

 

 

Little Debbie Snack: Honey Bun 

.42 of a bun

8.4g Fat

1.7g Protein

 

 

 

Kit Kat Bars: Minis 

7.25 pieces

7.75g Fat

2g Protein

 

 

 

Little Debbie Snacks: Donut Sticks 

.83 of one

8.3g Fat

.83g Protein

 

 

 

Otis Spunkmeyer Muffin: Banana Nut 

.33 muffin

7.4g Fat

2g Protein

 

 

 

Slim Fast Meal Replacement Bar: Chocolate Almond 

.75 bar

6g Fat

7.5g Protein

 

 

 

Cheezits: Original 

27 crackers

8g Fat

3g Protein

 

 

 

Doritos: Nacho Cheese 

11 chips

8g Fat

2g Protein

 

 

 

Chex Mix Muddy Buddies: Peanut Butter and Chocolate 

20 crackers

5g Fat

2.5g Protein

 

 

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Smucker’s Uncrustable Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich 

.47 sandwiches

8g Fat

4.7g Protein

 

 

Moral of the story: when you reach for a snack, try to avoid empty calories that will encourage your stress instead of squash it. Consider BEEF as a healthier alternative that will help curb mindless snacking and help you manage your stressful lifestyle.

 

God bless, folks!

 

Kalyn McKibben

Blonde Beef Babe

7 Life-Lesson I have Learned From the Pros

It is no secret that I have a very special place in my heart for the older generations. It isn’t necessarily that my generation is completely uninteresting and boring, they just don’t seem to offer the same amount of common sense that those of our elders offer. Growing up raising cattle, I have met and worked with many seasoned cowmen. A better atmosphere for learning does not exist but inside a feed truck or a sorting pen.

Here are a few life lessons I have learned:

  • Speak kindly and leave the rest to God.

We have to realize that sometimes things are out of our hands. We are responsible for our own actions, not the actions of others.

 

  • Don’t judge folks by their relatives.

Even though I have been blessed with an incredible family, we all make mistakes at one time or another. It is important to remember that we are our are in charge of our own lives, and the lives of relatives do not always directly reflect that of ourselves.

 

  • Every path has a few puddles.

Puddles aren’t always bad. They just have a way of revealing what people are really made of.

 

  • Cows will eat just as well out of a $2,000 feed truck as they will out of a $50,000 feed truck.

Be a good steward and remember the things that really matter.

 

  • The best sermons are lived, not preached.

I am incredibly blessed to have the best role models in my life. Things like humility and integrity are most effectively demonstrated, not told.

 

  • Words that soak into your ears are whispered, not yelled.

Be someone who is slow to anger and who is always willing to thoughtfully instruct.

 

  • Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

And a little (or a lot) of help from above!

 

God bless, folks!

 

Kalyn McKibben

Blonde Beef Babe

 

My Run-In With The Reverse Pan Sear

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I have found that snow days are not as fun while at college as they are while at home. At home, I get to help feed cows and check babies. While at school, I am land locked with nothing fun to do. So, I decided to experiment with a new recipe. I have heard about reverse pan searing for steak and thought that this was a great opportunity to try it out.

What is reverse pan searing anyway?

Restaurants often sear steak to achieve an attractive browning effect and then place the steak in a low-temperature oven to make sure the inside is cooked. With the reverse pan sear, the steak starts in the oven and then finishes in a hot skillet. The result: a more evenly cooked steak. It is sometimes frustrating when you want a medium doneness but end up with well-done on the outside, then medium-well, and then medium in the center. With reverse pan searing, the entire piece of meat is the desired doneness, all the way through.

Campus provides a little bit different view than home: no cows.

*Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.

I used T-bone steaks for my experiment. You can use any cut. I just happened to have some home-grown T-bones on hand.

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I started with a basic salt and pepper rub. Nothing too fancy , just a nice seasoning base to encourage the natural deliciousness of the beef. I used two parts salt to every part pepper.

After cutting off the excess fat, I covered the steak with the salt and pepper mixture.

Since I didn’t have a rack on hand, I just placed the steak directly into a foil-covered cake pan. Then, I placed the steak in the oven. Since the steaks were pretty thick and still cold, I kept them in the oven for about 20 minutes. The thicker the piece of meat, the longer it is recommended to stay in the oven. The goal is for the meat to be about 125 degrees internally. The main idea is to start the cooking from the inside out without triggering a browning reaction. That is reserved for the skillet.

While the steak was in the oven, I decided to get more creative. I love butter. The REAL kind. The butter that is just made up of cream and salt. At restaurants, I always love when the steaks come with a special yummy dollop of butter. So I decided to make a garlic butter to fry the steaks in.

I mixed together half of a stick of softened butter (4 tablespoons), 2 diced garlic cloves and one teaspoon of garlic powder.

 

After mixed, I placed a dollop of the butter in a skillet to sear the steaks after the oven.

After twenty minutes in the oven, I placed the steaks into a hot skillet with the garlic butter. I fried the steak about three minutes on both sides. I would recommend using a meat thermometer to make sure you reach the desired doneness.

I served the T-bones with a dollop of garlic butter, sauteed Asian yellow squash, buttered broccoli and cheese and fresh avocado slices. Who said a person couldn’t enjoy beef and eat healthy on a college-kid budget?

 

My steak ended up being medium-well (150-155 degrees internal temperature). But the results were very uniform. The entire steak was medium-well, not just the very center.

 

One great thing about my snow day is that I had two very willing guinea pigs. My two close friends never turn down steak!

The verdict: I was very impressed by how evenly cooked the steak was. And the preparation was very easy. Even though I only had the bare necessities, I was able to create a tasty, flavorful, tender steak. The few extra minutes it took to make were worth the added flavor and consistency. When asked on a scale of one to ten of how likely the girls would choose to eat the reverse pan seared steak, the girls gave it a ten. Try it and let me know what you think! 

 

God bless folks!

Kalyn McKibben

Blonde Beef Babe

 

 

 

 

Why Beef Sustainability is So Hard

Sustainability is a big deal. Ranchers depend on natural resources to make a living, because in the end, that is what ranchers are: grass-salesmen. In addition to the environmental side of sustainability, there is another much more personal aspect.

The idea of sustainability is centered around the goal of making things better for the next generation; conserving natural resources, creating new, better management practices, preserving a culture, et cetera. As a fifth generation agriculture producer, it is sometimes assumed that I was born knowing the ropes- like I just hopped out of the womb knowing exactly how to manage cash inflows and outflows, when to plant certain feed crops and what to do when mama cows are having a hard time giving birth.

Even though I wasn’t born automatically knowing how to do everything that goes into running a ranch, I have had the opportunity to learn from the very best: my dad.

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My dad is responsible for every thing I know about cattle, and more. I am very blessed to have him as a role model.

 

Here are a few things that I have found to make beef sustainability challenging:

1. Times change.

Things have a way of changing. Diet fads change, celebrity relationship statuses change, and fashion trends change (thank goodness!). Agriculture is no different. In 1960, one farmer fed 25 people. Today, one farmer feeds more than 150 people world-wide. Food production has had to change over the years to accommodate for an exponentially expanding population.

2. Demand changes.

In 1998, the most requested Christmas gift was the Furby,  a creepy little owl-like furry robot. In contrast, the most requested Christmas items of 2014 were personal technology gadgets, such as tablets, smart phones and laptops. It is safe to say that demand changes over time.

Over the years, demand for beef has changed also. Early twentieth century consumers preferred a higher-fat content beef. Today, consumers prefer a leaner beef. Each new generation seems to bring with it new ideas and things they find important. Beef producers have to follow the demands of consumers in order to survive. Demand causes supply.

3. Technology changes.

The horse-driven plow used by my great, great grandfather has been replaced by progressive, precise production technologies. Staying on top of changing technologies is imperative to insure that ranchers and farmers are capable of meeting the ever-changing needs of societies.

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Learning what to do and not do can sometimes be a lengthy process, but it is worth every ounce of hard work in the end. Here’s Dad and I after working a set of cows at 2am, in 20 degree temperatures.

 

4.  Weather patterns change.

Drought stricken summers, blizzard blasted winters, soupy, soggy springs and blustery falls. Every season, every year, every decade brings with it weather challenges that producers have to over come. If producers do not find ways to get through the hard times, producers are sometimes forced to sell out of the business.

5. Motivation changes.

As with every profession, everything is not always roses and butterflies in beef production. There are hard times. Often, more hard times than great times. Producers are incredibly sensitive to externalities, unlike other businesses. Input prices can be high (and there are a lot of inputs!), markets can crash, weather can wipe out harvest and marketing plans, in addition to the tax exhausting hours can have in the home.

Despite passion, sometimes people get tired. Sometimes, people have a hard time getting back up after being knocked down countless times. Sometimes, people can no longer afford to do what they love to do. Ranchers are real people who face real, everyday challenges.

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Learning is a never-ending process. Sometimes we have to learn from failures. I am thankful to have such a wonderful mentor who allows me to fail sometimes in order to learn from my mistakes.

 

Moral of the story: Agriculture producers are forced to adapt to ever-changing conditions. Dealing with the every day challenges in a successful way will help ensure the sustainability of beef production for future generations. AKA, learn from those who have traveled the path before us!

 

God bless, folks!

 

Kalyn McKibben

Blonde Beef Babe

 

 

Putting the Heart in ‘I Heart Beef’

I hope every one enjoyed Valentine’s Day with your loved ones, or if you are like me, treated yourself to a whole bunch of delicious chocolate. I have some very exciting news: February is National Heart month! I do not know what is more exciting: a whole month dedicated to your heart or the fact that 8 cuts of lean beef have just been approved by the American Heart Association!

According to the Beef Checkoff, before the AHA can approve a food item, it must be evaluated against nutrition requirements based on sound science regarding food categories, nutrient values, healthy dietary recommendations, and specific product ingredients.

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So the 8 approved cuts include (drum roll, please…):

Click on the pictures to be taken to the featured recipes

• Extra Lean Ground Beef (96% lean, 4% fat)

Stuffed peppers are such a fun and colorful dinner! This is perfect when you have a little extra time and want something a little different.

 

• Bottom Round Steak (USDA Select grade)

bottom round recipe

These soft tacos are perfect when you are craving a lite and fresh meal. They take less than 30 minutes to prepare and they provide more than 30g of protein each!

 

• Sirloin Tip Steak (USDA Select grade)

In this stir fry, you can either use frozen or fresh veggies. Whatever you have time for!

 

• Top Sirloin Petite Roast, Boneless (USDA Select grade)

top sirloin petite roast

This cajun-inspired recipe is perfect for the grill, but can also be used in the oven. It looks incredible!

 

• Top Sirloin Strips (USDA Select grade)

sirloin steak marinade

Lemon juice, soy sauce, honey, liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce, and more! WOW! This marinade is incredible to use for all steaks, not just the top sirloin.

 

• Top Sirloin Filet (USDA Select grade)

If you don’t feel like making the barley risotto, the perfect combination of common spices still create a delicious taste profile.

 

• Top Sirloin Kabob (USDA Select grade)

kabob recipe

I love kabobs! If you don’t feel like grilling out, this recipe offers a broiling tip that will allow you to get the same delicious results.

 

• Top Sirloin Steak, Boneless, Center Cut (USDA Select grade)

ceaser steak salad

Sandwiches are always a nice change. In 20 minutes, you can have a yummy lunch. I love that this recipe uses non-creamy dressing instead of traditional Caesar dressing.

 

 

Fun fact: these eight cuts contain less cholesterol AND saturated fat than a boneless, skinless chicken thigh. How awesome is that? 

Remember: not only is eating beef incredibly delicious, but it also scientifically improves heart health. Who knew strengthening your heart could be so enjoyable?

 

God bless, folks!

 

Kalyn McKibben

Blonde Beef Babe

 

4 Major Reasons Why You Should Care About the 2015 Dietary Guidelines

Dietary guidelines are a set of government-recommended eating habits that are meant to help people enjoy healthy lives. The guidelines are updated every five years. The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee met December 15, 2014 to discuss the 2015 guideline draft. The committee is scheduled to publish the final draft of the guidelines in early spring 2015.

Recently, I had the opportunity to hear from Nina Teicholz, investigative journalist and author of the best selling book, The Big Fat Surprise. In the book, Nina, formally a vegetarian, addresses the importance played by lean meat in a healthy diet. Based on the 2015 guideline draft, lean red meat has been completely deleted from the dietary recommendations. You may be wondering the exact implications the rearrangement of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines could have on you. Here are few examples of why this decision is such a big deal.

1. Ever since the beginning of the government- recommended Dietary Guidelines in 1980, obesity has increased  almost exponentially. The guidelines have always focused more on carbohydrate-dense foods such as pasta, cereals, and whole grains, suggesting 6-11 servings per day. In contrast, the daily recommended intake of vegetables is 3-5 servings per day and 2-3 daily servings of meat and protein.

Dietary Guidelines

2. Even though the Dietary Guidelines are “recommendations”, public schools often apply the guidelines to their lunch programs. Imagine this already sparse school lunch without meat. Do you think that would provide badly needed nutrients to a child whose only meals come from the school?

school lunch

Growing up, I lived in a very low socioeconomic community. I knew of several kids who solely depended on the school for all and any of the food they ate.

3. All fat does not make you fat. Our bodies depend on healthy fats to metabolize essential fat-soluble A, D, E and K vitamins.

  • Vitamin A: aids in eyesight
  • Vitamin D: helps build strong bones
  • Vitamin E: aids in the formation of red blood cells
  • Vitamin K: blood clotting agent

fat soluable vitamins

4. Like mentioned above, current diet recommendations focus more toward high-carb, low-protein eating patterns. Not only is it difficult for our bodies to receive needed fats to metabolize certain vitamins without meat, it also makes it incredibly challenging for our bodies to function without abundant amounts of protein needed to make such things as DNA, enzymes and hormones. Studies have shown that high-carb, low-fat diets make it especially difficulty for people, particularly middle-aged women, to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

overwight moms

Because women’s metabolisms tend to slow as they age, our bodies struggle to break down the carbohydrates as efficiently, making it difficult to lose weight.

Remember: a single three ounce serving of beef provides an excellent source of protein, zinc, and vitamin B12! 

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#EatBeef

 

 

 

God bless, folks!

 

Kalyn McKibben

Blonde Beef Babe

#SuperBeef: More Than Just Meat

foot·ball ˈ(fo͝otˌbôl): noun, a form of team game played in North America with an oval ball on a field marked out as a gridiron.

 

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Football is often thought of as an American tradition. Whether it be the dream of a young child to someday be a Heisman Trophy recipient, a cookout to celebrate a Friday-night victory, or a Sunday afternoon watch party, football brings families together. In addition to the countless super duper yummy beef dishes enjoyed during football parties, footballs are made from leather; leather provided by cattle.

1. One cow hide produces about ten footballs. 120 footballs are used in the Super Bowl Championship football game.

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Think how different our entertainment arena would be without football! Just remember: cattle provide more than a delicious protein source. They provide many by-products that we use everyday, such as cosmetics, leather and tires.

 

2. Chili, burger sliders, sloppy joes, and mini burritos are quick and easy options for party nibblings. 

beef enchilada dip

How will you be incorporating beef into your Super Bowl entertaining? I will be making Beef Enchilada Dip. This recipe takes less than fifteen minutes and is very simple to put together when pressured for time. Find the recipe here!

 

3.151.6 million people are expected to watch a portion, if not all, of the Super Bowl XLIX Championship football game.

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That is a lot of families and close friends that may not have gotten to fellowship together without football. Thank you, cows!

 

4. The famous game will be broadcast in 232 different countries and territories.

Because the Super Bowl is enjoyed by so many around the world, beef plays a vital role in global entertainment and millions of pricesless memories made.

 

5. $400 million are added to the local economy because of this football game.

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In addition to beef exports, domestic beef sales and cattle by-product utilization, the indirect economic benefits supported by the beef community are awesome!

 

So, while you are enjoying the big game, don’t forget to thank the ranchers who help provide the main contributor to the sport of football. And remember, if it wasn’t for cattle our whole world of sports would not be the same.

P.S. Are you incorporating beef into your Super Bowl experience? If so, we want to know about it! Be sure to include #SuperBeef with all of your beef pictures, tweets and status updates.

God bless, folks!

Kalyn McKibben

Blonde Beef Babe

 

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/football

http://www.wilson.com/en-us/football/nfl/wilson-and-the-nfl/trivia/

http://www.treehugger.com/culture/by-the-numbers-super-bowl-facts-and-figures.html

 

3 Commonly Misunderstood Beef Management Practices

There are many practices within production agriculture that, if not entirely understood, can be easily misinterpreted. It first must be established that agriculture producers are dynamic managers of natural resources who depend on their livestock in order to provide for their families. Here are a few examples of management practices that beef producers often employ to care for their animals which are sometimes be misconstrued.

Castration  

Because most male calves are raised for beef, the calves are often castrated. Castration is the process of removing the reproductive organs of an animal, so that the animal is no longer capable of reproducing. By doing so, the animal no longer produces the level of testosterone and other hormones. These hormones can actually contribute to less tender, undesirable, meat. In the same way, because the animal does not devote as much energy to hormone production, the animal is able to use more nutrients to influence end product meat quality, such as marbling and tenderness. There are several different methods to castrate male calves. Depending on the age, weather conditions, and the individual condition of the calf, our operation uses either band or scalpel methods.  

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Producers do everything they can to minimize the stress put on their animals. Working quickly but skillfully is imperative.

 

Branding – As the saying goes, “Trust your neighbor but brand your cattle.” 

Branding is a form of permanent identification often used by beef producers to keep track of their cattle. Branding can either be done with dry ice, known as freeze branding, or with a direct heat source, known as hot-iron branding. The iron is held on the skin for about 3 seconds.  With live cattle prices being so high, cattle rustling is becoming more of an issue. Without permanent identification, there is no way to trace the stolen animals back to their rightful owners. A brand stays on the hide all the way to the harvest facility. So even after cattle are sold to the packer, criminals can be found based on evidence provided by the hides of cattle.

On our operation, traditional branding methods are used. We work as a team to vaccinate, brand and ear tag the calves so as to expose the calves to as short a period of stress as possible.

 

Dehorning 

Dehorning is the process of removing the horns of the animal so as to reduce the stress and wounds possibly inflicted to other animals. As with many management practices, there are several different methods to dehorn. For example: horns can be removed using dehorning pastes, surgical wire, scoop dehorners and many other ways depending on the age and individual circumstances of each calf.  Dehorning is done for the safety of the surrounding animals and the producers. Because cattle are habitual herd animals, horns can easily cause wounds and bruises that place unnecessary stress on those animals. Any stress caused by the dehorning process only lasts for a fraction of the time as compared to the stress that can be caused by constant beating and battering of calf playmates.

Dehorning methods are often implemented while the calf is very young so that the horn tissue is removed before the horn begin to grow.

 

 

God bless, folks!

 

Kalyn McKibben

Blonde Beef Babe