Happy Beef Month!

May is beef month! In honor of beef month, I am going to share the top 5 reasons to eat beef:

  1. 97 percent of beef cattle farms and ranches are family-owned and operated. The same product these family farms and ranches produce is the same product that goes on their dinner plate at the end of the day.

    We are

    Agriculture is a family affair.

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

    Nutritious

    You only need 3-ounces of beef to receive all of these nutrients.

  3. Beef is versatile! The only limitation on what you can do with beef is your imagination. Try a new cooking method! Have you ever had beef for breakfast? Give it a shot!

    Beef...it's not just for dinner anymore.

    Beef…it’s not just for dinner anymore.

  4. Beef is delicious! Did you know beef is a natural source of the umami flavor? The umami taste is described as meaty, savory and delicious and, when paired with other umami rich foods, the two will have a magnifying effect on each other and produce 8x more flavor! Bacon, aged cheeses, tomatoes or mushrooms are great options to pair with beef.

    Rich

    You can find the recipe for Ribeye Steaks with Sautéed Grape Tomatoes And Brie here

  5. Open space and pastures, managed by farmers and ranchers, provides habitats for 75 percent of America’s wildlife.

     I did not want to disturb the nest, so I did not insert anything for scale. The eggs were about the size of a quarter. Pretty tiny for a great big world!

    Here’s a nest I found in a pasture last summer. Wildlife thrive thanks to farmers and ranchers!

Happy Meaty Monday!

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer

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.

JBS

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

Shelter

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!

Yay

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.
babe

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

Grazing Cattle: Helping the Environment

Cattle not only produce a nutrient-dense protein by converting forages humans cannot consume and producing beef products  that they can, but they also help protect and enhance the environment and animals within the environment. Approximately 85 percent of the United States grazing lands are unsuitable for growing and producing crops. Grazing cattle on this land more than doubles the area that can be used to produce food.

In southern Ohio, there are rolling hills and mountains that make it unable to plant and harvest crops, so as a result, farmers graze their cattle on hillsides. To utilize the land that cannot be used to produce crops on, it is beneficial to utilize it in other ways such as grazing cattle. Planting grasses and grazing cattle on rolling lands also help prevent soil erosion.

cows, hill, hay

Planting grasses and grazing cattle on hills helps to prevent hillside erosion.

 

Maintaining open space for cattle grazing in pastures allows lands to remain natural, free of debris, invasive species and plants.

cow on a hill

Farmers and ranchers are able to utilize hills unsuited for growing crops to graze their cattle.

 

Grazing cattle on grassy pastures benefit plant life. Open grasslands are generally dominated by invasive or non-native grasses and herbs. When left unmanaged, the vegetation of the invasive species tends to overpower the needed nutrients and water in the soil. Grazing livestock controls the growth of these invasive species which allows desirable grasses and herbs to grow and co-generate in pasture lands.

The introduction and maintenance of wild animals and habitats as homes for endangered species and ground nesting birds is protected through cattle grazing. The increase in diversity of species benefits from the vegetation management performed by livestock.

cow eating weed

Cattle herds maintain invasive species by eating as well as walking and laying on the invasive plants.

Grazing cattle on pasture lands also control weeds and prevents residue build-up on pasture land so it does not turn into hot and dangerous fires. Farmers and ranchers properly manage livestock grazing in order to reduce fire hazards by controlling the amount of distribution of grasses and other potential fuels.

Beef cattle can be called ‘dual-purpose’ animals. Not only are they able to take grasses and forages humans are unable to eat and produce a nutrient-rich protein we can consume, they also help maintain a healthy and productive environment. Cattle are utilized on lands unsuited for crop growth to help prevent erosion, wildlife and invasive species, and wildfires. At the end of the day, farmers and ranchers utilize their cattle herds as environmentalists and therefore are stewards of the land.

 

~Demi~

It’s a Family Thing

Agriculture has always been a big part of my life. Growing up on a farm is a very unique experience, and I would not have changed it for the world. There are many aspects of agriculture that makes it so different than other businesses. One element that is different is the prevalence of family. In fact, 97 percent of beef farms or ranches are family-owned. 54 percent of these farms and ranches have been in the same family for three generations or more!

My brother, Garrett, is also very passionate about agriculte.

My brother, Garrett, shares the passion for agriculture as well.

I am pleased to say that my brother has returned to be the next generation on our operation. The dedication he shows to continuing the legacy is astonishing to me. In addition, one of our extended cousins and his family recently moved from Las Vegas to Wyoming to be a part of the farm. You can read about their adventures here. It can be tough to work together as a family sometimes, and here are the biggest things I personally have learned from working with my family:

    • Everyone is good at something: My brother can rally people together to work towards a common goal like you wouldn’t believe! My mom is great at keeping things in perspective. My dad is a master problem solver. Everyone brings something to the table, and everyone has different strengths and weaknesses.
    • Keep your cool: It is very easy to want to snap at one another when working together (especially with the family dynamic). In order to keep your relationships in good standing (both family and work), it is important to be patient with one another.
    • Stay humble: We are all working together. It is important to stay humble (especially if you have been placed in charge of a project!). It is much easier to work with one another if everyone is courteous to each other. Never refuse to do a job because it is “below you.”

      Master planner

      Never be “too good” for any job (even opening the gate!).

    • Keep the end goal in mind: It can be difficult to work with each other sometimes. Situations can get tense, but it is crucial to always remember that everyone is working toward a common goal.
    • Be true to your word: If you say you are going to do something, then do it! We all rely on one another, and trust is critical.

      Hungry animals depend

      This is especially crucial when hungry animals depend on you doing your job.

    • Always try your best: Murphy’s Law (everything that can go wrong will go wrong) always seems to catch up with us! Just because you are having an off day does not mean that you are a failure! It just means that you should dust yourself off and try even harder.
    • Be flexible: It is important not to get too upset when things do not go your way. So much of agriculture is outside of our control (cows can get out, machinery can break down, or hail could demolish a crop) that it is better to just go with the flow. For example, it never fails that machinery breaks down in the middle of harvest. Typically, we need the problem fixed as soon as possible. However, sometimes things are out of our control and we can’t even get the parts in for a few days. It is important to be flexible, because sometimes the situation is simply out of your hands.

      Sometimes bad things happen

      Sometimes bad days just happen.

    • It is okay to take a moment for yourself: I am always taken aback by how beautiful the land is. I am especially reminded of it when I am alone doing work in a pasture. It is okay to take a few moments and just take it all in every now and again.

  • Stick together: We have each other to lean on. Sometimes when it feels like everything is going wrong, family is always there to make things better.

At the end of the day, it is important to remember that we are all family. I wouldn’t trade the experiences I have had working with family for anything.

Happy Meaty Monday!

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer

Checking Cows

Rain or shine, snow or sleet, our animals depend upon us to ensure all of their needs are met. First thing every day we check our cattle. There are a number of things we are looking for when we do this:

  • That they are there! This is a constant concern with animals. Even if your fences are in perfect condition, a number of things could happen that could cause it to go down during the night (wildlife going through a fence, fence posts breaking, gates left open). We want our cattle to stay in because they are safe in the pasture.

    It is

    Happy cows!

  • Is there enough fresh water? In the winter, this means we break the ice so the cattle can drink water. We always provide ample water to the cattle, no matter what time of year it is.

    Ample fresh water is always available to our cows!

    Plenty of fresh water is always available to our cows!

  • Look for injured/sick animals. We check for sick or injured animals in order to fix the problem as soon as possible. We assess the animals and determine if there is any need treatment and what kind of treatment they may need.

    It's important to look at every animal in the herd.

    It’s important to look at every animal in the herd.

  • Is there plenty of salt and mineral available to the cattle? Salt, calcium, and phosphorous are some of the minerals that we provide to our cattle. We supplement them to ensure they are receiving adequate nutrition in their diet.
  • Is the fence in an acceptable condition? Fences need constant monitoring to make sure they are still in the proper condition to do their job.

    Keeping cattle in is very important to keep them safe.

    Keeping cattle in is very important to keep them safe.

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer

The Benefit of Trees

Every spring, we plant thousands of trees on our farm. We have many reasons for doing this:

The plastic tarp helps give the trees a better shot at growing, because they don't have to compete with grass and weeds for nutrients and space.

The plastic tarp helps give the trees a better shot at growing, because they don’t have to compete with grass and weeds for nutrients and space.

  1. Trees provide excellent habitat for wildlife. Biodiversity is preserved on the land because of the wildlife.
  2. Trees help improve the land by controlling erosion in the soil on the slopes of hills. Trees are just one of the many erosion control methods we utilize to maintain and improve our land. We also incorporate terraces, grazing techniques, and cover crops to mention a few of the other ways we prevent erosion.

    As you can see, the only trees in my area are the ones we planted. Our climate is not conducive to a large number of trees, so we cherish the ones we do have.

    As you can see, the only trees in my area are the ones we planted. Our climate is not conducive to a large number of trees, so we cherish the ones we do have.

  3. Trees also catch snow and keep it from blowing around (I am from windy Wyoming, and this can be a problem!). Once the snow has been “caught” by the tree, it can melt and provide precious moisture to the land.

    You can see the snow drift to the left of the tree compared to the amount of snow caught by the rest of the pasture

    You can see the snow drift to the left of the tree compared to the amount of snow caught by the rest of the pasture

  4. Once a grove of trees have matured, they can be used as a windbreak to provide some shelter for our livestock when they are on pasture. The prairie can be a harsh place, and trees help to stop the wind and protect the cattle from the elements. It should be noted that when a storm is coming, we take the precautions to move our animals to a location with adequate shelter for the conditions.
  5. Trees enhance the landscape, and provide natural beauty to the landscape.

    Beauty

    Sometimes you have to admire how beautiful nature can be.

  6. They convert carbon dioxide into the oxygen we breathe! If that’s not a good reason to plant trees, I do not know what is!

This is just one of the many conservation efforts farmers and ranchers incorporate every day to enhance the land. For more information on beef sustainability, visit: http://factsaboutbeef.com/

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer

More than “Just Beef”

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I was lucky enough to go home and spend time with family. My family includes some four legged friends, such as the horses. I managed to sneak in some time to go riding. Kernel and I were off.

IMG_6171

But first…let me take a horse selfie! This is my buddy, Mr. Kernel

I am at peace when I am on my horse, miles away from the closest person. There is something about being able to completely disconnect from the world and unwind in the great outdoors. I was out riding the fences, to ensure they are in good condition to keep our cattle safely in the pasture and off of the road. You never know what you might find on a ride. During our ride, we found three eagles, a herd of antelope, three mule deer, several rabbits, and an assortment of birds. This truly is one of my favorite parts of being able to spend time on the land is seeing all of the wildlife.

Both cattle and the wildlife can thrive off of the same land. This weekend, when I saw all of the wildlife they were just across the fence from some of our mother cows who were grazing peacefully with their calves. The pastureland provides feed and habitat for all sorts of animals.

These trees have all been planted by my family within my lifetime. It is exciting to see how huge they are growing!

These trees have all been planted by my family within my lifetime. It is exciting to see how huge they are growing!

These animals are a great reminder as to why it is critical that we take care of our land, and ensure we leave it in better condition than we found it. I come from the part of the country where trees are scarce to say the least. Every year, my family and I plant trees on our land to provide habitat for wildlife. This summer when I was out planting trees, I found a little reminder as to why it is so important to take care of the land. This is a turtle dove nest that I found below one of the trees. Life as a prairie bird is rough! The prairie does not provide much to shelter the nests for theses delicate eggs. It was really exciting to see the birds actually using the trees to keep their nests hidden.

 I did not want to disturb the nest, so I did not insert anything for scale. The eggs were about the size of a quarter. Pretty tiny for a great big world!

I did not want to disturb the nest, so I did not insert anything for scale. The eggs were about the size of a quarter. Pretty tiny for a great big world!

In the winter, our slithery friends are not out and about, which makes me very happy. Even though I am not a fan of snakes, they play an important role in the ecosystem. I am not a fan of the rattlesnakes that tend to inhabit this area!

A friendly garter snake I found this summer

A friendly garter snake I found this summer

In the end, farmers and ranchers produce much more than just beef. In fact, open space—primarily managed by cattlemen—provides habitat for 75% of America’s wildlife. Just about every time I am outside working, I see wildlife. It is exciting to see on a firsthand basis how we really do share this space with these wild animals.

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer