A Year in Review

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20 senior competitors traveled to Denver, Colorado in hopes of earning one of the five spots as National Beef Ambassador. Five people representing five different states brought together for their passion and love as beef-met as strangers and will leave as friends!

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The power of a brand, loyalty to customers and the qualifications for grading CAB beef were all valuable lessons during our first trip as a National Beef Ambassador Team.

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Genetics are key to the breeding of beef producers. Fore front thinking done on behalf of businesses such as Select Sires, there is the ability to continue producing quality, safe, wholesome, and nutritious beef.

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Educating a variety of individuals at the Pennsylvania Farm Show proved to be enlightening and engaging. The beef industry is proud to use food byproducts such as distiller grains and chocolate meal as a part of a total mixed ration for cattle.

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Sizzling Hot San Antonia and the NCBA Convention was a week long educational adventure. Learning from some of the top notch beef industry men and women, experiencing the trade show, and being able to share some of knowledge about the beef industry showcased our time in Texas-where everything is bigger and better!

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A part of the New York City Half Marathon with the Pennsylvania and New York Beef Councils, I learned how busy and health conscious New York City residents are and was able to promote lean beef to the area runners as a great recover protein.

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While in Denver, Colorado, we were able to tour one of the largest feedlot companies and packing plants owned by JBS and Five Rivers Feedlots. The efficiency and timing of every worker in the JBS harvesting facility was down to the minute, and yet so amazing to think the abundance of meat that this plant harvests, packs, and ships in a single day so that consumers around the world can eat.

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Greely, Colorado is home to Greely Hat Works. This company sells cowboy hats all around the world and bases their business off of customer loyalty and trust-a similar theme to producers in the beef industry.

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Through a grant awarded to the National Beef Ambassador Program, we had the privilege to attend the Spring Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. Here we were able to meet key players in the beef industry allowing us to network and learn from them, as well as spend a day on Capitol Hill with our individual state representatives to discuss important beef industry issues.

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Cooking demonstrations were a big component of the Nashville cooking show. Here teammate Will and I prepare a fresh twist to a summer salad called Sugar Snap Pea and Sirloin Salad which included a lean cut of beef, barley rather than lettuce, and lemon peel for an added flavor. As a part of the Nashville Cooking Show, there were also interactive, hands-on stations that helped consumers better understand how to freeze beef, cut beef, season beef, and take the temperature of beef.

 

All in all this past year serving as a National Beef Ambassador has been filled with learning experiences, exciting travels, binding with individuals from various parts of the United States, and making memories that will last for a life time. Thank you to all those individuals who helped to make this past year a success!

For those contestants gearing up to travel to Denver next week, have fun! Meeting people from different backgrounds and learning about the beef industry from other advocates is a once in a lifetime opportunity. So above all the nerves, smile and showcase your inner personality, because it’s what makes YOU shine!

-Above all else, Beef It’s What’s For Dinner!

Demi

 

 

 

Three Lessons Being a National Ambassador Taught Me

Throughout this past year serving as a National Ambassador, there have been many lessons learned and themes that we have focused on as a team within all of our exciting travels. As I begin to reflect on this passing experience, there are three main lessons that really stick out to me as having learned and grown through as an individual during the duration of representing Ohio as a National Beef Ambassador. Reflecting on these three components of the year, I realize that although in just two short weeks my title of National Beef Ambassador will no longer be, however I will carry the lessons learned, the friendships made, and the memories gained for a lifetime!

  1. Think Ahead– An effective leader is one who has the ability to continuously think and plan ahead. This proved to be beneficial most importantly when dealing with school and travels coinciding. It was important as a college student to let my professors know the prestige of being a National Beef Ambassador, as well as what this role entitled, but also think ahead to the assignments and tests I would be missing. I quickly learned that being able to address a situation before it occurred help to prevent stress, which also allowed me to enjoy my plane rides, trips, and still succeed at school.

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    This past year taught me to step outside of my comfort zone, try new things, speak with new people, and most importantly make memories and live with a smile.

  2. Listen– I was unique to the National Beef Ambassador team this year as I was the only one of the five representing individuals east of the Mississippi. Roaming cattle, abundance of feedlots, and using horses to move herds were all new concepts to me within the beef industry. I learned that throughout these trips however, everyone had something different to learn and benefit from, but the best way to learn is to simply listen. Throughout the trips out west into Denver and San Antonio, I was able to tour ranches much larger in capacity compared to my farm at home, but I also was able to share my own experiences and knowledge with teammates and fellow beef industry representatives that expressed curiosity in how central Ohio raises beef cattle. Through listening I learned that after all, we are all in the beef industry working towards a common goal!

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    Visiting JBS Packing Plant and Five Rivers Fedlot was an eye opening experience for me. It was evident by this trip that in all levels of the beef lifecycle the number one priority of farmers and ranchers is to produce a safe, wholesome, and nutritious product on four feet and on the table.

  3. Friendships matter– No matter the distance between home towns, a friend is someone whom you know will be there when you need them. You do not have to talk every day to be considered best friends. Approximately one year ago 20 nervous contestants met for the first time in Denver, Colorado in hopes of being allowed the honor and privilege to travel the United States promoting the beef industry. From the hours spent waiting in airports, late night conversations in hotel rooms, taxi rides around Nashville, and most importantly sharing our love of beef and the beef industry, I can now call my teammates my best friends!

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    When five people are brought together under the same common interest of having a passion for educating and promoting others about beef and the beef industry, there is no telling the impact they will make!

~Demi~

A Special Bond

A mother’s love is endless, strong, and always giving. A mother’s love does not go unnoticed and should not be shared and celebrated just one day out of the year specifically on Mother’s Day. I want to take the time today to honor and thank my mother for all that she does, her endless support, and over powering love. No matter the time of day, she is always there for me and can always seem to give the right advice to stop the tears or make my smile bigger.

My mom understands the value of hard work. She always put her family, especially my brother and my needs before her own. She never goes to sleep until a task is complete and she also understands the value, and has instilled it on me to never give up, always to power through a challenge or task. This is very evident in her during fair season when she was always out in the barn with me helping me with projects and is the first and last one to leave the fair at nights.

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The county fair is my families “vacation.” Just like my mom, I love to spend the days in the barns talking with old friends, and there is nothing better than stepping into the show ring with an animal you have spent all summer working with!

My mom is always my biggest supporter. She has been there for me throughout all of my activities and watched me achieve and fall short of some of my goals and dreams, but through every step of the way she has been there to cheer me on. Throughout my four years of high school sports, she never missed a cross country or track meet, making sure she was standing somewhere along the sidelines cheering the loudest.

My mom realizes finding the value in positive aspects of all circumstances. Through the years I have participated in school, sports, and shown cattle, I have come to realize I am my hardest competitor. I put more pressure on myself to do well and achieve things than both of my parents do, teachers, or coaches ever have. I am also the person that seems to beat myself up the most, get frustrated and discouraged when something does not go the way I anticipated. My mom has always informed me that through all disappointments and adversities, there is a positive. She has encouraged me to find that positive and focus on it rather than all the negatives from a situation.

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A flashback to my mom and I when I was only a few months old. By the look on her face, I can see instant love and support.

My mom is also my best friend. I have learned over the years as I have gotten older that the bond between a mother and daughter is inseparable. I feel so honored and lucky to have been blessed with a mother whom I want to share special memories with; go shopping, work with the show cattle, plant flowers, call on the phone every day to talk to…all of these special parts and pieces to a relationship that allow me to cherish the bond we share and the conversations we have.

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An annual trip to get flowers and go shopping; I always make sure to have someone snap a picture with us so I will always be able to have these memories. A day filled with stories, laughter, and irreplaceable mother-daughter bonding.

 

To my mom who is also my best friend: thank you for always being here for me, for giving me that shoulder to cry on and for being the person that shares my joy and laughter. Thank you for taking a million pictures throughout all of my activities so I will always have those memories documented, thank you for being my biggest supporter in and out of the show ring, at track meets, sharing twelve years of dance with me, and cheering on the cross country course. I am beyond grateful for the relationship we share and the memories we have created!

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~Demi~

 

Happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day everyone! I always think Labor Day marks the official end of summer. Labor Day is a good day to kick back and spend time with friends and family. Most years, my family and I would load up and head to the mountains. The weekend would be spent with family and friends at a remote cabin in the mountains. It was a nice mini vacation from the work of the farm before school started for my brother, mother, and I.

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The view wasn’t bad either!

At the cabin, we played countless board games, hiked for miles, and enjoyed everyone’s company. One thing was always the center of our pilgrimages to the cabin-the food! Each family that went would take turns cooking meals for everyone. Since the cabin lacked the amenities of indoor plumbing or electricity, cooking was always interesting. Grilling was always popular on Labor Day. vote

I love grilling, I think it really brings out the robust flavor profile of beef. Beef It’s What’s For Dinner has some great resources for cooking beef any way you could think of. Check out their grilling page for tips, tricks, and recipes to make any barbecue a success! My personal favorite meal on the grill is kabobs. I really love using the vegetables that are in season to pair with beef. Here’s a recipe for kabobs to kick off your Labor Day weekend:

Beef, Pepper, & Mushroom Kabobs

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INGREDIENTS:
1 pound beef Top Sirloin Steak boneless, cut 1-inch thick
1 large green, red or yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-1/4-inch pieces
12 large mushrooms
1 package (6.0 ounces) long grain and wild rice blend
1/4 teaspoon salt

SEASONING:
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/4 teaspoon pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Trim fat from beef steak; cut into 1-1/4-inch pieces. In large bowl, whisk together seasoning ingredients; add beef, bell pepper and mushrooms, tossing to coat. Alternately thread pieces of beef, bell pepper and mushrooms on each of four 12-inch metal skewers.
  2. Prepare rice according to package directions; keep warm.
  3. Meanwhile place kabobs on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill kabobs, covered, 8 to 11 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 9 to 11 minutes) for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally; season with salt. Serve kabobs with rice.

Happy Meaty Monday!

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer

The Value of an Internship

For many kids of all ages, the start of school has proceeded them or is just around the corner. Starting today, I am enjoying my last week of summer vacation; catching some sun doing outdoor projects and working with the show heifers before the county fair.

As a part of the requirements of many majors in college, summer internships fill the days of summer. Yesterday, I completed my first agricultural communication internship with the Ohio Beef Council. To say the very least, it was a very beneficial and rewarding experience. Looking back, I learned valuable tools and lessons that will help me and I continue through my senior year of schooling, as well as begin to look for a career within my field of interest.

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Ohio is a ‘two-hat’ state so our cattlemen’s and beef council office is under one roof. However my summer internship allowed me to be the public relations intern for the Ohio Beef Council.

I was lucky enough to obtain an internship within a sector of agriculture I am very passionate about. Taking an internship throughout ones time in school is very beneficial and provides great value. Throughout my internship I was able to better a handful of my skills such as photography, design work, and social media writing, all of which are big parts of my major.

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Learning to picture cattle and capture an array of sights during farm visits was a new and useful part of my summer internship.

I was also able to take this time during the summer to find the value in listening and watching others throughout the beef council office do their work. I learned that there is value is details. Sometimes as students we tend to focus on the bigger picture and forget the small details throughout a project or task that can allow us to excel and exceed in more ways. By listening and being given tasks that were new to me, I learned how to focus on the details of the task.

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As a part of the Ohio State Fair, I was invited on behalf of the beef council to partner with my boss to give a beef cooking demonstration on stage. This is a great way to teach and interact with fair goers who wanted to learn a quick and easy 30-minute or less meal with beef.

I also learned the value in asking questions. There is never a question that is too dumb to ask because by asking questions I learned more.

The lessons and skills one learns throughout internships will always be a part of who they are and will be carried with them throughout the remainder of their professional career. Internships teach you the value of learning, questioning, listening, and details. Not every day of the internship may be packed full of fun task, but I learned that every given task is important and is what helps me as an individual climb the ladder to success.

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As a part of promotions and educations about the beef industry, all ages of consumers are talked to. It is important prior to attending an event to know whom the audience will be and center the beef messages around their questions. Most importantly, I learned to LISTEN to what consumers were asking me before I answered a question.

I challenge all college students to find value in taking an internship and learning along the way. You are never too old to learn or ask questions and there is value in listening and learning from others about an area or sector of an industry you may be passionate in.

 

-Demi-

 

Show stock Lessons

When I was in 4-H, my parents always told me that showing livestock was a family affair. Although the animals were my project, working together as a family and receiving help from my parents throughout the summer show season was important.

While I was at the Ohio State Fair these past two weeks, I took a second to stop and look around at the families working together. I truly believe in the saying, “those that work together stay together.” Showing cattle was always more to me than just winning a purple ribbon or shiny trophy. Showing livestock teaches lifelong values and characteristics to the youth that they will always live by. Now that I am out of 4-H and have the chance to stand back and watch the up and coming generation of showman, I cannot help but reflect on the lessons showing livestock taught me, as well as watch these characteristics showcase in other youth.

  1. Hard work- the countless hours, days and night that are put forth to care for our livestock are unmeasurable. Eight a.m. show days come early in the morning when move in to the fair was finished up at midnight. Showing livestock teaches youth how to work hard with their project for success.

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    Showing beef cattle requires youth to spend time in the barn washing and drying their animal. Patience, time, and practice are three motivational goals learned through working hard.

  2. Dedication- showing livestock requires dedication to not only feed and water the animals every day, but also work with and clean them daily. Livestock youth are dedicated to the well-being of their animals all hours of the day, in all types of weather.

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    Spending the time with ones project is important to teach it how to walk, set up, and get use to a change in surroundings. Youth must be dedicated to work with their project multiple days a week to get it ‘show ready.’

  3. Manners- Working together as a family taught me that “please” and “thank-you” go a long way. Although some days can be more stressful than others or the days that parents seem to be doing everything backwards from planned, being a part of the show stock industry teaches youth to thank their parents, siblings, other youth, 4-H and FFA advisors, and the judge for their help and hard work.
  4. Tears- Everyone always has the hope of walking out of the show ring being the champion, but like so many things, there can only be one winner. Showing livestock teaches youth how to win with dignity and loose with grace. More times than not tears have been shed because an animal misbehaved or I wanted to place higher in a class than I did, but through the tears, I learned to be grateful for what I did have and shake the hand of the winner.
  5. Love- showing livestock is about loving what you do and doing it because you love it. My last two years in 4-H, I found my happy place in the barn washing and blow-drying my projects. Spending so much time with the same animal allows you to learn their personality and become best friends. Showing livestock teaches you to not only love your animals, but love your family for being there with you every step of the way.

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    Spending so much time with an animal throughout all weather conditions and throughout the highs and lows of every show allows you to become best friends. Learning the personality of your show animals and connecting with them in and outside of the ring can bring so much joy and happiness to youths’ life.

I could never express how truly grateful I am to have been given the opportunity to grow up on a farm and show livestock for numerous years. When I look back and reflect on the entirety of the years, the ribbons and banners won mean a lot, but the valuable lessons through experiences are treasures that have helped shape me into who I am today. I hope that as I begin to help the next generation of youth, as well as watch the youth working together with family and friends, they find value in the lessons showing their livestock will give, as I did throughout my years as a show stock kid.

Show cattle and smiles!
~Demi~

Stop, Watch, and Listen

When it comes to being a part of the beef industry, there are multiple facets that one can be a part of; the beef producer, the advocate, and the shower. Most youth would agree that the best part of showing cattle is not the colorful rope halters or show sticks, the daily washing and blow drying, or the sparkles on the jeans as a part of the wardrobe, (although all fun pieces of showing) but the facet of showing the animal that so much time and dedication is put in to. There is no better feeling than walking into the ring and having your steer or heifer behave and do everything you have practiced at home; and taking home a ribbon, trophy, or banner always adds an extra sparkle and rewarding memory to the experience. However, there is more to beef cattle than just showing. One must take the time to watch and listen to effectively learn and improve upon their skills and tactics.

bling

Sparkles, fancy boots, and added color are just fun extras of showing cattle, the real fun is showing off the daily hard work once you walk into the show ring.

This past week and upcoming week are filled with days spent at the Ohio State Fair working a putt putt course that helps to give scholarships to college students, as well as watching beef cattle shows and talking to fair goers and youth about the beef industry.

As I walked into senior showmanship the other morning, I could not help but notice the array of younger kids standing ringside or sitting in the bleachers watching their older peers and the judge as they battled for the top showman position. I have learned throughout my years of showing that you can learn just as much outside the ring than you can standing in it.

From the point of view of looking at the situation of each individual showman from an outward appearance, you have the ability to watch others and nitpick on their showmanship tactics and skills and learn what you yourself should do or try to help make your show animal look better for the judge. By standing or sitting back, you also have the ability to see multiple showers and animals and watch and compare, as well as learn what the particular judge judging the show likes and does not like. It is important as you watch, listen, take notes, and learn to keep open perspective of how others show. All animals entering the show ring have different personalities and were raised in different environments, and the same goes for the showers. Some showman learned different tactics than others and while watching a show it is most important to simply study how other showman work around the space in the ring and keep their animal calm to show their best to the judge.

heifer in chute

Youth of the beef industry taking the time to attend a show clinic to learn some tips and tricks prior to showing their animals.

Taking the time to watch, at whatever age of shower, parent, or spectator you might be, allows you to BE THE JUDGE. This is one of the most important parts of watching a show. You have the ability to watch the same show as the judge and formulate your own reasons and opinions for placing the way you choose, and by doing this you learn what is most important to you while showing and then as a shower yourself you can start implementing that piece. It is also important to really take the time to listen to the judges’ reasons for placing the way he did because you learn what he is and is not looking for in the showers.

little girl

Youth of all ages can engage in shows and learn from watching others and listening to the judge give reasons for his placements. Taking the time to stop, watch, and listen can really pay off in the end!

The best way to learn is to watch and listen multiple times, as well as learn to be the judge yourself. It is amazing how much one can learn by taking the time to step away from the halter and take the time to stand ringside.

 

Happy Tuesday!

Demi

 

Why I am Crazy About Cattle

When you are overwhelmingly passionate about something it can sometimes be difficult to translate that passion into words. Here is my attempt to articulate my passion.
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My passion for the beef community started when I took my first breath. Growing up on a multi-generation ranch, work was not an option. Even before I could walk, I was riding in the feed truck with my dad. Jobs started at a young age, because we needed the help. Regardless of the size of the job, each was critical to the success of our family business.
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God gave me something very special when He gave me my passion. I am who I am today because of my involvement in the beef community. From caring for sick cattle, I learned compassion. From working alongside my relatives, I gained unbreakable bonds with my family. From watching my father work, I learned how to learn. From watching cattle die, I learned what death is. From taking instruction, I learned how to listen. From making mistakes on the ranch, I learned the importance of constructive criticism. From watching my father in business deals, I learned integrity. From old ranchers, I learned the importance of a firm handshake and confident eye contact. From persevering through the rough times, I gained character. From pulling baby calves in the middle of the night, I learned dedication.  From being surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of creation, I learned how big God is. All the good and bad times – they have helped cultivate me into who I am today.
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It breaks my heart to walk the halls with seniors in college who have absolutely no idea what they want to do in life. They wake up in the morning feeling complacent with no direction and no motivation, and go to sleep feeling hopeless and lost. I wish I knew how to gift or teach these people passion. I wish I could give them something that would spark in them a flame, something that would get them out of bed in the mornings, something that the very thought of not taking action would make them unbearably uncomfortable, but I can’t instill that. Each person must find that individually.
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I had every intention of giving you three simple bullet points about why I love beef, but my passion goes much deeper than a few bleak sentences; rather it is tied to every fiber of my being. So for me to put it into words is for me to truly reflect my innermost motivations.
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Moral of the Story: Yes, I consider myself very blessed to have an overwhelming passion for the beef community that motivates me to work very hard to make a positive difference every day. But whether you are passionate about helping people, organizing files, working with technology, or anything, find what gets you out of bed in the morning.

God bless, folks!

 

Kalyn McKibben

Blonde Beef Babe

 

Fighting for Freedom: Beef Edition

I hope everyone has recovered from a fun weekend of colorful fireworks, yummy hamburgers and family get-togethers. Independence Day is a wonderful reminder of the freedoms we enjoy as Americans, such as the right to bear arms, freedom of speech and freedom of religion. To maintain these freedoms, we are challenged to defend them.  In the same way, beef producers are faced with the challenge of defending their way of life every day.

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When it comes to our food supply, our desire for information is insatiable. As consumers, we want to know that our steak was happy and healthy when it was alive. No one understands the importance of that better than the beef producers themselves.

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Now more than ever, we are demanding transparency from agriculture producers. If those who produce the safe, wholesome and nutritious beef our families enjoy do not speak up, people who have no understanding of the business or animal welfare aspects of their operations will speak up for them. Producers cannot afford for their words or production practices to be misconstrued in anyway.

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There are many voices in the conversation about meat and food production. Our challenge as consumers is to tune out the “white noise “, or uneducated chatter, created by people who do not understand the logistics and fundamentals of beef production and animal welfare. To accomplish this requires us to research. Our fast-paced, constantly-connected society is guilty of being gullible. Our easily-convinced, drama-seeking nature is aligned to follow the societal norm, even when the information is false.

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Moral of the story: The beef producer’s number one concern is their cattle. Ranchers have a responsibility to do what reflects the best for the well-being of their animals. And in order to achieve that, they must maintain their freedom to produce healthy cattle.

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In order to meet the demand for transparency and protect their freedom to produce safe, wholesome and nutritious beef, producers must also do everything possible to tell their story. With the same token, consumers have the responsibility to research beyond the tabloid headlines and discover the truth about their food. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask! 🙂

#MeetYourMeat

 

God bless, folks!

Kalyn McKibben

Blonde Beef Babe

 

Lessons From the Passenger Seat of the Feedtruck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am blessed with the very best father and role model anyone could ask for. He is compassionate, dedicated, and doesn’t even know what a “day off” means. Dad and I share a very special bond. Growing up as Little Lyndon, I have always wanted to be just like my daddy.

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Because of the millions of hours (okay, maybe not that many, but a whole lot) spent alongside my dad on a horse and in a feed truck, I have learned countless vital life lessons!

  1.  Respect your elders. If we have visitors on the ranch, you always offer them the front seat and you still get the gate. It is just one of the unwritten rules of respect.

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  2. Details matter. If there is supposed to be 101 cows in a pasture and you only count 100 cows, you better believe that we will not give up our search until the stray is found. Attention to detail is vital when animals depend on you to provide for them.   

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  3.  Lessons in listening. Whether it is a pause in conversation to listen to the 860AM market report at 12:00PM or to be briefed on the days plans, listening is imperative to ensure things run smoothly.

    This picture was taken around 1AM after we had finished processing a set of mama cows. Dad sure is a hard worker!

  4. Lessons in learning. Sometimes I just wonder if my generation was absent on the day in school when they taught us how to learn. Sometimes you just have to learn by example. I cannot tell of the many times I have depended on what I’ve learned by watching my dad. From roping cows, to tagging baby calves, I am a product of learning from seeing Dad do.

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  5.  Be flexible. Goodness knows plans have a way of changing instantaneously in production agriculture! Cows are out, a neighbor needs help gathering cattle, the weather acts up- any number of reasons- you have to learn to adjust and make things all work. 

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  6. Invest in people. There is just something about ranchers that makes them love talking to other farmers and ranchers. Friends, family members, neighbors, complete strangers- whomever it may be- my dad has taught me the value in investing in people. The dividends are much greater than the alternative!

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  7.  Focus. Whether you are checking for sickness in the herd or traveling about from pasture to pasture, focus is vital to ensure you do your job well and are effective.

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Moral of the story: I believe I am blessed with the World’s Greatest Dad! He has taught me more life lessons than I could ever say. He has encouraged and helped mold my strong passion for the beef community. I am who I am today, largely because of his influence in my life.Don’t forget to show your dad how much you care.  I love you, Dad!

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God bless, folks!

 

Kalyn McKibben

Blonde Beef Babe