Life Lessons from Dad

This upcoming Sunday is a day that we will honor our fathers for the courageous acts they have fulfilled, the lessons they have taught us as their children, and most importantly the love they have provided throughout every year of our lives growing up. I feel very lucky and honored to have been blessed with such a wonderful dad; the head of the household, the partner to my mother for 27 years, and most importantly a man that has taught me countless lessons throughout the numerous activities including cattle shows, cross country and track meets, driving the tractors, becoming a college student, and learning how to stand for my values. In honor of the man that I have always looked up to as my “Prince” and the man that has taught me valuable life lessons, I wanted to share a few of them with my readers today.

1. Hard work is the foundation to success

Spud

Showing cattle has always been a big passion of mine, but without the Sundays putting the fan cage up in the barn or the weeknights having my dad act as the showmanship judge helping me practice before the fair, I would not have enjoyed, nor had the success I have had showing. This picture showcases a favorite memory of mine the year before I was in 4-H. My dad left work to watch me show my brothers dairy beef feeder “Spud” in peewee showmanship. He always told me that if I wanted to do well showing and prove to myself that I could do something I had to put in the dedication and hard work prior to the event.

2. In order to do your best in something you have to enjoy yourself or it isn’t worth it

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As a collegiate runner my freshman year in college, my dad was my biggest supporter and ‘sideline coach’. Running was something that we bonded over ever since I started competing in 5th grade. There were many weekends that we spent running workouts together on the track in high school and my freshman year in college. As a collegiate runner, there were some meets that I remember getting down on myself because I did not compete the best that I had hoped I would. I always remember a part of the ‘pep talks’ he gave to me before a race including “you have a gift and a talent to run and if you do not enjoy yourself while competing than the activity is not worth it anymore.” He always made me realize that you have to enjoy life because we only get to live one.

3. Make the most of every situation because there is always something to learn

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After finishing a cross country or track race I would always find my dad to recap the race and talk about what I should do better for the next competition. The end of both my junior and senior year of track however I broke my foot and was beyond disappointed I could not compete to the best of my ability in the conference and distract meets. In all situations, both the good and the bad, my dad tells me to look for the positive because God has a reason. From the two times breaking my foot I remember dad telling me to be grateful I will come off of this injury stronger and be able to still walk, run, and compete because not everyone has that ability.

4. Winners never quit and quitters never win

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Showing livestock is the basis of this quote. Showman know the joys of winning and how hard it is to accept defeat. My dad has always been a firm believer in never quitting something I have started. He always reminded me that whether I won or lost in the show ring, on the cross country course, or on the track, I must congratulate my competitors and offer a “job well done”.

5. Everything happens for a reason

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I am so grateful for the relationship my dad and I have. He has taught me countless lessons and reminded me to always have a smile on my face. Growing up running and showing cattle were my two main activities and through both of them he gave countless hours of support and guidance and continues to remind me to trust in The Lords plan because he has a reason for the paths we walk on.

I wanted to use this blog to not only honor my dad, but allow others to possibly learn from the lessons he has taught me throughout different events in my life. To all the fathers, Happy Father’ Day and to my wonderful, loving dad, thank you for all you have done and I Love You!

~Demi~

 

Baby Calves: A Picture Blog

 

 

In my mind, few things are cuter than baby calves! Calving season is by far one of my favorite times on the ranch, despite the often increased work load. Here are a few of my captured favorites!

 

“Peek-a-boo”

“What’re you lookin’ at?

“Bashful Baby”

“Dinner Time!”

“I know I am small, but I am mighty, I’ll have you know.”

“Are You My Mother?”

 

“That’s the spot!”

“The Staring Game”

 

I hope you enjoyed these!

God bless, folks!

 

Kalyn McKibben

Blonde Beef Babe

Beef YOUR Way!

One of the coolest things about beef is the abundance of options! Another amazing thing is that we as consumers get to take advantage of those options. We all have our preferences. It is just a matter of making sure we are aware of recommend tips so that we can enjoy our preferences in the comfort of your own homes.

 

Here are a few of the many options we have when eating beef:

 

  • Cut – Whether you prefer tenderloin, brisket, round roast, tri-tip, flat- iron, or a burger, you have endless opportunities to find your favorite flavor and personal  preference when eating beef!
    cuts of beef
  • Degree of Doneness – The degree to which a steak is prepared greatly affects the flavor. Some may prefer rare and others may prefer well done. To ensure you achieve your personal preference, meat thermometers are life savers when it comes to getting the most out of your beef eating experience at home.

doneness chart

  • Raising Method – Grass-fed and grain-finished beef both have very distinct flavors. Even though there is very little nutritional difference between the two options, consumers have yet another level of variety to determine their favorite. Whether the beef is natural, organic or conventional, it is important to remember that all beef is nutritious and delicious.

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  • Seasoning – There are endless opportunities when it comes to enhancing beefy flavors. If you are looking to liven up your beef, you can get creative with your own mixture of spices! You can put Asian, Mediterranean, Mexican, Italian, and countless other spins on traditional rubs and marinades.

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  • Cooking Method – Some cuts of beef reap more desirable results when prepared in specific ways. For instance, more tender cuts like those from the loin are better suited for dry-heat cooking methods such as grilling and searing. Similarly, tougher cuts such as roasts are better suited for moist-heat cooking methods such as braising and stewing. Making sure that the cut is prepared properly can ensure a better beef eating experience!

cooking methods

  • Marbling – Marbling is the fat flecks within the meat that influence the degree of tenderness, juiciness and flavor of the meat. If you enjoy more juicy beef, you may prefer a higher quality grade (Prime or high Choice), but if you prefer more lean beef, a lower quality grade (lower Choice or Select) may be your preference.

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Moral of the story: Just like every single person is unique, every person’s beef preference is unique. It is just a matter of figuring out your favorite way to enjoy beef’s incredible flavor. No matter what your preference is, all beef options offer essential nutrients that our bodies need in order to operate perfectly. For more tips on how you can enjoy beef, visit www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com!

 

God bless, folks!

 

Kalyn McKibben

Blonde Beef Babe

Educating for the Future

Educating kids is one of my greatest passions, and when you can educate them about beef – well, that just makes it all the more special!  From mentoring 4-H projects to going in the classroom, you can certainly count me in!  Did you know that the last real interaction and learning experience most people have with agriculture is in First or Second grade?

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When I went back to Arizona this past month, I organized a Beef Demo Day, in which we had the Sonoita-Elgin Elementary students come to our “Ranch” and learn about cattle.  Grades K-6 were alive with energy and very excited to get to see and touch real, live cattle.  I organized 5 different stations that covered a variety of topics about beef.

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Dressing up as a “Calf”

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At the first station, students talked about how cows are different from kids.  Long tails to swat flies, rough tongues for grabbing grass, and thick hides to protect them from the elements were some of the differences noted.

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The next stations talked in depth about the aspects of showing cattle and the duties of a cowboy or cowgirl and their horse on a cattle ranch!

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Finally, students were able to touch different feedstuffs and learn about why we feed cattle those things before making their own “Cow Chow Snack” to eat.

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Mackenzie Kimbro – AZ Beef Ambassador, Carolyn Wemlinger – Nogales River Cowbelles, Sam Donaldson – Area Rancher Extraordinaire, Tiffany Selchow – Arizona Beef Council, Alicia Smith – National Beef Ambassador, Pat Evans – Elgin-Sonoita Cowbelles

Of course, none of this would have been possible without some amazing, and passionate, volunteers!  A huge thanks to them for sharing my love of beef and making sure we educate our future!

From the Heart of Beef,

Alicia

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.

momo showing

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~

 

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 

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

The Show Ring

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

From the Heart of Beef,

Alicia