4th of July Cattle Facts

The average American eats 65 pounds of beef each year

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Cattle can detect smells up to 5 miles away

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One cowhide can produce enough leather to make 20 footballs, 18 soccer balls, 18 volleyballs, 12 basketballs, or 144 baseballs

cattle breeds

There are around 60 different beef breeds present in the United States-pictures is a Belted Galloway

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The U.S. supplies 25% of the world’s beef with just 10% of the world’s cattle

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There are 207 bones in a cows body

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The average cow has more than 40,000 jaw movements per day

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The United States produces approximately 26.0 billion pounds of beef each year

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99% of the beef animal is used when processed

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40 billion hamburgers are sold in the United States every year

 

Have a happy 4th of July!

-Demi-

 

 

 

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

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

Celebrate Dairy Month

Last month we celebrated beef month and are grateful for beef cattle being the single largest segment of American agriculture. As the month of June is now ahead of us, we celebrate dairy month and are thankful for this industry being a part of the beef industry too! It is estimated that up to 20 percent of all beef in the United States comes from dairy animals and as both the dairy and beef industry, we are proud to work together as cattle producers.

June is Dairy Month NBAP

No matter the livestock production segment that a producer may be a part of, at the end of the day, both beef producers and dairy producers are working together to produce a safe, wholesome, and nutritious product that they, along with consumers, can enjoy.

Many dairy farms are primarily dairy producers, but they understand that they are just as much a part of beef production as they are the dairy industry. Although milk would account for most of the dairy farms income, bull calves and market cows make a difference. Bull calves on dairy farms can be sold to another farmer at one to three weeks of age where they are raised and fed out as dairy beef steers. In addition to the bull calves, after a cow is no longer able to profitability produce milk, she is sold as a market cow for beef as well.

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Today we honor our dairy herds, who work hard to be a part of the dairy industry, but also a part of the beef industry!

Veal production is also a part of both the dairy and beef industries combined. Veal is the meat of young cattle, in contrast to the beef from older cattle. Veal can be produced from a calf of both sexes and any breed, however most veal is produced from male calves of the dairy industry.

From both the beef and dairy side of production, survival would not be possible without the consumer. It is the job of producers of beef and dairy herds alike to work on behalf of the industry producing a safe, wholesome, healthy, and nutritious product, on four feet and on the table. As dairy month continues, we want to thank both our dairy and beef producers for the countless hours of dedication and hard work they put forth to raise a product we all enjoy.

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Male calves of the dairy and beef industry alike are raised so we as consumers can enjoy a delicious and nutritious juicy steak

 

Happy Tuesday!

Demi

#truthTuesday

An ongoing conversation within the beef industry regards to hormone usage in the beef animal. There has been a graphic circling around social media that I wanted to share with you today for #truthTuesday.

As consumers we often hear that beef is not safe to eat because it is “loaded with hormones.” This chart allows us to see and understand the levels of grams that are in other foods we eat daily, as well as a steak. Some perspective can be found showing the levels of hormones in beef, in nanograms, which is 1 billionth of a gram. Hormones are naturally occurring in the body, and this chart shows the final level of hormones in these products, ready to eat.

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From within conversations had on facts about beef, feed additives can be added in small amounts at specific times in the cattle’s’ lives to help them make the most of the food they eat resulting in more lean muscle instead of fat. It is important to understand that all feed additives, also called beta-agonists or growth hormones are reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prior to use to ensure that the product is deemed safe for the animal, the environment, and ultimately humans.

As individuals, eating a balanced diet including all food groups is important. I choose to share this chart simply for perspective for all of us as consumers because I view it as eye opening and it is my hope that you do as well.

 

-Demi-

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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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 

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

 

 

 

 

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