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

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

Labels Part II

Last week, I began discussing labels. As you continue reading the label of a package of beef, you might see words such as natural or organic. Most consumers (and even producers!) do not know the difference between the two.

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Most beef is natural, meaning that it does not contain any additives and is not more than minimally processed.

Certified organic beef must meet USDA’s national organic program standards. Organically raised cattle must be fed 100% organic feed, and they may not be given hormones to promote growth or antibiotics for any reason. Organic beef may be either grass or grain finished. Organically produced food does not differ in safety or nutrition from conventionally produced foods. The reason organically produced food is more expensive to purchase, is because this food is more expensive to produce.

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

According to USDA, natural means that a product is minimally processed and contains no additives. By this definition, most beef in the meat case is natural. Natural beef does differ from “naturally raised beef.” Naturally raised beef is from cattle raised without added hormones to promote growth or the use of antibiotics to prevent disease.

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No matter what kind of beef you choose, you can be confident that you are feeding your family a safe and savory product!

When it comes down to it, the type of beef your purchase for you and your family is a matter of personal preference. If purchasing beef that has been organically raised is important to you, then you are more than welcome to purchase that product. For more information on the beef choices available in today’s market, please click here.

Happy Meaty Monday!

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer

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 

Beef Connection in the World of Ag

Beef producers work countless hours to ensure they are up-to-date on current beef products and practices. Raising their herd of cattle is their livelihood and depends on the current education and seeking out of answers. Beef producers however do not focus just specifically on successful beef production; they are also continuously gaining knowledge about other agricultural realms.

This past week I had the opportunity to travel with the Collegiate Young Farmers Club from The Ohio State University to take a 5-day road trip to Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina to tour equipment production headquarters, southern plantations, and crop facility headquarters. At the end of the trip, I was very grateful that I, along with six other OSU students had the opportunity to gain more knowledge about different sectors of agriculture. Being a part of the beef industry and seeking out continuous education is important, but the world of agriculture is combined through many different pieces and parts.

One of my personal favorites was touring a tea plantation and learning about the tea making process, different equipment used to harvest, as well as the history. Although making tea does not directly correlate to beef production, production methods and innovation is directly compatible between tea production and beef production. As a tea plantation, it is most important to start the new cuttings, or seeds, off with the upmost care for production, which correlates to starting off a baby calf, making sure that it receives the appropriate nutrients and vitamins to grow healthy.

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The tea harvester ‘combine’- unique to only the production of tea.

Another educational part of the trip was the Phosphorous Mine. As an important part of growing crops all around the world for people and livestock alike, phosphorus is a needed nutrient. While at the mine we had the opportunity to learn about the mining process, as well as see the process in action while in the mine. Spending the morning at the mine learning about the process of mining and why phosphorus is so important to the world of agriculture proved to me the connection between phosphorus, crop production, and beef cattle. Without phosphorus being mined, crops would not yield a product and beef cattle would lack food and nutrients.

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Phosphorus Mine in North Carolina

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The phosphorus mining machine that scooped up the phosphorus ore

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The part of the mine that loads the phosphorus onto both train and barge.

Learning about the world of beef cattle and beef production as well as promotions and educations is important to me and something that I continue to strive for through learning. However, being a part of agriculture means more than just feeding my cattle, it means understanding the world of agriculture and how different aspects, systems, and other lines of production all correlate and work in conjunction with beef cattle and beef production.

Monsanto

As a final stop of the trip, we toured Monsanto company and had the opportunity to learn and ask our questions about biotechnology corn and soybeans as a grain for livestock, including beef cattle.

 

.Demi

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

Not all “Cows” are Cows

Terminology to a beef producer is important. As a young kid growing up on the farm, it was important for me to learn the terminology, as well as the difference between the beef animals that we had on our family farm. Not only is it important to learn and call the animals by the correct terminology and names, but educating our consumers about this terminology is necessary. Throughout the entirety of the beef chain, all beef animals have their purpose that coincides with their correct term, or name.

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A bull is an intact male. Bulls’ purpose is to provide semen in order to breed cows and produce offspring. Bulls produce semen starting at the age of ten months and produce until they are no longer able to provide a sufficient amount to use for breeding.

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A cow is a female mom. Once the female produces offspring she is called a cow. A cow also produces milk in her udder for her baby.

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A beef cows’ main job is to provide and care for her offspring until the farmer or rancher weans the baby-unlike a dairy cow that has a main purpose to provide milk for consumers, beef cows provide milk specifically for their offspring.

 

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A calf is a newborn baby. Both male and female babies are called a calf when they are first born.

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A steer is a castrated male. A steers’ main purpose is to produce meat. As an industry, we castrate and raise steers because bulls are very territorial. In comparison to a steer, bulls are also bigger and more massive in their front end rather than in the rump area. A steer is fed to market weight which is between 1200-1300 pounds which take approximately 18 to 24 months.

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A heifer is a female that is one year old. All females are called heifers until they produce offspring, but until they are one year old, we continue to call them a calf or a heifer calf. A heifer’s purpose is to grow until they are able to be breed at the age of one and produce offspring 9 months after conception.

 

It is important to understand that not all beef animals can be, or are, called a “cow” because that is not the correct name or terminology. It is important as a producer and consumer alike to understand the difference in beef animal terminology, as well as the difference in production between the beef animals.

Beef, Barns, and Babies!
~Demi~

 

 

 

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.
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Leaky water tanks can even  be salvaged with the billboards!

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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.

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The tire bales are made of tires that are no longer usable.

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

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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!

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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.
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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

Community Service and Cattle{wo)men

 

 

Not only are cattlewomen and cattlemen very active within the agriculture community, they are also known for their roles in local communities.

45 heavy-duty trash bags, 5 hours and a rain shower later, we accomplished our mission!

 

 

This weekend, a massive community service event was hosted by my university. Fellow cattlewomen students and myself had the opportunity to reach out to needy members of the community.

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Our assigned community member was Mrs. Bobby. Because of a severe stroke years prior, she was unable to keep up with her once beautiful flower gardens.

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We spent the morning raking leaves, cleaning gutters, pulling weeds and conversing with a local community member. The elderly women depended on the help of others to help her clean up every year.

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In the end, Mrs. Bobby said that in all the years she had been involved in the project, she had never been so impressed with the work ethic of the volunteers and the end result of the project.

 

 

Moral of the story: Beef producers are active in helping others and being involved in their local communities. Not only are many producers involved, but they often go above and beyond expectations. Producers know the difference between a job-well-done and a job-half-done. We do all we can to make a positive impact in our communities.

God bless, folks!

Kalyn McKibben

Blonde Beef Babe