Archive for the ‘4-H’ Category

It’s Friday! I mean, seriously, were more beautiful words ever spoken? I think not.

Anyway, as is usually the case around here, Friday means it’s time for another edition of the Weekly Round Up. Here’s what’s on tap for this week:

  • You’re probably aware of my love for the Blue and Gold jacket. I was an FFA member all the way through high school and am not ashamed to say that it helped shape who I am today. Heck, it even helped me land on a career choice. Given that, it’s no surprise that I don’t take kindly to people who rail against it, like a PETA blogger this week, who said, “FFA is lame AF.” I was all piped up and ready to respond, when I saw something amazing happening: Rather than respond to the blog and effectively promote it just by sharing, FFA members and alumni across the U.S. started sharing their FFA memories, pictures and positive moments instead. Talk about powerful. Here’s my favorite post – be sure to check it out.
  • This, because you know I love a good play on words. And cheese. Sweet Dreams
  • This article, from the Huffington Post. We’ve covered Bill Nye’s (Bill! Bill! Bill! – you know you were singing it in your head) switch from anti-GMO to pro-GMO before, but this piece, from Dr. Robert T. Fraley at Monsanto, offers a different take on why he switched.
  • And, speaking of GMOs, this story which appeared on CBS Sunday Morning. If you have questions about GMOs, this story does an excellent job of presenting both sides of the story.
  • This video, from Steve Harvey. Yes, Steve Harvey. He’s a well-known comedian, but did you know he grew up on a farm, too? In a rare moment where he’s not cracking jokes, Harvey talks about what it meant to grow up on a farm, and what he learned from the experience. It’s beautiful.
  • This, because whether you’re a farmer, accountant, writer, office manager or kid, this is true. Always. New Start


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It’s time for another edition of the Weekly Round Up! We have a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get to it:

  • First up, this video, which features two Illinois Farm Bureau members. Try to ignore the fact that the lyrics’ syllables in the parody don’t exactly match the original lyrics’ syllables, and just enjoy the first part of the video where they introduce Stan, whose real name is Gerald, but had to call him Stan because nothing rhymes with Gerald.
  • Also, this article (and accompanying video) from CNN, which is really interesting. We actually use to have a couple of goats on my family’s dairy farm because they help keep some diseases away and I can personally verify that they do, in fact, eat almost anything.
  • This, because there’s nothing like the smell of harvest. And if you’re not familiar with the smell of harvest, may this just serve as a reminder to be safe on those rural roads if you happen to travel them. Farm implements move slowly and it takes only seconds to be right on their tails. Remember to share the road with farmers so everyone gets home safely!Harvest Season
  • This article (and accompanying video) from the HuffPost, which takes on chemicals in food. Check it out, it’s a couple of months old, but it’s definitely worth your time.
  • In case you didn’t know, it’s again time to celebrate National 4-H Week. Do you have a 4-Her at home? If not, get your kids signed up! To do so, contact your local county Extension office. National 4-H Week
  • Do you have a little girl at home who is IN LOVE with Disney’s Frozen? H is still a little too young to really get into Disney movies, but she loves the music. And, following in her Mama’s footsteps, H loves her horses, too. So it’s no surprise that she and I both love this video because, well, it’s just the best of everything, combining the music from Frozen and the horses we love. The video’s not new, but is recently experiencing a resurgence on social media. If you’ve got a little one who loves Frozen and horses, sit him/her down and watch. Heck, even if you don’t, give it a view. It’s good stuff. For more on the story behind the video, check, out this CNN article with rider, Laura Sumrall.
  • And finally, this, from the Washington Post. For years, the government has advised folks to stay away from whole milk. But have they been wrong all along?

And a bonus from one of my favorite farm mom bloggers, Emily Webel, over at Confessions of a Farm Wife. This one has nothing to do with farming and everything to do with being a mama. Check it out. And keep the tissues handy.

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It’s time for another edition of the Weekly Round Up. We’re covering some good stuff this week, so buckle up!

  • This article from Eating Well popped up in my newsfeed on Facebook earlier this week. I’m going to tackle it in a more in-depth post later next week, but wanted to toss it out there for your eyeballs this weekend. I have a lot of thoughts about this, but mostly, this: Despite the headline, it seems like, overall, a positive article. Am I crazy? In the descriptions of what foods are GM foods and why, it all makes a lot of sense to me and doesn’t really seem like a bad thing. But maybe that’s just because I’m a farm girl and get GMOs.
  • In honor of the 14th anniversary of Sept. 11 yesterday, this. National FFA and 4-H posted some awesome stories yesterday about how members of both organizations served in the aftermath of 9/11. Some pretty cool stuff right there. 4-H and 9-11
  • In the same vein, I had to post this because I just love this story so much. It has nothing to do with ag and everything to do with dogs. Awesome, awesome dogs.
  • This. Because you know I can’t help myself when faced with cheesy farm humor. Piiig
  • This editorial from the Daily Illini, which I found in Holly Spangler’s own version of a Weekly Round Up over at Prairie Farmer. I have to say, after reading it, I’m proud to have come through that journalism department…finally. One thing that I would add, however, is that Chicago plays a big role in Illinois agriculture, too. It’s home to food processing companies and the Chicago Stockyards. You don’t get more ag than that.
  • And finally, this blog post from Uptown Farms, which I just LOVE because I totally get it. I get snarky and condescending sometimes because I get so tired of having the same argument conversation over and over again. Ask any farmer and, if he (or she!) is being honest, he will probably admit to this.

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State Fair is behind us, Farm Progress Show is upon us and it’s time for another edition of the Weekly Round Up!

  • Illinois State Fair wrapped up last week and, you guys, it was seriously awesome! From an exhibitor’s standpoint, it was so great to see ag at the forefront of the fair again. For those of you who aren’t livestock exhibitors, I hope you enjoyed seeing livestock, ag products and ag in general front and center.
  • Did you know that Wednesday was National Dog Day? If not, give your pooch a smooch tonight. It’s not easy being man’s best friend. Especially when there’s a toddler involved, as my pup, Millie, can attest. National Dog Day
  • Check out this post from the Iowa Farm Bureau, written by their summer marketing and communications intern. This self-described ‘city girl’ talks about all the misconceptions she had when she stared working for the Iowa Farm Bureau, and what she learned while walking the halls — and farms. It’s an excellent read!
  • This, because it’s awesome. It speaks to me because, well, I was a farm kid. I realize, if you’re someone who didn’t grow up on a farm, it may not mean as much. But I do hope it conveys this to you: farm kids, and big farm kids (read: adults), too, love their animals. It’s our duty to protect not only our animals, but all animals, and will do anything to protect them, and the land on which they live. Farm Kids' Prayer
  • Check out this post from Dare to Cultivate. Author Lauren Schlothauer talks about the ‘rose colored glasses’ phenomenon as it relates to ag and, I have to say, I’m guilty of it, too. There, I said it. I’m owning up to it. Knowledgeable about ag or not, give it a read. It’s great. Plus, Mean Girl references. Yes.
  • This, from the Kansas Department of Agriculture. I love it because it’s pretty true of all farmers, not just the ones that reside in Kansas. Well, except for one thing. I can tell you my grandpa, the farmer, has yet to master the title of ‘Computer Operator.’Farmers
  • And finally, this from Emily Webel at Confessions of Farm Wife. If you’re not involved in ag, it might be hard to understand why it seems like so many of us ag peeps are flying off the handle all the time; as some might see it, overreacting when it comes to consumers’ concerns about food or agriculture issues. Well, it’s because we what we do. And, also because, we’re just tired of the of the crazy misinformation out there. Emily says it best when she says, “I refuse to feed the crazies.”

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It’s time for another edition of the Weekly Round Up!

  • Check out this article from Dairy Herd about a new ‘sports drink’ developed by a couple of dads looking for a way to help their kids after football practice. Pretty interesting stuff. And I like it because it features Jerseys. Obviously.
  • This, because it’s awesome. I mean, seriously, folks. Let’s work on this — myself included. Promote vs. bash
  • This post, from Fitness Reloaded, which I found super interesting. Author Maria Brilaki talks about her experience researching and writing about today’s common food myths. I particularly liked no. 10.
  • This. Because it’s OH. SO. TRUE. Choice
  • You know me – I love to brag about 4-H and FFA kids. I can’t help it. It’s so easy to do when articles like this one keep popping up in mainstream media. Keep up your awesomeness, guys. You restore my faith in humanity.
  • And this, from the House Committee on Agriculture:“The greatest thing since sliced bread.” Everyone has heard the phrase, but who actually invented sliced bread? The first automatically sliced commercial loaves were produced on July 6, 1928 in Chillicothe, Mo., using a machine invented by Otto Rohwedder, an Iowa-born, Missouri-based jeweler. The development of sliced bread was not without its challenges. A 1917 fire destroyed his prototype and bakers thought factory-sliced loaves would go stale faster or fall apart. However, the results were the opposite. Sliced bread became a hit in the United States, even as bakers continued to consider it a fad. Regardless, by 1930 sliced bread could be found in most towns across the country. Slided Bread
  • And finally, this, from Katie Pratt over at the Life and Times of an Illinois Farm Girl. Pretty good stuff featuring her little farm boy and back to school talks. Peaceful, and, well, I’m leaving to take H on a walk.

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Time for another Weekly Round Up, folks!

  • It’s no secret I hold youth programs like 4-H and FFA close to my heart, and this article is an excellent example of why I love them — and I why I think every kid, no matter where they live or what their interests are — can benefit from these great programs. Lily Wilson, who auctioned off the pig she was raising for 4-H to help a friend, exemplifies everything that is 4-H.
  • This. Any kid with livestock — of any kind (!) — will tell you this is true. Proof? I distinctly remember pulling my cow, Doreen, into showmanship at our national show in Louisville, making one spin around the ring, and her absolutely LOSING IT because she didn’t like billboards that made noise every time they changed screens. And yes, I smiled THE. ENTIRE. TIME. Showmanships
  • Speaking of youth organizations, this blog from Katie Pratt at Rural Route 2: The Life and Times of an Illinois Farm Girl. In Governor Rauner’s most recent draft budget, the Illinois Agricultural Education line item has been zeroed out. For more on what that means to more than 25,000 ag ed students across the state, check out Katie’s blog.
  • Oh man, if this isn’t true. Farmer
  •  If you’re on social media at all, you’ve probably encountered the Food Babe. You can probably guess what my feelings are toward her, but I’ll leave that out for now. Instead, ladies, take a look Elle’s article questioning the Food Babe’s methods and information. In fact, Food Babe Vani Hari has come under attack quite a bit this week, but I’ll let you search out those articles yourself…
  • And finally, this. Remember, folks, spring planting has started, or is just around the corner, which means it’s time to keep an eye out for farm machinery on the roads. Be safe this spring!Slow Down

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For Carrie Daly of Winnebago County, raising beef cattle have almost always been a way of life. So when she and her family decided transform their original feeding operation into a custom feeding operation, it was an easy transition.


“My dad always fed out beef cattle,” Carrie said. “In fact, he still has some stock cows that we calve out in the spring and we keep a few of those calves for replacement heifers. Even though dad used to feed out his own cattle, we decided to go the custom route because it was less risky financially than buying our own cattle.”

If you’re not exactly sure what that means, think of it this way: You’re in the market for a house. You fall in love with a fixer-upper and do some of the preliminary updating yourself, but rather than spending the time and money to do all the fixing and painting yourself, you hire a professional to finish it out for you. In a nutshell, that’s what clients hire Carrie and her family to do — feed out and market the cattle that we’re initially born on the clients’ farms.


And just like a carpenter or house painter, Carrie and her family have to make sure they’re up-to-date on the newest trends, procedures and industry information to ensure they’re providing their clients with the best end product.

“All of our pens are walked twice a day to make sure all the cattle are up and looking good,” Carrie said. “When we, or our hired man, walk the pens, we’re looking for lameness or sick animals. Plus, my husband and my dad are Beef Quality Assurance-certified. That taught us the best places to treat animals and where to give injections.”

Only when it’s required, Carrie and her family are sure to give injections to cattle behind the ear to ensure the meat isn’t tainted or even receives a lower grade after market. They keep detailed records to make sure any antibiotics given to animals to treat illnesses are out of their system before the animal goes to market. And they also use safe handling practices to ensure animals are calm and easy to work with.

“We work hard at being calm and quiet around the animals,” Carrie said. “When we do that, it doesn’t take long for them to get used to us working with them or being in the pens.”

What does all that mean for someone buying a pound of ground beef at the store? It means Carrie and her family worked hard to ensure the meat is safe, and the cow that made it was treated with respect.

“We definitely put the animals first,” Carrie said. “We work closely with a nutritionist from DeKalb Feeds to get weight on as efficiently as possible and we feed good quality products. We work really hard to keep the pens clean and all of our cattle have access to shelter and fresh air. We just work really hard to take the very vest care of the animals that we can.”

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Want to know more about Carrie, her husband, four seriously cute kids and their farm? Check out Carrie’s blog! And, don’t forget to check out all the awesome blogs happening this month over at Prairie Farmer.

For the full Faces Behind Your Food Series, check out the links below:

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