It’s time for another edition of the Weekly Round Up. We have a lot of ground to cover, so buckle up and enjoy the ride.

  • Check out this awesome video about Concrete Cowboys, kids in Philadelphia who ride horses in the heart of the city.
  • If you’ve visited Standing Out in the Field before, you might remember me telling you about my own farm background, and the hard-working farm womenmost importantly my mom — I’m privileged to know. Well, direct from Illinois Farmer Today, here are some more pretty extraordinary farm women who are blazing the agricultural trail. Check it out.  All-States-Womeninag%20(1)
  • This, because cheese is awesome. Cheese
  • This blog post, from Illinois Farm Families, which talks about steps farm families take to ensure they’re raising animals responsibly. It’s a great read if you have questions about how food animals are raised and cared for.
  • This, because it’s almost Easter and I can’t think of anything more Easter-y than this cute picture of a calf and a chick. Bonus points because it’s a Jersey calf.calf
  • Last week, I mentioned the proposed cuts to the ag education line item. This time, the Chicago Tribune is taking on the Governor’s proposed cuts. It’s a great story, but I’m really sharing it because it features a school I really love – Chicago High School for Ag Sciences. If nothing else, read it to learn more about CHSAS.

It’s time for another edition of the Weekly Round Up, so grab a snack and a drink, settle in on the couch and get ready for some of the week’s best stories, videos and memes!

  • Remember me telling you about a little girl who sustained injuries from a house fire? Reese has dairy cattle and I know (well, know of, more like) her parents because of my years in show ring. Anyway, two years ago, Reese and her sister, Brinkley, were staying at their grandparents’ house when a fire broke out. Her sister and grandfather were okay, but Reese and her grandmother suffered pretty extensive injuries, with Reese bearing the brunt. Well, finally, after nearly 700 days in the hospital, Reese is going home! Check out the story in Bullvine (a dairy mag) and keep the Kleenexes handy.
  • This, which is so awesome, I’m sharing it again. Because I can’t remember if I’ve already shared it once.  FB_IMG_1454818465099
  • If you live in the Midwest, you’ve no doubt seen auger wagon, combines, tractors and planters moving slowly down the road. But, do you have any idea how much that very necessary equipment costs farmers? Illinois Corn Growers gave an excellent breakdown of the Heavy Cost of Machinery on their blog, Corn Corps. Check it out.
  • This, because, obviously. It was 72 degrees two days ago. Today, it has barely broken 40 degrees. And there’s snow in the forecast for the weekend. FB_IMG_1456014244576
  • If you’re not an Illinois resident, you may be unaware of the budget situation with which we’re currently dealing. The situation is this: We don’t have a budget and we probably won’t have one for quite some time. We’re now approaching one full year without the governor and legislature working together enough to get a budget in place. All of that political wrangling means that bills are going unpaid and state programs are being affected. The latest to hit the chopping block was the agriculture education line item, when the governor decided to zero out the funding in early March. To learn more about how this will affect students, check out these stories from WEEK and Prairie Farmer.
  • This, which I obviously love. And yes, I can say, ‘yes’ to everything on this list. It’s a badge of honor. 12794340_10208972861066778_8754308815924586604_n
  • And finally, this story from Forbes, about the USDA’s Certified Organic label. I’ve talked quite a bit about conventionally-raised vs. organic foods and how marketing plays a big role in the way both are perceived by consumers. This piece goes a bit deeper and it’s excellent.

It’s Ag Day, you guys!

Beginning in 1973, the Agriculture Council of America (ACA), an organization uniquely composed of leaders in the agriculture, food and fiber communities, decided it was time to increase the public awareness of agriculture’s vital role in our society.

Thus, Ag Day was born!

And you know the best part about Ag Day? All of the awesome information floating around Facebook for the world to see!

It’s good stuff, you guys.

And you know what’s better than memes? The amount of farmers – either through their personal Facebook pages, or through advocacy pages they’ve created – who are spending their Ag Day like they would any other day: Talking to their friends and followers about what they do and why they do it.

And that’s even better. Here are some of my favorites, so be sure to check them out:

  • Ontario dairy farmer, Farmer Tim, who brilliantly uses awesomely funny puns to talk all things dairy.
  • Beef farmer, Debbie Lyons-Blythe, who blogs about raising cattle and kids on her page, Kids, Cows and Grass.
  • Photographer Erin Ehnle, who adds awesome ag information to her already gorgeous photos (the meme in the upper right corner above is hers!) on her page, Keeping it Real: Through the Lens of a Farm Girl.
  • Rita Vander Kooi, author of So She Married a Farmer, who beautifully mixes real-life happenings on the farm into stories about family and faith.
  • Illinois-gal Emily Webel, who uses her awesome humor to put all things ag into an interesting perspective on her page, Confessions of a Farm Wife. If you’re a mom, you’ll certainly be able to connect with her all-too-real musings on time management (is there such a thing?) with kids and all the crazy things that can happen along the way.


Happy Sunday, all! Coming to you this weekend a little late because I’ve been doing the horse thing all weekend and hanging out at the Illinois Horse Fair.

But, as they say, better late than never! Let’s get it started…

  • First, take a look at this story from CNN. It’s all about dairy farmers, immigration and the presidential election. And yes, those things are all connected.
  • This, which is totally awesome. FB_IMG_1456888262647
  • These two stores, from WEEK and Prairie Farmer, which talk about what potential cuts could mean to local and statewide agriculture programs. If you haven’t heard, the governor has proposed to zero-out the ag ed line item again. And, if you’ve spent more than five seconds here, you know it’s a move that makes me uncomfortable.
  • This, because it’s true. No two farms
  • This, from Fox 2 out of St. Louis, because I know these people! I grew up showing cattle with the Marcoot sisters and have many fond memories of Illinois State Fairs and junior barn shenanigans. Now, instead of showing, the girls and their folks have transformed their family dairy into a cheese-making venture – and it’s AWESOME! Their story is a great example of how farmers are diversifying to stay relevant in an increasingly difficult economy.
  • This, because it’s true, regardless of your background. You never look good...
  • And finally, this blog post, from my new favorite blog, Rural Gone Urban. Author Brooke grew up on a farm, but is now a city dweller, and her perspective as a now-city dweller is an excellent one. Plus, she’s super funny. Seriously, check it out!


…and farmer, too!


Short and sweet today, guys. I just wanted to make sure you saw this article on bon appetite, which includes some pretty awesome pictures and trivia about former U.S. Presidents who were also farmers.

Check it out!

It’s time for another edition of the Weekly Round Up! Here’s what’s on the docket for this week:

  • Ever wonder what happens to milk after it leave the farm and before it gets to your refrigerator? Well, if you do, take a look at the this Michigan State University article to get all of your questions answered. It covers all steps — and hopefully all of your questions!
  • And speaking of milk… Whats in milk
  • This article, from BEEF Magazine, which talks about Wendy’s stance on antibiotic use in food animals. Of note, this statement from Dennis Hecker, senior vice president of quality assurance for Wendy’s: “At Wendy’s, we have an opportunity and a desire to care for our customers and employees while also promoting the health and welfare of the animals that provide our food. Our goal is to work with our supply partners to refine, reduce, and replace antibiotic therapy through their judicious use and by exploring animal management practices that do not rely on medically important antibiotics to increase production yields.” They sure have a different take on handling the situation than other fast food chains (I’m lookin’ at you, Subway.).
  • This, because you may need to know it for a game of trivia at some point. Tractors
  • And this post, from Holly Spangler, which is oh so moving and beautiful. Farmer or not, you’ll find meaning in this.


So, you know how I love dairy cows? Wait, sorry, that was a stupid question. If you’ve spent more than three seconds here, you probably know that.

Anyway, it’s my love for all things dairy that drew my attention to this article in Forbes Magazine.

Okay, it was actually the article’s headline, Big Agriculture Gets Its Sh*t Together, which really sparked my interest. Then I saw cows and, well, I was a goner.

Despite the snarky title, which, let’s be honest, I love, the article is a treasure trove of information about how today’s dairy farmers are working to make their farms more sustainable with fewer resources.

If you’re curious at all about how big — and I mean BIG — farms operate, this article is for you.

The focus of the article is Fair Oaks Dairy, located in northwest Indiana. Fair Oaks is one of the largest dairy farms in the country, housing around 36,000 cows.

With that many animals in one spot — not to mention their hog operation — there’s bound to be some poop. And the way that Fair Oaks deals with manure is on the cutting edge of farm technology.

They’re turning their manure into an energy source for the farm, reducing their environmental footprint and greenhouse gas emissions.

To top it off, the dairy itself is open to the public for viewing, tours and questions.

How cool is that? Looks like they really did get their sh–well, stuff, together.