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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Buzzards fly, they don't ski!

I'm going skiing over New Year's Eve with the Ninja's fam.  I'm petrified.  Buzzards don't ski, they fly -- eeek! Although I have all the needed equipment - ski pants, heavy coat, stocking cap, wool socks, gloves - I'm afraid I will be a bit lacking in the coordination required.  I have tons of balance (I was a cheerleader after all) but am not so much a winter sports fanatic.

Also, the rest of the Ninja's family is extremely adept at skiing.  All the kids learned when they were about six or under - meaning I'm at a lower skill level than the twelve year old (love you Hunter).  Anyways, just wanted to request some prayers - think of me December 29-January 2.  I will more than likely be tumbling down a mountain most of the time and will probably come back covered in bruises. 

I love the holidays :)

Until next time,
~Buzzard~

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

USDA comes through with an e. coli vaccine.....it's about time

A vaccine for e. coli??!?!? That's right -- the USDA Agricultural Research Station announced Thursday that two forms of a vaccine for the deadly bacteria have been developed and are currently obtaining patents.

In studies testing the two vaccines, 3 month old Holstein cattle were administered one of the forms of the vaccine or a placebo. Six weeks later they were injected with a strain of the bacteria and for the next 18 days manure samples were taken to evaluate e. coli amounts. Cattle that received either form of the bacteria had either significant decreases in the amount of bacteria shed through manure or had no traces of the bacteria.

This vaccine is very important to the beef industry considering all the recent beef recalls due to e. coli contamination. For several years no federal organization, FDA or USDA, would take responsibility for developing a vaccine. Once one was developed, Canada jumped right on board and started utilizing it. I'm thrilled that the United States can now start preventing such a deadly bacteria from entering the food supply.

For more information on the e. coli bacteria, click here to read the entire news release about the development of the vaccine.

Until next time,
~Buzzard~

Monday, December 21, 2009

Global Warming Scandal -- "Climategate"












The Texas Cattle Feeders Association recently posted an article on http://www.southernlivestock.com%20talks/ that discusses and reveals emails between leading climate scientists from the US and UK who were seemingly intent on creating and sustaining fears about global warming.

An except from the post:
"According to Real Clear Politics, the emails and other data show that scientists at the Hadley Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Britain had cherry-picked data to create a "hockey stick" graph showing a dramatic, but illusory, runaway warming trend in the late 20th Century. In one email, a prominent global warming alarmist admits to using a statistical "trick" to "hide the decline" in temperatures.


These emails also revealed private admissions of doubt or scientific weakness in the global warming theory, Real Clear Politics reports."
Maye we need to put a hold on all these negotiations between Vilsack and the dairy industry.

Sound interesting?  Sure as hell does to me -- let me know what you think.  Post your thoughts or email me at bbuzzard@ksu.edu.

Until next time,
~Buzzard~

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I love Brazile!

No, not the country (although my friend Stacie Wenig has told me of it's beauty).  The Brazile I'm talking about is none other than Trevor Brazile, 7 time PRCA All-Around Champion.

For those of you that don't know, I've rodeoed my entire life.  I went to my first one when I was two weeks old, got my first pony at the age of 2 and have been competing ever since.  I breakaway rope, team rope and occasionally will tie a goat or even run barrels (that's a whole different post though).  This lifetime obsession culminates every year when the NFR comes to Las Vegas for 10 nights full of rodeo action and this year the NFR was a thriller!

The 2009 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR) was full of surprises and record breaking performances.  For example, the previous world record for team roping was 3.5 seconds held by several teams - it was broken, not once but twice, in the 9th round.  The record now stands at 3.3 - I want you to think abou that.  That team who roped in 3.3 seconds, Chad Masters and Jade Corkill, nodded for their steer and then caught the head and heels, faced their horses and got their flag dropped under 4 seconds.  Most girls can't catch a calf that fast, let alone both ends. 

<-- He's the man - Trevor Brazile

Another thriller this year was my fave, Trevor Brazile (swoon) winning his 7th All-Around title. He is now tied with Ty Murray (you all know him right?) for most AA titles won.  He now also has 11 world championships, tying him for third place on the career list with Dean Oliver and Charmayne James. Ninety percent (or more) of professional cowboys and cowgirls will never win one gold buckle, and Trevor has won eleven.  Too bad he's married.....

Lastly, Lee Graves squeezed by reigning world champion steer wrestler Luke Branquinho to win the 2009 world title.  This is in large part to Branquinho's controversial run in the 10th round.  Branquinho was give a NT (no time) because he wasn't touching the steer when all four legs were pointing the same direction.  Luke's NT gave Lee the window he needed to make a solid run and win the gold buckle.

I would have loved to be at the NFR like my friend Crystal, unfortunately I'm in grad school and have no money.  But if you want to know more about the excitement that is the NFR, visit Crystal's blog.

If you want to learn more about PRCA rodeo, visit http://www.prorodeo.com/ - start following some of the competitors and maybe someday you'll be as obsessed as I am!

Until next time,
~Buzzard~

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I'm fed up with it!

To those of you who are fellow Wildcats, I'm sure you're aware of a certain journalist for the Collegian who has a reputation for writing biased, unfounded articles that are often anti-ag. There is a significant lack of research done before she writes her commentaries and she has backed out of a tour of the school's animal units in order to familiarize herself with common animal production practices.

After the third anti-ag article published in the Collegian within 2 weeks- I was pissed. I wanted to submit an article to the paper, however the Collegian doesn't accept articles from people not on staff - this posed a problem. So I drafted an article and contacted Chuck Jolley, columnist for CattleNetwork.com, and asked him how I could go about getting my ideas out to an audience. He surprised me by publishing my entire article in his Oct. 26th post "Is the Anti-Ag Disease Spreading to K-State?" Click here to read my article in Jolley's column.

We, as agriculturalists, need to speak up about our industry. Contact your local Congressman when policy decisions that affect our precious industry are up for discussion. They're in that elected position because we put them there - they'll at least listen to what you have to say, although they might not always follow your advice. Engage consumers about the health benefits of eating beef, pork and poultry. Assure them that producers utilize safe, best management practices to make our food supply more abundant so we can feed the world. The time for action is now. I think Dr. Dan Thomson, DVM and KSU Clinical Sciences professor said it best when he stated, "I am ready to fight. I am ready to go on the offense. I'm tired of playing defense."

Are you ready to fight for your industry and way of life? You better be.


Until next time,
~Buzzard~

Science needs to outweigh slander

Meat is not to blame for obesity.  You know this, I know this.  But there are a ton of vegetarians, vegans, anti-ag activists, etc. proclaiming that if we quit eating meat our obesity problems will end.

Bologna.
Take a look at all the fats, preservatives and processed food products in our diets.  One of those 'heat and eat' meals can carry over 800 calories (Hungry Man Beer Battered Chicken).  Obesity stems from eating too many calories and not burning them through exercise.  The average person needs approximately 2000 calories per day to maintain their body - the average United States citizen consumes 5000-6000 calories in a holiday meal!  That's ridiculous - if that doesn't show that we're overeating in general, instead of just eating too much meat, then I don't know what will.

Read this blog post by Raoul Baxter from meatingplace.com - he talks about how we need sound science to show consumers that they're not eating too much meat; they're just eating too much, period.  Just so you'll get interested here is a portion of his post:        
"People in fast food sell products people are going to eat and eat repeatedly. Sugar, fat and portion size bring them back. In food consumption, like most things in life, the secret is balance, sometimes even moderation. 
What scientific experiments have been done which shows the effect of a diet that mixes meat, vegetables, fruits and some carbohydrates? Not many. Also, humans are very individualistic in their lifestyles and physical makeup. A diet for one may not work for another."
I think after reading Raoul's piece, you'll start looking more closely at the ingredients of the food you buy.

I encourage you to sign up for the free membership to meatingplace.com. They send out a newsletter everyday that has articles/posts about current events in food safety, animal agriculture and agricultural policy.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Monday, December 14, 2009

Baxter is right on the money

It's hard to ignore the almost monthly reports of someone ingesting beef that has been tainted with the e.coli bacteria. Most recently is the news that a Minnesota woman is suing Cargill for 100 million due to tainted beef she bought from her local Sam's Club.

Previous e. coli appearances, in addition to the Minnesota case, have caused many comsumers to become critics of the meat industry overnight. Critics who think that the beef industry is just plain inefficient and that we don't have a way to prevent this deadly bacteria from being released into the food supply.

Those critics are wrong.

We do have a solution --- irradiation. Irradiating beef, which is basically x-raying it, kills the e. coli bacteria. If we have this technology, why aren't we using it? The FDA has approved it for use but we still haven't utilized it. I could go on and on about the pros of this production process but I think I'll let Baxter Black - DVM, cowboy poet and industry advocate- do that for me. Click here to read Black's commentary on irradiating our beef.


Want to know more? This link is to the Iowa State University Beef Irradiation Education Manual. The Iowans have got it figured out....

Until next time,
~Buzzard~

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I think grad school is rotting my brain.....


While trying to be an intelligent grad student during a test, I was thinking of a word to use to describe this process...."purposeful execution of chemical reactions in order to get a product, or several products. "

Can anyone think of a good word to use here? I know what you're thinking.....synthesis. Right?

Wrong. I came up with synthesization - which isn't even a word. I wrote it down on the test- 3 times.

Cripes -- I'm losing it.

Until next time,
~Buzzard~