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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Shouldn't Need Another Reason to Thank a Farmer but I'll Give Ya One

Today is Give Thanks to Agriculture day so I thought it would be appropriate to shine light on one of MANY reasons why I'm thankful for American farmers and ranchers. Never before in my life have I been more thankful for American farmers and ranchers and all they do as I am now. American's have the luxury of extremely low food prices - in fact, we spend less than 10% of our disposable income on food. Indian families (in Asia) spend roughly 50% of their income on food and Japanese families spend about 20% of their income on food annually. We have it pretty easy in the good ole U.S. of A. Over here in Australia foods like pork, beef, apples and butter are twice the price as the states'.

An affordable, safe and wholesome food supply is continually made possible because of the willingness of our farmers and ranchers to adopt new production methods, their devotion to working long, tiresome hours and their never quit attitudes. So if you haven't already done it today - please, go Thank a farmer or rancher and be grateful for the industry that feeds the world. I guarantee they'll appreciate your kind words.

Until next time
~ Buzzard ~

Monday, March 28, 2011

How Ronald Scratched Angus' Back

'You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours' is an adage used in many business settings today. The thought that entities could be mutually beneficial to one another has caught on quick in today's society. Just take a look at McDonald's and the Angus breed. Today I was in McDonald's for a quick burger before heading home on the train and noticed the sign for the Grand Angus burger - sounds delicious right? That's the point.

The Australian Grand Angus burger

Across the U.S. and now Australia, Angus has become the breed of cattle that society associates with hamburgers. This bodes well for both parties - McDonald's Australia experienced sales up to 400% greater than forecasts after the launch of their Angus line. In the U.S., the Angus burger accounted for a 2.2% increase in sales after the introduction of the premium burger line. On the cattle side, consumers around the world are now putting a 'face to the name' in terms of knowing where their food comes from. The Angus breed is getting a lot of face time with the new line of fancier burgers. Think about it: consumers see the Angus brand name flashed across their screen during a McDonald's commercial and hopefully their interest sparks in the beef industry. They do a little bit of fact finding to learn more about beef production, discover that farmers and ranchers take utmost pride in the care of their livestock and BAM!, a beef industry supporter is unveiled.

Think about what the impacts on other livestock industries could be if other restaurants were to brand their products with breed names. Famous Daves could introduce Berkshire Gold pulled pork sandwiches and what if Nando's marketed Dorset kebabs? Oh, the publicity those breeds would get! Instead of talking about the changing climate or the kids, commuters might be overheard "Wanna do lunch today? I've been dying to try a Berk Bun!"

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Friday, March 25, 2011

Life Update

I know that I said personal stuff would be on my Oz to Aus blog but not everything is related to Australia so you guys get some daily life stuff too. Sorry.

The blog is undergoing some changes, if you haven't noticed. I screwed up the design and can't get it back to the original plain Jane I had before. So I am doing some revamping, adding some features and hopefully within the next month the overhaul will be finished. I'm adding some new things for you to (hopefully) look forward to:

  -- 101 in 1001 - courtesy of Crystal Young I have been inspired to achieve. something.
  -- A new blog design - with nice graphics
  -- Tabs - more info about me, my goals, aspirations and possibly an online portfolio

Ok, so I thought there were more changes to list than that but apparently not.  Wish me luck during the transition and as always, thanks for reading!

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Better in Texas


While I don't necessarily believe the adage that "Everything's bigger and better in Texas" they are doing some great things in terms of agvocacy and consumer education.

While perusing the Texas Department of Agriculture website for jobs (I will eventually have to get a real job and might as well start looking) I came across this cool campaign the TDA is promoting, "Agriculture is YOUR culture."

The campaign is aimed at informing and educating the public through videos about Texas agriculturalists and farmers, agriculture quizzes, fact sheets and recipes. There are also significant efforts aimed at making clear the connection between producers and consumers. Animal care, environmental stewardship and food safety are heavily highlighted and there is even a page where you can submit your story about agriculture.

Head on over to http://www.texasagriculture.gov/culture/index.html and check out the 'culture'.  I applaud Texas for reaching out and making an effort to narrow the gap between producer and consumer.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Monday, March 21, 2011

Do You KNOW Hunger?

Image taken from www.tysonhungerrelief.com

KNOW Hunger is Tyson Foods new campaign to increase awareness about hunger in our American communities. Tyson recently conducted a survey through the Food Research and Action Center which focused on addressing hunger on the national and community levels. The 3 main takeaways from the survey were:
    • One in four Americans worries about not having enough money to put food on the table at some point next year.
    • Americans across the country do indeed see hunger as a signficant national problem; one that deserves our support.
    • Despite perceiving hunger as a serious national problem, most see hunger as less of a problem in their own communities. 
As the one of the most affluent countries in the world and one that supplies many developing countries with food aid, I find it appalling and sobering that we as a nation don't see what is happening right here at home. Tyson is thankfully, stepping up to the plate to do something about it. They're donating a million pounds of Tyson products in 36 cities across the country. While this donation will by no means solve the hunger problem in the U.S. it is a bold start. JBS enacted a similar initiative in Colorado by donating 16,000 lbs of beef to the Food Bank of the Rockies during the Annual Cattle Industry Convention in Denver, CO. You can read more about that donation here.

I applaud both Tyson and JBS' efforts to end hunger here at home. You can do your part by donating canned goods and nonperishables to the local food bank in your community.  In Manhattan you can donate to the Flint Hills Breadbasket and in Topeka the Randel Food Ministries Food Pantry.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Friday, March 18, 2011

Another Baxter Black Post

If you haven't noticed, I'm a pretty big Baxter Black fan - evident here, here, here and here. I was even lucky enough to meet him at Cattle Industry Convention in Reno, Nevada in 2008.


Baxter and I and some friends in Reno

Well, Amanda Radke has similar feelings about cowboy poetry, Baxter and his colleagues.  In a recent BEEF Daily blog post, Amanda talks about the importance of 'Saving Cowboy Poetry' and the people who so eloquently talk about the Western way of life. She also opens up discussion on whether or not GOP budget cuts should be enacted, thereby eliminating funding for events such as the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, NV (close to the hometown of one of my good friends). There is quite a discussion brewing up in the 'comments' section of Amanda's blog - head on over and share yours.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I'm Kansas Ag Proud

I'm very proud of my home state, Kansas and am super excited for Kansas Ag Week. Kansas has a rich agricultural background and is a major producer of our nation's beef, wheat, corn and sorghum supplies. This week, agvocates across the state will be celebrating Kansas Agriculture. Join us this week in your social media venue of choice for tweets, blogs and discussion about Kansas Agriculture. The schedule is below:

March 14 Topic—General info about Kansas agriculture

March 15 Topics—Kansas has a strong agriculture history. The tradition and way of life of farming is passed through generations and shape the rural culture.

March 16 Topics—How does Kansas agriculture support the Kansas economy?

March 17 Topics—Agriculture conserves natural resources.

March 18 Topics— Kansas farmers use technology in a variety of ways to make their farming and ranching activities more efficient and save money.

For more information on Kansas Ag Week feel free to visit the Kansas Department of Ag website, follow @KansasDeptofAg on twitter or contact any Kansas agvocate. Hope to see you on the web!

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Thursday, March 10, 2011

So, you're going to be a vet, right?

Photo courtesy of America's Horse Daily

If you've ever told anyone that you're an animal science major, graduate or in the animal agriculture industry - chances are you've been asked this question "So, you're going to be a vet." And more than likely you've said, "No, I'm not pursuing a veterinary degree" (not because there's anything wrong with being a vet but because there are far fewer veterinarians than other animal agriculture career options - and vet school is REALLY HARD).

Well, if you're not going to be a vet what are you doing in animal science? Let me explain. On the way back to the ML yesterday on the train (click here to find out exactly what the ML is) I was reading the newspaper and ran across these atrocious gems in the 'Overheard on the Train' column:

Girl 1: I really can't eat anything vegetarian.
Girl 2: Why? They're made of vegetables.
Girl 1: Really?
Girl at Red Rooster: Can I please have a Rooster Roll, but instead of rooster can I have chicken?

The aforementioned examples exemplify exactly why I am an animal science student passionate about advocating for all of agriculture and educating an increasingly 'disconnected from ag' public about the farmers and ranchers who feed the world. While I would never eat a vegetarian dish, I think it is abominable that some people do not understand what they are eating or are not making educated dining choices.

It is my duty as an agriculturalist and animal scientist to strive to preserve agriculture's timeless traditions and inform people where their food comes from. That's why I'm an animal science student.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Monday, March 7, 2011

Vegans Can't Get Inked

That is, if they want to maintain their true vegan lifestyle (although, I give insight to how it's impossible to actually be a vegan in this post).

Tattoos aren't edible but the ink does include some animal products. WHAT!? Yep, you heard me right. In addition to calcium, copper, sandalwood, brazilwood and other compounds, tattoo ink also contains animal bone burnt to charcoal and glycerin made from animal fat. Add that to the list of items made with animal by-products. We really do use everything except the oink and moo!

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Extremists in Iowa

Unfortunately, this picture is true of most activist videographers

Iowa Representative, Annette Sweeney, has recently submitted to the Iowa House of Representative H.F. 431 which will help "agriculture defend against  activists who gain illicit employment on farms and in processing facilities in order to obtain undercover videos", according to Animal Agriculture Alliance.

Videos that are released by activists are often misleading and contain footage that has been edited for shock value.  Additionally, footage is often delayed from release until such time that the activists can create a big splash. This usually occurs around holidays where meat demand is most likely to decrease if negative marketing were to occur (Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas). Activists that participate in animal abuse should be held accountable for their actions - standing by and videoing so that footage can be released does not excuse the immoral act of animal cruelty. Farmers don't condone animal cruelty and it should be stopped immediately on the rare occasions that it does occur.

Animal Ag Alliance is encouraging other states' agriculture stakeholders to thoroughly explore options for introducing similar legislation to their government representatives. You can read H.F. 431 in its entirety here.
Hopefully, this legislation will pass in Iowa and serve as an example to other states that misleading footage that negatively affects agriculture and farmers can be prevented.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Heineman Speaks Out

I'm becoming a pretty big fan of Nebraska - not their football program but of their Governor, Dave Heineman, and his devotion to the preservation of the Cornhusker state's agriculture industry.

At the Governor's Ag Conference on Wednesday, Heineman discussed the need for 'common sense legislation from the Environmental Protection Agency" and again expressed his motivation to combat any action that the Humane Society of the United States may take in Nebraska. "The simple truth is that this is an organization that is anti-agriculture and they're out to destroy the number one industry in the state. We are going to fight them we are going to defeat them," said Heineman. I like this man. To see a video clip of the conference click here.

Other topics at the Ag Conference included international food demands and alternative fuel production.
Side note: I am thrilled to report that earlier this week the House of Representatives voted to block funding for EPA's greenhouse gas regulations in 2011. Yippee!

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Bachelor: Farm Style

We get about three channels from our bunny ear antennas here in Melbourne.  Fortunately, they come in very clear and one is the equivalent of NBC in the U.S.  The other night, we were flipping through and ran across this gem:

The Farmer Wants a Wife is a new twist on the bachelor/bachelorette - I've only seen one episode but so far it's hilarious. The picture from above is from the previous season; this season there are 5 or 6 guys farmers and 1 girl farmer. 

Farmers host 2-3 dates of the opposite sex while engaging in normal agricultural activities. The episode I saw featured one male farmer taking two girls fishing and another farmer harvesting potatoes (by hand) with two girls in heels and leggings.  They looked cute but I'm sure you can appreciate the obvious humor.

I think this is a great twist on agritourism  - dig a potato, catch a fish and fall in love. Perfect.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~