Buzzard's Beat

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Buzzard's Blessings

With Thanksgiving in just two days I thought it would be appropriate to list things for which I'm thankful. I think sometimes in between our whining about classes, rent, high price of groceries and the horrible offense of our Cats on Saturday... that we forget to be thankful for the fact that we have the privilege of being an educated American with a roof over our head and that we can afford to eat whatever we want and watch football games at our whim.

I'm thankful for.....

-- my parents
-- my right to pursue a degree(s) at Kansas State University
-- the fact that my pants are too tight because that means I'm not starving
-- my soft bed
-- a wonderful brother and sister
-- God's love
-- freedom of speech
-- my dislike of vegetables; it means there are more to go around for the rest of the crowd
-- my rodeo background
-- not being pampered and spoiled as a child- it's made me the tough, independent woman I am today
-- my roommates (past and present) who have always been there for me
-- my crappy phone - because I can communicate with the ones I love
-- the Ninja
-- my new desk, I can now study and research in comfort
-- my super awesome co-workers in waters 120, 117 and 119
-- my grandma's noisy house at family gatherings; indicative of a large group of people that I love and who support me
-- the 4 ft. high stack of dirty clothes by my dresser -- I will never be cold and without a shirt
-- how tired I am after a day at work and school -- it feels good to have accomplished something
-- the tears I shed when a trip to see good friends who've moved away ends; it means friendships don't dissipate when several hundred miles become a part of the picture
-- my friends and future family in Ohio; I rarely get to see them but I love that they're there :)

Life in general is pretty damn good

There are many many more things I could list but I don't feel like writing a novel so I'll leave it at these.

Happy Thanksgiving to all -- be safe.

Until next time,

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Temple Grandin - HBO Biopic

Temple Grandin has been changing the livestock production industry for the past 25+ years. She has basically written the book on handling facilities and reducing the amount of stress animals undergo in the harvesting phase of production. One of the most highly functional autistic people in the world, she overcame her disorder to write numerous scientific papers and books about safe handling practices, give insight to parents with autistic children and start her own consulting business. Among her most popular titles are Thinking in Pictures, Animals in Translation and Emergence: Labeled Autistic. She is currently an Animal Science professor at Colorado State University and is highly decorated for her work and progress in the industry. She is the founder of Grandin Livestock Handling Systems and, to date, she has designed over 1/3 of the livestock handling facilities in the world.

To honor Dr. Grandin's conquer of autistic obstacles and her numerous industry accomplishments HBO has announced a February 2010 release of the breakthrough biopic Temple Grandin - Thinking in Pictures. Dr. Grandin will be played by Claire Danes (The Family Stone, Shopgirl, Romeo + Juliet) whose spot on depiction of Dr. Grandin's autism has been described by Grandin's assistant as "so convincing, it sent shivers down my spine." The film will highlight Grandin's life through the 60's and 70's - from her expulsion from high school to the establishment of Grandin Livestock Handling Systems.

I have yet to see a trailer for the movie but it is safe to say that this is a must-see for anyone in the animal agriculture industry. The movie highlights the life and achievements of one of the pioneers for animal welfare and activism. The above picture is Claire Danes in costume with the 400 lb. mechanical calf used in the film.

For more information on the movie or Dr. Grandin's biography you can visit theses sites.
Dr. Grandin's interview about her upcoming biopic:

Until next time


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Monday, November 9, 2009

Coaching from a Pro

Tonight I attended the Alpha Zeta fall activity and listened to keynote speaker Gregg Doud, Chief Economist for NCBA, share his thoughts on the current trends, economics and pressing issues of animal agriculture. Mr. Doud, between stories of his AGR days at KSU, challenged us to do what all agriculture advocates and producers should do: talk. It's our duty to share with consumers the story of how their food is produced and inform them of where it comes from. It's our job to work every day to combat the negative front that anti-ag organizations such as PETA and HSUS.

Mr. Doud is just one of many professionals who spend every day educating the public about the safe production practices that the agriculture industry demonstrates every day. By listening to Mr. Doud, and others, we can learn how to respond to tough media inquiries as if it was second nature. Mr. Doud stated there are three things that a college grad needs to know how to do in order to be hireable by not only NCBA, but hireable by any corporation.

1. Know how to write an email -- these days we use quick emails that have a lot of text lingo in them. That's a surefire way to exemplify your unprofessionalism

2. Know how to conduct a meeting - Calling a meeting to order, running it efficiently and actually accomplishing tasks are things that are often taken for granted by those who have the know-how. If you were in FFA or 4-H, you've got the upper hand on this one.

3. Know the basics of economics - A little supply and demand can serve you well.

Lastly, Mr. Doud stressed the importance of knowing how to represent your industry to the media. We have to know how to answer the tough questions at the drop of a hat. I've been fortunate enough to be able to attend a media training session that was hosted by KLA at one of my Collegiate Cattlewomen meetings. I encourage everyone to try to attend a media training event because you can glean a wealth of information in a very short time.

I encourage you all to engage with professionals of our industry if given the opportunity. They haven't been the leaders of the industry for 20 years for nothing.

If you'd like to read more about my thoughts on being proactive against anti-ag organizations, read my feature in Chuck Jolley's article on Cattle Network -

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Battle Won for Animal Agriculture

On Tuesday, Ohio voters approved Issue 2 with a final yes vote of 63%. The 'yes' vote approved the formation of a 13 member Livestock Care Standards Board that will create standards and regulations for animal care and well being in food safety, encourage local farmers and ranchers to maintain production and protect Ohio producers. The board will be comprised of representatives from farming organizations, veterinarians, the dean of the college of agriculture at an Ohio university, a county humane society representative and Ohio family farms.

The passing of Issue 2 is labeled as a win for animal agriculture because it has seemingly beat HSUS to the punch on who will decide what regulations will be set for farmers and how they care for their livestock. However HSUS CEO, Wayne Pacelle, has already issued a statement that HSUS will submit a ballot initiative next year in Ohio to pursue the abolishment of gestation and veal crates and battery cages.

Hopefully Ohio will get the board up and running asap and let voters see that they made the right decision.

For more information on the Livestock Care Standards Board you can visit

Until next time...

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