Buzzard's Beat

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hello from Cape Town, South Africa!

“Goeie More” or Hello from South Africa! For the past 5 days I explored and adventured abroad in the Cape Town countryside learning about foreign agriculture and animal science. My first day in Cape Town I strolled the streets of Stellenbosch, did some shopping, wine tasting and visited a Hereford farm. Unlike the U.S., very few Angus were raised in this area. The farmers consider them too wild, therefore there are thousands of Herefords and indigenous breeds roaming the African plains. Lamb and wool production are also quite prevalent here. However, farmers don’t choose to produce only one of the commodities. They raise a breed called Dohne-Merino which is a dual-purpose breed for the production of high quality wool and meat.

Days 2-5 consisted of viewing Nguni cattle (pictured above), going on a springbok hunt, climbing Table Mountain and getting soaked by the waves on the shores of the Cape of Good Hope. All of these experiences have been priceless but being ]in Cape Town has also opened my eyes to the blessings we have as American citizens. I won’t ramble on and on but I will briefly summarize some disadvantages of being a farmer in South Africa:

•South African farmers receive absolutely no subsidies – regardless of crop or specie produced. This aspect leaves them without a cushion and unprotected from volatile markets.

•On a good year South African farmers are able to produce almost enough food to feed their country. This is a country that is 2x the size of Texas but has only 12% arable land for crop production. They very rarely have any surplus to export unlike the United States which exports foodstuffs to almost every country in the world.

•The average rainfall in South Africa is only 492 mm (19.62 inches). However, parts of the Western Cape receive less than 10 inches per year. Compare that to an average rainfall of 17 inches in western KS and 40 inches in southeast Kansas and you have an idea of what South African farmers are dealing with.

•A new practice being put into place by the government is redistribution of farmland from large farms to inexperienced farmers to help them become productive members of the industry. This process is similar to eminent domain in the U.S. however, the land being redistributed (40% of each farm) is not being purchased at a fair price. This government action has caused several farmers to move to the northern countries of Africa or to sell their farms completely to avoid having 40% purchased for meager prices.

These are daily tribulations that farmers in South Africa must endure to feed their families and stay in business. It’s important to look at other agricultural situations so that we don’t lose sight of the fact that we are the most agriculturally productive country in the world.

Until next time

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Thanks for the Stress

Dear God:

 I hate finals week - I actually despise it and wish I could disappear from this campus the way Kit-Kats disappear from their wrappers when I'm around.  But thank you for providing me with the strength to overcome the stress of writing my thesis, working two jobs, planning a wedding and saying ta-ta to two of my best friends since they are graduating (Martha, Graber). 

I hate that my shoulders hurt from being punctured with a needle multiple times - I hate needles. You know that, God.  But thanks for putting me in a country that is relatively free of life threatening diseases (relatively) where I only need vaccinations for typhoid and malaria when I leave.

Lord, all of this writing and lab work is time consuming and stressful - and cuts into my social and sleep time.  But, that reminds me.  God, you know that I really cannot stand getting less than 5 hours of sleep a night. But somehow, with your strength and my stubborn determination, I have made it to Thursday night/Friday morning and have only one day left of this disastrous week and then I can sleep all the way to South Africa and not worry about protocols, papers, pigs or plasma. Thank you for stubborn parents that drove me crazy but instilled me with a strong work ethic.

That's all for now God - thanks for letting me know how good I have it.

Until next time,

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thanks for making it easy....

to dislike you, Chipotle.  Many of my friends love Chipotle but I really never have because their food is too spicy for my palate and because they only support organic pork production.  Today, Chipotle gave me yet another reason to avoid them.  They are now proud supporters of HSUS and can be added to the list of misinformed companies who donated dollars to a deceitful organization.

Chipotle will no longer have a chance at my hard earned paycheck - do they have a chance at yours? Feel free to 'like' their facebook page (theoretically, not literally) and share your feelings on their recent support of the richest animal rights organization in the world.  My post is below
Until next time,

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Angel Food Cake = Fiji

What would you do for a trip to Fiji?  Work an extra job? Clean out hog pens?

Would it be worth baking 30 angel food cakes to travel here?

I desperately want to go to Fiji for our honeymoon, but the Ninja is resisting a bit. So, he told me if I baked him 30 angel food cakes (complete with strawberries and whipped cream) before our wedding he would whisk me away to Fiji.  I plan to bake them 5 at a time and then reveal them.  Hopefully, I'll have them done by December - Fiji here I come! Stay tuned for posts on when I start whipping those puppies out!

Until next time,

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Diamond in the Rough - 3/50 Project

On a recent trip to Fort Collins, CO for a research trial, I stopped in to La Luz, a local restaurant specializing in fresh Mexican food with a kick. While standing in line and trying to decide between fish or carnitas tacos (carnitas on corn tortillas won; they were fantabulous), I came across a flier for The 3/50 Project. The 3/50 Project is striving to preserve locally owned restaurants and businesses, such as La Luz, by encouraging consumers to spend $50 at 3 independently owned businesses once a month. A strong incentive to follow the program is that

for every $100 spent locally, $68 goes back to the community in the form of taxes, payroll and other expenditures. This money helps keep local economies strong.

I come from the small town of Colony, KS that boasts one of the best restaurants in SEK - The Country Diner. It's comforting to think that everytime I buy a pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes and iced tea from "The Diner" I am helping strengthen the community's economy.

I'm not suggesting that you completely swear off large chains, I'm merely suggesting that you contribute to the "Little Man" that may exist in your hometown. Independently owned restaurants are often diamonds in the rough and hopefully they'll be around for many years to come. If you're ever in SEK, I encourage you to drop into The Diner, sit a spell and enjoy the company and fare.
Until next time,

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Girls just wanna have fun!

Yep, I bet you're singing that song right now.  I thought I'd mix it up a little bit and put some fun material on here for once.  Last week was my 1st grad school seminar (if you wanna know what that is, email me) and I had to give this amazing presentation on a day that should have been exciting, my birthday. However, I made the best of the situation and after 3 weeks of prep I presented to my department.  Immediately afterwards, I issued a sigh of relief and got ready to party! I believe that you're never too old for a birthday party (even when you're 21+3) so Dalton Henry and I had our third annual co-birthday bash (that's us pictured above).  Below are some pics from our 'Best Thing to Come Out of the 80's" party.  Not everyone dressed up but those of us that did went all out and had a blast!

The 80's girl posse
Mandy, Kelly, Jackie, Me, Mikki and Christina

The best friend I could ever ask for! 
Emily, Martha and Melissa

When the work and play is done oh girls! Girls just wanna have fu-uu-un!

Until next time,