Buzzard's Beat

Monday, August 30, 2010

Temple takes the Emmy's by storm!

Temple Grandin, the movie, won 7 EMMY AWARDS! Last night, the woman who many people don't even know about made a huge impact at the Emmy's.  However, when I googled "Temple Grandin + Emmy's" this morning the first 3 hits were "Temple Grandin wins big, who is she?" 

She is an advocate for autism, diagnosed at the age of 2, and has written several books and journal articles about animal behavior, animal welfare and how being autistic has enabled her to think like an animal.  She has designed over 50% of the slaughter facilities in the United States and travels to all over the world teaching her safe and low stress animal handling methods.

Temple will be visiting K-State on November 9th and 10th to lecture about how austism has influenced her life and career.  Temple's visit is being sponsored and organized by Kansas State University's Food For Thought.  Below is a red carpet interview with Dr. Grandin and five of the seven Emmy's that Temple Grandin, the movie, earned:

TV MOVIE Temple Grandin

Claire Danes (Temple Grandin)

Mick Jackson (Temple Grandin)

David Strathairn (Temple Grandin)

Julia Ormond (Temple Grandin)
I have a feeling that a lot more people are going to learn who Temple Grandin is. Congratulationst to the cast and crew! If you haven't seen the movie, do it - it will change your life.  You can buy it here. Or you can read any one of here numerous books - visit her website for a full list of resources about animal handling and autism.
Until next time,

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Agvocating for BEEF Across Five Nations

I love Twitter -- I learn more everyday about agriculture and how to tell ag's story.  Just yesterday, Crystal Young (check out her blog and follow her on Twitter) shared a YouTube video with me about the Five Nations Beef Alliance.  The Alliance is comprised of the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Mexico and Australia and is in partnership with the American Angus Association.  In the video, a beef producer from each country shares their agriculture story by informing you of why they are involved  in agriculture and their reasons for raising beef.  I'm really excited about visiting the Cattle Council office while I'm in Australia and sharing ideas about agvocacy and beef.  Check out the video - it's very cool.

Thanks Crystal!

Until next time,

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Whole Grain and Heart Healthy

The food industry is constantly changing - companies are always pushing lower fat, healthier foods.  No Trans Fat! Whole Grains! Low Sodium! are headlines that jump out at us from the label.  Interestingly enough, eating a diet rich with whole grains is something that can drastically improve both the quality and length of your life.  I've answered some FAQ'S about wholegrains below - I hope they help you enrich your diet!

What is a whole grain? A whole grain is one that includes all three parts of the grain: the germ, endosperm and bran. A wholegrain will sprout in the right conditions whereas a refined grain will not.  Some very common whole grains are: wheat, oat, barley, brown rice, maize and rye.  Some refined grain products are: white rice, white flour and hominy.

How can I determine if a product is wholegrain or not? Good question.  Look at the ingredient list - "wholewheat," "wholemeal," or "whole corn" as the first ingredient, the product is a wholegrain food item. However, if the whole grain product isn't listed until 2nd, that may indicate that the product is between 1-49% wholegrain.

Why should I eat whole grain products? Because they're very good for you!  Consumption of whole grains is consistently linked with a significant decrease in risk factors for cardiovascular disease.  They are also high in fiber which contributes to intestinal function and health. Regular wholegrain consumption lowers LDL and triglyceride levels, which contributes to an overall 26% reduction in coronary heart disease risk factors.  Additionally, wholegrain consumption is inversely related to diabetes and obesity.  In short, they help you manage your weight and lower your risk of heart disease.

A lot of people have told me that wholegrain products don't taste as good - I think it's just a matter of trying and buying a variety of products.  And, you don't have to eat all wholegrains all the time - 3 servings of wholegrains per day will yield the previously mentioned health attributes.  Barilla has done a great job of developing whole grain pastas that taste delicious.  If you prefer white bread over wheat (like myself), there are breads that look and taste like white bread and have the same nutritional benefits as regular whole-wheat or whole-grain bread. White whole-wheat bread is made with an albino variety of wheat, which is lighter in color and has a sweeter, milder flavor (Sara Lee has a variety of this).
It's very simple to incorporate whole grains into your diet.  Cook with brown rice instead of white.  Cheerios instead of Frosted Flakes.  Whole wheat bread instead of white enriched bread.  Pair a whole grain rice with a serving of delicious nutritious BEEF (loaded with zinc, iron and protein) and you've got a powerhouse meal! For more information on whole grains visit the Whole Grain Guide.

Until next time,

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Getting to know your BEEF

Did you know that ground beef and hamburger aren't the same product? I didn't either until recently, while on Twitter, social media friend iTweetMeat brought up that point.  Upon further investigation I discovered the main difference between the two similar products.

 Beef fat may be added to hamburger, but not ground beef.  Regardless of this addition, neither hamburger or ground beef may contain more than 30% fat.  So, when shopping for a lean product just check the label - for example 80/20 indicates 80% lean-20% fat and 93/7 indicates 93% lean-7% fat.

Additional facts about ground beef and hamburger that you may not have known:

1.  All meat transported and sold in interstate commerce is federally inspected according to the Federal Meat Inspection Act.
2.  Ground beef and hamburger are made from the less tender cuts of meat on the animal - grinding tenderizes the meat and the fat reduces the dryness and adds flavor.
3.  When cooking ground beef or hamburger - always remember "Safe and Savory at 160" - cook these products to 160 degrees to ensure a meal that is free of harmful bacteria.
4.  When choosing a product at the store, select a package that feels cold and is not torn.  Once you have the product at home, store it at 40 degrees or below or freeze it.

For more information of wholesome, safe and nutritious beef visit the USDA Meat Prep site or Beef: It's What's for Dinner . Happy eating!

Until next time,

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Trevor and Texaco

I know I've mentioned my love of Trevor Brazile before but now I have a new love - his calf horse, Texaco.  It takes a lot of smarts, speed, strength and skill to be a top PRCA calf horse - Texaco has all of those things and more.  Most people wouldn't dream of roping off their horse without a bridle but Trevor can when he rides Texaco - they're both that amazing.  Check out his video of Trevor on Texaco at the Fort Worth Horse Show.  Jaw. Dropping.Amazing.

Brent Lewis has also done this on a horse he used to own named Grumpy (last I knew, Blair Burk had purchased him).  Unfortunately, I don't have a video of that one.

Oh how I can't wait to finish up my schooling and get back on the rodeo trail - maybe someday I'll train Doc to do that :)

Happy Friday and until next time,

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Movie Thursday: True Grit

Today has turned into a day about movies - so today will be called Movie Thursday (just for this one time).

I love John Wayne - deeply.  I wish he were still alive and that he was my neighbor.  I own most of his movies (don't have all of the early B & W's) and cherish them all. One of my absolute favorites is True Grit and I love the movie so much, I bought the book.  It exemplified John's ability to be flexible in his roles- it's hard to turn a drunken, mean U.S. Marshal into a hero but John Wayne did it.  How many actors do you know who could continue their career after having a whole lung removed? John Wayne did.  My favorite line from the movie is "Fill your hands you... (I probably shouldn't write out the rest, you'll have to look it up but it correlates to the picture below). 

Imagine my surprise when I found out that True Grit was being remade.  You can't remake a perfect classic - it's not going to be improved but instead will tarnish the original. Directors Joel and Ethan Coen will be basing their remake off the book and not so much off the original but regardless, they're remaking a classic that yielded The Duke's only Oscar.  They have cast Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon to star as Rooster Cogburn and the Texas Ranger LaBeouf, respectively.  I really like Matt Damon but I doubt that he, the Coen brothers and Jeff Bridges will be able to create a real Western aura.  The last great western movie since Lonesome Dove was Open Range and that had Robert Duvall in it (also in Lonesome Dove and also one of my favorites), and it's doubtful that Jason Bourne and The Big Lebowski will create such equal cinema.

In short, I highly doubt I'll be watching the new version - True Grit will forever be a John Wayne movie and that is the one I will continue to watch, quote and cherish.

Until next time,


Temple Grandin on DVD

Claire Danes as Temple Grandin

For those of you who wanted to watch the HBO movie Temple Grandin on tv when it debuted in February but didn't have HBO - you problems are solved.  Temple Grandin is now available for purchase online from Amazon for $15.99. Get excited!

The movie received great reviews (see below) and has a current rating of 4.9 stars out of a possible 5. 
Hers (Temple) is a tale that could be easily be played up for drama, intrigue and weepy reconciliations, but this narrative is loyal to Ms. Grandin’s credo: emotions are secondary to tangible results. And the result is a movie that is funny, instructive and also intangibly charming.
Go out and get your copy today - I am ordering mine tomorrow (PAYDAY)!

Until next time,

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Proud to be a Redneck

I'm from the backhills of southeast Kansas - and damn proud of it. I grew up going mudding, wearing camo, attending bonfire parties in pastures, swimming in the horse tank and watching tractor pulls & demo derbys (and loving them). In addition to those 'ignorant' activities, I helped my family raise and train horses and care for the small 'herds' of show string livestock.  Calling me a redneck isn't an insult but saying that you're better than I am is.

Bryan Monell, animal activist who specializes in undercover efforts, proclaimed that "Those people are rednecks," in reference to all people work with animals AND "we are superior." Wow, if you want to fire up a bunch of agriculturalists who already despise you and your efforts, no better way to do it than saying that you're better than the people who raise and produce our nation's foodsupply.  Now, I already told you that I don't mind being called a redneck and that I'm proud of it.  But I looked up 'redneck', and Google's definition reads:

An uneducated, unsophisticated, or poor person, typically used to describe residents (of either gender) of the rural US.

Now, I'm definitely of 'either gender' and am from the rural U.S. and am sure as hell poor - but by God, I'm not unsophisticated or uneducated.  Good thing Mr. Monell wasn't in rural Kansas at a farmer-laden coffee shop when he said that, he might have wound up in the hospital instead of jail (where he currently resides until his court date in September regarding an 'incident' in California at a circus). 

Why is it that activists continually insult our nation's farmers and ranchers and then continually eat the food those same farmers and ranchers produce?  Major slap in the face to our producers.  We should all be thanking our farmers every day for providing us with a very safe and healthy (not to mention affordable) food supply that we can count on year round.  Mr. Monell may be winning the name-calling battle, but all he has really achieved is ticking off farmers, ranchers and agvocates around the nation. Especially since his slander was written in a recent article.

In closing, I've included some words of wisdom for agvocates and producers: 
1. Be the bigger person -- don't resort to name calling.
2. Use insults to fuel your agvocacy passion - I'm so ticked off right now that I can't wait to get to the grocery store and spill my agriculture guts to some unsuspecting shopper.
3. Tell your story -- utilize twitter, facebook, blogs, snail mail, telephone, word of mouth, the coffee shop - let consumers in on how you care about the land and animals that contribute to our food supply.

Until next time,

p.s. - that link to Bryan Monell's court case is not my opinion of how the incident occurred but it gives you a more detailed description of what happened than I can provide.  I'm sure he wasn't 'innocently and peacefully' protesting a circus.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Baking cakes is as easy as pie

So, I used to think baking a cake was a long, drawn out task.  I was wrong.  Seriously. I spent a total of three minutes last night preheating the oven, lowering the oven rack, mixing the batter, pouring the batter in the pan and then shoving the cake pan it in the oven.  Forty-five minutes later, I took the cake out and propped it up on an empty beverage bottle so it could cool.  It was like I pressed an easy button from Staples.

Anyway, if you haven't yet caught on, Angel Food Cake #6 is baked and ready to be devoured.  I tried to bake brownies instead because I thought those sounded tastier at the time but they don't count towards the overall goal of 30, so I abandoned that cause.

I'm not really sure why I'm still partaking in this challenge because Hyatt booked the honeymoon about a month ago - my efforts are kind of pointless right now.  Unless..... he actually booked the honeymoon to Fiji in anticipation of me actually baking 30 cakes. Oh the drama.

Until next time,

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Operation: Domesticated Buzzard

Generally, the mother of a family hands down her cooking skills to her daughters either genetically or manually. Meaning, you're either born with cuisinart skills or your mom instills them in you by having you help her.  Well, that isn't the case with moi.  My mom is an amazing cook (actually, so is my dad), don't get me wrong.  I just never helped her cook because I was usually outside with the horses or being a tomboy.  So the genetic influence skipped me - it did however hit my brother square on head. Lucky little squirt.

Anywho - basically I'm not a chef.  It's not that I don't want to be, it's that I don't know how to be.  I don't know how to look for recipes, make a grocery list for recipes I want to make that week and then the big kicker is that I lack the time it takes to prepare quick, easy and delicious meals.  Enter: OPERATION DOMESTICATE BUZZARD

What I need from you, dearest readers, are recipes that are quick, easy and delicious.  Oh, and they need to incorporate meat.  Side dishes don't necessarily need it but main dishes - meat is a must. I'm open to all things - mexican food, italian, american --> all of it. 

So please help domesticate Buzzard by contributing your favorite delicious recipes (Hyatt will really appreciate it too). You can email me at Thanks!

Until next time,

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cutting ag programs leads to cutting career preparation

I started my agriculture education at the tender age of 7 when I joined the Colony Hi-Point 4-H club.  I was very involved with my animals and other projects such as cooking and floriculture and looked forward to meetings and fair time.  When I reached my 8th grade year, I can remember counting down the days until I was in high school and could join FFA.  I coudn't wait to start judging and public speaking in a competitive manner and was even more stoked at the opportunity to run for a chapter office.  When I finally reached high school, I dove in head first and immersed myself with extracurricular activities - basketball, cheerleading, track, volleyball, cross-country, National Honor Society, quiz bowl, band & show choir but the most important of all my extracurriculars was by far my high school's agriculture program and The National FFA Organization (FFA).

Over the years I earned a lot of honors, awards and offices in FFA and developed critical life skills - communication, public speaking, book keeping and how to be part of a team.  I also learned tons of facts about nutrition, animal evaluation, horticulture, crops and I'm proud to say that I can ARC and MIG weld with the boys!  I now apply the information I learned in FFA and agriculture classes so many years ago to my everyday activities in grad school and I am sure that I will continue to use them in both my personal and professional life.  I can say with 100% certainty that had I not been involved in agriculture in high school, I wouldn't be where I am today.

If I were a student at Seaman High School, I wouldn't be able to build that strong foundation of knowledge.  USD 345, which contains Seaman High School, has decided to end the program indefinitely.  The agriculture instructor and FFA sponsor left Seaman at the conclusion of the 09-10 school year to teach at another school.  Seaman has yet to replace him and will not be offering agriculture curriculum or FFA for the fall semester and the school board has yet to decide whether to hire a new teacher.  The reason?
The school board is trying to be "fiscally responsible" and by cutting the program they're saving money. I don't think responsible is the correct word in this case.  Inconsiderate, irresponsible, hasty, thoughtless, ignorant - these are all terms that correctly describe the actions of the school board.  A group of students spoke to the school board and strongly discouraged them from ending the program for reasons that I have already stated: FFA and vo-ag equip students with science, technology, leadership and life skills that contribute to preparedness for life and future careers.

I have already written a letter to the superintendent voicing my opinion about Seaman's irresponsible decision.  Agriculture isn't just cows and plows - it's sales, marketing and communication in addition to the production jobs that raise, process and market our food supply.  You'd be hard pressed to find a career or job that wasn't at least indirectly related to agriculture.  Bankers supply farmers with loans, insurance agents provide farmers with an ease of mind, agriculture lawyers lobby for equal representation of farmers, part-time employees at McDonald's market and sell Angus 1/3 burgers!  Agriculture is our backbone and it's time the rest of the country recognizes that. 

Please - take part in the effort to keep agriculture alive and send a letter to
Seaman High School
c/o Mike Mathes
901 Lyman Rd
Topeka, KS 66608

Kansans, if there was ever a time for action in your community - that time is now.  First Seaman, then your school. 

Until next time,

oh, p.s. - I heard on the radio that Seaman recently constructed a NEW football stadium. That may or may not be true but was that fiscally responsible?????

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fantastic 50!

Wow! I can't believe that after 9.5 months I have enticed 50 poor souls to read this blog!  It started out as just something fun but now I would like to think that I am helping tell agriculture's story in a unique way.  I really enjoy blogging and plan on starting a new, separate blog for married life in Australia (title is being kept a secret). 

Thanks so much for following me! I hope I can continue to entertain/educate with my ramblings!

Until next time,

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Kids ask questions, please provide answers!

My little sister is quite possibly the coolest person on Earth - at the moment she's tied with Dr. Jim Nelssen but she's only 6 and 3/4 so she has lots of time to move up.  On the rare occasions that I get to see her, sometimes she'll go with me to feed horses.  We all know how kids are - they're the best exercisers of who, what, where, when, why and how.  Meaning, they ask TONS of questions.  I've recounted one particular experience below when we were doing the evening chores.

K - What are we gonna do now?
B-  Feed the horses.
K - Why?
B - Because it's supper time
K - Horses eat supper?
B - Yep - just like you. We always make sure we feed the horses first, then we eat.
K - Are they having squetti (spaghetti) too?
B - Nope - we're giving them corn and oats.
K - Why don't they get squetti? 
B - Because horses don't like spaghetti and these corn and oats will give them lots of energy to chase calves and run around and play. There is some molasses in there too.
K - Mlasses? What's Mlasses?
B - MOlasses. Say MOlasses.
K - MA lasses.
B - Close enough. Molasses is a type of sweetener that makes the horse's food taste better.
K - Like sugar on rice krispies?
B - Exactly.

At this point, the conversation turned to rice krispies and then she went to play with the kittens. When I started feeding hay, she came back....round 2!

K- Why is that grass made into a square?
B - This grass is a kind of hay, and this square is called a flake.
K - What does it do?
B - It gives them minerals and nutrients to keep their body healthy.  Kind of like your Flinstone vitamins.
K - Why can't you just give them a Barney Rubble?
B - Because Barney Rubble is for little girls and hay is for horses.  This hay also keeps Doc (my A-team breakaway horse) and his friends from colicking.
K - What is cowlicking.
B - Colicking - not cowlicking.  We don't lick cows.  Colic is when a horse gets a tummy ache because he ate too much corn and molasses and oats.  Hay keeps him from getting the tummy ache.  Do you know how it feels when you've eaten too many cookies?
K - I wanna eat cookies all day.
B - Fine. Remember what it feels like to drink too much pop and your belly feels yucky?
K - Yes. It makes my tummy hurt.
B - Ok. When Doc gets colicky, he feels like you do when you've had too much pop.
K - Oh ok. Don't give Doc any of my orange pop.

At this point, it was time to water and blanket the horses for the evening (this conversation took place over Thanksgiving break last fall) which led to questions/answers about why we blanketed the horse, why the blanket had straps, how the horse laid down/got up, how does the horse know it's time to wake up, etc.  While very amusing, I'll leave that out for length's sake.

I think it is very important to answer questions that youngsters have.  Sometimes we get caught up with our daily routine and forget that the young mind is a sponge - we should saturate that sponge with knowledge while kids are willing to listen to what we have to say. With a society so far removed from agriculture, we need to take advantage of every opportunity we have to educate the next generation.  K doesn't live on a farm and might never but at least now she knows why horses are fed grains and hay.  That's more than a lot of urban adults could tell you.  I invite anyone to come help me feed horses in SEK - just be prepared to haul hay, clean stalls and chop ice ;)

Until next time,

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Ohio gives consumers A+ education

I just returned from a wonderful 'vacation' at the Ohio State Fair.  My future in-laws show hogs at the state fair which happens to occur during their home county fair - not exactly an ideal situation.  So, I go and help out with the hogs and try to stay out of the way in Columbus while their father holds down the fort at the Wood County Fair.

My first day in Columbus I wandered the fairgrounds for awhile looking at the exhibits and resisting the fried food stands.  I was pleasantly surprised at the number of consumer education booths I kept encountering.  In almost every building I entered, there was a booth or display that provided consumers a first hand view at how Ohio produces a safe, wholesome food supply.  Take a look at what I found in the swine barn - there were four viewboxes set up to show fair-goer's how hogs are cared for on a farm.
Under each flap was a picture of the equipment or in this case, some feedstuffs.

Moving on to the beef barn, I admired the putt-putt golf course.  My friend, Erin Limes Lampe, who is the Director of Programs and Industry Relations for the Ohio Beef Council, had set up a putt-putt course with beef production facts.  You could play on the course for $1 and at each hole there was a sign describing different production methods and phases.  This hole was about herd health.

Erin told me that 4000 people play that putt-putt golf game every year.  If even 1/2 of those patrons were non-agricultural consumers, that is a superb achievement for the beef industry.  Erin has also developed a video to show consumers the story of beef production in Ohio. You can access this by clicking HERE

My last stop was the Dairy Bar, where I admired the informational displays while waiting on my delicious strawberry sundae. 

I think it's great that consumers can see who produces their food and how it is done.  In addition to the above displays, the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine had set up a booth that allowed patrons to milk a cow and admire the animals in the petting zoo while a moderator explained how producers provide basic health care to their animals.

I think that Ohio does an amazing job of educating consumers on how their food is produced.  Almost every agricultural entity has a form of media to communicate to consumers how agriculture is embedded in everyone's lives.  By setting up displays and booths at their state fair, Ohio agriculturalists have been able to educate a largely urban population about what goes on in the food industry.  I give Ohio an A+ and can only hope that other states will follow suit.

Until next time,

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Witty signs at Hyvee

I don't shop at Hyvee very often, mostly because I am addicted to Wal-Mart but when I do I am always in awe of the different selections of food they have.  Additionally, I always spot new advertising for various products, especially those that rhyme.  Check out the pork promotional below

that is a one-liner stays in your head and is hard to forget! 

When I first walked into Hyvee, I was greeted with this eye appealing sign boasting the fruits and vegetables of a family farm. 

 Supporting family and local farms is important to the agriculture industry and Hyvee wants to make sure customers know they're purchasing locally grown foods.  Placing this sign right next to some watermelons was a pretty good scheme.

Next time you head to Hyvee, or any grocery store for that matter, check around to see how they're positively promoting agriculture.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

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