Buzzard's Beat

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Faith, Family and Farming - a la the BEEF Daily

Today in the BEEF Daily, Amanda Radke shared with readers her passion for Faith, Family and Farming.  In her post she asks, "How many “chore-helpers” did your parents have? What was it like growing up on your farm or ranch?"  Since I am running low on creativity this week (my brain is tapped from wedding planning) I am answering her in this post.

Although we never had cows to check or feed routes to run, my brother and I have always been an intricate part of the work force on the Buzzard ranch.  Every morning when we were little, bucket calves and show pigs had to be fed before we could eat breakfast or go to school.  Dad fed the horses for us, since we were only about 4 ft tall and couldn't throw hay up into the feeders without spilling it everywhere.

At night, we'd do the chores before Dad got home. That involved feeding and watering all of the roping cattle, show animals and horses (although Dad still fed the hay). In the winter, we'd help him blanket horses at night so they wouldn't get too cold. In addition to feeding, pig-pens and horse stalls had to be cleaned and filled with clean bedding. When we were little, it seemed like a daunting task but as we grew older we realized that our parents had established in us a strong work ethic and sense of responsibility for ourselves and our livestock.

I don't have a picture of us doing chores - so this will have suffice.

I attribute a lot of my determination and work ethic to those early years while trudging through snow to carry grain or water.  Thanks Mom and Dad, for making me do those chores!  When I'm not at home I really miss feeding the animals, cleaning stalls and riding. When we get back from Australia, rest assured I'll have my horses in MHK with me.

Have a safe and blessed New Year! See you in 2011!

Until next year,
~ Buzzard ~

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Bridging the science gap

It's very hard to translate science based publications and information into easy to read, succinct information for producers and consumers.  I know this because I write scientifically by day and blog using regular English by night.  Two different languages saying the same thing - preserve and protect agriculture.  However, occasionally (yet not often enough) the language barrier is torn down and a breakthrough is discovered.

Glynn Tonser, agriculture economist at Kansas State University, has recently produced and uploaded to YouTube several videos about the economic impact of animal welfare opinions on agriculture.   Below is an example of "Impacts of Animal Welfare Media Attention on Meat Demand."

These videos are all fairly short (8-10 minutes) and are easy to comprehend.  If you have ever been curious about the economics of animal welfare, this is a great opportunity to learn. You can access the rest of the videos by visiting YouTube and searching for 'Glynn Tonser' or visit and clicking on "Livestock and Meat Marketing."

Have a great week!

Until next time,

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Join the convoy - TQA

The holidays are upon us and for many of us that means traveling. When I wrote this post, I was traveling on I-70 from MHK to Dayton, OH on my way to visit my future in-laws. Sometimes the Ninja and I can make the trip in 12 hours and sometimes it takes a lot longer (thank you St. Louis) but one thing is constant on the long haul – the presence of semi-trucks.

Semi-trucks sometimes frustrate people because they have a tendency to tie up traffic. However, semis play a vital role in the food production cycle, from farm to fork. For example, semis transport finished hogs from farms in Minnesota to slaughter plants in Iowa. The end-products of those processing plants are delivered to food retailers all over the nation. Without semitrucks and truck drivers, the amount of time it takes for a pork chop to travel from a plant in Iowa to your plate would drastically increase.

Many truckers who haul livestock have completed a Trucker Quality Assurance (TQA) or Certified Livestock Transporter (CLT) program. Such programs are designed to train truck drivers how to implement low-stress practices into handling, loading/unloading and transporting livestock. One such program, designed by DNL Farms of Saskatchewan, Canada, is the Low-Stress Pig Handling for Truckers Online Training Course. According to Nancy Lidster of DNL Farms, pigs that are handled poorly or that become stressed during transport can cost the pork industry several million dollars per year. Training truckers how to handle pigs in a low stress manner can help prevent losses due to poor handling and transport stress and thereby increase animal well-being.

DNL Farms has been teaching animal handling practices since 2000. Their videos don’t replace a standard TQA program but enhance and build upon previously learned knowledge. The video course uses footage gathered from the inside of semis in order to instruct truckers how to properly move and handle hogs. All course material is reviewed by pork industry experts ranging from producers to packers to trucking company representatives.

If you’d like to learn more about DNL Farms or the Online Training Course click here.

Merry Christmas!


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Monday, December 20, 2010

Are those real?!

Does your household put up an artificial or authentic Christmas tree when December rolls around? My family doesn’t have the tradition of a real tree, we’ve used the same artificial tree for 20+ years and spice it up with a vast assortment of ornaments, lights and a star on top. But if you’re like the Ninja, you prefer a real tree (the Frobose’s use white pines) and won’t accept anything less. Did you know that when you purchase a real tree, you’re supporting a segment of American agriculture? Contrary to popular belief, Christmas trees are not cut from forests. In fact, 98% of all Christmas trees are grown on Christmas tree farms all over the United States.

Christmas trees farms are very environmentally friendly. Check out all of their ‘green’ attributes.
• For every Christmas tree that is harvested, 2-3 seedlings are planted.
• Christmas trees remove dust and pollen from the air.
• There are more than 4,000 Christmas tree recycling programs in the U.S.
• Growing Christmas trees provides a natural habitat for several wildlife species.
• Recycled trees have been used to make sand and erosion barriers and have been placed in ponds for fish shelter.

There are over 21,000 Christmas tree farms scattered all over the U.S. (including Hawaii and Alaska) however Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are the top five producers. Every year, 30-35 million real Christmas trees are sold, which accounts for a whopping $1.3 billion boost in the economy. A few days ago, I helped the Frobose family select two beautiful white pines for their home. It was new experience for me and it was really cold but it was a ton of fun. For your viewing pleasure, here are a few pictures of that adventure.
Looking for the 'perfect' tree

This one made the 'cut'!

The fiance is good for a lot - including manual labor!

Many factors go into selecting the ‘perfect’ Christmas tree. Height, uniformity, trunk width and overall appearance all play into the decision. It was quite an entertaining experience to say the least.

So what are you waiting for? If you haven’t bought your tree yet, head over to Wal-mart, the Home Depot, Lowe’s or any one of a hundred different places near you to buy a real tree. Celebrate this Christmas in style and support American agriculture.

Merry Christmas!
Until next time,

p.s. I just want to point out that if you don’t have a real tree, there’s nothing wrong with you. Here’s a picture of my dad and I’s tree and I think it’s beautiful in its artificial glory!

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Beef Up Your Christmas

Still not finished with your Christmas shopping? Meh, don't feel bad -- I'm not either. But I know one way I can easily stuff some stockings this year. The Kansas Lottery has recently partnered with Munson Premium Angus Beef to create the new Beef & Bucks instant scratch game.  The tickets are designed to raise beef awareness and instant prizes range from $2 to $10000! There's even a second chance drawing on March 25 to win a Munson Premium Beef prize package.

Tickets are now on sale at Kansas Lottery retailers - so visit your nearest retailer and beef up your Christmas morning!  You can visit here to learn more about Beef & Bucks or here to learn more about Munson Premium Angus Beef!

Merry Christmas!

Until next time,

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

He's on fire...

It's no secret that I love Trevor Brazile (Examples 1, 2 and 3) and this week allows me to express my infatuation to the utmost level.  The National Finals Rodeo (NFR) is this week (actually the 1st round was last Thursday and the final round is this Saturday) and I've watched every run of every event in every round (except the bullriding - but that's another story).

Trevor went into the NFR on track to win his world record 8th PRCA All-Around title.  In Round 2, Trevor finished second in team roping and sixth in tie-town roping, clinching his 8th All Around title (and passing former record holder Ty Murray). Those placings boosted Trevor's season earnings to $323,527, making it fiscally impossible for him to be caught by the rest of the pack.  To read more about his record breaking night click here.

Trevor's amazingness didn't end in Round 2 though- look at these stats!
   Round 3 -  1st in the team roping - 4.2 seconds
   Round 4 -  6th in the team roping - 4.3 seconds
   Round 5 -  1st in the calf roping - 6.9 seconds AND 3rd in the team roping - 3.8 seconds!

Like I said, he's on fire! Not only is he a world champion roper, he's a class act. When asked how he felt after clinching #8 he said that he was thankful to God for giving him the abilities to accomplish his dreams. He also thanked his family for their support and said it was a big moment for his fans and family.  Ty Murray made this comment, "Trevor Brazile is the Peyton Manning of rodeo," Murray said. "Like Peyton Manning, he's a clean-cut athlete who outworks everybody on top of having great talent. When you work hard like he does, that means you blow everybody out of the water." How can you not love him?!
If you want to get in on the NFR action, Round 6 airs tonight at 9 pm (CST) on ESPN Classic - for those of you who don't have Classic, it replays on ESPN2 at midnight (CST). I hope you'll tune in and cheer for your favorite competitors!

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

p.s. -- It's been recently brought to my attention that I appear to only like Trevor Brazile and no others.  Not true.  I am also a huge fan of the following NFR competitors:
 -- Will Lowe - bareback rider (he's a KS cowboy)
 -- Kory Koontz - team roper
 -- Billy Etbauer - saddle bronc rider (not entered but is still amazing)
 -- Jeanne Anderson - very good friend of the Buzzard family
 -- Sherri Cervi
 -- all 3 Cooper boys -- Clint, Clif and Tuf

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Friday, December 3, 2010

Fiji Deliciousness

I think my readers need an update on the Fiji cake extravaganza.  Since we last spoke the count of cakes has skyrocketed from 7 to 15!  Thanks in large part to these lovely little fellas!

I've made some angel food cakes in there too but why make a cake that only counts for one when cheesecake (more specifically, cheesecake cupcakes) count for two!  I made these scrumptious bites for the Ninja's seminar today and they disappeared quick! Halfway to Fiji - I need to get the ball rolling on the last 15 credits!

Until next time,

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wordless Wednesday (sort of)

Om nom nom nom nom nom

Rest assured that as on any farm, these guys were fed before any of us ate.

Until next time,

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