Buzzard's Beat

Monday, October 31, 2011

A+ Agriculture Ambassador - Miss America

By now I'm guessing that you've at some point heard that Miss America 2011, Teresa Scanlan, is very pro-ag. She grew up in Nebraska while raising cattle with her family and has stayed true to her roots during her tenure as Miss America. Bravo.

Last week, I talked about the pros and cons of Food Day and mentioned a website called www.realfarmersrealfood. This new website is a partnership between Animal Agriculture Alliance and Miss America which aims to provide the real facts about food production in the U.S. and narrow the gap between the rural producer and urban consumer.

In an interview with AAA, Ms. Scanlan said, "most Americans do not understand the connection between the thousands of family farms across the country and their own dinner. Real Farmers Real Food is a positive reminder for each of us to take time to appreciate the many people who make our safe, abundant, and affordable food supply a reality."
Visitors to the website can:
- Sign a pledge in support of agriculture's diversity and consumer choice
- Read and share an op-ed showcasing American agriculture by the Alliance's current chairperson, Chris Ashworth, a veterinarian and rancher
- Learn about common myths and facts about farming
- View a collection of farm tours on video

The unveiling of the website come just days before Food Day, which was dubbed "a campaign that downplays the importance of modern agriculture and unfairly criticizes the way of life of many food producers" by many in agriculture.
Ms. Scanlan also 'starred' in a one-minute video where she says, "Not everybody farms, but everybody has to eat."

Miss America hasn't just recently begun her quest for ag - she has been featured in many other publications for her efforts in advocacy. Check out these links:
- Fox News Op-Ed by Miss America, Teresa Scanlan
- Why Miss America Support Agriculture
- Miss America Advocates for Agriculture - media interview at Nebraska State Fair
- Miss America Speak to the Benefit of Modern Agriculture

Have I mentioned that Miss America is visiting Kansas in the VERY NEAR future? I haven't - allow me to do so now.

Food For Thought, a grass roots group that I am very proud to be a member of, will be hosting Miss America on November 15 at 7 pm at Kansas State University. She will be the 2011 Fall Upson Lecture Series speaker and will speak as to the importance of modern agriculture to the global food supply. You should definitely be there in McCain Auditorium on November 15! Admission is free and Food For Thought will be conducting a canned food drive to benefit the Flint Hills Breadbasket.

Hopefully, having such an influential and well-spoken advocate for agriculture will open many people's eyes to the truths about agriculture. For more information on Miss America's visit to K-State, feel free to contact me or any other Food For Thought member. Hope you'll be able to make it.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Salute to Pork Producers

Do you know a person who works in pork operations who consistently puts in extra effort to make positive contributions to on-farm processes? I thought so.

Wouldn't it be great if there was a way to recognize and reward those key industry players who go the extra mile in order to exceed expectations? Well, Pfizer Animal Health has created an opportunity for you to do just that.

Through November 30, you can nominate an exemplary pork industry employee for the Fostera: PCV Salute to Producers. Two winners will be awarded a $1000 cash prize, an all-expenses paid trip for two to NYC to the Pfizer Animal Health headquarters and will be recognized at the Fostera PCV Higher Standars Awards Ceremony.

Have someone in mind? Head on over to and nominate your outstanding pork industry employee. You can nominate as many people as you feel deserve this award so start cracking!

Fostera PCV (porcine circovirus) is a newly developed single-dose vaccine that helps prevent PCV2 viremia. For more information on Foster PCV, the Salute to Producers or Pfizer Animal Health, you can visit

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

image from here

Labels: , , , , , ,

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Facts on Food Day 2011

Friend or foe?

First off, let me say that I applaud an initiative that seeks to narrow the gap between rural producers and urban consumers. That is the whole point of advocacy and a national day that recognizes global hunger, environmental sustainability and the continued humane production of livestock is a giant step in the right direction. Food Day, which is today, is striving to do that through the following six principles:

1. Reduce diet-related disease by promoting safe, healthy foods
2. Support sustainable farms and limit subsidies to big-agribusiness
3. Expand access to food and alleviate hunger
4. Protect the environment and animals by reforming factory farms
5. Promote health by curbing junk-food marketing to kids
6. Support fair conditions for food and farm workers

All of these principles are written with good intentions and I agree with most of them. However, does anyone else have a problem with the wording used?

Alarms are sounding with #4 at the mention of "reforming factory farms." I wholeheartedly agree with protecting the environment and animals, however, the negative connotations that accompany 'factory farming' are counterproductive to this initiative. I won't list here what the Food Day website is touting because it was just another form of propaganda that will serve as a poor influence to consumers who want the truth. However, if you wish to read it for yourself here is the direct link to the six initiatives.

The truth is that farmers and ranchers practice humane methods in raising livestock 24/7/365. Food Day is everyday to the rural American producer and they don't need a declaration from Washington to tell them so.

I'm not the only person who thinks #2 and #4 are whack - check out this piece from Drover's CattleNetwork. Additionally, the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance doesn't fully condone the #4 "as all farms, large and small, should keep animals healthy... Large does not mean bad."

My final issue lies with the partners in Food Day - there are about 60+ and they range from state organizations like The California Endowment, to health organizations such as National Association for Health and Fitness. But the partners who really caught my eye were:
- Farm Animal Rights Movement - - they self proclaim, "national nonprofit organization working to end the use of animals for food through public education and grassroots activism." They are also behind
- Humane Society of the United States - - I don't think I have to inform you of their goals.

Additionally - Michael Pollan, author and self-proclaimed food expert and Wayne Pacelle, President of HSUS, are on the Food Day Advisory Board.

Now, obviously Food Day isn't out to abolish animal agriculture and I'm not saying that's their goal. This is just my gentle reminder that you can't always judge a book by its cover. Unless it's The Hobbit and then you can go ahead and judge away because that book is fabulous!

If you want to learn true facts about food production and connect with the people who produce it, head on over to or ask a producer.

I hope that you will treat every day as a real Food Day, by thanking farmers and ranchers when you have the chance. Don't fall for misinformation just because it is nationally recognized. Take the time to suss out the info on your own and ask questions - don't fall for a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Until next time - thank a farmer!
~ Buzzard~

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Why's the Barn Red?

Ever wondered why every single barn you see is either red or used to be red?

Me neither.

But then today I stumbled across an interesting tidbit of info on Yahoo!. You can thank my habit of clicking embedded links and an incurable affinity for quirky info for today's post.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bacon's Debut at Racetrack

Are you a bacon fan? Me too and I miss it tremendously down here in Australia. They have bacon of course, but it's nothing like our good ole' corn fed, hickory smoked, crispy American bacon.

Sidenote: I've noticed after being in Australia that Americans really like to combine sweet and salty flavors -- I love bacon and syrup, for example.

 Anywho, the Charlotte Motor Speedway has their own take on the sweet/salty flavor combo, the "funnel bacakonator." Yes, a funnel cake with strawberry and chocolate syrup and bacon pieces all over. The writer of this article isn't sure of combining strawberry flavored syrup with bacon but I can confirm that strawberry jam and bacon on toast is to-die-for.

Here is a picture of the amazing creation, courtesy here:

I'm drooling at the sight of it.

What's your favorite bacon creation? Check out these posts for more bacon on Buzzard's Beat.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Live Export Ships

You may have read my blog posts about the Live Export Ban in Australia and the conditions that led to its initiation. If you haven't, you may want to familiarize yourself with the issue. Read this first and this second.

Ok - now that you're caught up. Hubsy and I have had the privilege of being hosted in Perth for the past six days - he was asked to speak at the APL/CRC Pork Roadshow so we've been socializing with western Australian swine producers, attending dinners and doing a little bit of sight seeing. On Saturday we went whale watching with some family friends and saw two of these: one docked and one at sea.

Live export ship docked in Fremantle, WA, AUS.

Live export ship on the Indian Ocean - Fremantle, WA, AUS.

I tried to zoom in and see if there were any animals aboard but I couldn't really tell and hubsy couldn't either.

It was interesting to actually see a live export ship up close - the trip from Perth to Indonesia takes about a week and a local cattle producer told us that the goal is for the cattle to not have any shrink. They said, for the most part, that they reach this goal often. It's one thing to hear and talk about something, but quite another to see it in person.

What's your opinion on the live export issue in Australia?

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, October 6, 2011

101 in 1001 Update

Ok, it's been quite a while since I last gave an update on my 101 in 1001 so I thought I'd do some blog filling and catch you up.

Since my last update, the goals I have completed are:

5. Go to bed before midnight every weeknight for two weeks -
  This was really hard because I'm a night owl but I managed to pull it off by scheduling it the same time as Ninja's project when I was getting up at 5-6 every morning to weigh, sort or slaughter pigs.
38. Consolidate/forward all email accounts down to 2
24. Refrain from purchasing any item of clothing, accessory or footwear for 1 month - today is one month since I purchased anything and I am in Perth currently and likely won't buy anything while I'm gone soooo... success!
51. Muster the courage to play blackjack in a casino - preferably win - Only won about $20 total and then lost it all back but still, yay me. This was in Calgary when I attended the ILC 2011.
59. Find the perfect cocktail dress - color insignificant
 I may have gone overboard - I now have two. A grey one and a black one. Here is the black one:
At my bff Rebecca Tokach's wedding (rehearsal dinner) with two great guys. This picture doesn't do the dress justice but you'll have to trust me on this one.

57. Scuba dive somewhere exotic - Great Barrier Reef 7/2011

This is me and the hubsy after diving the Great Barrier Reef. To read more about that trip, click here.

69. Watch the sunrise and sunset in the SAME DAY - Lamington National Park - 6/2011

I'm not an early bird, so this was difficult but it happened on our roadtrip with Andy, Mandy and Kristen to Queensland. Read more about that trip here and here. This was in Lamington National Park - I didn't get a sunset picture but take my word for it that I was awake for that occasion.

70. Attend an opera, symphony or musical - Love Never Dies 9/2011
Ninja took me to see this opera the day I got back from the states. Read more here.

25. Eat 5 exotic/uncommon foods (Thai seafood 4/12/2011, Tofu Steak 5/2011, Kangaroo 6/2011, Crocodile 7/2011, Octopus 7/2011)  -- Crocodile is chewy but good. Octopus is mediocre, at best. KANGAROO IS FREAKING AWESOME - as good or better than venison.
and these are the goals that are currently in progress:
9. Celebrate one of life's little achievements once/month for 12 months (1/12)
12. Watch 5 movies that Ninja loves that don't interest me (Apocalypse Now, Papillon)

27. Call /visit my grandparents once/month for 12 months (3/12)
29. Attend 6 of Kristy’s sporting events/school events/4-H stuff - (Bourbon Co. hog show, Bourbon Co. beef show - these were on separate days so they are separate events)

49. Pay off my small credit cards - Maurices, Victoria's Secret
55. Face 3 fears (claustrophobia 7/2011, heights 8/2011)
58. Create a wardrobe I love. (This is defined as a closet full of clothes I am equally happy to wear).  This will be complete when my closet is full - it's currently about 1/2 full ;)

68. Purge and donate old clothes from closets at least three times (1- 7/2011)
72. Learn how to make Grandma’s fried chicken, chicken n’ noodles and divinity candy  -- Grandma taught me how to make fried chicken and I practice the art when I got back to Aus. The Ninja loved it and I must say it was purty tasty.

77. Volunteer once/month at a breadbasket, food pantry or other comm. service 6 times (5/2011 - Red Shield Appeal;)
79. Donate 25,000 grains of free rice through (4010)85. Say 'I love you' EVERY day for entirety of 1001 days
88. Attend church once/month for 12 months (6/12)
90. Read the books from this list98. Post every day for 1 month on From Oz to Aus - I've posted 22 days in a row - another 8 days and this one is done!
In summary:
Goals completed- 14  (it seemed like a lot more than that)
Days until end of 1001 - 824

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Practical People = Practical Solutions

While waiting to pick up cow manure at the Royal Melbourne Show yesterday, I was reading the newspaper. I ran across an article about farmers being upset with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for taking a more extreme stand on recent animal welfare issues in Australia. In the past, RSCPA has claimed to be the 'middle ground' but farmers have recently had their doubts. In an attempt to bring them back to that middle ground, farmers have started vying for positions within the organization.

There was a really great quote in the article that applies to animal welfare issues in the United States just as much, if not more, as it does in Australia.

"We need practical people who understand animal welfare and production agriculture. The fear is that if we're dictated to by people who don't understand producing food, we're living in the ideal world instead of the real world." -- Victorian Farmers Federation President Andrew Broad

As agriculture advocates, we need to be sure to voice our opinions and positive ideas to avoid allowing organizations such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) from spearheading legislation that is harmful to America's hardworking farmers and ranchers.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, October 3, 2011

Herds of Hope

As I've mentioned on another blog, I've been working as a livestock assistant at the Royal Melbourne Show for the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria. Thus far, I've scooped a lot of manure and answered the phone. It hasn't been too strenuous.

The breeding cattle show has been going on all week, so we've been fielding frantic phone calls, setting up panels, taking down panels, preparing exhibitor packets, shoveling manure etc. While doing some paperwork stuff I found a informational pamphlet for Herds of Hope.
Herds of Hope is a fundraising initiative for the Ronald McDonald House (RMHC) in Australia. If an exhibitor chooses to do so, the proceeds of selling her show steer or lamb will be donated directly to the RMHC. The program started in December 2010 so it's fairly new but has been utilized at quite a few shows in Australia. Charities like RMHC usually focus on collections in urban areas but this is a great way to reach out to rural populations and get them involved.

Additionally, Herds of Hope is sponsored by the Australian Beef Industry Foundation, Cargill Beef Australia, Elders Rural Services, MAC, Allflex Australia, Rural Press and McDonald’s. So not only can individuals get involved, but larger corporations are also stretching their financial legs and stepping up to the plate.

The important thing to point out here is that the livestock showing industry is not even in the same universe as the United States show industry. For example, a fellow livestock assistant was bragging about how, last year, the top steer sold for $7,000 at the sale. Now, I am not turning my nose up at $7,000 because I'm a broke, newly married grad student in another country living off of a stipend. However, $7,000 is just a drop in the bucket compared to how much money the champion steer at the National Western Stock Show would bring. Hell, the Grand Champion Barrow at the Ohio State Fair brought $41,000. Can you imagine how much money would be raised for charities if each exhibitor pledged just 1% of their sale income?

Before you start criticizing me for recommending that 4-H kids donate their hard earned cash willy nilly, remember that I showed for 13 years, so I know the gratification of a sale check. I understand that livestock are expensive to buy, care for, groom and feed. Throw that in the mix with the cost of traveling to shows, entry fees, hotels and food - it's not a cheap hobby.

I think that Herds of Hope is a great program here in Australia and that a similar program in the states could be very successful. Does anyone know of a similar program that I've accidentally overlooked?
Just some food for thought.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

p.s. - in case you were wondering, that's a Murray Grey bull on that poster. They're one of my favorite breeds of cattle, btw.

Labels: , , , , , ,