Buzzard's Beat

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

You know you're in a farm family when.....

Good morning and I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas filled with family, food and friends (and kept the reason for the season, baby Jesus, in mind).

Our Christmas at Frobose Farms was relatively normal - opened gifts (for two hours, geesh), Christmas brunch, play new Wii games etc. Of course there are some defining factors that set any farm family apart from their urban contemporaries this time of year.

1. The cattle and hogs are fed before 7 am (they need to eat on Christmas, too) - long before a single gift is touched/shaken/squealed over.

2. You jump out of your chair with pure excitement after you open a brand new pair of coveralls; perfect for bedding cattle, hauling hay, feeding livestock or riding horses through deep snow.

3. As equally exciting as #2, wearing those new coveralls with the new muck boots you bought yourself (on sale at Cabela's) is a primo feeling. Warm and cozy with dry feet. Perfection.

4. After presents and lunch, the hogs must be weighed, walked and rations tweaked in order to prepare for the National Western Stock Show.

5. You dart out to the barn a few times a day to check on these little guys (who arrived on December 23rd).
Simmi X Angus

Purebred Simmi

6. In the midst of all the chaos that's associated with farm life, you spend a few hours frantically rushing around the kitchen preparing side dishes and desserts for Christmas dinner that evening.

As you can tell, we had a pretty busy Christmas and were very blessed to be able to spend the day with each other and got some pretty cool stuff, too!

What was your favorite part of Christmas? Does your family have any special traditions? Did Santa bring you what you asked for?

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Lazy

We all do it. The final 5-6 days before Christmas arrive and we think, "Crap! I have so many people left to buy for and I'm running out of time." No worries, Buzzard is here to save the day.  Here are some of my favorite aggie gifts and stocking stuffers for your shopping pleasure.

- Steak Brander: Know somebody who is an all-weather grill master? I do and I got him this K-State meat brander about 5 years ago! My stepdad loves this thing and uses it all the time!

- Perky Jerky: my husband has a very difficult time staying awake and driving late at night, so I am going to get him some of this jerky that is infused with guarana (that stuff in energy drinks). High in protein and high energy to boot!

For your tech savvy friends, what about a pig USB port or a ceramic pig speaker for your iPod?

And probably my favorite ag gift (which I sincerely hope hubsy buys me but he probably won't since he never reads my blog) is this fantastic t-shirt which describes me to a tee (no pun intended).

I love meat!!

Here's to finding that perfect gift but let us not forget the reason for the season. Let us rejoice our dear Savior's birth so long ago.

Merry Christmas,

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Who Are We to Judge Horse Meat?

Last week I posted about the recent reinstatement of federal funding for horse slaughter inspection. As a a member of the horse industry, I can attest to the fact that many horse owners are very excited about this development. For more of my thoughts and the facts behind this issue, read last week's post by clicking here.

A lot of people have said, "We don't eat horsemeat in the U.S. so why slaughter it here?"  My question is, "Why don't we eat it here?" A 100 gram serving is a good source of iron and protein and it has less fat per 100 gram serving of beef sirloin.

I am expecting the run of the mill responses; horses are pets, my religion prohibits it, horses are majestic, it's wrong etc etc. Who are we to judge what others should eat? Aren't we as consumers constantly saying how much we appreciate having food choices? This is just another choice that American agriculture can provide to a struggling economy. Furthermore, the U.S. is small percentage of the world population and what we eat doesn't dictate the eating habits of the rest of the world. For example: you'd think things like bacon or grape jelly were pretty run of the mill products, right? Wrong. The U.S. should not condemn those who choose to investigate alternative sources of protein due to income, religion, morals or taste preferences.

For the record, I have NOT tried horse meat but in my defense I've only been presented with the opportunity once while in Germany. Mark my words, I'll try it the next time I have a chance.

If you too would like to try horse meat here is a simple chart that gives a breakdown of the meat cuts.

Lastly, I just want to reiterate that I AM a horse owner and I am in favor of horse slaughter.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

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Friday, December 2, 2011

Horse Slaughter Funding Reinstated

A few days ago, some news was announcd regarding the equine industry which, as you know, is very near and dear to my heart.

In 2006, horse slaughter in the U.S. was effectively 'banned' because the funding for plant inspections was cut. All slaughter plants in the U.S. must be inspected by USDA/FSIS and if there is no funding available then there is no slaughter.

Recently, news broke that the Department of Agriculture had reinstated federal inspection money in a November 18 bill. Hallelujah!

Not suprisingly, there has been an uproar from anti-agriculturalists and people who are unfamiliar with the equine industry. Allow me to take the opportunity to lay out some facts:

- Although horse meat is not widely consumed in the U.S., it is consumed and described as a delicacy in countries like France, Canada and Mexico. We (the U.S.) comprise a very small percentage of worldwide population and shouldn't assume that if we don't like something, it's therefore taboo for everyone else. It takes all sorts of minds to make a world go round, folks.

- Horses are expensive - just like other livestock. Expensive to feed, expensive to own and very expensive to have euthanized by a veterinarian. By selling a horse to the slaughter market, an owner could save some money on a euthanasia injection but also contribute to feeding people in France, Canada, etc.

-  When horse slaughter was stopped in 2006, horse welfare drastically decreased. Where there was once a market for horses who were past their useful lives there was now an abyss of no hope. It wasn't smart to take your trailer to the salebarn and leave it unlocked because you'd likely find yourself with a few more hungry horse mouths to feed. Others were unlucky enough to walk outside in the morning and find a few horses left in their pastures. And most horrible of all, there were  instances where the hide that contained the brand had been cut off, and the horse had been set free - all to prevent the horse from being returned to the owner.

horse slaughter, animal welfare, horse meat, ban, USDA

- This reinstatement of funding is holistically a great thing in many ways. Horse welfare will improve and jobs will be created. Job creation? Yes, that's right. Every slaughter plant that opens will employ several hundred people, if not a thousand, essentially stimulating the economy in that region.

These are all points that I have seen time and again be misrepresented or misquoted in the comment stream on horse slaughter articles. Many of those comments are outrageous and unfounded however there is one such mindset that needs to be addressed. On an article on Huffington Post, several comments have touted irresponsible breeding as the culprit of poor welfare. I hope that horse owners view the previous five years as a wakeup call. Equine people, if you can't afford to feed and care for a horse, please don't continue to breed them. If your child only wants one to ride occasionally, please seek out leasing options or buying an older horse - not contacting a breeder to have one specially bred just for your child. These are all strategies that have partially created the situation we are in. This is what a friend of mine said on Facebook and I can't say it any better myself:
 "I couldn't be more supportive of the reinstatement of funding for horse slaughter in the U.S. It is desperately needed for our industry. However, those of us that own horses shouldn't just see it as a "garbage disposal" for our unwanted horses; we have to approach the problem up front. This means prudent and responsible breeding practices. Just because you think you want a foal, consider whether this horse will contribute to your lifestyle please! There is a lot more work that goes in to making a well-trained, confident, good horse than you may realize. I support horse slaughter and I support breeding GOOD horses, it's time to focus on the latter."  - A. Wilson, cowgirl and responsible horse owner

All in all, this is a fantastic thing for agriculture and the equine industry, in my opinion. What are your thoughts?

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

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