Buzzard's Beat

Friday, March 30, 2012

Hyvee, Pink Slime (LFTB) and Stupidity

It's generally not common for shoppers to thank grocers for carrying certain products - we just expect them to be there and take for granted the different options available to us. There's usually two or three different brands/varieties of each product on our grocery list, which allows us to be selective based on price, brand loyalty and taste.

Unless you shop at Wal-Mart, Kroger, Safeway or Target and henceforth your ground beef options will have been slashed. Those retailers have chosen to cease utilizing lean, finely textured beef (LFTB) in their ground beef products which drastically reduces the options available to we, the shoppers. Even though the USDA, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and one of the producers of LFTB, Beef Products Inc., have affirmed its safety time and again. In fact just yesterday three governors (Iowa, Kansas, Texas) toured a BPI plant and chowed down on burgers made from LFTB after their tour. Governor Branstad (Iowa) stated in a press conference that boycotting LFB is bad for the econom and the public's health:
”The problem is, we take this off the market, then we end up with a fatter product that’s going to cost more and it’s going to increase the obesity problem in this country,” he said at the news conference. “It doesn’t make any sense, and it’s not caused any problems in terms of health — that’s the most important thing here, is protecting the health of the citizens of this country and making sure that they have product that’s safe.”
He also scolded the national media for permeating the ongoing discussion with a “poisonous tone,” which he warned was “detrimental to the beef industry and the jobs that support it.”
“It’s time to end the smear campaign and to stop the use of inaccurate, inappropriate and charged words designed to scare people,” he said.
To read more about the Governors' visit - check out these sources.

However, there is one grocery chain who has chosen to not jump on the uneducated bandwagon and will continue to offer LFTB choices. Know why? From the Hyvee website:

"Hy-Vee takes great pride in listening to the voices of our customers and offering them outstanding values on the quality products they want to buy," the company said in a statement published on its website. "Following our recent decision to stop purchasing ground beef containing Lean Finely Textured Beef, we heard from many customers who asked us to continue carrying this product.
"They've sent us a clear message: They want a choice when it comes to ground beef, and they want to support companies that provide thousands of jobs in our Midwest trade area. In response to this feedback, Hy-Vee has made a decision to offer both kinds of ground beef -- both with and without Lean Finely Textured Beef."
Bravo! It's so refreshing that our voices were actually heard and Hyvee responded. This is what agriculturalists and agvocates work for - empowering people to voice their need for choices and search out correct information. This is a superb example of a company standing up for what is right and making decisions based on facts and consumer demands.

Unfortunately, not all grocers are created equal and the aforementioned stores that have chosen to cease offering LFTB have, with the help of horrible reporting by ABC news, caused BPI to close its plants in Kansas, Texas and Iowa. This cease of production has left about 800 people out of work, which is a travesty since LFTB is safe for consumption and is comprised of 100% beef and only 95% lean. Thankfully, and contributing to the stand up values of BPI, the company will continue paying employees full salary until the situation has been resolved. Wow.

Oh by the way, did you know that since the bottom has fallen out of LFTB demand - DUE TO ATROCIOUS REPORTING BY ABC - beef producers will need to supply processing plants with an additional 1.5 million head of cattle in order to meet demand. This comes on the heels of one of the worst droughts in recent history this past summer which caused the national cow herd to drop to the lowest numbers since 1952. This is becoming the perfect storm for through the roof beef prices and a lot of additional stress on the cattle industry.

On the topic of poor ABC reporting - I know that getting people to read articles is sometimes difficult. Gold mines are found in sensational headlines with buzz words however, a biased slandering piece about a 100% safe process that provides millions of people with healthy, safe and affordable beef does not fall under responsible journalism. There will be likely be another post about journalism on this blog and how not to do it - I don't have a communications, English or journalism degree but I know how to check the facts.

This post has ended up a lot longer than I intended but the consequences of turning our backs on an economical, safe and healthy product are far reaching and sombering. If you appreciate choices, low-cost high-quality food, please please please call the renegade grocery stores that have suspended LFTB and let them know how you feel.

Look for more on this topic later because it's not going anywhere.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I cried at work

WARNING: This post is not eloquent nor well written but it is chock full of emotion. If you're looking for a more well-written post, go here.

As most of you know, I am a huge hopelessly devoted K-State fan and although I don't blog about them very much, since this is mostly an #agblog, that doesn't lessen my passion.

For example, I didn't post when our football team was only favored in four games but instead went 10-2 and earned a Cotton Bowl berth (where we were unfortunately defeated by the very classy Arkansas Razorbacks).

I didn't post when our men's basketball team beat Mizzou twice- something no other team in the Big 12 could achieve; not even that other Kansas school in Lawrence. Most schools fell to Tiger paws by a significant margin. Not our Cats..
I didn't post when made it to our fourth NCAA tourney appearance in five years.

But I'm posting now because I'm heartbroken and mad.

Our beloved Frank Martin is leaving K-State because he has accepted the head basketball coach position at the University of South Carolina.
South Carolina. A Southeastern Conference (SEC) school - a school in a conference which, except for Kentucky, cares solely about football. I don't exactly know how we're going to recruit a new coach when our AD drives away loyal, passionate coaches to football supporting, losing basketball program schools. Sad, sad story.

This is pretty much all John Currie's fault - in my opinion. It's no secret that Athletic Director John Currie and Frank Martin don't get along and when Currie benched Jamar Samuels before the Syracuse game, which we ultimately lost, without consulting Frank - that was the final straw. Rumors  began flying on Twitter on Friday and most of Wildcat Nation believed it to be untrue since Frank hadn't said anything and seriously, why would he go to South Carolina? Over the weekend, Frank was a guest commentator for the Elite Eight games on CBS and showed no signs of leaving and said nothing was final, as rumors continued to fly.

However, the bomb hit on Monday that our man was leaving.

John Currie didn't even try to keep him - just let the best basketball coach KSU has had since Lon Kruger walk away to a program that finished LAST  in the SEC. A winning coach who, besides coaching five consecutive 20-win seasons without the help of Bill Walker or Michael Beasley, is one of the most loyal and stand up men K-State has seen in a long time. Integrity, passion (for K-State and the game), loyalty - all values he possessed. The man would go to bat for any of his players and we knew just how much he cared for them when he shed tears discussing Jamar Samuels' final game.

I cried in the breakroom at work when I heard the news. Frank Martin brought the glory, fierceness and excitement back to K-State basketball that we hadn't been seen in years.

I highly doubt Frank Martin will ever read this post but for what's it's worth:

You are going to be missed by a Wildcat Nation 50,000+ strong. A nation who, until 2007, was used to mediocrity and didn't expect wins. You introduced passion, excellence and new life to a sour program. We came to embrace your rough exterior, knowing all along you would stand up for any of your men - which you've proved time and again.

I will likely become a USC basketball fan - solely because of you. You'll always be a wildcat to me and I hope that once John Currie is gone you will return to KSU and continue your tradition of excellence.
Brandi Buzzard

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Meeting Fellow Birdies

Also known as tweeps.

It's no secret I'm addicted to Twitter (@brandibuzzard) - I recently said it in an interview with Cattle Network. Through my addiction, I've had the opportunity to 'meet' a lot of great people in the "twitter-verse" but haven't actually met many in real life.

I am excited to say that I finally got to meet one of my fave tweeps on Sunday night. Kelly Rivard - agriculture agvocate and communications extraordinaire - (@kmrivard) had to come to KC for business and decided to visit MHK the weekend before. Kelly, Jodi Oleen (@jodioleen), Sheridan Wimmer (@Sheridan_W) me and a few boys got together Sunday night at Little Apple Brewing Company for beef, beer and fellowship. It was fantastic fun - BONUS: I got to have dinner with Kelly on Monday night at Hibachi Hut. She's uber smart and creative, hilarious and sarcastic - we get along pretty great. It's nice to know there are people out there who think just like me, whether that's appropriate or not isn't up for debate.

The Little Apple Gang:

l-r: Brandon, Jodi, Kelly, Me, Sheridan and Randell
(check out Randell and Sheridan's cute prom pose)  ;)

Everyone in this picture is awesome - even the boys because they put up with our random chatter for a few hours. We all appreciate ag, sarcasm, good food, beer/margaritas and we all love MHK. Tell me if there is a way to be more awesome.
For all you non MHK folk, feel free to hit me up if you visit Kansas!
Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Above the Shoulders - 101 in 1001

I hope I have your attention.
I haven't done a 101 in 1001 update since October/November so I figure it's about time. I don't do updates very often because I don't want to update you, faithful readers, unless I have actually completed some worthwhile goals. So here they are:

First up, goals in progress:
Run/workout 3x a week for 2 months
Celebrate one of life's little achievements once/month for 12 months (1/12)
Celebrate our 1 and 2 year wedding anniversaries in a unique way
 -- Successfully did the 1st year anniversary uniquely - Ninja took me to the Cottage House Bed & Breakfast in Council Grove and to dinner at the Trail House Museum. Council Grove was a point on the Sante Fe Trail (I think) so the dinner the restaurant was set in the 19th century and had a bunch of cool historical things and facts from that era. We're history nerds and we love it.  For gifts, (first year is paper) he got me Eli Young Band tickets - my favorite! I bought him a bunch of books and a big vintage world map for us to keep track of our world travels and also to pin spots we'd like to visit in the future. He did a great job of spoiling me and it was a lot of fun!

the Ninja and his map

I was pretty excited about those Eli Young Band tickets (they were awesome in concert - you should go sometime).

Watch 5 movies that the Ninja loves that don't interest me (Apocalypse Now, Papillon, X-Men,)
Call /visit my grandparents once/month for 12 months (6/12)
Attend 6 of Kristy’s sporting events/school events/4-H stuff - (Bourbon Co. hog show, Bourbon
     Co. beef show)
Defend my thesis by May 2012 - My defense date is set for April 20!
Promote agriculture at community meeting or conference - 3x (2/3)-- This one I am pretty excited about. My first experience was with the Australiasian Pig Science Association Conference in November in Adelaide, SA, Australia. I was invited to speak about agvocacy in agriculture, specifically in the swine industry. It was only to about 75 people but it was very well received.
-- The second time was just last Thursday at the Berryton, KS Kiwanis Club meeting. I am a speaker for Operation Main Street (I did my training with the Food For Thought in Jan 2011). I haven't heard much feedback from the NPB yet, but I had a blast!
Speaking to the Berryton Kiwanis Club about modern pork production. They were a great audience and I had a blast!

Pay off my small credit cards - Maurices, Victoria's Secret
Purge and donate old clothes from closets at least three times (1- 7/2011, 2 - 1/2012)
Learn how to make Grandma’s fried chicken
, chicken n’ noodles and divinity candy
Volunteer once/month at a breadbasket, food pantry or other comm. service 6 times (5/2011 -

        Red Shield Appeal;)
Donate 25,000 grains of free rice through (5110)

Say 'I love you' EVERY day for entirety of 1001 days
Attend church once/month for 12 months (6/12)
Read the books from this list
Play golf 3x in the 1001 days (2/3)
 -- This one was a lot of fun too, both times I played while in Australia. Our friend Doug Albright came and visited so during some downtime during an afternoon in Alice Springs we checked out the links. I also played once in Melbourne on a rainy day.

Dougie Phresh and I

Alice Springs' golf course wins award for best scenery - middle of the Australian outback

Now for the fun stuff... goals I've completed since the last update:
Run/workout 3x a week for 1 month -- some of my closest friends can't believe this. Even hubsy and his best friend had an over/under bet on how many times I would work out (hubsy took the over for 5, lucky him)
Have a date night with the Ninja each week for two months
Watch Food Inc. -- this was difficult to do but I felt I must. If I ever find the notes I took, I'll write a summary/opinion post
Fly first class (even if it's only from KC to Dallas) -- this was not on purpose but on a recent flight to D.C. for a job interview (the company paid for the seats) I found myself with uber leg room and at the front of the plane. Success!!

Design and print our Christmas cards for 2011 - this was hard because we had so many great pictures from Australia that I wanted to include but here was the final product.
Clockwise from top left: A day out at Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary in Healesville, VIC, AUS; infront of Uluru/Ayers Rock in the Northern Territory, AUS; goofing around on the Great Barrier Reef before snorkeling; one of our great wedding pictures from Grant Watkins Photography; a romantic/posey moment in front of the Sydney Opera House, Sydney, AUS; scuba diving off the cost of Matamanoa Island, Fiji, during our honeymoon!

Earn someone's respect -- this has been made extremely clear to me over the past few months so thank you to everyone for the kind words.

Drastically change my hair -- if you hadn't picked up on it in the picture from the pork presentation, I cut 6 inches off my hair. It is currently ABOVE MY SHOULDERS. My hair hasn't been this short since I was 13 and growing out the bowl cut I sported from age 9-13 (true story). Here's a better picture for ya. It looks a lot longer here because I'm kind of leaning forward but it's way short. Also, I had no less than 10 people tell me that my Fake Patty's Day shirt (pinch me and I'll punch you) was very fitting to my personality. Go figure.

Goals completed to date: 23 (in less than a year - go me)!
Goals left to complete: 101 minus 23 (I suck at math).
Days left to end of challenge: 663 (I used this website to figure that)

Well, that's all for this update. There will probably be another in June. Or not.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pink Slime - It's Meat

******First off, I want to say that yesterday a fantastic commentary was written about the pink slime issue. which you can read here. I was given a lot of praise and credit for apparently writing it but I want to make it clear that I didn't write it - my husband, Hyatt Frobose, wrote that as a member of the Food For Thought blog squad. Just giving credit where credit is due - he did a great job and has seen first-hand how LFTB is processed and made.******

 Ok, on to the regularly scheduled post: there's been a lot of buzz about pink slime recently, which is a moniker I dislike so I'll henceforth be referring to it as Lean, Finely Textured Ground Beef (LFTB). There is a lot of negative buzz about LFTB but there are also a lot of facts and truth behind it which need to be pointed out:

- LFTB is completely safe for consumption.
- LFTB is NOT made from beef parts intended for pet food. It is made from meat that is extracted from the external and KPH (kidney, pelvic, heart) fat from cattle. Part of the process involves using ammonium hydroxide to ensure the product is free from bacteria and microorganisms. The ammonium hydroxide mist evaporates and is not present in the final product. Therefore, it's completely safe for consumption.
-- LFTB helps us meet consumer demand for safe, affordable and nutritious food - Dr. Russell Cross, Head of the Department of Animal Sciences at Texas A&M

There are many other very well written and informative factual-based commentaries about LFTB and I encourage you to read up on the facts.

Q & A about ammonium hydroxide in food

Is Pink Slime Dangerous to Consumers - written by the Ninja (@frobose on Twitter)

Pink Slime is a Myth - great resource

Engineering a Safer Burger - Washington Post article about LFTB production

Pink shirts, pink ties and pink slime - Common Sense Agriculture by Jeff Fowle (@JeffFowle on Twitter)

Also, I was asked by a contact I made in Australia if I thought the US would adopt irradiation in meat processing. I wrote about this a year ago or so and hope you'll check that link out, too. Although I don't see irradiation being adopted/accepted anytime soon, unfortunately.

Become an investigator and find out the truth. The news isn't always true but science doesn't lie.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

National Ag Day

It's National Ag Day and agriculturalists around the country are stating why they are 'Ag Proud' - so I'll jump on the bandwagon for this but you'll have to check out the NCBA Young Producer's Council Cattle Call blog to see what I said!

Happy Ag Day and remember to be informed and find out the real facts about your food! Don't forget it's also Kansas Ag Week - join in on the conversation on Twitter by following #KsAgWeek or @KansasDeptofAg.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

p.s. Monday, there's going to be a 101 in 1001 update! Get excited - I am, I've got tons to share!

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Breaking it Down - Farm Size and Efficiency

Today I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Kevin Stafford speak - he is brilliant and hilarious. The perfect combination. If you want more of a background on him read this.

He said something today that was very clear and made absolute sense to me but a lot of people in the urban world, and some in the rural world for that matter, have a hard time understanding. So I thought I'd put his ideas on here and get some feedback.

His ideas on why farms have gotten bigger while the number of farms has decreased (this is world wide, not just in the U.S.) are:

- If farm gate prices are too low then...
- Farm size must increase to support the family producing the food therefore....
- Animal production intensifies because more animal units require more management, feed and efficiency which leads to....
- More animals per person OR Engage in niche farming/marketing (natural, organic, grass-finished, etc).

I think this makes perfect sense - Dr. Stafford said that the size of the family farm in terms of animal numbers has nearly tripled in New Zealand due to cheap food prices and low support to farmers. The same has happened here except in the U.S., some farmers get some subsidies (but they're not getting rich, just to be clear on that point).

So what do you think?

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~