Monthly Archives: February 2012

Wordless Wednesday–Stay Calm…

Sorry, for the limited blogs this week. Between homework, thesis, and job interviews this is what I keep telling myself.

Thanks to my fellow grad student Shylo for this photo.

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Challenge Friday

Challenge Friday

I am starting this new blog theme on Fridays for all of my faithful blog followers to participate in, if you so choose. It will be called Challenge Friday. Whatever the call to action is, I hope you will partake. It wont be anything I wouldn’t do myself, as the leader of this blog, I will have to have done it myself, prior to posting the blog. So let’s get this inaugural Challenge Friday started!

How much positive mainstream media does American agriculture get? I don’t have the answer for that (again another possible research topic…). But what I do know is that USA Today published a positive article about the economy and jobs tied to agricultural production.

The comments attached the article are showing the various sides of agriculture, but we all have to eat. So someway, shape, or form people are always supporting American agriculture, and well agriculture industries as a whole.

So my challenge is to you, my trusty blog readers, to comment back on this article. Let’s show the USA Today readers that agriculturalists care! And if you are not involved in agriculture, what is your favorite part of American agriculture, or whatever your opinion maybe. I don’t care if it’s a two-word response, but I hope we can make a small movement to show that those involved in production agriculture are paying attention.

I commented, here is my response:

My response to the article, what will yours be?

Are You Talking WITH or AT Consumers?

The Texas Farm Bureau released a blog this week that states the fact that consumers don’t want to be talked at, but talked with from the perspective of who is producing the food the eat.

Now, really who likes being talked at, but talking with individuals about concerns that they may have or to correct misinformation is a strategy that we all could take a look at.  It has probably been close to two year ago that a blog post filtered through my Facebook news feed discussing the need for agriculturalist to take a step back and realize how they were approach this issue of agricultural literacy or education. We have all met the people who want to shove religion down our throat or any other subject, and in many cases people within agriculture are maybe too eager to share the story of agriculture.

I really wish I could find this blog post, cause it was a slap in the face for me. Reality check, I was (or still might be) that person.

This might be strange, but my Dad’s cousin passed away last week. He might have been one of the neatest christian men I have ever met. Don and his wonderful family showed me the true spirit and hospitality of West Texas when I first moved to Lubbock.

I attended his memorial service this week, I was greeted by family members that I knew were located in West Texas and across the country, but I hadn’t the slightest idea who they might be. This situation presented itself for me to explain my life story, and what my passion in life was.

It went something like this:
  1. My name is Maddee
  2. My Dad was Scott, he passed away in 2006
  3. Home is Eastern Oregon, but have lived in Lubbock for three years
  4. Bachelors degree in animal science, working on my masters degree in agricultural communications.
    1. BAM! Here was the turning point in the conversation, where I went from being a normal 20 something girl, to an advocate for agriculture (quite possibly on steroids).

i.     This was the moment most people gave me that look like, hmmm that is neat…maybe??? And they would pose the question “so what do you with that, what do you want to do with that?”

  1. Share the story of agriculture, or public relations in the beef industry in Boise, Idaho if I could chose my career exactly.
  2. Again this lead to more discussion about agriculture, I answered questions of hormones in meat, Michael Pollan’s books and theory, GMO’s, cotton production, raising beef, major medias inaccurate coverage of agriculture production and so on.

I thought to myself, oh gosh these poor people are going to need me to leave. I am pretty sure I was word vomiting about agriculture everywhere, but they kept asking questions and I kept doing the best I could answer them. Needless to say the Texas Farm Bureau’s post hit home for me, as I asked myself was I talking at or with my family who are general consumers of agricultural products and fascinate me about what they want to know about their food.

So I ask you, are you advocating for agriculture or an obnoxious advocate? I am sure I cross the line from time to time, but I try my best to keep myself in check.

Let your passion shine through, but still be respectful!

One of my favorite places on earth, Chandler Herefords--Baker, Oregon. Snow falling on the Blue Mountains.

It’s National FFA Week–I am EXCITED

It’s National FFA week!

I cant express my love and dedication to this enormous youth education program.  Get involved, and take something from it. Agriculture education is not what is used to be, the umbrella of the National FFA Organization stretches far wider than I can explain in this blog.

My experience in FFA was pretty unique, but whose isn’t.

Due to an unfortunate circumstance, my small rural high school had gained a new Principle. My Mom had informed me that Mr. Koehn used to be agriculture educator, with that I wanted to find out what we could do in the ways of livestock judging through FFA. Either way, I had no idea what that one thought would lead into.

Side note: I was just ok at judging livestock in high school it turns out my sister and well my other sister who isn’t really my sister and the girl who had no idea what a heifer was, and Miss Mariah pretty much rocked livestock judging in the state of Oregon for a few years. I am not about living in the past, but it was big moment in those girls lives. 
 

We started down the road to establish an FFA chapter my Senior year of high school. We had no classroom; therefore we shared the high school library, thanks Ms. Talley for letting create chaos in there. Mr. Koehn, or how I better know him as Toby, was not getting paid to instruct us, but was taking on extra duties so we could dream a little. He was still the full time Principle and part time Ag teacher.

I will honestly say that we spent a lot of that first year encouraging kids to join this program, preparing for contests and traveling to contests. It wasn’t anything like the program is today. We had a hugely successful first year, and we enjoyed every minute of the controlled chaos we were living in.

First Eastern Oregon Livestock Show, banners and the Governor of Oregon

Now Cove, Oregon is a pretty special place. This small school is one of the only 1A schools in the state to still had a band, art, and shop programs in 2006. We were a small school that options for kids no matter their interest, now they may not be as extensive as other schools, but most schools the size of Cove had lost all of those programs and were dependent on sports and student councils to keep kids involved. I am very proud to say those programs are still growing!

I have been able to go back and spend time with the next generation of students that are going through this program, and it’s EXCITING. Toby is now the full time Ag teacher, we have a school farm that has chickens and crops year round. Toby has activated the interest from the teachers throughout the school to become involved in process of agricultural production. The elementary students are involved in gathering eggs and vegetables each day. High school Ag students also have the opportunity to look over the younger students during this process. Also, the fresh vegetables are served in the school cafeteria. How many schools in the country can you say that happens in!

Toby had enough of my sister...I really do love him!

A La Grande Observer article that discusses the new greenhouse that is going up on the school farm, this is a student led project. Learning leadership, communication, management, team work, and dedication skills, you bet! I just get all excited thinking about the doors this program has opened for 540,379 students across this country!

I am so thankful for everyone who has contributed to this program in some way shape or form. I am also thankful for a great Ag teacher who let us dream, and has continued to be one of my best friends and a man who pushes me to think outside the box.

So go celebrate National FFA Week, be proud to be a part of agriculture. And if you aren’t involved in agriculture, this organization may be away for you to learn a little about production agriculture, but its not just about sows, cows, and plows any more!

I was lucky enough to go to National FFA Convention my Senior year thanks to the La Grande FFA Chapter inviting me to join them! I was being the milk model at an ice cream plant.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T Agriculture

As a blogger, a user of social media, a disseminator of agricultural news and information, a student, and a human I value respect.

Respect by definition is a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements. Or it can be used as a verb instead of a noun, meaning to admire (someone or something) deeply, as a results of their abilities, qualities, or achievements.

Now, what I take that mean in real life is to give people a chance to speak their part, opening doors for others when they have ten children and a shopping cart, letting other express their emotions as need be, and whatever else that parents instilled into me as a sign of respect.  Agriculturally speaking, I respect the land by not treating it like dirt, I respect my animals by ensuring that their health, nutrition and care is to the highest standards, I respect the safety of others who may have to deal with my small agricultural operation by maintaining fences, keeping creeks and spring clean and fenced for erosion purposes, take down unnecessary brush, trees or other fire hazards, maintain our road, and the list goes on and on. And at the current moment, all of this credit goes to my amazing Mother, but in reality that what we are all striving for right?

One of the greatest rights that this country has given us as American citizens is the right of free speech. This right is one that I value to the highest level of governmental rights. Those of you who know me well or those of you who don’t and have read a few posts probably have guessed that I am strong headed and I am going to tell you how I see it. I have been told by a past employer, that I could work on being a little less harsh and padding the truth a little when the situation call for it. But I see it as the truth is the truth, so call it like it is.

Now the truth in my opinion may be complete different from yours, or anyone else’s for that fact, but I like to at least think I will give just about anyone the opportunity to explain how they see a situation.

Yet in the popular press, and those with other opinions about modern agriculture and the society that is built upon it (meaning modern agriculture) are being completely disrespectful to those who are involved in the numerous industries are feeding, clothing, and supporting basic life for them.

Examples: February 11th Many Moods of Vince Daniels Radio Show—where Dr. David Daley of CSU Chico engages in a conversation with a vegetarian and vegan. Listen to the conversation from minute 97:00 to the end of the show; it is long, but worth the listen.

The second example is of a agriculture communicator from Ohio who was repeatedly disrespected by a employee of Chipolte in an effort to show her that the picture she was “framing” to 8th graders was false.

I will keep saying it, but I believe it:

Food is a personal, and emotional choice, with that I hope we all remember respect is key to understanding other peoples’ views on the world, agriculture, and food.

Becker Place--Union, Oregon. The Becker family has worked dilligencently to control the water, cattle, and ground in this area. It looks better and better every year, with the return of wild life, and even a few white face cows are present.

Wordless Wednesday–Ridiculous

Yeah I know I am ridiculous, I have known this for a long time, and last night actually led to documented proof.

Are you looking for an excellent photographer? That girl behind me is an AWESOME photographer, check her out at Jennifer Blackburn Photography. She also has this awesome photo booth setup, we had to try it out!

Guns Up! We are proud Red Raiders!