Tag Archives: Food Industry

SAGE CENTER TOUR

SAGE of Sustainable Agriculture and Energy Center

SAGE, in much of the western United States the first thought of the word sage is joined with brush. It’s pretty when it’s green, it provides habitat for sage grouse, and multiple other animals. But the sage I am talking about is the SAGE of Sustainable Agriculture and Energy Center in Boardman, Oregon. This I-84 visitors center provides hands on learning, graphics and experiences to visitors about modern agriculture and how western Umatilla and Morrow Counties. This region has grown to be one of the most unique and diverse agricultural regions in the world.

I have been back in eastern Oregon over a year, and have been talking about taking a guided Port of Morrow tour with my friend Anna and making a stop at the SAGE Center for months. Finally, I did it. I wanted to show a college friend who was in town from Texas, and equally as passionate about agriculture what we do in eastern Oregon, and how and what people are doing at the Port of Morrow.

Heather and I loaded up with Anna as she drove us around the port describing the processing facilities, energy resources, wood and ethanol plants, freezing and shipping buildings and grain export terminal that is shared by two local grain marketing cooperatives.

Heather and I taking it all in.

Heather and I taking it all in.

As we are still in the midst of the west coast port crisis, the importance of agricultural product transportation finally slapped me in the face. Have you really ever stopped to think what it really takes to move raw and finished products to the consumers of the world?

View from the Port of Morrow offices looking on to the Columbia River.

View from the Port of Morrow offices looking on to the Columbia River.

The cost for either moving products by truck or train are ridiculous than barge. The Columbia River is a priceless asset to Oregon and Washington agriculture not just for the small trickle of water that is used for irrigation, but for moving products in a timely, cost effective manner. There is an awesome display, that was my favorite part of the SAGE Center tour, unfortunately I didn’t snap a picture of it… Here are the facts though:

Barges move 1 ton of grain 500 miles on a single gallon of fuel. Compare that to semi trucks that moves 1 ton of grain only 60 miles on a single gallon, and you’ll see why grain barges still hold the keys to grain export.

Needless to say, I loved the SAGE Center and our personal tour of the Port. (Thanks Anna!) Here are some of my pictures and video from our adventure in Boardman.

Some farmers, ranchers and food production plants are accessing water from the Columbia River currently. There is current plans to utilize more water from the river to support agricultural production in the region. This will only be done with strict management practices. Currently, the river (the gallon jug for visual reference) is flowing at he average annual flow for the Columbia River at The Dalles, Oregon is approximately 190,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) (1 cfs = 448.8 gallons per minute). And the amount of water that is removed from the river for irrigation or energy purposes is less than one half of a percent, or represented as just over a tablespoon.

Some farmers, ranchers and food production plants are accessing water from the Columbia River currently. There is current plans to utilize more water from the river to support agricultural production in the region. This will only be done with strict management practices. Currently, the river (the gallon jug for visual reference) is flowing at the average annual flow for the Columbia River at The Dalles, Oregon is approximately 190,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) (1 cfs = 448.8 gallons per minute). And the amount of water that is removed from the river for irrigation or energy purposes is less than one half of a percent, or represented as just over a tablespoon.

"Generations of our family have cared for this ranch and its natural resources an in turn the ranch as cared for our families, livestock, wildlife while providing quality beef to feed many people. It is a privilege, a challenge, and at times a burden. But we do take a lot pride in what we do and produce. Ranches are an essential part of a successful economy for our county, state, and country." -- Mark and Tami Rietman, Triangle Ranches, Heppner, Oregon

“Generations of our family have cared for this ranch and its natural resources an in turn the ranch as cared for our families, livestock, wildlife while providing quality beef to feed many people. It is a privilege, a challenge, and at times a burden. But we do take a lot pride in what we do and produce. Ranches are an essential part of a successful economy for our county, state, and country.” — Mark and Tami Rietman, Triangle Ranches, Heppner, Oregon

Want to learn how french fries are really made?

So this beauty of a tog boat was one of the last to sail the pre-dammed Columbia River. Check out the movie Sagebrush Sailors for more history of this brave or slightly crazy river cowboys!

So this beauty of a tug boat was one of the last to sail the pre-dammed Columbia River. Check out the movie Sagebrush Sailors for more history of this brave or slightly crazy river cowboys!

Next time you a driving through Boardman, take an hour or so and check out the SAGE Center, and keep supporting Oregon agriculture!

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Western Wildfire Season

Wildfires in the west are part of the normal summer activities.

Hazy days are closed by smokey sunsets. We are taught from a young age to be cautious. Smokey Bear is a part of everyday life as much as a childhood teddy bear. Sights and sounds of US Forest Service, BLM, state and private contractors fire trucks and rigs are normal. The repercussions of these fires devastates the land, animals, lives and the families that make a living from the land.

The impacts, the stories and discussions that one could have about the impact of fire could host conversations for days. Some are positive, and others are negative. Understanding that fire impacts peoples live is one of the hardest for many to grasp. As hard as it was for people to understand why farmers and ranchers could not act quick enough in the fall of 2013 during the Storm Atlas in southwestern region of South Dakota.

A friend who is an ag teacher, ranchers wife and now fire volunteer on the Buzzard Complex had this to say about what we she was witnessing.

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The fire as of Sunday was larger in land area than Multnomah County, which is home the largest population in the state. 

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There are dozens of other large fires burning in the west. National media outlets are picking up the stories, but they are focused on the million dollar homes in a resort town, rather than the stories of those who make a living from the land.

Stay safe out there and enjoy your summer. Thank you to all of the volunteers, contractors and fire fighters working to control this rapidly moving summer of flames.

Picture from a look out point in the Grand Ronde Valley I took this weekend when we were riding. You can see the smoke socking in the valley and moving through the region.

Picture from a look out point in the Grand Ronde Valley I took this weekend when my Mom and I were riding. You can see the smoke socking in the valley and moving through the region.

What Really is a Scarecrow?

What really is a scarecrow? 

By definition a scarecrow is an object, usually made to resemble a human figure, set up to scare birds away from a field where crops are growing. Or the informal definition is a person who is very badly dressed, odd-looking, or thin. The archaic definition is an object of baseless fear.

So why would Chipotle use such strong imagery of a coward for their latest fall ad campaign attacking animal agriculture? I have no idea, other than they were out to describe what the organization is out to do, create “baseless fear” into the American food supply. Even Mashable agrees with my opinion of this latest marketing gimmick by Chipotle.

While I do give kudos to the new Chipotle advertising campaign — it’s gorgeous. The art, the music and the campaign are well done. But what does it do, increase hysteria about the safest food supply and animal husbandry practices in the world? Below are are few additional links about the Chipotle ad that you may find interesting.

Following my late to the conversation blog post about the ad, is the latest commercial from Cheerios that I saw as I opened a browser to my favorite Texas Country radio station last week made me revisit my blog. Instantly, I thought either the Red Dirt Rebel is now supporting Chipotle, which is fine for them, but not me… I settled back into my chair and watched the whole commercial without jumping to any more conclusions. I was surprised to discover that Cheerios was using the same type of animation imagery to describe the “goodness” of their multi-grain breakfast product.

What are you thoughts on this type of imagery to market food products? What is Cheerios trying to accomplish through this ad, are they targeting a specific demographic of consumers or is their something else in the works?

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Wandering the Country Side

 

They say you don’t get to choose your family,
and for that I am thankful everyday.

I have been blessed beyond measure to have not one, but several amazing cow families (cow joke!). These families have not only opened doors for me, but have taught me more about the industry and myself than I could have ever imagine.

 

I had a great trip to Idaho this weekend, but it was kicked off my Mother bringing the ladies home from the ranch. The calves look awesome and it doesn’t get much better than having an amazing family who is always looking out for us and sent her home with a set of calves that are ready to head into the fall. Followed by an excellent sale and time spent with people made my cheeks hurt from smiling. The four hour drive home took more like ten, and that was just fine. Reading a book to Kalli and getting to laugh with some of my oldest friends make this one of the best weekends in a long time.

 

Here are few snap shots from a fast 660 mile weekend.

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Closure on a great day.

Closure on a great day.

 

The evening view.

The evening view.

 

Focus.

Focus.

 

Durbin Creek Ranch fillies

Durbin Creek Ranch fillies

 

Heifers and Crowns Retirement

When Under the Crown of Agriculture started, it was developed to serve several purposes. Update my existing advocacy blog, a class project and a way for me to partake first hand in what I was conducting graduate research on. Two years later, it still holds stories of it original foundation, but it has new face, trimmed pages and new motivation.

I will be the first to tell you my first year out of school has been anything but fun. Kansas City has been a rough experience; my job has been a roller coaster ride without a lap bar, along with numerous personal battles.

Either way, life goes on. After I came to grips with that, I realized that I had neglected one of my favorite obsessions and passions –– social media and the ability to sharing agriculture information.

The heifers sporting crowns have been retired, but the traditional content has not. I plan to post more links for industry information. Watch for more Soap Box posts, yes, I have been told that people enjoy my rants. Wordless Wednesdays, everyone loves pictures, and yes there is research that proves it. Challenge Fridays were my favorite blog posts, and tragically, these posts were getting traction with readers and I did not follow through.

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The heifers have retired to greener pastures.

Thanks for coming back to the Under the Crown of Agriculture blog!

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God Made A Farmer

I could go on forever about this commercial and my love for this specific Paul Harvey moment, but I will spare you.

I love agriculture, every bit of it. Thank you Dodge and National FFA for supporting American Farmers and Ranchers. 

Thank you Domino’s–Logic and Common Sense

What doesn’t sound more fun than enjoying pizza with your best friends and fellow consumers?

I know I sure enjoyed a pizza party in elementary school, and a random one in one of my last undergraduate classes. This time, a party for good behavior much like it was when I was in elementary school, but this time its the behavior of a major corporation.

Domino’s Pizza has all sorts of fun facts about their organizations, but the greatest fact is they have not succumbed to the pressure of HSUS and their targeted mission against modern animal agriculture. One of my favorite bloggers has this to say about Domino’s:

I was so encouraged to hear that the stockholders of Domino’s Pizza share my stand on animal care. The company announced that it  would rely on animal experts to determine what is the best way to raise an animal that’s being used for food.  As a farmer, I respect Domino’s for its common sense decision and for trusting the experts in animal care.

So join in, and give thanks to Domino’s for using logic and science to guide their decisions about where they source their products from. 

Just like in elementary school, students were rewarded for good grades and good behavior, I am giving Domino’s a gold star and my dollar for this act of behavior.

Copy and share this photo through social media! Thanks to the creators Kelly Rivard and The Truth about Agriculture!