Tag Archives: Livestock

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.


Everyday is a Reason to Celebrate



 Everyday is a Reason to Celebrate American and World Agriculture.

This morning commute to work was not from the west, but from the east. Running late as usual, it didn’t matter, the hour drive in front of me could wait for a shot like this. The dramatic sky surrounding the fields of this years crops in the Grand Ronde Valley was amazing this morning. The timing if this sunrise couldn’t have come at any better of a time than today as it is National AG Day.

Remember, that we have been officially celebrating National AG Day since 1973, while every aspect of our lives involves a form of agriculture each and everyday. From the toothpaste that you brush your teeth with every morning to the pillow you lay your head on all are made possible from hardworking, dedicated, responsible farmers and ranchers.



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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.


Closure on a great day.

Closure on a great day.


The evening view.

The evening view.





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.


The heifers have retired to greener pastures.

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

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Livestock Judging Through an Untrained Eye

Livestock judging is exactly as the name describes.

In lamen terms, judging livestock involves evaluating livestock to sort the bad from the good, and placing emphasis on traits that have more value to the breed, breeder or industry.

If you have ever walked into a judging contest, it may appear fairly strange to an untrained eye. As there is likely to a handful or several hundred people dressed in suites circling pens of the livestock stenos in hand. For those of us that fell victim to the addiction, it was nothing but normal.

I judged in high school and in juco. I can’t say I was ever a rock star, but I had a lot of fun judging. Some of the best memories come from judging trips in high school and college. I can honestly say without my time on the team at Linn Benton Community College I would not have accomplished all that I have to this point. The skills that a person gains from this extracurricular are endless.

This post comes on the heels of walking through the American Royal contest with one of my past teammates and best friends. I got a fresh dose of livestock, friends and some old memories.

Now, here is one of my favorite videos describing an outside perspective of this event. And these guys crack me up, as there descriptions are hilarious, and abstractly accurate. “It’s like 300 mindless zombies with clipboard” and “they are pig piñatas” are two of my favorites one-liners.

But it depicts youth and collegiate livestock judging to a tee.

Any favorite livestock judging memories? I can’t pick just one out, but they definitely make me laugh all the time…still. 

What a Summer!

What a summer!

Forest fires in the Northwestern states, hurricanes in the South, a continued drought in the Southwest, all summer events directly effecting agriculture. A not so typical summer event is the continued drought effecting a majority of the country.

Side note: My labor day weekend adventures were random, and I love random. My random adventures landed me into a Vegas style pool party on the Lake of the Ozarks with another friend who loves agriculture as much as I do. And is didn’t take us long to be launched into in-depth conversation about the nation wide drought and the impact on agriculture. I think we need more hobbies…not likely to happen.

Here are few photos from the summers impact on agriculture.

Hay donations after massive wildfires in South Eastern Oregon. Photo credit Stephanie Falck.

Pair trying to find a dry spot after hurricane Isaac, photo credit Jessica Lester.


My question: How can we be better prepared for these crisis situations in agriculture?