Tag Archives: Oregon

Wordless Wednesday: Tour

To everyone that is partaking in the Northwest Hereford Tour this week, I am jealous. Fall might be my favorite season, and it certainly it is shaping up to be an amazing week to be out looking at some of the finest ranches in the west. 

So here is a flashback photo to the first week in October in 2011. Charles and my sister and I took the afternoon to look at cows, and the views were stunning.

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What we wouldn’t give for some snow to be falling on the Wallowas this week.

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Wordless Wednesday–Hay Trucks

Where is that hay heading? Wait hay?

A friend from Wallowa County, Oregon posted this picture of a semi loaded with grass-hay headed to feed livestock in Texas.

Pray for rain! Thanks Julie for letting me borrow your photo!

Challenge Friday–AgFact Friday

Challenge Friday, or Fun Fact Friday?

Yesterday was National Ag Day. I still believe, that everyday is Ag Day even if it’s not a declared holiday. If you eat, wear clothing, drive on roads, use cosmetics, or other various household goods, it all comes from a product of agriculture production.

Agriculture is always around you. Now my stance on various aspects of production agriculture may be different than yours, and that’s great! Every facet of agriculture needs support; I just ask this week more than any other to remember to be respect of others choices.

Now, for the challenge of Friday March 9, 2012

What is your fun AgFact? Leave me a comment telling me something new, exciting or personal. Please include sources if you can.

Have a wonderful Friday, and remember to those who make our modern lives possible.

#ThankAFarmer

Can you name this Valley? And the major ag products produced here?

National Ag Day

March 8, 2012 marks National Ag Day!

Have you given thanks for all those (Agriculture employs 14% of the U.S. workforce, or about 21 million people) who are making your clothes, prepacking your food products, process food products, and working in the production facilities that produce just about everything that you use in your modern day life? 

I have, I am also thankful for all of those who gave me the blessing in life to be raised on a small cattle operation, where I learned more skills than I can list. I also gained the skills to persevere through the hard days; cause life is just not fair.

I went to a bible study this week with a dear friend of mine; we were discussing the book of James. A fitting verse appeared in the discussion, “Be patient, then, brother, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains” James 5:7.

I have pondered over that verse for a few days and I love it. It can be used in so many contexts of life. Literally, I am living in West Texas right now, which is one of the most drought stricken areas of the country, and I am not sure how much long farmers will be patient, but they will. The rains will come, I know it, they have too. And this is true in all forms of agricultural production, nothing than is ensured, ole’ Mother Nature is going to do what she want to do when she wants to do.

Again, I am grateful for my ability to be flexible.

Another favorite quote by Thomas Jefferson, who was a pioneering agriculturist, reads: “Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will, in the end, contribute most to real wealth, good morals and happiness.”

So go do something crazy and celebrate National Ag Day, but remember its always National Ag Day, and that living in the United States has given us bountiful opportunities to expand our knowledge and grow agricultural production to the level it is today.

And my new favorite quote of the day via Ray Prock, “Its National Ag Day, have you hugged a consumer!” 

National Ag Day Video Essay Winning Video

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.

Did You Grow Up Working–Working in Agriculture?

Have you forgot about the Department of Labor proposed law focused on agricultural child labor?

When I was home over Christmas I had forgotten about it, but as my sister and I were working calves, feeding cows, checking water, and working outside, I was instantly taken back to how we were raised. Working in agriculture.

LK and I had a childhood that included working side by side with my Dad pounding fence posts, or one of my favorite tasks constructing shelters with sheet metal. I could always count on my sister to help hold down hay bale (just kidding–we all bucked bales during the summer) and you could always find LK power washing the trailer after every livestock show.

LK and I at the PI show with Slayer who was selected as the Champion Market Lamb, raised by family friends Boatman Club Lambs

Keep in mind, since I was 16 my sister and I attended most livestock shows by ourselves. Not the standard, but with two working parents, it was what had to be done if we wanted to exhibit our animals. My parents would meet us where ever the show was on Friday afternoon or how ever it best met their schedule. I know they didn’t like sending us down the road like that, but that was life for us. My sister and I learned a lot from those experiences, and our numerous youth livestock projects were our life, and the majority of my family time.

Chris Chinn posted a blog that I picked up off of Facebook this morning. By far and away it is the most complete, honestly written blog post that I have seen regarding this issue. It is mentioned that building fence and operating powered machinery would be illegal for children or youth under the age of 16 to do on a farm or ranch. I know for a fact that safety was a top priority growing up, I didn’t see it then, but every time I climbed on the tractor and my Dad reminded me to put on my seat belt, I know why now. Chinn also testified last week in front of a congressional subcommittee about this issue, you can see her testimony below.