Health Update:

Rarely will I make personal posts “about me” because, believe it or not, I am not a fan of feeling selfish. I just really wanted to take a minute to thank all of you for the prayers and well wishes during the little crisis mode I had with 3 ER visits in 7 days. They really meant a lot and I very much appreciate all of you guys! That’s my favorite thing about this tiny little agriculture community is that when a man is down, he’s not left behind. Even though a HUGE majority of you I have never met in real life, you all made me feel like I was being taken care of! Hopefully the case will be closed ASAP!

Our First Step: Listening to Consumers

My amazing grandparents were in town this weekend and my Grandfather had brought down a copy of Future Farmers from September of 2011. He had read an article within the magazine that sparked his interest because it was right up the alley I’ve been paving for myself. His opinions were that of an agricultural background and I could hear some frustration and exhaustion in his voice when he explained his fear for the agriculture industry. Those are included in this piece.

Farmers are talking; will consumers listen?
Mike Wilson

The opinions that critics of agriculture present to the public are rarely from an agriculturalist’s point of view, in turn, providing an inaccurate portrayal of the industry and those within it. The critics create propaganda aimed at consumers that has been carefully thought out to scare consumers and provide falsified information about food. The necessity of food for survival is a fantastic way that critics play on consumer’s fear to manipulate choices and opinions.The fear of food being dangerous is a terrifying thought to all, but the actuality of these claims is not reliable. Informing consumers about food by the people who produce it is as obvious as consulting a doctor for chest pain. Becoming “transparent and gain consumer trust” will be the most important factor agriculture can have in this world, aside from feeding it.

Enter the U.S. Farm and Ranch Alliance, an alliance of diverse food producers and agricultural partners that are spending time and resources to understand and listen to American’s questions about food production. The alliance does not excel because their main concern is making a better profit, but they succeed because for the first time a concern had been make so blatantly obvious, their views on productivity were set aside to allow the big picture to be first priority . The cruciality of informing consumers about the actuality of food and agriculture was brought into the light and quickly made the focus of the industry as a whole. Spreading the message in agriculture doesn’t require a marketing or advertising degree, it takes a heart that has a passion for agriculture that completely outweighs yearly profit.

Social media works wonderfully as the starting point in communicating to consumers. In Wilson’s article he brings up a statistic, “277,000 online conversations about food and agriculture in May, but the ag industry barely joined the discussion.” My own Grandfather asked, “Well Shelby, when do agriculturalists have time to blog or time to use Twitter?” The honest truth is that each individual uses social media in their own way and and present their honest opinion so differently and diversely that it’s hard to say. What can be said about keeping up with the media and putting informative information out there is a time consuming activity on top of their tireless careers. To be as active in the social media community as most are by spending any free time checking Twitter or WordPress updates, speak volumes about those farmer’s and rancher’s priorities.

The pivotal point in this movement is to educate consumers on food, however the key is to ask the consumer to ask the questions they are curious about. Agriculture is a supply and demand industry, not a “If you build it, they will come” industry. The consumer ultimately calls the shots and thus proves the incredible importance for clearing up any misinformation. The need to be professional and talk down to consumers should be evaded indefinitely, no question about it. Speaking from the heart and allowing the passion of agriculture to come out in your tone and your words can do more for a conversation than a flip chart and a graph ever could. Remembering that the consumer is the focus is crucial, because taking this strategy and attempting to fight the critics will place both parties where they stood before hand. The ultimate motive here is to gain the public’s trust by being completely open and honest and then continue that honesty once the questions have been satisfied.

A huge problem agriculturalists face is the public’s perception on motives a producer might have. For instance, a producer that uses hormones on cows and heifers in feedlots might think they can profit more than grass-fed beef in the end, or the input costs to raise dairy cows could be cheaper than allowing a free-range environment. That perception is rarely true and really allows “rumors” to be spread that can ultimately put a farmer or rancher out of business. What consumers need to know is passion, heart, and love of what agriculturalists do for a living. There has been an untrue assumption made towards farmers and ranchers thanks to a tactic critics use that throws a cape over the women in dirty jeans and cowboy boots and the women wearing muddy muck boots and Carhartt bibs. The people who make up the agriculture population have love and passion in what they do, or they simply wouldn’t do it.

The most valuable opinion agriculture needs to hear, is that of those who buy the food.

More information about U.S. Food and Ranch Alliance Here.

Mental Health Aspects to Eating Meat

Admitting I am young in this industry would be the understatement of the year. I have a body that was made for an early-twentysomthin’ gal who wasn’t going to beat it up too badly, whoops. My mind has outrun my body by a long shot, leaving my thoughts to be those of a much wiser and much more traveled soul. I’m not chalked full of wise words to live by, but saying that “nutrition is everything” wouldn’t be too far fetched. Day after day I read a different version of the same discussion that is crucial to us AGvocates. I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the different perspectives that both parties bring to the table for expert opinions or research projects. However, there is one voice that seems to stay quiet in this ethics dispute and that is psychology.

The theory that the study of psychology strictly focuses on the unstable and insane, is simply a myth. Psychology is the study of any kind of cognitive choice that your mind makes or that you make with your mind. However, psychology gets a bad rep due to the bad rep that mental disorders get. When was the last time that you met someone and the first thing they said was, “Hi I am Pam, and I have depression.” The rarity of that occurring is extremely unlikely because of the bad reputation that mental disorders have been tagged with. People with mental disorders rarely are ready to tattoo their disorder to their foreheads and put on a superhero costume called “The Hyperactive Hero” that knocks out all those supervillains in a child with ADHD’s life called, well, everything. Individuals affected with a mood disorder more often than not spend huge chunks of time trying to stifle that huge piece of their life.

With all that being said, I ask for your respect during this post because I will be sharing bits and pieces of my own story. This is a huge leap of bravery and you are reading the result of hands that were trembling, so please show the respect that would be expected of you for any of my other posts, and feel free to ask questions, make polite comments, or close the page.

April of 2011 I was diagnosed with moderate-severe bipolar disorder type 2. If you were to ask my opinion on being diagnosed, it would be full of anger and resentment that is tethered back to nowhere. Ask me today what my opinions about bipolar are and you will hear an answer that is full of sincerity and truth, decorated with lessons that truly have been learned. The road that’s led me here has not been easy by any means, my mind doesn’t ever want to wander down the simple paths, so this was only characteristic of my hard-headedness. There are two dark sides to bipolar- mania and depression. However, those are just vague name tags for all of the symptoms that are the true deviants. Depression a much deeper and scarier kind of sadness and loneliness. Feeling worthless, skipping meals due to no appetite, isolating oneself, sleeping too much, feeling fatigued, and loss of self-esteem make up a recipe for depression that is nastier than a week old dead possum in southern Texas over Labor Day. I find the mania much harder on my body seeing as it’s ingredients consist of reckless behavior and poor judgement, little need for sleep (hmm… wonder why this is getting done at 8:30 am), increased energy that can push you to work out harder and in turn get hurt, skipping meals, taking too much on, talking too much or too fast, and going on spending sprees all make up for a pretty exhausting sentence, let alone a life.

Those things carry negative qualities, this is true, but without them I would never have been able to reach the full potential of my creativity, gained the ability to see emotion in almost everything I see, and my true desire to give back and sheer instinct to know that my life could be worse. For example, I have never had to face the awful reality of nutrient deficiency (more information can be found here). For my entirety, I have been blessed to have red meat on hand daily. That streamlined my brain in the right direction and I started researching meat’s impact on mood disorders. The results were interesting to say the least, but I also felt my own trial and errors would add a new perspective as well.

Continue reading

Results of this weeks poll!

The winner of this week’s topic is:

The two subjects that tied for first are the two that I was hoping would win. However, I was hoping that they would be back to back champions so I could write two weeks in a row about my personal favorites because you guys chose them. But that isn’t the way it worked out so we just gotta roll with the punches! The two that won are………… The powerful impact of meat on mood disorders and The passion that ag professors have that they pass on to their students! Well, I had to choose between those topics and it was just an obvious pick for me to select the impact meat has on mood disorders. I love both of these topics and they are near and dear to my heart, however I will save the agricultural professor one for another time. That way it will give me time to do what I need to do for it and I can get a fantastic end product that we all can enjoy through interviews and pictures.

The mood disorder one resinates with me and so that will be out for you before next Wednesday!

New poll is out under the “You Pick the Next Topic!” tab!!!!!!!!

Be sure to go vote for the post that sparks your interest for next Wednesday’s topic!!

Shelby

Confused About Agriculture?

What do you want to know about agriculture? Are you confused about anything regarding the industry? Want to know more about where your food really comes from? Curious about the dietary values and the effects, if any, of the methods practiced today? I WANT TO ANSWER THEM!

There can be many areas in agriculture that might be misunderstood or simply, just not known. I want to help those who have questions by providing them with an answer that can satisfy the curiosity. I want to personally make it my responsibility to give a fair, honest, and intellectual answer with a tone that is not defensive and that ultimetly isn’t looking for a fight. I also would love to get opinions so that I can aim my focus with those in mind.

So, shoot me an email at: shelby.bodine@yahoo.com or leave a comment or message me on WordPress. Somehow, get them to me! Just don’t keep them bottled inside! Let them out and let me answer em!

Thanks!

Shelby

I’ll Have Another Time

Just as the horse community and many fans of horse racing were growing anxious to see I’ll Have Another be the first Triple Crown winner since 1978’s Affirmed, a tendon injury forced the almost champion stallion to scratch from the Belmont Stakes with only 30 hours left until the gates opened tomorrow. Affirmed was only the eleventh winner of the Triple Crown, which would have made I’ll Have Another, the twelfth horse ever to win the Triple Crown. There have only been two other horses that won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness and had to scratch before the final race at Belmont. Those were in 1932 with Burgoo King and 1936’s Bold Venture. In 76 years that instance has not arisen. It is understandable to see why a predicted 30,000 less bodies will be in attendance at tomorrows Belmont Stakes. Seeing a Triple Crown Champion is a dream that hasn’t occurred in 34 years and to see a horse come so close allows a feeling of, “well, next year I guess.” to settle among all who watch.

The first winner of the Triple Crown was Sir Barton in 1919, but the Triple Crown has become iconic thanks to the famous underdog Secretariat. Secretariat’s Belmont Stakes win in 1973 is one of the most memorable races in all of horse racing history and one of the most memorable photographs, as well.

 

The Triple Crown of Thoroughbreds, or Triple Crown for short, consists of three races that differ in length and are specifically for three-year old Thoroughbreds. The champions of the Triple Crown are few and far between for many reasons. A versatile horse that has the ability to pase and know when not to pase is crucial in a winner. The Triple Crown circuit is no breeze for the horses body, but it these horses are capable of it. There is a certain make up regarding the visible and physical traits expressed in horses. The traits differ among the multitudes of breeds in the horse world and in turn, make different breeds of horses desirable to different individuals. The traits associated with Thoroughbreds are flighty, temperamental, strong, big, and fast. They make for excellent horses to those who know how to and can successfully manage them. (I’ve always been a Quarter Horse person!) Running is the sort of thing the Thoroughbred breed excels at thanks to their genetic traits and their mental desire to do so.

The history of horse racing is incredibly fascinating and the traditions and unforgettable moments make it so historically important. There are many controversial sides to horse racing that will probably never be settled. However, if focus can be redirected towards the ability to come together as a generation and a population, it could be a beautiful thing. To put aside differences in views, backgrounds, upbringings, etc. and just cheer for the success of a beautiful creature running past the finish line isn’t that difficult. Success, for anyone or thing, is what should be put first because horses run, it’s a known fact.

Video of I’ll Have Another’s morning workout was released by his owner and trainer. There was a difference in his stride, a difference in the way he held his head, and there was a difference in his overall attitude. It was easy to witness the painful reaction that was felt anytime his left foot moved. Even Mario Gutierrez, I’ll Have Another’s jockey, expressed his sheer sadness of the event. Gutierrez explained that I’ll Have Another’s movement and strides were so individualistic, that he had never experienced them on any other horse in his career. The stallion had originally purchased for $35,000, a low price in the world of horse racing. After his two wins, his estimated worth now: $2 million. Now that I’ll Have Another is hanging up the towel, he will spend the rest of his days in a pasture at a breeding farm. Hoping to utilize him as a sire and produce offspring that can pick up the pieces is the idea. He will most likely never run another race for the rest of his life.

The Contributions of a Cow

The usual assumption of cows can range from meat to milk to leather, and normally not too far past that. It can be easy to overlook the minuscule things cattle can provide us with, that result in a much more respectful way to utilize the animal and not be wasteful. From a cultural perspective, I can understand the confusion in regards to what is meant by “minuscule things”. Explaining the uses can provide insight and further enlighten those who are curious.

Beef, muscle from cattle, is what steaks, pot roasts, ribs, etc. is what most of the cow is used for, however there are so many other things that can be taken from a cow. Milk is another product that can be made good use of. Believe it or not, those are only two of things that cows can provide to society. The products that beef cattle produce, aside from beef, are called by-products. By-products have been carefully evaluated and researched to find their perfect uses so wasting helpful resources can be a thing of the past.

With all that being said, cows mean a lot more to society than they get credit for. Here is an image that shows just some of the contributions they are provide. So here’s to you bovines, here’s to you.

Here is a link to another post that goes into detail about all the other things cattle provide!
Wow That Cow!   Written by Feed Yard Foodie

-Shelby