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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Amber Waves of Grain

With the recent announcement of the Topeka, KS, Horizon Milling flour mill's plans to shut down, I found a few interesting websites targeted towards consumer education in wheat food production. Work done by the Wheat Foods Council is a great example of how agriculturists can help bridge the gap between producers and urban consumers.

Wheat is grow in 42 of the United States, making our country the largest exporter of wheat in the world. Wheat farmers, along with other agriculturists who produce grain, meat, fruits and vegetables, work hard to feed a hungry world.

Take a look at this website to see exactly how wheat goes from farm to fork in a phase-by-phase interactive wheat farm. You won't get to see how farmers can take advantage of wheat's natural growth patterns by grazing cattle on it during the winter, or smell the fresh cut straw during harvest season, and although these are some of my favorite parts of wheat farming, the interactive wheat farm is a really neat tool.

Another successful program that the Wheat Foods Council sponsors, is the planting of an Urban Wheat Field. During this event in October, the council illustrated the life cycle of a kernel of wheat by harvesting the field, demonstrating milling methods and bringing the flour through the production line to bake loaves of bread for people in the City of New York.

What an excellent example of an industry-driven attempt to help consumers understand where their food comes from. I hope other aspects of food production can adapt and implement more programs like this.

All my best,

Tera Rooney

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Behind the Blogger: D.J. Rezac

Hello Good People!

My name is D.J. Rezac, I am a 23 year old graduate student in Dairy Cattle Nutrition at Kansas State University. Recently I made a somewhat drastic change in my life plans that I would like to share with you.

For as long as I can remember I have known I wanted to work with animals for the rest of life. For me it just came natural, when I was little Dad would always find me trying to crawl up on a horse, tempting in an old mama cow in with some grain or taking a nap in the sun with the dogs, so you see, it was a given that I should have been a veterinarian or an animal scientist. Sounds great right? A Midwestern small town kid following his dreams all the way to the big dance and doing what he loves for the rest of his life. That is, unless dreams change.

Folks, America is in trouble. Today our waist's and our debts are larger than ever and the only thing that I see anyone doing is pointing fingers (but not lifting a hand). There is going to have to be, let me rephrase that, there will be huge changes in the way we go about our everyday lives and we
must possess the flexibility to go with them.

My Dad always told me that you will do the best where you are needed the most. This spring, with my masters program drawing to a close everyone started asking me what I was going to do with my life. There's the million dollar question for ya. I looked near and far for PhD programs but nothing seemed to fit. I got a couple jobs offers, and lets face it, today that's dang lucky, but they didn't feel right either. Then one day I just happened to be snooping around the Kansas University Medical Center Department of Dietetics and Nutrition website. There it was: New PhD program approved in Medical Nutrition Science. After talking with the director of the program and some of the faculty to get a feel for their goals the pieces fell into place for me. For someone who has been hands on with agriculture their whole life as I have to get top-notch training for feeding people and keeping them healthy I could help bridge that gap between producer and consumer/ farmer and grocery store shopper/rancher and restaurant goer that I see growing wider and wider. I firmly believe that every farmer, rancher, cowboy, and cheese maker is a human nutritionist, everything they do has one crowning achievement; put food on a human beings plate.

I plan to conduct research in obesity, diabetes and heart disease as well as participate in leadership roles to help both agriculture and the public. This is where I see myself needed and therefore doing the best.
I would have never guessed that I would be on the track I am now, but hey, dreams change and we've got to change with them.



Behind the Blogger: Chelsea Good

Greetings! My name is Chelsea Good and I’m a law student at Washburn University in Topeka, KS. I am also finishing up my Master’s in Communication Studies from Kansas State University. My thesis research focuses on how beef producers can effectively communicate to a public removed from agriculture about sensitive issues such as animal welfare. My undergraduate degrees are from K-State where I majored in Agriculture Communications and Journalism, Political Science and Public Relations.

I can’t remember when I first decided the beef industry was where I wanted to spend my life. Maybe it was in the barn growing up where I would lay in the feed bunk for hours reading to my county fair steers. Or it could have been in the pickup going out to check cows in the field with my Grandpa Good. Or perhaps it was in my blood. All I know is that for as long as I can remember I’ve been passionate about cattle and the people in the beef industry.

Unfortunately, the average American consumer is a couple generations removed from the farm and our legislators are no different. I aspire to combine my legal and communications training to build a career bridging the gap between the beef industry and an urban public. For me, this means representing the beef industry in the public relations, political and legal arenas.

You can learn more about me and read articles I’ve written by visiting my
online portfolio.

Behind the Blogger: Tera Rooney

Greetings! My name is Tera Rooney, and I will be one of the Food for Thought bloggers. I am currently a junior in Animal Sciences and Industry at Kansas State University, headed over to the College of Veterinary Medicine in the fall. I will be putting an emphasis on food animal health on the industry side during my tenure at the CVM.

I grew up in a small town called Satanta in Southwest Kansas. It was easy for me to get attached to the agriculture industry because of the sense of pride in agriculturists that goes unmatched. We have a family farm that consists irrigated acres of corn, wheat and cotton; complimented with spells of involvement in the cattle industry. My true passions were realized when my grandfather transitioned from retirement as a cattleman and farmer to start up a new leg of Rooney Ranch that included a purebred cow-calf herd. Something I have come to realize is that he had the unique opportunity to use our cowherd as a tool to raise us kids. We had equal ownership and responsibility that translated to a dedication for success in all aspects of the industry we grew up in. “Tailgate Lectures,” are one of my fondest memories of my grandfather, and if you grew up on a farm or ranch, you know exactly what these entail - wisdom from years of experience tinged with the rough edges of adversity.

Look for more references to these, "Tailgate Lectures," in my future blogs! I had to include a picture of me talking cattle with my niece, Maggie. It's never to early to start teaching the next generation about agriculture. I would also like to note, we are not in SWKS - look at those trees!

All my best,

Tera Rooney

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dr. Upson to Speak in Frick Auditorium Tonight

Mark your calendars for FREE PIZZA and an exciting presentation about food production and feeding a hungry world from Dr. Dan Upson on February 23 at 7 PM. Dr. Upson’s address entitled Efficient Use of Earth’s Resources: Providing Food for the World’s People will be held in Frick Auditorium at the College of Veterinary Medicine. KSU CVM SCAVMA, the Beef Cattle Institute, and Food For Thought are hosting this event.

Dr. Upson is a highly respected expert with numerous accolades in the fields of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, and has over 50 years of experience here at K-State. His presentation is sure to be enlightening and thought-provoking.

If you have questions about agriculture this would be an excellent venue to find answers. We encourage all KSU students to attend and learn the truth and science behind animal agriculture and food production.

What: Dr. Dan Upson speaking about Efficient Use of Earth’s Resources: Providing Food for the World’s People

When: February 23 at 7 PM

Where: Frick Auditorium at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Come early and hungry as pizza will be served.

Why: To learn about food production and what needs to be done to meet the world’s growing needs


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