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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Winter Woes? Think about Spring!

Winter is underway in Kansas and snow has blanketed the state and is slowing melting away with warmer temperatures. For those of you who are wishing for spring to be here already, here is a glimpse of the green prairie grasses and some beautiful (in my opinion, of course) Red Angus cattle.

Taken in the Flint Hills of Kansas, the pictures detail one of nature’s gifts to mankind – a gift that we have the responsibility of caring for and preserving. Farmers and ranchers take great pride in acting as caretakers and environmentalists, and you can see why above. This beauty is a reason in itself.

There’s your glimpse of spring (and summer, as the cattle picture was snapped in June). Hope you enjoyed it! You can almost feel the warm breeze as it causes the grass to sway and the leaves of trees to rustle…

Wishing you a Happy New Year!

Cassie Kniebel

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Chicken

I know Thanksgiving is over and that holiday kind of owns the turkey, but sometimes the holiday cheer spills over into Christmas. Since many of you will be roasting, baking, grilling or frying a bird this Christmas, I thought I would share this video with you.

Coming from Kansas State University, an institution of which I hope to be a proud Alumnus of one of these days - the proper way to thaw a turkey.

Thaw A Turkey Video



Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Making Our Own Food

I wanted to learn how to make noodles like my Grandmother used to make for her prized Chicken Noodle Soup recipe, so my mom decided to share the recipe and process with me. While we were creating these noodles, I thought about all of the farmers who had a hand in getting the ingredients to our table.
The recipe started out with these guys. Eggs are produced in many states across the US, but the top three egg producing states are Iowa, Ohio and Pennsylvania. In 2009, US Farmers produced 246 eggs for each person living in the US. That's a lot of omelets!

We mixed the eggs with some flour. Flour is made from wheat which is a crop grown very readily in the state of Kansas. Over 240,000 family farms in the US grow wheat. About 2/3 of that wheat crop is grown on farms in the Mid West, the belt that stretches from Montana down to Texas. Of the wheat grown in the US, over 70% of it is used for human food products. Every year each American consumes around 136 pounds of wheat in different food products. 

We mixed the eggs and flour together. I kneaded it until it was smooth and stretchy for the noodle roller. The noodle roller made the dough very very thin for cutting.

Here's a shot of my mom running the dough through the pasta roller to get it very thin.

And here we are cutting the noodles into the shape we wanted to do for our Chicken Noodle soup recipe.

We had to let the noodles dry on the rack before we were ready to store them or cook them. Mom told me that her mom had laid them out on tea towels on their beds to dry all day. We used the clothes drying rack to consolidate the space. They didn't need to dry very long at all.

Here is the final product! Our noodles were very delicous in the soup that we made. These noodles could be used in a lot of dishes, but they are very thin so you have to be careful how much you handle them once they are cooked. In the US, people consume 9 kg of pasta every year, which seems like a lot to me. Until you look at the 28 kg of pasta every year a person consumes in Italy.

If you'd like the recipe for the Chicken Noodle Soup or the noodles my mom and I made, just share a comment and I'd be happy to share this family recipe with you. Enjoy!



All facts and figures from this post were taken from the USDA website.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Very Best Christmas Gift

The very best gift this holiday season for many people will be nourishment. According to the FAO, 1 billion people currently go hungry.

In the US, if we could spend more of the money that goes towards fighting the anti-agriculture movement and produce synergistic efforts that move forward to solve important industry issues, we could make a dent in that 1 billion. I encourage you to check out this facebook group to get involved in the End Hunger Project.

This Christmas, I am thankful for the very best gift I have ever received:

I was raised on a farm in a family passionate about serving the agriculture industry.

And that is why I'd like to share this with you. 

This is an important regulation that the US Department of Labor has proposed. I encourage you to be educated on both sides of the issue and would love to engage in conversation about your opinions regarding it. I have worked on my family's farm and ranch since before I can even remember. Some of my first memories of being on the farm with my dad include learning important safety precautions that HAD to be taken while we were outside.
The website you can visit to view the regulation is listed in the above photo. I'd love to hear from you in the comment section below!



Monday, December 12, 2011

Don't Just Thank a Farmer, Thank a Shearer Too!

   Many of you won't know what I mean when I say shearer, but my experience here in Australia has made me very familiar with shearing. Australia is the world leader in wool production, and has been for over a century. There are over 72 million sheep in Australia compared to 23 million people, and the ironic thing is that sheep numbers are at their lowest since 1905. A big part of that is because of long years of drought, but also because the type of sheep has changed into a bigger sheep with more wool.
    Australian wool is generally regarded as some of the highest quality wool in the world, and the best of it comes from the Merino breed. Merino sheep have been bred for hundreds of years to produce extremely fine wool and have been selected to have wrinkly skin as this allows more surface area for wool to grow. A mature Merino ewe can produce over 15 pounds of wool per year, a pretty impressive feat considering wool doesn't weigh very much and they are usually only shorn once per year.
    The main point I wanted to drive home was the fact that although many other professions in agriculture have changed drastically in the past 100 years, sheep shearing is still largely the same. Although machine shears are used today, shearing is still a very physical, tiring job for shearers who are expected to shear on average 150 per day. As they are paid by the sheep, it is in their best interest to get them done as quickly as possible, but this is a job that is alot harder than it looks.

   One notable story involves Jackie Howe, the world-record holder for sheep shorn in a day, who sheared 321 sheep in 7 hours and 40 minutes! The scary thing is, he did this in 1892 with HAND shears, and his record hasn't been beaten to this day!

   Last week, I tried my hand at shearing a few Merino ewes. After getting a brief lesson on how to position the ewe and hold her so that I didn't hurt her and could still shear effectively, I had a go at it. While most shearers take 3-4 minutes per sheep, I was still going at 20 minutes and sweating like crazy! I had similar results on the second sheep I attempted, after which I looked at shearing completely differently. I swore that I would never take for granted the hard work that goes into shearing a ewe and I think it is important to recognize the hard-working sheep shearers out there in the world who are alot tougher than I am!

Thank a shearer next time you put on your wool scarf and coat!



Sunday, December 11, 2011

Excuse Us!

Avid readers of the Food For Thought Blog:

Please excuse our absence. Since most of us are students, we are knee deep in study guides, textbooks, flashcards and highlighters for the sake of the final week of the Fall Semester commonly referred to as Finals.

We're passionate about sharing the story of agriculture to consumers because it has played such a large part in our lives. When advocacy meets passion, you can make a difference without making a profit, you can dedicate time without needing recognition and you can connect with a stranger without needing a name.

Not all of us are willing or able to be farmers, but all of us need dinner tonight.

What are you passionate about? I'd love to hear from you!



Monday, December 5, 2011

A New Twist on Jerky

In the states, universities are starting to hold their semester finals and you can be assured that energy drinks, soda and candy are flying off the racks to aid students in the dreaded 'all-nighter' study session.

Well, good news for those night owls has developed a low-carb, low-fat, low calorie snack that is high in protein -- Perky Jerky. It's beef jerky that packs a punch, gives you that energy you crave in a Red Bull but is still healthy.  I've pasted the nutritional information below:

Very cool snack that is refreshingly not fatty, sugary or loaded with carbs. They also have Turkey Perky Jerky for those of you who prefer poultry to beef.

I'm definitely buying some of this when I get back to the states and I think I'll be putting some of this in my brother's stocking to keep him awake on his long drives home from rodeos!

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wild Wild West

Check out this article, I thought it was very interesting:

Cattle Rustling 


Tera Rooney

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Turkey Talk

A couple of days ago, turkey was the talk of the town. It was the center of millions of dinner tables. It was the star of the show. I don't know a whole lot about raising turkeys on a commercial level, but I did raise 4 birds one year for my 4-H project. You know who knows quite a bit about raising turkeys?

This guy!


Tera Rooney

Monday, November 21, 2011

Miss America Video

In case you missed Miss America present the latest Upson Lectureship Series or if you thought it was so good that you wanted to watch it again, well you are in luck. The video has now been uploaded to YouTube at the following link:

Take a look and just think how lucky we are to have somebody like Teresa Scanlan advocating to agriculture.

Miss America Speaks at Kansas State University

 Teresa Scanlan, Miss America 2011, visited Kansas State University on November 15th to give the fall lecture in Food For Thought's Upson Lecture Series.

 Pictured above with Dr. Dan Upson and Dr. Dan Thomson both professors at Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Miss America 2011, Teresa Scanlan, addresses the audience with a challenging message. She emphasized the fact that not all Americans are farmers, but that we all have to eat. It is up to agriculture producers to connect with consumers and give them the science-based knowledge they seek about where food comes from.

All of these photos were taken by the very talented Wrenn Pacheco of Wrenn Bird Photography.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Miss America Event A Success!

In case you missed out: the Miss America event was a huge success!

Many people attended the lecture last night and Miss America Teresa Scanlan couldn't have given a better message to the audience. You want to hear more, right? I have you on the edge of your seat?

The suspense might just have to kill you. We're going to keep you waiting a little bit longer. You see, we are all students in Food For Thought who are extremely passionate about sharing agriculture's point of view with consumers. The key word in all of that was that we are STUDENTS! We have to pass a couple of test and turn in a few projects and then we'll be able share with you the details of Miss America's lecture.

Stay tuned for pictures, quotes and tid bits from the big night! You have my word, we won't keep you waiting too terribly long.


Tera Rooney

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Today is the day!

Please join us tonight for the big event as we welcome Miss America 2011, Teresa Scanlan to Manhattan, KS. She will be giving the 4th installation of the Upson Lecture Series sponsored by Food For Thought.

Poster designed by C. Kniebel

Monday, November 14, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fly Over States

I'm sure this song has been out for quite some time but since I'm in Australia I haven't been able to tune into many American country stations so incidentally I just heard it last week. For your listening pleasure:

 I love this song because it serves as a reminder of the importance of the farmers and ranchers who are producing a safe and affordable food supply in those fly-over states.

Additionally, Thanksgiving is just around the corner so remember to thank a farmer while you're carving up your Thanksgiving bird (or ham)..

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Thursday, November 10, 2011

#foodthanks for the American Farmer

The month of November ranks rather high on my list of favorite months. Not only is it the month of my birthday, but its part of the beautiful fall season and marks a much anticipated holiday- Thanksgiving. Many families take time during the start of the holiday season to give thanks for the most special things that are part of their lives. If any of you are like me and spend much of your free time on Facebook; I’m sure you’ve seen the many status updates aimed at giving Thanks for something different each day.

This simple act of giving thanks is a deed, often gone undone. As American’s we have the honor in being citizens of a free nation. We should give thanks each day to the men and women who fought for our Country’s freedom, and continue to protect this great Country. We have the right to stand up and speak freely for what we believe in, and the ability to worship; regardless of what denomination one might believe in.

As a faithful Christian, loyal American citizen and a proud daughter and granddaughter of an American Farmer and Rancher; part of what I’m so thankful for is American Agriculture. Growing up on a family farm has taught me countless lessons and morals that I carry with me each day. I take pride in being able to work alongside my family; caring for our land, our animals and providing America with safe, affordable, and wholesome food for our neighbors and their families across the country.

As your thinking about your menu this Thanksgiving and making your grocery list, be sure to give thanks to the folks who represent 2 percent of the population; the farmers that provide enough food, fuel and fiber for the remaining 98 percent of Americans. The freedom of being an American farmer provides families with a variety of food choices; whether it comes from conventional, organic, large or small family farms. Agriculture is one of America’s richest traditions, and provides remarkable economic stability for our country. Without the dedication, honesty and hard work of American farmers and ranchers, it would be a little harder to find the words to give #foodthanks this holiday season.

In closing, I leave you with a call to action. Like many of my friends on Facebook, I’m going to give thanks to something each day…But here’s my twist. Of all the many blessings there are to share; I’m going to give #foodthanks each day. So join me in thanking our farmers for providing the nourishment to keep us healthy, clothing to keep us warm, renewable energy to keep our engines and fires burning and for caring for our Earth for future generations of American families to enjoy!

With many thanks,

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

From another blog...

This is an older post from this summer, but I ran across it today. The author did a great job of highlighting the role Miss America, Teresa Scanlan, plays in advocating for the agriculture industry. As a consumer of food and fiber products, I am thankful for her willingness to approach this industry in her platform.

Farm Policy Facts Blog

Enjoy the read,


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I give #foodthanks because...

I give #foodthanks because I am a farmer's daughter. 

 I took my nephews and niece to a small pig farm in my area so that they could learn about pigs and play with the babies! If my niece and nephews get involved in the family farm, they will be the 5th generation of Rooney's to farm in Haskell County, Kansas.

In light of a campaign put on by the AgChat Foundation called #foodthanks, I wanted to compile a simple list of why I am thankful for American farmers and ranchers who provide the food on my table everyday.

  1. I am thankful for the farming community because it is the reason I was raised in a rural setting. We may not have access to a large shopping area or abundant choices for restaurants where I live, but I consider the quality of life in Satanta, KS, to be very high.
  2. I am thankful for the farming community because it is going to be my career! I am a veterinary student at Kansas State University and would like to return to rural Kansas and get involved in food animal health. I also see a lot of opportunity for community enrichment programs with education brought in by a veterinarian for companion animal owners. 
  3. I am thankful for the farming community because they, though small in number, feed and clothe the world! It is fascinating to me how my dad's cotton grown in Haskell County ends up in a foreign country for processing and then back in the US as denim for jeans. Or how the corn he grows ends up in the rations fed to cattle in our region's feedlot industry which are eventually sent to slaughter locations in our backyard to be shipped to foreign countries that do not produce enough meat to fill their demand.
  4. Finally, I am thankful for the farming community because my family has been a part of it for several generations and now my generation is getting ready to jump in to the family business! It makes us all very proud that the same pieces of ground my great grandfather first farmed will be planted by my brother and cousins this spring.
What makes you thankful for farmers? If you do not have a tie to Agriculture, your reasons for showing #foodthanks may be even better than ours! Please feel free to share with us!

All my best,

Tera Rooney

Monday, November 7, 2011

Welcome to My Family Farm

You've seen a couple of our member's highlight their family farms. Farm families are proud of the food we provide for world. We want consumers to know where their food comes from because it is a pretty special business we are lucky to be a part of.

Want to tour some more farms? Most of our members have a cattle or grain farming background so we don't get to share with you the diversity that exists in American Agriculture. Here's your chance!!! Check out this website to tour some farms:

Real Farmers Real Food 

Remember that Miss America, Teresa Scanlan, celebrates agriculture by advocating for and supporting Real Farmers Real Food!

Enjoy your tours,


Friday, November 4, 2011

Miss America Blogs Too

Did you know that Miss America has her very own blog? Keep up with Miss America 2011, Teresa Scanlan's blog at this site.

Why are we so crazy about Teresa? Well, besides utilizing her platform as an advocacy effort for the agriculture industry, she is going to be the fall lecture for our Upson Lecture Series. If you haven't made plans to attend, you better book it to Manhattan on November 15th for an evening of fun with Miss America!

Check her out here, speaking about why American Agriculture is so vital to keeping a viable, nutritious and safe food supply available.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

7 billion mouths to feed

The world population hit 7 billion yesterday. That's a lot of mouth's to feed. Emily Jackson put the number in perspective in Butler Ag Ambassador's blog post, which I've also pasted below.



7,000,000,000 – that’s a pretty big number!! But just how big is it?? According to CNN:

*7 billion seconds ago, the year was 1789, the year George Washington was inaugurated as the first United States President.

*If a person takes 7 billion steps around the equator (at 2 feet per step), they could walk around the Earth at least 106 times.

*Suppose there were 7 billion thimbles filled with water, they could fill up over 5 Olympic sized swimming pools.

*If 7 billion people were stacked on top of each other (considering an average height is 5 feet, including children) they could reach the moon 27 times!

*7 billion ants (at 3 milligrams each) would weigh 23 tons!!!

*And oh yeah, you share the Earth with 7 billion other people.

As many of you may have previously heard, today – Monday, October 31, 2011 – the world population hit seven billion.

Doctors and researchers are already wondering how every child’s basic needs are going to be met! Will there be food, clean water, shelter, education and a decent life? In case you haven’t heard, Mexico’s streets aren’t paved with gold and not everyone has a stainless steel kitchen sink to supply fresh, clean, running water, nor the capabilities to attend school daily and learn about reading, writing and arithmetic. Now, I can’t speak for every issue, but what I do know is food. And, that’s not just because I love to eat it, but more the fact – I produce it!!!

Now more than ever, farmers, especially American farmers are feeling the pressure to supply not only the great USA but also the world with food. And, I’d say with less than 2% of the American population in the production industry still feeding 100% of Americans….they’re doing a pretty good job!!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Miss America Event

The countdown is on! Miss America is coming to Kansas State!

Let us know if you'll be in the area to attend this amazing lecture. We've created an event on facebook, so let us know if you plan on attending.!/event.php?eid=221046731295250

If you haven't heard about this event, here's the original Miss America post.

Happy Halloween!


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Animal Cruelty-We’re not gonna take it anymore

Animal cruelty is something that unfortunately happens and definitely should not occur. When some form of animal cruelty does occur, the mass media and special interest groups promote it as something that commonly occurs in the industry. This is not true at all, but production groups have not taken a proactive approach until recently to educate the general public. As each generation gets further removed from production agriculture, the general public’s knowledge and information about production practices is relatively unknown and is a black hole. It is up to production animal organizations to fill this information gap in order to inform consumers about their food and the way it is produced.

Production groups are now in the process of informing the consumers about the reasons why all things are done the way they are. If production groups do not take the opportunity to inform people, then special interest groups utilize the people’s uninformation and fill the knowledge gap with misinformation. The major reason why this is done is for political agendas. Proposition 2 that happened in California is a prime example of this. Consumers had no idea why chickens were raised in cages and sows were farrowed in gestation crates. Special interest groups such as HSUS and PETA took this opportunity to use some extreme examples and made people think they were the normality, even though there are numerous health and economic benefits in raising animals this way. After people were more informed about their food and the reasons it was raised, people were more supportive of the way animals were raised the way they were. Consumers are most likely to believe producers and people involved with universities.

The pork and the beef organizations have started to take more of a proactive role in trying to educate people. They have started media training programs in order to train people ways to express their knowledge and passion for their products. In all of these training modules, none of these organizations support harming animals in any way, shape, or form. All of these organizations take the stance that as producers, consumers, food supply workers, or whoever needs to prevent and stop animal cruelty when incidences occur. At all costs, these events need to be stopped and prevented. However, changing the entire production system by adding more rules regulations will not help prevent these isolated events. People who do things such as animal cruelty are acting out of spite and changing production practices will still not prevent people from acting on their own accord. It is important to stress that these are very isolated incidences and explain the steps taken to not allow this to happen again. This can be a great opportunity to educate the people about current production practices.

Production practices have been established by evaluating several parameters. Two of the parameters that are weighted more are the well-being of the animals and also the economic impact of these operations. These animals are raised for production purposes and to feed people. This provides numerous job opportunities for people. These practices are established based on determining how the animal is most efficient in utilizing the nutrients available. By forcing a change in practices, ultimately we are just turning into a less-efficient business and therefore requiring more resources. Resources are becoming more and more limited each day in the world due to the available land mass to produce products shrinking. Animal production efficiency needs to continue to increase, if we are going to be able to feed the world especially with the increase in population. In 2050, the world population is expected to exceed 10 billion people which is a 43% increase from our current population. That is a lot more mouths to feed and the best way to do this is to increase efficiency by letting agriculturists determine what is the best method.

Agriculture has historically just decided to play defense and react after an unfortunate event occurred. They like to keep to themselves and do their own thing. Now it is time for agriculture to play offense and tell their side of their story, and tell their story not just about their stance about animal cruelty but their entire production practices. If agriculture does not, then the rules and regulations that govern agriculture will be determined by misinformed and misunderstood people which will have a negative effect on our efficiency. The time is now to stand up and speak out.

Twister Sister said it best as far as what agriculture needs to do in their song, “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” Here are the following lyrics, We're right. We're free. We'll fight. You'll see. Oh we're not gonna take it. No, we ain't gonna take it. Oh we're not gonna take it anymore.” It’s time agriculture, it is time to stand up and be proud.

Take care,

Miles Theurer

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Do more than just read the label, know the facts!

A friend of mine sent this to me today. Thought it was a wonderful blog post and wanted to share it with all of you. It just goes to show that food labeling is worth a second thought and some research from a reliable source.



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Real Farmers, Real Food

Miss America says it better than anyone I've heard in a while. Join me to celebrate our plentiful and safe food supply. Check out her video:

Remember, she'll be in Manhattan, KS in November as our Fall 2011 Upson Lecturer. You're going to want to be a part of this!



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Health Conscious? Dining out? Can you do/be both?

I ran across this site the other day and I thought I'd share it with you all. The best part is, you can use it while you travel! I love the kids section as well.

Healthy Dining Finder



Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Getting Ready for the Fire!

Getting ready for spring pasture burning.

Before clearing the fireguard.

Fireguard complete.

Want to know what has to be done to keep pasture and rangeland healthy and productive? And what precautions have to be taken to ensure safety and success? I am coming to you straight from a Bobcat in a pasture in Reno County, Kansas.

Check out the video below:

As always, let me know if you have questions.

All the best-


Monday, October 3, 2011

Welcome To My Sister's Family Farm

Celebrating harvest time for some people = apple cider, football, mums, pumpkins and craft fairs.

Celebrating harvest time for farmers = late nights, early mornings and hopeful wishes for a bountiful crop.

With corn harvest over in my neck of the woods, I thought I'd share a few photos from my sister's farm in Illinois. She married a man she met in college who is originally from the central part of Illinois. Transplanting a Kansas girl into Illinois wasn't an easy task, but seeing as they transplanted her to a farm made it that much easier.

Their family raises corn, soybeans, a little bit of wheat and for fun, a few vegetables (my favorite are their green beans). My brother-in-law is fortunate enough to work on his farm with two brothers and his father. They are a team in every sense of the word and have a very successful farming business. What I think is even more special about their farm is that for many years, the boys were able to learn from both of their grandparents who farmed in the area before they took over.

 These are some aerial shots of the 3 combines running through the field. I think these are beautiful shots of harvest time in Illinois.
These photos were taken by their agronomist. Their agronomist works for Pioneer Hi-Bred and offers her services to collaborate with the farmers and the seed companies to continuously improve products that Pioneer offers its customers. Pioneer Hi-Bred is a seed company that breeds different lines of corn seed for farmers to plant. Picking a seed company is a lot like choosing a bank. Farmers make their decisions on who to purchase seed from based on the data behind the specific breeds of corn that a company offers.

This is a really neat site that shows the various crop reports as they are coming in across the country. You can see different states by changing which view you are in. The data is presented in bushels per acre. That means that for every acre of farm ground planted to corn this is how may bushels of corn is yielded. You can also see the soybean harvest reports. If you forgot what a bushel is you can check out this post.

 I have to leave you with my favorite photo: 
With three combines running at the same time, my brother-in-law wanted a way to distinguish his combine from the other two. Proudly sporting a chrome powercat, his combine was out in the field this weekend during the big win for the Wildcats! During harvest, farmers are working around the clock since it is the most important time of the year for them. They are feeding the world, though, so even K-State football can wait.



Saturday, October 1, 2011

Helping Those in Need...

Katie grew a 40 pound cabbage. Katie's dad encouraged her not to waste and to share her harvest with those in need. Katie serves cabbage at a soup kitchen, changes lives, and starts dreaming.

Katie's dream is now 6 gardens in her area with 11 gardens in other states. What does she grow? Fruits and vegetables to feed people in her community who may be less fortunate.

Everyday Health showcases Katie's story in a few episodes. You have got to catch them because her story is INSPIRING!

You will want to check out this site and episode series today! Here's the link.

Can't get enough? Katie also has a website: Katie's Krops

Happy Saturday,


Saturday, September 24, 2011

This littly piggy went to market...

A friend of mine sent me this picture and I thought it was a wonderful representation of all the products animals provide for us. It also reinforces my belief that it is very difficult to live a truly vegan lifestyle. I didn't know a couple of these on the list!

My best,


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Help Us Swipe Out Hunger

We are participating in an exciting event where we will be packaging meals that will be sent to the Horn of Africa to help feed thousands of malnourished people. The Kansas State University Goal is to package 50,000 meals.

Do you want to help out? E-mail to express interest in donating towards our group's goal. It costs $0.30 to package one meal and our goal is to package - A LOT OF MEALS!

Numana, Inc., is partnering with students at Kansas State University for this epic philanthropic event. I am excited to be a part of such a humane, proactive event that will help those less fortunate. 

USDA To Provide Hurricane Irene Assistance

You might remember hearing from our USDA guest blogger, Kevin, this summer. If not you can visit his last post here. Kevin is here again to inform us about what the USDA has a role in during times of natural disasters. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) executes federal policy for all things dealing with farming, agriculture and our food! Enjoy Kevin's post.

While Hurricane Irene hasn’t been as destructive as Katrina was, it still has left the East coast in shambles.  The storm is estimated to have caused $10 to $15 billion in damage, and footage of the affected areas quickly explains why.  Since many of the affected states haven’t encountered a hurricane in over 100 years, many were unprepared for this disaster. 

Crops were washed away, pastures flooded, and homes were destroyed by Irene - not to mention the equipment, livestock, and everything else to go along with them.  Hope is not lost, however, for the farms, ranches, and rural communities in the Northeast.  The USDA has recently indicated that it will be providing assistance to those in Presidentially deemed disaster areas.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who have suffered losses caused by this massive storm,” said Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack. “USDA is ready to provide food, emergency assistance and other resources to the affected areas. We continue to closely coordinate with many partners to meet the immediate and plan for the long-term needs of those affected by Hurricane Irene.”
The USDA is offering a wide variety of assistance to farmers and ranchers alike, and is beginning to distribute such aids. If your farm or ranch was damaged or destroyed during Hurricane Irene and the flooding that occurred afterward, you may just be eligible for assistance.  Types of aid that you may be able to secure include:

  • Community Assistance
  • Farmer and Rancher Assistance
  • Housing Assistance
  • Food Assistance
  • Business Assistance
  • Utility Assistance

If you have questions about any assistance that you may be eligible, call your local Rural Development office if your needs relate to housing, your business, or your community.  Homeowners can also contact a USDA loan specialist to determine their eligibility.  For reports of produce and livestock loss, contact your local USDA Farm Service Agency Service Center as they will be able to help you find the appropriate reparations.  If you have debris that you wish to be removed from your property that was brought on by Hurricane Irene, call your local Natural Resources Conservation Service office.

Kevin Pearia

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Miss America Coming to K-State

Yep - you read that correctly. Miss America 2011, Teresa Scanlan, will be the Food For Thought Fall 2011 Upson Lecture Series Speaker.

She will speak on November 15 at 7 pm in McCain Auditorium on K-State's campus and her lecture will be free and open to the public. So please, come join us!

The Gering, Nebraska native was chosen as our fall speaker for her dedication to production agriculture in the United States. Since being crowned as Miss America in January 2011, she has initiated partnerships with The Hand That Feeds U.S. and other agriculture groups in order to help spread the positive message about food production in the U.S.

She has been extremely vocal about her passion for agriculture, as evidenced here, here and here.

We hope that you will be able to join us in Manhattan for this momentous event - we are elated to be hosting Miss America and are looking forward to an exciting evening. Feel free to contact us if you have questions or would like more information!

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

image from here:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Woo Pig Sooie: City Girl turned Pig Vet

A professor of mine at Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine passed this video along to me and I wanted to share it with you.

Check out this video to find out why this city girl enjoys practicing production medicine in swine farms that produce our pork. She is passionate about her job and her clients' role in producing safe and wholesome food in a humane manner for consumers.


Tera Rooney

Dr. Upson Honored

Dr. Dan Upson, the namesake of the FFT Upson Lecture Series has been named to the inaugural Cattle Production Veterinarian Hall of Fame. Congratulations Dr. Upson!

For more information, read the full article.

The next FFT Upson Lecture Series speaker will be announced tomorrow. Stay tuned!



Monday, September 12, 2011

Foodie Feature: Where are they now?

Have you ever wondered where exactly a college degree in an agricultural field will land you? I bet the common answers are: farming, raising animals, farming or maybe a veterinarian?

I ran across this blog, which I continue to check out because they are a lot like us - students passionate about agriculture, just trying to get the word out to consumers who may not have an easy connection.

They have done a great job on highlighting some Alumni members of a Junior College in Kansas that is very well known on the national level in the field of agriculture. My brother went to Butler Community College and spent some of the best years of his life being a Grizzly!

Check out the alumni highlights here. You'll see exactly where a degree in agriculture has landed these alums of Butler. Cody is now a Vice President in a bank. Christie now works with the foundation at a University. Wendy works in communications and marketing. Common theme: a degree in agriculture can send you far beyond the farm.

Have a great day!


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Red Meat - Green Facts

That's a fun little way of saying meat is sustainable and environmentally friendly. It's also the name of a website, which was created by Meat and Livestock Australia, that aims to "discuss the issues of sustainable farming practices." On the site you can further explore information about the "impact of farming on our environment and the proactive initiatives undertaken by farmers and processors across Australia."
One of my favorite features is a visual aid that helps consumers better grasp the supply chain from farm to fork. Check it out below:

Other links include facts about reducing water usage, myth busting (similar to this post), responsible land management and school projects. The myth busting tab is one of my faves.

For anyone looking to delve further into the facts behind food production, I highly encourage you check out this site. Although it was developed in Australia, many of the same principles and practices apply to farmers and ranchers here in the U.S. Furthermore, it's always a bonus to learn about agriculture in other countries, because it fosters critical thinking on how the global agriculture industry can improve worldwide.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Why Vegetarians are Crazy: Part 2

This is part two in a two-part series of posts about my conversations with a vegetarian. If you did not catch the first post, please go check it out here. 

By now you have probably figured out that I am not a vegetarian. Nor do I think vegetarians are crazy. I had a conversation with a vegetarian friend of mine and wanted to share it with you. It enlightened me and I hope you will find the same thing, no matter what's in your diet!

How long have you been a vegetarian?
I have been a vegetarian since I was 14 (over 20 years). The summer before my freshmen year, I went to a camp sponsored by the Kansas Association of Teachers of Science, where the food was disgusting and many of the counselors were vegetarian environmentalist KU students. I didn’t eat any meat that week and just never started eating it again.

What are the main reasons you choose to maintain a vegetarian diet?
Meat just really doesn’t seem like food to me. You would never want to eat your mittens or the newspaper; meat is the same way for me. I also think my body functions best on a diet with lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains and not many “heavy” foods. Although I haven’t eaten meat (intentionally) in 20 years, I just can’t imagine that my body would like it.

What major resource did you use when converting to make nutritionally sound decisions?
When I first stopped eating meat, my mother bought me a copy of Diet for a Small Planet and The Vegetarian Times cookbook. She also got me a subscription to the Vegetarian Times (which I’ve maintained). Because my father has high cholesterol and high blood pressure, my mother had previously purchased a Dean Ornish book and a cookbook called The Vegetarian Gourmet, which both contained nutritional information. Finally, my mother made me meet with a registered dietician to learn about balancing nutrients. (Unfortunately, the nutritionist didn’t really know much more than I did.) Today I have a large collection of vegetarian cookbooks, and I follow a number of healthy eating (but not necessarily vegetarian) blogs, including Kath Eats Real Food, Apple Crumbles, Runner’s Kitchen, and The Daily Garnish.

I have always thought that the food and agriculture industry failed you (and others who choose not to consume meat) as a consumer, where do you think that happened or what is the problem?
I really don’t think the food or agriculture industry has failed me. I certainly spend enough on groceries!

Is your point of view respected often? At home? At work? On travel?
I am surprised by the extent to which my point of view is respected and tolerated in the middle of beef country. Most people go out of their way to make sure that I have something to eat, and I really haven’t been teased about my eating habits since high school. My mother-in-law (who is from a ranching family) keeps veggie burgers in her freezer for me and has stopped adding bacon to her green beans so I can eat them. My friends keep vegetable broth in their pantries so I can eat their soup. The biggest problem I encounter is lack of understanding, particularly in restaurants. For example, the people who run the Chinese restaurant in Hugoton don’t understand why I don’t want to eat fish sauce and people who run Mexican restaurants around here are confused when I ask about lard. Even my mother sometimes forgets to read labels and tries to feed me something with meat in it.  I do find it refreshing in places like California where food is labeled vegetarian or vegan, and I actually have more than one choice on a menu. That doesn’t really happen around here.

What could the animal agriculture industry do a better job of in order to reach out to consumers who choose to maintain diets that include animal products?
I suppose focus on health benefits of animal products?

The population is growing exponentially, how can food producers  accommodate the extra growth?
I am particularly concerned about the lack of availability of whole foods, particularly in areas of poverty. I think it’s important that people everywhere have access to fresh, healthy, unprocessed foods and are given the tools and education needed to prepare that food.

Let me know your thoughts!

Tera Rooney 


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