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Friday, April 29, 2011

In Appreciation

On behalf of the entire Food For Thought organization, I would like to express our gratitude towards those of you who attended the Upson Lecture last night at the Kansas Farm Bureau building.
"Good news is that people care, they are asking the questions about Ag. Those kind of things don't happen often enough and we have to take advantage."
United States Senator Jerry Moran gave an amazing lecture on where Kansas stand and why Agriculture is an imperative part of our economy, history and future. As a group of young advocates, he said some inspiring things that we plan on repeating out in the trenches to consumers across the country.
"You will not be in business as an Agriculturist if all you can do is grow a crop."
We, as a group, are also honored to have the support of the community of Manhattan, Kansas State and Kansas Agriculture. Through these networks we gain wisdom and guidance to keep sending out our message.

Our advisors are second to none. Dr. Dan Upson, the lectureship namesake, is one of the neatest people you will ever meet. He's dedicated a lifetime to animal health, feeding the population and inspiring a future generation of leaders in agriculture. Dr. Dan Thomson is our official advisor and the wings attached to our group. Dr. Thomson's drive to operate Food For Thought without inhibition is contagious and you can see how it changes the way we think.

I am excited to see what Food For Thought accomplishes in the coming months. Stay tuned on the blog, facebook or twitter!

My Best,

Tera Rooney

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Senator Moran Speaking in Manhattan, KS TODAY!

Ladies and gentlemen, today is the day. We are excited to present the 3rd Upson Lecture tonight and even more excited to fill the room for United States Senator Jerry Moran. If you haven't made plans to attend, you should because it is going to be an awesome night.

Today, April 28th, 2011
Kansas Farm Bureau
2627 KFB Plaza
Manhattan, KS 66503

United States Senator Jerry Moran
Food For Thought Upson Lecture Series

Agriculture is an integral part of the economy in our State. Senator Moran is going to touch on that importance and reaffirm his dedication and support for agriculture education efforts.

Hope to see you there!

Tera Rooney

Monday, April 25, 2011

Pfizer IMPROVES Pork Production

Recently announced by Pfizer, an animal health and pharmaceutical company, Improvest has been approved for use by the FDA. Anytime a new pharmaceutical product comes to the market, it has to be approved through the rigorous standards of the FDA.

Castration in the pork industry is common practice to eliminate an off odor that is referred to as boar taint. An intact male pig (boar) will produce this odor in the meat and make the pork very unappetizing for consumers.

Improvest is a gonadotropin releasing factor, diphtheria toxoid conjugate that will be utilized in the pork industry as an alternative to physically castrating male pigs. Those are some long words, but what you need to know is that it is NOT A HORMONE, rather an immunological product that uses the pigs natural immune system to reduce boar taint substances.

There is nothing in Improvest that stays in the meat of boars that will affect human health in anyway. What is great about this product is that it allows producers to take advantage of the natural efficiency of a boar while not compromising consumer taste demand for pork. Intact male pigs will convert feed to muscle more efficiently so that producers are using less feed, pigs are producing less manure and further reducing the overall carbon footprint of pork production.

Improvest is approved for use in 58 countries. Consumer education and acceptance of such a useful technology is important for pork producers. They want consumers to understand the change and have confidence that pork is still being produced in a safe and environmentally conscious manner and with an even higher regard to animal well-being.

Do you want more information?

Hats off to the pork industry,

Tera Rooney

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Proactive Vs. Reactive

Many people from different walks of life are guilty of being too reactive in life. I think the Agriculture industry could benefit greatly from being more proactive rather than reactive. That is what a lot of social media is allowing producers to do. It helps puts ag out there in front of consumers more.

In light of yesterday's video release, Trent Loos took the reins and decided to get to the root of the issue. He interviewed both sides of the issue and presents it in an un-biased manner online for anyone to get a hold of:

Kirt Espenson, E6 Ranch, Hart, TX

Nathan Runkle, founder, Mercy For Animals

Remembering that both sides of the fence agree that animal cruelty is NOT permissible, I appreciate Trent's interviews for presenting both sides.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Enraged: Animal Abuse Video

Agriculturists are enraged when a video documenting animal abuse is released. We are enraged because of two main reasons:
  1. It's NOT OKAY to treat animals that way.
  2. It's NOT representative of our industry.
The recent Mercy For Animals video disappoints me even more because I know the hard work dairy ranchers across the US have signed on for. The dairy business is one that has to be taken care of EVERY SINGLE day. There is no day off from milking, so if equipment breaks or weather gets bad, you can bet that the dairy man is out there working to make sure his cows are getting milked and cared for. Family get-together planned? Doesn't matter. National holiday? Not on a dairy farm.

Another reason for disappointment is that Mercy For Animals had evidence of animal abuse for almost a month and is just now making it public. If true care for animals was the intention of finding the evidence, I would've turned it over to officials immediately because animal abuse is not okay.

This is a great blogger who has more experience in the dairy industry. I encourage you to check out her response to the video:

Also, I felt it important to comment on several news stories that covered the video. This is my response on the Examiner:

This video is nothing short of enraging. As a rancher from Kansas, I am disgusted. I also want people to know that this is NOT THE NORM in the livestock industry. People who choose to make a living raising animals for food love the life they have and respect the animals they care for because it is their livlihood - food on the family's table. Dairy ranchers, more specifically, have signed on for a 365-24-7 kind of job. Dairy cows must be milked every single day, regardless of the family get-together planned or the winter storm coming on. Dairy ranchers are dedicated to the welfare of the animals they raise and there are many great examples of the kind of true welfare standards that exist in the industry that brings your family milk, cheese and ice cream is availible on these websites:

I am dissapointed in the fact the MFA had evidence of animal abuse occuring on a farm in form of this video for almost a month before turning it into the authorities. Animal abuse is not supported and should be prosecuted. The employees depicted in this video do not deserve the honor of working with food animals.

I don't treat animals this way and I don't know any rancher who does. Please don't let one bad apple represent the bushel.


Tera Rooney
I think it is important to respond to articles on the internet because I don't believe the video is a good representation of our industry. I encourage you to do so as well with your opinions.

My Best,


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pork Fights Hunger with Feeding America

American farmers and ranchers dedicate their lives to producing the food people eat in American and around the world. However, for 1 in 6 Americans hunger is a reality.

As part of America’s pork producers’ ongoing commitment to fighting hunger and community service, the National Pork Board is working to donate 125,000 servings of fresh pork to Feeding America®. Now through May 31, 2011, you can help by clicking “Like” on the National Pork Board Facebook page, downloading one of these pork recipes or learning more about pork producers.

Props to the National Pork Bord for working to fight hunger in America.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Pasture to Plate

Food For Thought is all about getting good information about agriculture out there to consumers. You deserve to know how your food is made if you are willing and ready to see it. Food production isn't easy or glamorous, but it needs to be done because there are a lot of hungry people out there!

Here is a video that was shared by a colleague of mine. It's a great example of a man who is passionate about what he does. He takes his job seriously and understands the value of an animal's life. He is a great advocate for the meat and agriculture industry and I happily send you to this link:

There are a lot of videos circulated on the internet that show meat packing plants in a negative light. Here's the truth, straight from a small packer in New York.

My Best,


Upson Lecture Series: United States Senator Jerry Moran

The 3rd installment of the Upson Lecture Series is less than 2 weeks away!!

It is my pleasure to share with you that the Food for Thought group at Kansas State University is hosting the third Upson Lecture Series presentation. We are honored to have Senator Jerry Moran coming to Manhattan to spend time with us and discuss issues facing agriculture.


Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Kansas Farm Bureau
2627 KFB Plaza
Manhattan, KS 66503

The Upson lecture series is named after Dr. Dan Upson, K-State
retired professor Emeritus. Dr. Upson taught in K-State’s Department
of Animal Science and the College of Veterinary Medicine for 35
years before retiring with Emeritus status in 1994. He has received
numerous awards for his dedication to classroom teaching and the
veterinary profession.

What you need to know about our upcoming event!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Where were you in 2002?

Two-thousand and two. At first glance it doesn't seem like it was that long ago. Where were you in oh-2?

I was...a lanky, boy crazy 7th grade student at Satanta Jr.-Sr. High School. Fresh into a sweet, maroon, 1990 model Cadillac DeVille loaned to me from my grandfather as my first official set of wheels to take me from the farm to school and back per the farmer's permit I had obtained. George W. Bush was the President, no comment. The Olympics were in Salt Lake. After school I probably rocked out to a mix of Dashboard Confessional, 50-cent (pronounced "fiddy-cent" for you vintage readers!), and Nickelback that played on my cassette-to-CD converter on a CD I am sure was burned off of Napster downloads.

In 2002, Michael Pollan began telling the story of how food goes from farm to fork with his article, Power Steer.

And ever since then Agriculture has been fighting to set it straight. If you are interested in Pollan's article and the information presented in it, I would encourage you to talk to an actual Agriculturist. Rather than taking the word of a journalist who lives in the confines of a over-populated concrete jungle, maybe you should check out what these people have to say.

  • Garden City, Kansas, missed the suburban building boom because it retained the rural lifestyle in a corner of Kansas that produces a lot of food for a large portion of our population.
  • POKY Feeders is located in Scott County and is managed by Joe Morgan. My dad delivered a bull to Mr. Morgan this past Tuesday that we picked up on a trip through Nebraska. You want to learn about cattle feeding? POKY Feeders runs a fine business and you can find more out on their website -
  • Blair Brother Angus raised the calf in the article. They would be a reliable source to hit up on all things cattle -
  • The Hadricks refuse to let people like Pollan tell their story any more and have done an amazing job promoting agriculture -
I guess my point is that these are great examples of people who could tell you more about how cattle go from the farm to your table. They are all accessible on the internet and would answer the phone too! I like to go to the source for my information. When I have a health concern, I don't check out the New York Times, I ask my doctor. When I have a question about clearly getting a point across to group members, I ask my mom who is an educator and is pretty good at conveying messages to others.

When you want to know more about where your food comes from, call a producer. Agriculture has to do a better job of telling agriculture's story. We have some pretty good ones to tell...

Partying like it's 0h-2,

Tera Rooney

Monday, April 11, 2011


Finding a good journalist seems to me like finding a diamond in the rough. Good journalists have the ability to cause quite a stir. They generate readership and excite online commenting. They make waves. It's in their job description to write things that many wouldn't dare put to print. It's an art and one that I can appreciate. What I really don't agree with is opinionated writing based on biased, sometimes blatantly incorrect information that above all else comes at the expense of how people make a living.

I hate to increase journalist, Mark Bittman's readership, but here is the article that got me going:

I wouldn't argue with Mr. Bittman if he showed up on campus today. I wouldn't waste my time trying to correct the misinformation he obviously has come to believe about animal agriculture. I believe that people, like Mr. Bittman, are not the norm. They are the 2% who we are not going to convince differently.

I would like to address those who have questions about what Mr. Bittman wrote about in his article. Humane treatment of animals used for food is the industry NORM! Don't lump everyone into the category of people who abuse animals. Unfortunately those people exist, but they are not supported and if found guilty, they are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Bottomline -- Animal agriculturists care about their animals and animal welfare standards are put in place for a reason. Producers keep up with welfare standards and training by taking courses such as those offered by the Beef Cattle Institute at KSU on: Agriculture is getting better at telling our story, but we have to keep doing so for the consumers who drive our livelihoods!

Lucky for us, we get the chance to vote with our wallets every time we are at the grocery store. I vote every week when I am lucky enough to pick up my meat products that are high in quality, produced humanely and better yet affordable on a college budget!

Please feel free to leave your thoughts.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Burnt Crisp

A farmer discs up ground near Satanta, KS on April 3, 2011. Photo by Kelvin Heitmann

A fire near my hometown threatened people, animals, farmground, structures and grassland this past Sunday. The town of 1200 was evacuated for safety reasons as the out of control grass fire approached.

Fire departments from nearby (up to 45 miles away) sent back up to assist our small town's volunteer emergency services. Another great example of volunteers came from local farmers who hooked up their tractors and began discing the ground close to town to turn the dry grass under and expose dirt that is less likely to burn.

Two cattle feeding lots, with capacities of over 126,000 head of cattle, were in danger during the fire, but were spared. Around 9,600 acres of ground including farm ground, pastures, CRP grasslands and golf course grasses were burnt. Three families lost their homes and thankfully no injuries have been reported.

The town of Satanta was very lucky considering the damage that could have been done from such a large fire that was so out of control. Many people have misconceptions about agricultural-related fires and I thought this would be a good time to bring those up!
In our part of the state, people DO NOT participate in elective burning of pasture ground. It is too dry and we can't afford to lose precious top soil to wind erosion. Many parts of Kansas do participate in such burning and that was talked about in this post. There are also some great photos and a description of pasture burning in the Flint Hills from a Kansas rancher, Debbie Lyons-Blythe, here! The exact cause of the fires that raged through Haskell County this past Sunday is unknown, but dry conditions and high wind speeds fueled it.
The battle farmers and ranchers from the Satanta area will be fighting in the months to come is all of the open ground that was exposed during the fire. Without grass and crops covering a large area of ground, when the wind blows it will erode the soil and make conditions much worse. The biggest thing we need right now is rain and a whole lot of it! As many of you already know, you can rebuild structures and replace things, but you can't restore the precious top soil that will be lost.

Monday, April 4, 2011

If you liked this post about experiencing agriculture first hand. You have to check out this place!

Bringing the consumer on to a farm to view how dairy products go from farm to fork is the best way to booking birthday parties!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Clearing up Misconceptions

I really love clearing up misconceptions and as it turns out, there are a lot of misconceptions about some of agriculture's biggest opponents, especially HSUS. MOFarmersCare recently released this video entitled 'HSUS Revealed' that addresses some of the issues surrounding HSUS' financial and lobbyist agendas. I hope that you'll share these facts with your friends and family so that more people become aware of the misconceptions surrounding the big budget lobbyist group.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~


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