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Monday, January 23, 2012

Boots on the Ground - veterinary student. agriculture advocate. family farmer.

BOOTS ON THE GROUND is a series of posts aimed at introducing consumers to a diverse group of people who have their boots on the ground working in the agriculture industry in some form. This series will bring you all kinds; from boots that do chores on a family farm in the heartland to boots that walk the steps up to the Capitol daily. You better grab hold of your bootstraps because it'll be one heck of a ride!

I'm excited to introduce the new series and even more excited about the line up of people I have for future posts. This series will really give you, as a consumer, a diverse look into the industry. Agriculture is so much more than pitchforks and corn fields and I'm excited to show you why!

What could be more exciting than officially starting off the series with a post about me?

Yeah, you're right, probably not that exciting at all! You'll have to humor me, though, because it is my series and I thought you might want to find out more about where my boots have been lately!

What is your role in the Agriculture industry?
Lets see here, I am foremost a student. I currently study at the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine. I want to specialize in food animal medicine so that I can someday, in the near future, work with producers who raise animals for food. We have the safest food supply in the world and it's because producers and veterinarians work hand in hand to make sound animal health decisions on the farm.

I grew up on a family farm in Southwest Kansas where we raise corn, cotton, wheat, milo and cattle. I am passionate about family farms and find the people who continue to keep that passion alive so very interesting.  My family has been farming in the area for what is now 4 generations.

How many pairs of boots do you have?
You really thought I was going to introduce you to my closet?

Yeah, not that kind of blog by a long ways! I am a person who wears many boots. Most of the time I am a student and I just have my learning boots on. I can't wait for the day when I can graduate into real work boots, the kind with a paycheck! I do get to slip into a nice pair of chore boots when I am home over breaks and those will find me doing a plethora of things around the farm.

This summer I was working on a research project for school. I was able to visit cattle feedyards (this is the best description of a what a feedyard is from someone who works on one) across the state of Kansas and perform an assessment of animal handling and housing at each yard. I got to wear a pair of muck boots and look at over 976,500 head of cattle. I had a an amazing summer meeting people who care about the cattle that become the hamburger on your dinner table.

If you could tell consumers one major thing about agriculture, have at it!
Now you know that's going to open a few doors. I sort of have a list of important things I want consumers to know from my standpoint as a person involved in agriculture since birth and looking towards a future of involvement in the industry.
  1. Food is free. We spend so little of our income on food when compared to the rest of the world that we tend to lose sight of what is important to us as consumers. Not only do I get apples year round, but I get apples that taste like grapes year round! It's almost crazy the amount of choices we have!
  2. Farmers are true stewards of the land. When the wind is howling at 60 miles an hour after a long couple weeks of no moisture, I can almost hear my dad's voice crack because he's almost sick that the precious topsoil that he is a steward of is blowing in the wind. It's easy to jump to conclusions about farming and many of the practices that hit the media, I just want consumers to be able to hear it straight from the people who do the work. You hear that crack in my dad's voice and believe that farmers participate in conservation practices daily to preserve the land that they've farmed for generations. 
  3. Agriculture is diverse. We're not only out in the boonies holding pitchforks and spitting tobacco. People are working in agriculture everyday in suits at a bank, in scrubs at a clinic, in pajamas behind a computer, among others. They're putting their boots on everyday to cultivate plants and animals to produce food and fiber in order to sustain life either directly or indirectly. 

I hope you have enjoyed the first official post for BOOTS ON THE GROUND and I can't wait for you to meet the people to come. It's an exciting line up and you won't want to miss it!


Tera Rooney

BOOTS ON THE GROUND is brought to you by Country Outfitter They sent me a fancy new pair of boots and so I'm linking them on to this series. They help put boots on the ground, and I know I will be ordering my next pair from them too!


  1. I'm excited! I am looking forward to reading "Boots on the Ground"!


  2. Thanks Hannah! I am excited about the lineup of posts.



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