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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Favorite Posts of the Past


If you haven't caught some of these posts, I wanted to make sure you had easy access to them. These are the posts that generate the most attention on our blog. Please take a moment to read them if you are interested and haven't gotten a chance to do so. Hyatt Frobose hit it out of the park with the post coming in at the Number One spot! Maybe that will convince him to write some more posts for you guys!!!

  1. Does America Need a Fat Tax - 6607 pageviews
  2. Extra Extra Read All About It - 4532 pageviews
  3. Sweet Corn Vs Field Corn - 3966 pageviews 
  4. Colorful Cauliflower - 2908 pageviews
  5. Getting to Know Your Beef - 2601 pageviews
What has been your favorite post on the blog?



Thursday, February 21, 2013

Mad Cow Disease Status Update

The World Organization for Animal Health has upgraded the status of the United States' risk for Mad Cow Disease, or more accurately called bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), to "negligible risk." The upgrade in risk classification is due to the safe-guards put in place by American producers and retailers. The United States, once again, is demonstrating ways to produce safe and wholesome food for consumers. Consumers can feel safe about the food they consume each and every day.

A complete description of the status upgrade can be found here.

Until next time,

Miles Theurer

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

For Love of the Game

In some ways, farming is a game.

Farmers get to wear sweet unis. Sometimes throwbacks depending on if mom has kept up on laundry.
Typical uniform for the farmers in my family.
It's a game that takes a lot of practice. Many farmers come from generations of people who farmed the same ground they are farming today. My brother is now the 4th generation of farmers to be growing crops and cattle out at our farm.
My dad with his dad on the family cow horse at our farm a "while" ago. 

Farming, like many games, can be expensive. Equipment, gas, land, electricity, seed, feed, oil, tools and among others are all things that farmers spend a lot of money on to play their game.

Tractors, corn seed, irrigation sprinklers and a combine.

Do you ever gamble on a sport? Farmers gamble a lot. Every time they sell a corn crop, they are locking in a contract price. The next day the corn prices could go really low or get really high. It's a chance they have to take. When you are selling hundreds of thousands of bushels? That's a big chance.

Gambling with the markets, weather and input (diesel, seed, fertilizer) contracts happens on every farm. 

At the end of the day, farming can be a very high stress occupation. My dad went to college, got a degree in Agronomy and could've easily gotten a job in an office with air-conditioning, an office assistant and free coffee. However, for love of the game, he decided to keep the family farm alive. Today, my brother is following in his footsteps and doing the same thing. They've gone pro.

Heck, they've won the pennant. 


Monday, February 18, 2013

Life of a Farmer: January

The Peterson Farm Bros are a household name around here in Kansas. They have been creating funny parody videos about life on a Kansas farm. However, here's a video I think you will really like if you are more interested in the serious side of this trio.

This video takes you through the day-to-day operations on their farm during the month of January. I will be sure and post February's on here as soon as they release it. I have a feeling these videos will get more and more exciting as the year progresses.

My dad spends a lot of the winter months meeting with bankers, preparing his taxes, updating machinery, looking at seed contracts and preparing for the busy spring and summer months ahead. We have cattle that keep us busy in the winter, as all of our cows and heifers are bred to give birth in the winter. We do this so that when they are growing and demanding the most from their mama's, we have lush green pastures to turn them out on in the spring and summer. Lately, since we have been in a drought, there is not one thing that resembles lush in our pastures. We have to supplement the grass that they graze with other feed sources.



Sunday, February 17, 2013

Fields of Gold

You'll remember me when the west wind moves...........Upon the fields of barley
You can tell the sun in his jealous sky........................When we walked in fields of gold

Picturesque field of gold.

This blog post was inspired by a song playing on my Pandora while I was supposed to be studying. My family doesn't grow barley, but I thought I'd do a little research on the crop because that song is just so good!

Barley: cereal grain grown in both irrigated and dry land environments. 

Season: barley is a short-season crop, 27 states in the US produce Barley.

North Dakota: state that grows the most barley in the US.

4th Place: barley is the fourth largest grain crop after wheat, rice and corn. 

320 million: average number of bushels produced in the US between 1994 and 2003. 

Animal feed: number one commercial use for the crop (51%), followed by malt (44%).

Resources: Barley Foods, National Barley Growers Association

Barley ready for harvest.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mad Cow

Actually, we don't have mad cows on our farm. I really don't like the term because the disease is correctly called Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy. Feel free to visit that link if you want to learn more about BSE because this post isn't about mad cows. It's about happy cows, but since the title drew you in you might as well stay and read a bit, right?

Why does my farm have happy cows? Because we work hard to insure the health, nutrition, productivity and well-being of our herd.
  • Herd: the word used to describe a group of cattle. You can have a small herd like ours (30-50 head) or a large herd (100+ head). 
  • Head: the word used to describe one animal in the herd. 
153 is a heifer in the dry lot at our farm.
Because we are raising a biological organism, our herd consists of cattle at different life stages. They are not all the same age, sex or reproductive status.
  • Heifer: a heifer is a female bovine that has not given birth to a calf. 
  • Calf: the name used to describe a juvenile bovine of either sex. Think of how we use the word child. 
  • Cow: a female bovine that has given birth to a calf. 
  • Bull: an intact male bovine that is used to breed the cows and heifers. 
    • We have two bulls in our herd and farmers commonly have at least one bull per 30 females. 
A heifer walking through the corn stalks we let them graze. 
My family primarily raises crops. We raise cattle because we love animals and they are able to graze the ground we farm. Essentially, feed for our herd throughout a majority of the year is free because we own the land already and they might as well graze it.
  • Dry lot: we bring our cattle into a set of pens where they have access to feed, water and minerals. It is handy to have cattle come into the pens because it makes it easier to check them each day. Cattle maintain a similar schedule daily according to the juxtaposition of the sun. Our cattle come into the pens at the farm every afternoon and return to graze towards evening. If my brother notices that one didn't come in, he knows something could be wrong and can closely inspect. 
  • Corn stalks: we let our cattle graze the ground that was used to grow corn from April to September and has been harvested. The stalks are left in the field to prevent erosion and provide a great feed source for our herd. One acre of corn stalks can feed two 1,000-pound cows for one month. 
Stay tuned for an upcoming post that will teach you more about how we raise cattle in the heartland. If you have any questions or need clarifications, please comment below.



Photo credit: These pictures were snapped by the newest farm wife in our family - my sister-in-law. I'm sure glad God made farmers, but it takes a special woman to be a farmer's wife! Shout out to all the farmer's wives out there!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Ahhhhhhhhhhh-Choooey! Texas Roadhouse is Food Allergy Un-friendly

Ahh ahh ahhhhhhhh-choooooooooey!

My dad always sneezes like that. It bugs me some days and others I find it funny. My mom rarely cusses, except for if she is having a sneezing fit. Sailor style.

Meanwhile, back at the blog post.

We are home to one of the newest Texas Roadhouse restaurants and it's been a hit in Manhattan! My father-in-law treated us to it the other day and I enjoyed the bread almost as much as the juicy, tender, well-prepared steak. Something I didn't enjoy? Peanuts.

Texas Roadhouse welcomes guests with a free buffet of peanuts. I obliged, because who doesn't love cracking open a good peanut? My nephew doesn't.

He is severely allergic to peanuts. So allergic, that he convinced my sister to let him just try one plain M&M for the first time in his 5-year-old life, and his face instantly turned about the shade of those delicious steaks Texas Roadhouse keeps in the display cooler! I can't even imagine what walking into that restaurant would do to him!

They have a sign. It says something like, "If you have a peanut allergy, get on down the road." The purpose of this post is not to raise awareness to the restauranteur's stance in a negative light. They offer peanuts and alert guests about the practice. What I do want to do is raise your awareness of the prevalence of food allergies in the US.

Top Food Allergens in the US

Eight foods account for 90% of all food-allergic reactions. They are called the Big Eight and include: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (e.g., walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, pecans), wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish. These are the ingredients that must be listed on food labels to alert people who might have an allergy. Estimated prevalence of these allergies among the U.S. population:
  • Peanut: 0.6-1.3%
  • Tree nuts: 0.4-0.6%
  • Fish: 0.4%
  • Crustacean shellfish (crab, crayfish, lobster, shrimp): 1.2%
  • All seafood: 0.6% in children and 2.8% in adults
  • Milk and egg: based on data within and obtained outside the United States, this rate is likely to be 1-2% for young children and 0.2-0.4% in the general population. 

Wait, what about gluten allergies? You know, like, five people with that, right?

Most adverse reactions to food are misclassified as a food allergy when it is actually a food intolerance. Allergies cause an immune system reaction, intolerance does not. With allergies you can not handle any amount of the food without having some sort of reaction. The severity is determined by your good old immune system.With an intolerance you can often handle small amounts of the food without having a reaction. 

Want more information?

Food Allergy
Food Intolerance



Monday, February 4, 2013

So God Made A Farmer

Silence fell on our small get together with friends last night as a stately and familiar voice rang through the room. We have two Dodges in the driveway, 4 generations of farmers in our family and bellies full of food all because God made a farmer. 

If you missed it, or want to see it again:


For those of us raised by farmers, we've heard this poem and we grew up on Paul Harvey. I am so glad Dodge paid bookoo bucks to share it with the rest of America. My mom's vying for an encore of "So God Made A Farmer's Wife" and I wish Mr. Harvey were still around to do that for her!

Good Day,


Friday, February 1, 2013

Quinoa Controversy

It was only a few weeks ago that I learned how to pronounce the word correctly.

Please don't discount this post if you think I'm an idiot for not knowing how to pronounce it. (Friends who don't know, it's keen-wah FYI!)

Before becoming uber popular as of late, quinoa was an obscure grain-like seed you could only buy at wholefood shops in the US. It's kind of in the same family as couscous, and if you're like me, it's only on the food shows you love to watch! Dieticians love this stuff. It's full of protein (14-18% by mass), amino acids and it's gluten free. It's a super crop. People have gone nuts over it!

So, no surprise the price has tripled since 2006. Think about wheat, a crop readily produced in the US, being $9 a bushel - quinoa is almost $340 a ton. Economics teachers of my past go ahead and be proud:
Supply-Demand Graph from Econ 101

Across the globe, quinoa isn't a fad. It's not the new protein source that makes people feel better about their food choices.Our country eats so much quinoa that the people of Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia (countries where quinoa was the staple food source for many years) can no longer afford it.
In Lima, quinoa is now more expensive than chicken.

This isn't the first tale of how a premium fad food source in American damages the country it is produced in. Peruvian asparagus production is concentrated in the Ica region and because of demand for exports, growing this vegetable is threatening the water resources the local people depend on.

The UN has declared 2013 the International Year of Quinoa. So now you have to learn how to pronounce it!

My opinion? We can take these food products, put them in our grocery carts and get all excited about a novel, healthy protein option. That's fine, but don't go home feeling all warm and fuzzy about it. While we are preoccupied with a fad, peasant's can no longer afford a staple grain and are literally starving.

That's not the direction we want our society to head in. We have a lot of people to feed and not all of us are willing to be farmers.

What are your thoughts?



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