January 27: National Chocolate Cake Day!

Who doesn’t love chocolate, and its even better when it is a moist triple chocolate cake! Today is National Chocolate Cake Day. What better way to celebrate?

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Any cake with pudding in the recipe is always a winner for me! I would love to take credit for this amazing recipe but I got it out of Mom’s cookbook and she printed it off of CooksRecipe.com.

Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake ( From CooksRecipe.com)

1 package Devil’s Food Cake Mix

1 four ounce package instant chocolate pudding

2 cups chocolate chips

1 3/4 cups water

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease bundt pan, set aside.
  2. In large mixing bowl combine cake mix, pudding mix, and chocolate chips. In another bowl combine eggs, water, and vanilla. Add eggs to dry mixture and stir. Mix into wet ingredients until well blended. img_7526
  3. Pour into pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes.
  4. Cool 15-20 minutes before removing from pan.

Hint: I take a butter knife and loosen the cake from the pan. Then I flip it over onto a plate to be able to slice and serve.

Enjoy!

-Bethany

 

 

 

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An Ag Teacher’s opinion to PETA’s Post

Sitting at my desk minutes before the bell is going to ring, I hear my students talking about the most recent attempts by PETA to attack the agriculture industry through a post on Facebook. This is not uncommon but it has caught the attention of some of my students.

They have begun to realize the impact that an organization is having on something they love. As we began discussing the article they were shocked that someone would take the principles of FFA and create such a disturbing article about it! They could not believe individuals would actually think the FFA would hurt or abuse what they use to sustain their livelihood.

FFA is a dynamic organization that has helped students grow into leaders, advanced public speakers, and advocates for an industry that they love. I was able to share my passion this fall at National FFA Convention. I wanted to show my students that you need to stand up for what you believe in. Through personal growth, career success, and premier leadership FFA has changed hundreds of thousands of lives all over the country!

 

 

Each activity we do as a chapter my students learn responsibility and valuable life lessons that can help them in the future. Whether it be through a Career Development Event, Leadership Development Event, Chapter or National event our chapter and students strive to create a positive imagine and role model for the agriculture industry.  I stress to my students that even when we are having fun people look up to them.

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Our chapter took 40 members to National FFA Convention where they attended leadership sessions, toured a dairy farm, and learned about agriculture on a national level.

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FFA is not just a career for me, but it was a club I enjoyed in high school! Nicole and I were both active in FFA. We served our chapter on at Career Development Events and as Chapter Officers. It guided me to my future career and a job I love waking up to each morning.

 

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My goal for each one of you is to start a conversation about agriculture or even the FFA with someone else! If we don’t share the positive impact FFA makes in our own lives and the lives around us, who will?

-Bethany

 

 

 

Don’t share PETA’s post.

I know. It’s tough. But don’t do it. 

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, PETA recently wrote an article about The National FFA Organization and how it’s not a very good organization. I absolutely refuse to link the article  because that’s exactly what they want.

Do you know why people share things in Facebook? To share information. Right information. Wrong information. Either way you are sharing that information with all of your friends. 

I understand that the article is attacking your passion, but sharing the post is doing one thing: MARKETING FOR PETA. 

My major in college was marketing and sales. Do you know how to market things? Show people your products! 

So why are you marketing what you’re fighting? 

Marketing also focuses on passion. If you can show your passion, you can excite people about your products. 

So I beg you, delete your shared post. Instead, share your story! Share your passion! Share your pictures! 

I have read some of the most passionate stories but they were attached to that darn post! Share your passion with YOUR pictures! 

Don’t market for them, market for YOU!

~Nicole  

Unbranded

I’m scrolling through Facebook and I see some of my friends talking about the movie Unbranded. They said it was about four cowboys and some horses. As a horse person with Netflix, that’s all it took to hook me. 

Last night, I pulled it up on Netflix and started the buffering. (We have lots of trees, sometimes buffering is a big thing.) 

I’m a Millennial. I’m 23 and grew up surrounded by technology, which means generally when I watch Netflix, I’m also on my phone. 

Not with this movie. This movie drove me through a range of emotions that didn’t allow me to tear me eyes from the tv. 

Long story short, four guys straight out of college ride mustangs from the Mexican border to the Canadian border. The Mustangs were training for about 90 days before they left, so it wasn’t a spur of the moment thing. They did it to promote the awareness of the wild mustang and because they weren’t ready to go from college to real life. 

They start off the journey with Val driving a trailer with water, feed and other essentials. Val is where it first starts to pull in your heart strings. He is the All American cowboy. I would say he was about sixty years old and treated these college boys with the respect of men is own age. But he also treated them as if they were his own sons. He tells a story about how his own son was killed by a horse kick to the head at four years old. I almost broke down as he says he sees him in these boys everyday. 

Val leaves to go back to his own ranch and when they meet up again, thousands of miles later. It is one of the most beautiful movie scenes I have ever seen. His love for these boys and his determination for there mission shows the strength of a true American rancher. 

But this movie isn’t all serious. These boys are hilarious, they drink, fish and play cards when they’re not riding. A donkey even makes an appearance for awhile. 

But this movie was made to educate on the public land in the West. And I don’t agree with everything they said so I’m not going to go into that. But what struck me the most, is that this movie shows that people can disagree and still get along, fight and still show passion for one another, tear someone’s dreams apart and still forgive. It showcases the beauty of agriculture and the pure beauty of the West. 

It’s a great movie. So watch it! 

The Untold Story…

When Nicole and I first started this journey as the Show-Me Sisters, we wanted to share our lives and passion for the agriculture industry. We wanted to show others the food we produce and they buy from the grocery story is healthy and safe. This may seem so easy to do, but the truth is most farmers are very private people. They want to raise their animals and harvest their crops in peace and not share the importance of what they do on a daily basis. So many consumers and individuals do not understand that farmers take pride in their work and produce the best and safest possible product.

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While Wes and I were in Mexico, we met individuals from across the globe, from many different backgrounds, and ethnic groups. When talking to new people the conversation always seemed to turn to what do you do for a living? Wes would reply that he farms and my answer would be I teach agriculture to high school students. We would normally get standard responses such as, “Interesting” or “Wow that sounds like fun!” Some people did go deeper and ask more about our chosen career paths and wanted to know what we grew and produced. These individuals were the most enjoyable to talk to! Most of them had an open mind and I felt like they walked away from us with a better understanding of what a farmer looks like. They can now imagine one when they pick up a bag of frozen corn or a pound of hamburger and place it in their cart.

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However, one couple started attacking Wes and I. “How can you afford to come to vacation in Mexico?” they asked in a very hostile tone. We simply explained that we had saved for it just like any other couple. They asked how much we made annually off of our products! We were shocked they would ask us such personal questions! Farmers and ranchers earned a median annual income of nearly $61,000 in 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 10 percent made about $107,000 a year, while the bottom 10 percent made less than $30,000. Keep in mind that these figures do not take into consideration the expenses, as well as uncontrollable factors. Many small farmers have incomes off the farm to help make ends meet and we are no different. They then attacked us about the price of food in the grocery story and how we must be getting rich, and that is the only way we could afford to be laying on the beach in January. Wes and I were shocked that someone would take out food prices on us! For every dollar spent of food only roughly 16 cents is given to the farmer. The remaining 84 cents is spent on moving that product from the farm to the consumers plate.

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Another individual spoke their mind during our supper on Monday night. While eating Hibachi with 8 other individuals, a lady spoke up to the man next to her and told him that Soy Sauce was not healthly for her family because it contained GMO’s. As I took a breath in to ask her if she knew what a GMO was, Wes poked me in the ribs and told me to not start anything. So I simply ignored her comment. As I thought more about the encounter later that night I realized that Wes was being modest about his career and the products he produces. In that moment, he was like most average farmers in America. They just want to be left alone to do what they love. If I could time travel, I would love to go back to that moment and simply engage the lady in a nice and respectful conversation about why she feels a GMO product is not healthy enough for her family to consume. When in reality her family is consuming products made from GMO’s already and she probably doesn’t even know it! A GMO or genetically modified organism has been around way before humans labeled it as a GMO. Breeders, farmers, and other individuals have been selecting organisms for their best traits and breeding them together for a desired offspring for many years. However, now we have a name for it. Am I scared to feed GMO’s to my family or suggest that others do the same? Of course not! These products have been studied and engineered and produced to create a safer and healthier food supply. They use less pesticides and herbicides. Some have the ability to resist disease and mature faster which helps feed our world’s growing population! The best outcome, in my opinion, is some products are even healthier than before with increased vitamins and nutrients. I hope that you take what I have said into consideration and do your own research. Do I expect everyone to agree with me? Of course not! But I would love for everyone to have an open mind about the time, effort, and awareness that farmers have when producing their products. If you would like more information check out the link below.

What is a GMO?

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There are many untold stories floating around in the world. The story of where your food comes from is one that is vital to every individual. Food is essential for our body. Without agriculture and farmers where would we be in the world today?

-Bethany

 

 

 

Snow Beauty

Winter is my favorite season and I absolutely love the snow. Wonder why? Because it makes everything beautiful! So I wandered outside with my cute sidekick and snapped some photos.

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Harley adores the snow too. Pop over to our Facebook page to see a video of her ‘crazy run’.

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Chex and Rowdy are patiently waiting for me to deliver more hay to the feeder. The two heifers that share the pasture with Lily and the horses are in the background.

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Being so cute is hard!

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While it is really pretty, its also really slick. Note the ice covering the whole gateway.

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The hay barn is the favorite winter hideout for all our farm cats, and occasionally a opossum or skunk.

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Who can resist calves in the snow!

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Or cows!

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It may look muddy but this is all actually frozen solid. Which has its good and bad points, the chances of getting stuck in the mud are slim to none but its rough on the cows to walk on the uneven ground.

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But our creeks are still running!

Hope you enjoy these pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them!

~Nicole

 

 

 

 

Why do we tag?

And I am not talking about hash tagging, but tagging cattle! Everyone ear tags their cattle a little different or at different times; and that is perfectly fine! Everyone makes a cake a little different also but the end result is normally the same, a wonderful yummy cake. Our result tagging cattle is also the same; a unique number is given to each calf or cow use to identify them!

Imagine a sea of black, black cute little baby calves. You can tell some of them apart because their face may be longer or they are a little smaller or have a bit of white on their belly.

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As you watch them play and run around you notice a larger black calf off by itself. It doesn’t look so good, he has a runny nose and he is not eating. You decide he needs a shot of antibiotics. You call the vet and get the prescription and dosage. When you go back to find the calf you have no idea which one he is!

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You want to be sure you give the correct calf the antibiotics! This is where ear tagging comes into play. We ear tag the calves a month or two after they have been born. When we ear tag them we also castrate the males, which means we remove their testicles in a safe manner. Castrating helps decrease the amount of testosterone in the males, which makes them less aggressive and creates a better quality meat . The decreased amount of testosterone leads to better marbling in the meat, higher quality grade, and a meat that is more tender.

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Once the calves have been ear tagged, we turn them back out with their moms.They will stay with the cows and drink their milk, eat hay, and a little bit of grain until they reach approximately seven months old. Then we will wean them or take them off of their mother’s milk.

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Once the calves have been ear tagged the ear tag is mostly permanent, unless the animal happens to tear it off or it becomes faded. If we have to re-tag the animal, we can simply cut the tag off and re-tag them.

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Ear tags help producers keep accurate records of their animals. It is important for producers to be able to identify their animals to provide a safe food supply to consumers! Have questions? Leave me a comment!

-Bethany

Cake Cookies

People always say you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Well I say, make your cake into cookies! 

These are simple, quick and delicious! What more could you want? 

Cake cookies:

1 box cake mix (any flavor)

2/3 cup butter

1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together well. Spray cookie sheet and place about an inch apart. Cook for ten minutes and enjoy! 

   

Melt the butter and mix it all up!
  

I used strawberry cake mix and added some chocolate chips for added deliciousness!

  

Into the oven for ten minutes!
  

Presto! Easy and delicious cookies! 

 

I am a FarmHER, not a farmer

I read a blog post awhile back that discussed how women in agriculture aren’t treated the same as men. She told a story of how she walked around a trade show and no one noticed her. She didn’t initiate conversation with any vendors unless they talk to her first. Therefore, no one tried to sell her anything or teach her about their services. And she was quite angry about it.

To be honest, I was quite angry at her.

A small part of me is angry because I have worked more trade shows than I can count and if you don’t make eye contact with me, smile or initiate any sort of conversation, then I immediately think you are just looking for the coozies, pens and t-shirts on my table.

But the large part of me was mad at her actions.  No one has ever gotten where they want to be by standing still or staying quiet. You want the respect in any industry you have to demand it.

In her case, she wanted the same respect that the male farmers around her got. Many women in agriculture do.

But, I don’t. 

I want the respect of a woman in agriculture.

I want the respect that doesn’t treat me like one of the guys. I want the respect that cuts back in the cussing in front of me. I want the respect that holds doors open for me and helps me load my feed.

I want the respect that the farmer’s mother taught him from day one. I want the respect that a woman in agriculture needs to demand.

That doesn’t mean I won’t drink whiskey at work parties and fit in with the rest of the men. It means that I will wait for them to open the door for me and call them out when their jokes offend me.

As a woman in agriculture, I can do anything. I can load just as much hay as a man, even though it may take me a little longer. I can fix a broken hydraulic line but it will probably need to be fixed again soon. I can fight off an angry cow with as much gusto and fearlessness as any man.

But as a woman, I can do more than the average farmer. I can buck bales all day and still find the energy to feed a hungry hay crew. I  can go from caring for a newborn calf to holding a newborn human.

But most of all, I demand the respect I deserve. But I don’t demand it with words. I demand it with my actions, I demand it by asking questions and sharing my own knowledge. I demand it by being a successful woman in agriculture with dreams, goals and the will to survive.

I am a woman in agriculture. I am a FarmHER, not a farmer. What are you?

~Nicole