A Superhero Type of Day

When you say the word superhero, I think about the movies I watched as a kid or the comic strips you see in the newspaper. But really after the events of this past Saturday unfolded, I realize that superheroes are just normal people with amazing powers and abilities.

I would like to think the Mom, Nicole, and I are superheroes in our own right. Looking at the three of us on Saturday we looked like your normal mom and daughter combo. When Nicole got off work, she met us in town and we all went shopping and had a grand ole time.

However, if you look a little deeper you see so much more of our superhero ability. Nicole went to work, much like she does every Saturday; to be there for the farmers who are hauling in corn and soybeans which will be sold and made into livestock feed or other products that we use everyday such as pet food, toothpaste, and even glue!

I fixed my husband lunch and wished him luck as he headed to the corn fields with the semi and the grain trailer, and then I headed into town myself to run errands and meet up with Mom.


It is great that we helped support the harvest currently going on, but we also had to use more of our superhero powers to complete the list Dad left us since he had to work this weekend. Our cows are currently calving, if you have not checked out the adorable photos that should be on the top of your must do list. Sometimes those cows aren’t always with the rest of the herd. Dad wanted Nicole, Mom, and I to make sure all the cows and current calves were in one field and close the gate to the other field. Then we could move and sort the steers and heifers around into different fields and groups. Now this may seem like a very simple task but let me tell you, I was sure glad that I wasn’t doing it alone! Mom stayed at the house to feed the steers and heifers, and Nicole and I headed out with our trusty pups to start counting cows and calves.


Well, as soon as we moved into the first field we morphed from our normal selves into farmer superheroes. We found three cows and calves in a separate field and headed out to find the remaining cow and calf that Dad had found the day before.


We searched the whole field for her. This isn’t just any open field either. Living in central Missouri, it was a field of hills, rocks, cedar trees, grass, and then more trees. As we determined they weren’t in that field, we went back to our first set of mama cows and calves and they had calmly made their way to the rest of the herd. Great! Now to counting the cows to see how many we had…. we were three short and still missing a calf. So once again,Nicole and I set out to find the rest. We were deep in searching and we found the missing calf, it was just on the wrong side of the fence from its Mom and the rest of the herd. With a lot pure genius on Nicole’s part and some nice and easy talking to the mama cow, Nicole managed to get a hoodie wrapped around the calf and shove it back through the fence. Needless to say, that would have been a cute and perfect picture moment but both of our hands were slightly busy at that point in time. One set found, two more cows to go! Giving up wasn’t an option. As superheroes, you must always complete the task given to you; and Dad said that we must find all the cows and move them. So that is exactly what we did. Hopping on the four-wheeler we went out searching again and we were rewarded with two more healthy babies and happy mama cows! Driving back to the house Mom was using her own superhero abilities and almost had all the steers and heifers sorted and moved when we got back!

The day was saved once again by farming superheroes! We may love to go shopping, dress cute, and see an occasional play; but our heart and soul is on the farm where we can normally get dirty, solve problems, and help feed America; and have fun doing it!




Makin’ Mayo

After all of the Memorial Day festivities are over, have you ever thought about what creamy cole slaw, potato salad, and deviled eggs have in common? They are all made with Mayonnaise! Now be honest, how many of us take a moment to think about how mayo is made when we reach into the fridge to gather the ingredients for our deviled eggs? Do you think about the farmers involved in this product that we use every day? Lets start from the top. What is it actually made of? Mayo is made from combining egg yolks, lemon juice or vinegar, oil, and seasonings. Check out the video to get an idea of what the process actually entails.

How its Made: Mayo

Can you believe there is that much work in making mayo! I never thought about the entire process until I started teaching my Food Science and Technology Class.

Did you know that when you look up the ingredients in mayo, there are several major producers that pop up. The first one is Hellman’s and they are excited to tell you that their product is made from cage free eggs.


What in the world is a cage free egg? Well, it means that the egg in the mayo was laid by a chicken not kept in a cage, but that chicken is still kept in a barn. A caged chicken is kept in a cage in a barn and a free range chicken is not confined and kept outside. So why does that matter? There is a big movement for cage free hens, but I wonder if those individuals have every thought about the hen? A hen is a female chicken that is mature enough to produce an egg. Not all eggs are fertile and can produce chicks.  Most hens will start laying between 5-7 months of age. They will lay best at 1 to 2 years of age.  Younger hens will lay 1 egg every 3-4 days. A hen 30 weeks old can lay 2 eggs every 3 days. Some have been known to lay an egg a day. All breeds have different laying abilities, as explained by Murray McMurray Hatchery.  Chickens kept in cages are in a comfortable temperature controlled environment. They never get rained on, pecked or pushed around by the other hens, and never have to fight for food and water! Each hen in a cage has adequate water and food and can produce a fabulous egg to be made into mayo. Studies have shown there is no real difference in caged and cage free eggs (The Poultry Science Journal).  Granted, I will say that farm fresh eggs might have a different taste, but they are in a completely different category when thinking about large scale commercial production with caged vs. cage free eggs.

I love to do an activity in class with my students concerning this same issue. They have to answer the question,”Which egg would you rather eat: caged or caged free?” Then, students get the opportunity to complete the process of actually making mayo! It is a great way for them to learn valuable research skills and actually be able to back up their own beliefs and opinions.

Makin’ Mayo Lab

So the next time you go to the fridge and grab the mayo jar think about how much time, effort, and care goes into the egg production which eventually makes your mayonnaise!


Thank You, To the Farmer’s Wife

My mom always said there was a love hate relationship to that four letter word. One day I finally broke down and asked her what word she was talking about! She looked at me and laughed and said, “Farming, and one day you will know what I mean.” You will love the time spent in the field, and look with pride at your hard work and accomplishments. But you will stress about making ends meet with the income doesn’t quite match the expenses. Or when your farmer tells you that you must be crazy for thinking you can take a vacation in the middle of hay season! You have to get that hay baled first!


So today, I want to say thank you to all the farmers wives out there. They keep track of those receipts that never seem to quite make it out of the truck, drive a tractor, pull a calf, and most importantly keep their farmer in line. Many farms can succeed without the gentle touch of a farmer’s wife, but everything is better when you have someone else to share the laughs, hardships, and joys with it.


The farmers wife constantly goes through team building activities with her husband. She gets sent to find wrenches or pull start a tractor. But no fear she gets him back when she needs help hanging pictures!


From late nights to summer birthdays spend in the tractor they love spending time together on the farm.


Thank you to all of the farmer’s wives that keep food in our grocery stores and keep our farmers happy. Have you told a farmer or farmer’s wife thank you today?



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.


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.


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.



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?





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.


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.


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.


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?


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?