This past fall semester I had to start this blog for my public relations in agriculture class at Missouri State University. I had never participated in blogging up until that point. It has been an overwhelming and inspiring experience. I have learned more about social media and the multiple outlets than I ever thought imaginable. Although sometimes frustrating I worked through the assignments and have learned a great deal about social media that will help me in the future. I really liked having the opportunity to listen to Dairy Carrie talk about her life and how she has used social media. It captured why we should all share our own stories and how telling our stories can show other people what really goes on in the agriculture industry. I also thought the point that all the agriculture people should not comment on all the negative things that get shared is also important. It just gets it available/easier accessible/easily seen for more people to see when it is the wrong message anyway. Blogging can be a very useful tool to tell our stories and make it where everybody can see. It allows us to market our products and show the true sides of our lifestyles. As Dairy Carrie mentioned, you do not just show all the good sides of farming… when you tell your story, you have to show all parts, even the bad. Social media tends to block stuff and shows what they think people want to see. I think blogging can help solve this problem and through Dairy Carrie it has obviously been proven to work. I also liked learning about the other media outlets that I did not really know much about, like twitter. I hear about other people having a twitter account, but have never ventured to try it. It helps when you learn about something that you had not known about. I thought it was challenging to keep having a blogging assignment due every week when there would be a ton of other stuff due. It definitely kept me on my toes to get it done. I also found it difficult at times to come up with a topic that I wanted to blog about. Another thing, having to comment on another blog every week gets challenging in itself… but I liked learning about other things that was happening in the agricultural industry. I appreciate the people that have chosen to follow my blog and liked or commented on my posts. Although I may be slower at blogging my next posts, I plan to continue blogging at a more relaxed pace.
Thanksgiving is the holiday of peace, the celebration of work and the simple life… a true folk-festival that speaks the poetry of the turn of the seasons, the beauty of seedtime and harvest, the ripe product of the year – and the deep, deep connection of all these things with God. ~Ray Stannard Baker (David Grayson)
Maple Roast Turkey and Gravy
2 cups apple cider
1/3 cup real maple syrup
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram
2 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
3/4 cup butter
salt and ground black pepper to taste
14 pounds whole turkey, neck and giblets reserved
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup coarsely chopped carrots
2 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons apple brandy (optional)
- Boil apple cider and maple syrup in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat and mix in 1/2 of the thyme and marjoram and all of the lemon zest. Add the butter, and whisk until melted. Add salt and ground pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until cold (syrup can be made up to 2 days ahead).
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Place oven rack in the lowest third of oven.
- Wash and dry turkey, and place in a large roasting pan. Slide hand under skin of the breast to loosen. Rub 1/2 cup of the maple butter mix under the breast skin. If planning on stuffing turkey, do so now. Rub 1/4 cup of the maple butter mixture over the outside of the turkey. With kitchen string, tie legs of turkey together loosely.
- Arrange the chopped onion, chopped celery, and chopped carrot around the turkey in the roasting pan. If desired, the neck and giblets may be added to the vegetables. Sprinkle the remaining thyme and marjoram over the vegetables, and pour the chicken stock into the pan.
- Roast turkey 30 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and cover turkey loosely with foil. Continue to roast, about 3 to 4 hours unstuffed or 4 to 5 hours stuffed, until the internal temperature of the thigh reaches 180 degrees F (80 degrees C) and stuffing reaches 165 degrees F (75 degrees C). Transfer turkey to a platter, and cover with foil. Reserve pan mixture for gravy. Allow turkey to sit about 25 minutes before removing stuffing and carving.
- To Make Gravy: Strain pan juices into a measuring cup. Spoon fat from juices. Add enough chicken stock to make 3 cups. Transfer liquid to a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. In a small bowl, mix reserved maple butter mixture with flour to form a paste, and whisk into the broth. Stir in thyme, bay leaf, and apple brandy. Boil until reduced and slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
This recipe looks delicious and is another reason to be thankful for. As people continue to post all things that they are thankful for, we must remember to be thankful for the farmers. Without them we would not thoroughly be able to enjoy this amazing food filled holiday.
“Our FARMERS DESERVE PRAISE, not condemnation;
and their efficiency should be
CAUSE FOR GRATITUDE,
Not something for which they are penalized.
-President John F. Kennedy
This fall I have heard the worst stories about FFA livestock being vandalized. On October 15, 2013 the Chickasha, Oklahoma high school’s FFA chapter’s animals and barn were vandalized. Everything had been spray painted and the walls were painted with offensive messages and symbols. The Ag teacher spoke out and said that on the pigs the members had got most of the paint off of the hair, but that it had also soaked into the skin. So, the members would just have to keep washing the pigs as the paint slowly faded away. The sheep had been exposed to the hog feed and were basically poisoned due to the high copper levels. All the animals were let out of their pens, causing a dangerous situation. This story got shared across the country. So many former FFA members knew the care and expense that had been put into these animals. The sorrow for both the animals and the members who owned the animals had been felt not only by themselves but by many. What is unique about the FFA organization is that the members bond and form together. Everyone knows how it feels and how much work goes into a project and so when we hear news, such as this it makes our hearts heavy. Not only did this happen but later on between Friday night October 25 and Saturday Morning October 26, at the Paso Robles high school’s FFA livestock barn, a steer had been set on fire. In order to do this they had to break into school property. The owner of the steer had seen what happened when he went to feed the animal on Saturday morning. The steer was the only thing on the property to be hurt and had significant burns on his face. However, he was expected to live. It is just awful how anybody could do such things to helpless animals. There is no reason to break onto a piece of property and vandalize animals. If someone has a problem they need to man up and talk about it to the person like civilized human being. There does not need to be this much hurt involved. It is shameful and heart wrenching for all involved.
As the cold draws near there’s nothing that sounds better than a home cooked meal. This hearty chicken recipe is a great way to support agriculture and your stomach. I have yet to make it, but it sounds absolutely delicious. I plan to make it in the near future! I feel like it would be a hearty meal that the whole family could enjoy!
I hope you all enjoy and if you beat me too it… let me know how it turns out!
2 lbs chicken tenders or 4 large chicken breasts
2 sleeves Ritz crackers
1/4 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup whole milk
3 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 10 ounce can cream of chicken soup
2 tablespoon sour cream
2 tablespoon butter Crush crackers
If using chicken breasts and not tenders, cut each chicken breast into 3 large pieces. Pour the milk, cheese and cracker crumbs into 3 separate small pans. Toss the salt and pepper into the cracker crumbs and stir the mixture around to combine. Dip each piece of chicken into the milk and then the cheese. Press the cheese into the chicken with your fingers. Then press the cheesy coated chicken into the cracker crumbs and press it in.
Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and lay the chicken inside the pan. Sprinkle the dried parsley over the chicken.
Cover the pan with tin foil and bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes.
Remove the tin foil, bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the edges of the chicken are golden brown and crispy.
In a medium sized sauce pan combine the cream of chicken soup, sour cream and butter with a whisk. Stir it over medium high heat until the sauce is nice and hot. Serve over the chicken.
This past weekend I went on a road trip down to Texarkana for a Boer goat sale. As many of you who are in the Boer goat industry know that this past summer/fall sales have not been that good for the producer. Prices have been really low and it has been hard to get what you put into the animal back out of them. I have watched so many producers take back home animals that they were banking on getting sold. These producers cannot just let their animals go for nothing, it would be more worthwhile to just keep what they are trying to get sold for a decent price rather than letting it sale for practically nothing. To make sure we are all on the same track, I am not meaning commercial non-papered goats, I am talking high quality, ABGA registered Boer goats. These can go for thousands of dollars, if they are good enough. They typically can easily make the $400-500 mark on a decent animal.
The Blockbuster Boer goat sale reflected the same thing that I have been observing. The really outstanding does (ones that typically had already been shown and earned points). The rest were the low casual prices which I have witnessed all fall. Nobody seemed interested in any of the bucks while I was there too. I personally have been trying to sell some of my own does and a buck online and have come across the same thing. Many people will sound interested, but they are unwilling to pay for the quality and numbers (does are bred) that they would be receiving. Yes, I understand they would like a deal… but the producer, such as me, cannot accept the loss that we would get if we let them go for almost nothing. We have to make a profit off of our animals or it is not worth raising them. I continue to lower my prices and have reached the bottom dollar until they kid out. So, I hope to see a good outcome and a better economy in the future, where the producers are not being hurt for all the work they have put into their projects in order to help make a living.
I am not a person that greatly cares for the cold weather, but as it starts to creep into Southwest Missouri I must confess to myself that fall/winter has officially stated to make its home here for a while. The only thing I absolutely love about fall and winter is all the babies being born. I always look forward to the next calf. That anxious feeling not knowing if you are going to get a bull or heifer… this year I was surprised by a tiny little heifer calf. Although, do not let the tiny part full you, she is catching up to the calves that were born weeks ahead of her. I love watching them grow and showing him the following summer. It is such an amazing experience! When we are done have calves, we move right on into kidding season. Although the goats do require more care than the cows, your heart cannot help but melt once you have seen their little faces. I always enjoy watching the kids grow up and even though I cannot keep them all, it is a great feeling to help out 4-H and FFA members with their projects and watching them win with stock I produced. Even though I have had to decrease my herds due to college and not having time for large herds, it still keeps me busy. So for all those people out there like me, just try to keep focused on the bright and enjoyable times about this part of the year and before we know it the sun will be out and shinning and it will be WARM!
As most have already heard, South Dakota took a big hit last week. Around four foot of snow covered western South Dakota. The state reports its producer’s total loss to be around 10,000 to 20,000 head of livestock. There was also a report that two human deaths had also been caused by the blizzard. Most of the ranchers did not have insurance covering storm damage, simply because they cannot afford it. Many sold down last year due to droughts and now have experienced around 96% herd loss of their remaining herd. Another hit during this time is the fact that our government is also currently shut down. At the same time as the shutdown, the farm bill also expired. As many ranchers are self-reliant and usually depend on their own, but due to all the losses that they have faced in the past two years they could really use the help from the Livestock Indemnity Program. However, the shutdown allowed the farm bill to run out causing there to be no Livestock Indemnity Program. It was said that even if the government would open and Congress reached a compromise on a new farm bill that it could still take months before the program would be put back in place. For now producers are being told to take pictures and document their losses and keep good records, as the unburied livestock can start being hauled to ditches. These ditches were made available due to a county willing to help their producers (http://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2013/10/14/south-dakota-ranchers-reeling-from-cattle-losses/2980793/).
For any producer this type of loss is just devastating. I saw a story about a calf that had been buried in the snow for five days and was found still alive. They could not understand how such a miracle could happen. Many producers were barely making it due to the economy and now many are wondering how they are even going to make it without that income and the loss of livestock which they had socked a lot of money in. Several associations are asking for donations, whether it be money or livestock for the victims affected by the storm. If anybody is able to help these producers, I strongly encourage it.
This past weekend I participated as C – D Ranch (Co-owned with my twin sister) at the Ozark Fall FarmFest that is held at the Ozark Empire fairgorunds in Springfield, Missouri. FarmFest has been held for over thirty years and runs Friday through Sunday from nine in the morning to five at night. Each year there are over seven hundred and fifty exhibits covering all kinds of farming and ranching needs (anything from livestock to equipment). What makes this event even better is that admission and parking is completely FREE! Nothing beats that these days (http://farmtalknewspaper.com/ozarkfallfarmfest/x546173799/Ozark-Fall-Farmfest?keyword=topstory).
I took Boer goats and a Nubian doe to FarmFest to be on exhibit and for sale. The first day, Friday (Oct. 4, 2013), it was warm and sunny out. I had several FFA visitors come through and we talked about the goats and discussed the industry. However, many just stopped by for candy and to look what to see was on display. I personally feel that the FFA is starting to dwindle in agriculture knowledge, as many walked around not knowing a clue about any of the animals. I feel like it’s important for these new agriculture teachers entering the teaching world to inform these kids on everything there is to know. I have so many friends going into this field and I hope that they start impacting the FFA students and making them more knowledgeable about the agriculture industry.
On Saturday (Oct. 5, 2013) it turned off rainy and cold. Although it was not a very pleasant day, I still had a good crowed come through. Towards the end of the day I even got a serious inquirer on one of our Fullblood doe. I hope to get a call later in the week. When Sunday (Oct. 6, 2013) rolled around the weather improved some, but it stayed fairly chilly outside. This did not seem to slow the crowds down though. We had several people come thorough and ask about our does. I feel like it was a successful FarmFest, even though the weather was not that great. It was a great time, I hope to make some sales from being there, and I look forward to being there next year!