Happy National Beef Month!

May is National Beef Month! It is also the start of grilling season. Beef is a great addition to a healthy diet. My family raises beef cattle and I know that they have been working hard this spring welcoming new life onto our farm. Growing up on a farm and being an active 4-H member, I learned that animals like beef cattle have a purpose. Their purpose is to provide a source of food. I understand that they are not a family pet, but I also understand that they should always be treated with care. I have faith in my family and other family owned and operated farming and ranching operations, that they take great care and pride in their livestock. Their purpose is providing you and me with a heart healthy protein that we can choose to have in our diet.

I choose to eat beef. So, to sum it up, thank you farmers and ranchers for bringing one of my favorite foods to my plate.

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Happy Earth Day 2013!

Today is Earth Day and I will be doing my part by supporting the hands that take care of the land and put food on my table. Farmers are the best stewards of the land. They must take care of the land because it is part of their livelihood. They are responsible for our most precious resource.

Today one farmer feeds 155 people. In 1960, a farmer fed 26 people. Our population is expected to grow to 9.1 billion by the year 2050. Farmers will have to use fewer resources, including fewer land to continue providing food, fuel and fiber for everyone. They’ll do it by continuing to develop new technologies and techniques to help them get the job done. And they will because it is their job.

To sum it up, every single day is Earth Day to a farmer.

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The Ridiculousness of it All

The People for the Ethnical Treatment of Animals better known as PETA has been making headlines lately attacking the livestock industry. The most recent incident is recruiting one of Hollywood’s leading men to do its dirty work. Ryan Gosling has become an active PETA supporter sending a letter to the Huffington Post on the practice of dehorning cattle. In the letter he tries to explain the process of dehorning (I can guarantee he has never seen it in person) and how, “There is absolutely no reason — and no excuse for the cruel, unnecessary practice of dehorning to continue.”

Okay, dehorning is necessary for the safety of the animal and the other animals it will be associated with. It is also necessary for the safety of the farmer or rancher. Yes, there are ways for farmers and ranchers to breed polled cattle (cattle born without buds or horns) but sometimes there are still those in your herd that have them and need to be dehorned.

I was at a friends house earlier this week and a segment of E! News was playing. One of the top stories was about Gosling’s letter and they showed images of cattle. This is definitely not the kind of media attention the livestock industry likes. I hope that those of you who have heard the story have looked deeper and found the facts about PETA and dehorning. I also hope you understand that the fact is farmers and ranchers have the best interest for their livestock at all times. That livestock is their livelihood, so you bet they are going to work hard to treat them fairly.

In another recent news story, PETA has gone after a Louisiana boy who is selling raffle tickets in a Cow Raffle. The boy, along with the help of his parents, has organized this raffle as a fundraising opportunity to help raise money to attend a student ambassador program overseas. When PETA found out about the Cow Raffle they contacted the boy offering to help him raise money in other ways. I know what you are thinking, “That isn’t so bad. They are wanting to help him.” The help they wanted to send him was “The Lettuce Ladies.” These are women dressed in bikinis made out of, you guessed it, lettuce! Basically they wanted to provide the BOY with vulgar images to sell. This is so inappropriate and shows how extreme PETA really is.

To sum it up, I am pretty upset about how much media attention PETA is getting and how they are treating the people that put food on their tables, clothes on their backs, fuel in their cars, toothpaste on their toothbrushes, and ink for the newspapers or paint for the billboards they use to print and display their awful ads and stories.

Here is an interesting blog post about the picture below.

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Photo Friday: Down the Road

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Last night I had a conversation about agriculture with a concerned consumer. She asked me what kind of soybeans my family raised. I asked her if she was wondering what brand my family used. She said, “Yes, do you use that Monsanto company because I watched that movie Food Inc.” Right away I knew where she wanted this conversation to go.
I said, “That movie is very biased. They used some very graphic images. You know not every farm is like that.” Then I decided to give her the facts. I told her that 98% of U.S. farms are family owned and operated. I explained to her that those farmers treat their livestock humanly and that my family is part of that 98%.
She told me that she understood what I was saying and that not all farmers are bad. I was glad to hear that she got it but later I found out that she stopped eating meat for three months after watching Food Inc. because the images were so horrifying for her. Now that I think about it I don’t blame her. I’ve seen the movie but I’ve also seen the reality.
I was so glad that we got to have this conversation. I did get a little frustrated and defensive because it kills me when people think farmers do bad things. I know that there are some bad ones out there and that factory farms do exists but I also know that there are good farmers and family owned and operated farms. That’s why it’s so important to have conversations like the one above. The bridge between consumer and producer should be crossed every day so that consumers know the facts and can appreciate where their goods come from.
I know I can only do so much and people can take what I have to say and form their own opinions. I will work hard to continue having good conversations about agriculture because that’s just one way I can thank farmers. And hopefully down the road that consumer I had a conversation with will thank one too.

Photo Friday: The Facts

• Indiana ranks 5th nationally in the production of corn; producing 960 million bushels in 2007.

• Indiana ranks 4th in the production of soybeans with 211 million bushels produced in 2007.

• Indiana is the 2nd largest producer of popcorn in the nation.

• Indiana ranks 2nd in tomatoes for processing 249,000 tons.

• Indiana ranks 4th in peppermint producing 293,000 lbs. and 5th in spearmint producing 81,000 pounds.

• Indiana ranks 2nd in the number of layer chickens. The state is also 3rd in the nation for total number of eggs.

• Indiana produces more ducks than any other state in the nation.

• Indiana ranks 2nd in the production of both regular and fat free ice cream.

Resource: Ag in the Classroom

 
Here are some other great websites where you can find facts about Indiana agriculture:

Indiana Farmers Feed US

Indiana’s Family of Farmers

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Happy National Agriculture Day!

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Today I would like for you to join with me in thanking and celebrating all those who work in the agriculture industry. I have been posting a lot about ag here on Sarah Sums It Up because March is Agriculture Appreciation Month in Indiana. But today the ag world gets attention on a national stage. I am very passionate about agriculture and want to help those in the industry share their story. Today I ask you to talk to a farmer face to face or through social media outlets. Farmers love what they do and I am sure they would love to tell you about all their hard work.

Here are some of my blog posts about agriculture and farmers:

I love Farmers

The Farmer’s Verse

The Definition of a Hoosier

So God Made a Farmer

We Come and We Go

My sister, Katie and I created this newsletter to share today. Please click on the link below to view!

A message from Katie and Sarah

To see how others are celebrating and giving thanks today search and follow the Ag Day, Farms Matter or Agriculture Proud hashtags on social media sites #AgDay, #farmsmatter and #AgProud.

Please share and create your own ways of thanking farmers for all their hard work they do for you! But remember every day is Agriculture Day!! I love farmers

Photo Friday: National Ag Day March 19th

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This year National Agriculture Day is on Tuesday, March 19th. What is National Ag Day? “National Ag Day, a time when producers, agricultural associations, corporations, universities, government agencies and countless others across America gather to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by American agriculture.”

For those of you in the agriculture industry I encourage you to share your story on Ag Day. Share with others why you are agriculture proud. Share with others why we need farmers like YOU. I ask those of you who are not in the agriculture industry to stop and listen, ask questions and give thanks to the farmer. I believe every day is Ag Day because every day we are consuming products farmers have worked so hard to produce for us. And every day is Ag Day to the farmer because it is their life.

To sum it up, I ask all of you to observe and celebrate National Agriculture Day with me on Tuesday, March 19th. I also encourage you to remember and give thanks that every day is really Ag Day.

The Farmer’s Verse

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. A time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which has been planted.

Ecclesiastics 3:1-2

One of my favorite Bible verses and words to live by is the Farmer’s Verse. Farmers have to be patient souls and work to keep that patience and faith at all times. A farmer must keep an open mind and understand that there is a time for everything and that God will always provide for him whether the farmer sees and understands God’s plans or not. After the drought this past summer I have grown an even bigger appreciation for those in agriculture communities and the industry because sometimes the “times” aren’t what we want. But all of us and especially the farmer need to remember, “That’s just part of it.”

Please keep all farming and ranching families in your thoughts and prayers as they begin the busy spring season of planting and bringing new life into their farms and ranches.

Photo Friday: Seasons of the Farmer

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Seasons of the Farmer by Sarah Thomas

The time has come for new life to begin.
It’s springtime around here!
The Farmer is busy working ground and
Planting seed in his fields.
Cows are calving and some need tending to.
The Farmer’s job is never ending.

Rain is a good thing during these hot summer months.
The Farmer needs his crops to grow.
The weeds not so much, so it’s his job to keep them under control.
It seems like the cutting hay season will never end,
But the Farmer will be glad he has that source of feed for his stock come winter.
The Farmer’s job is never ending.

It’s harvest time in this farming community.
Farmers are traveling from field to field working to get the crop in.
Cows are calving and some need tending to.
Equipment breaks down in the fields and needs fixin’.
Days are growing shorter but
The Farmer’s job is never ending.

Winter seems to come so quickly.
Time to buy new equipment and fix the old.
Time to feed the stock because they depend on the farmer.
Time to buy seed and meet with the accountant.
Time to plan for another year.
The Farmer’s job is never ending.