Monthly Archives: September 2012

CORE Butte FFA Harvest Dinner 2012

You Guys! Remember last year when I spoke at FFA career week? Well I ended up sitting on their FFA advisory board and getting an FFA Intern. I cannot say enough good things about this program, the kids, and their teacher. It’s just stellar.

They are having their Second Annual CORE Butte FFA Harvest Dinner!

The Dinner is November 2nd, 2012. 6:00pm Social and Dinner at 6:30pm

It will be held at the CARD Community Center in Chico, CA. (545 Valombrosa Rd.)

All Proceeds go to supporting the CORE Butte FFA chapter. Tickets are $50 a person and includes: A wonderful Tri-Tip and Chicken Buffet (Provided by AS Catering), Silent Auction and Concert by Adrian- Buckaroo Girl and the Matthew Clough Band. Please join us for a wonderful evening filled with fun and excitement. 

Please Contact Jessica Anderson, 530-321-5608 or inspiredequinesol@yahoo.com for questions and tickets.

If you are in the Butte County area I really think you should consider coming to this! It will be a wonderful evening, supporting a wonderful group. Plus you can sit with me!

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Wordless Wednesday: Birds!

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Adult 4-H

As you recall my Parents gave me their blessing to get pigs. This has been a dream of mine for several years. The deal is, I promised my Parents that I would pay for and care for my pigs and they would not have to pay for or do anything for the pigs. I also promised I would get a heritage breed hog.
What is a heritage breed you ask? Generally they are breeds of animals that are not raised commercially. For that reason, the breeds can be rare. For example, the type of pig I want, Red Wattles, are considered critical. I kinda look at heritage breed animals, like heirloom vegetables, for some reason that analogy makes sense in my head.
I started thinking about this, a lot. I really enjoy raising my own food, it makes me happy and I know others enjoy it too. I’m also 30 kinds of stoked to be raising a heritage pig! I feel like I will be getting a superior pork product and bringing attention to neat breed. And in typical Megan fashion, I have a plan.

The pig pen. It needs a lot of work.

I was already planning on getting at least two pigs (so they wouldn’t be lonely. Happy pigs are healthy pigs!). But since I am so freaking passionate about agriculture and education – I thought this pig project would be a great opportunity not only for myself, but for some of my friends.
I am incredibly lucky to know a large group of people that want to be connected to their food. They buy local, know their farmers and do a fabulous job of educating themselves about current food issues, I am proud to call them my friends. I see a lot of these people looking for ways to get involved with production agriculture, but having little success, unless they want to pay dearly for the experience.
Light bulb! Adult 4-H. Many adults yearn to re-connect with their food and get their hands dirty, but there are still few opportunities for them to do that. Like I said above you can pay to intern on some farms, you can pay to work on a Dude Ranch, you can pay to be in a CSA (community supported ag), you can pay to go to school. Kids and teenagers at least have 4-H and FFA to learn from. But adults, especially ones with no or little ag background/training, can have it tough.

Milkshake stop – it’s hardwork fixing a pig pen!

This is where I can help!!!!! I have the space, I have the knowledge (I raised pigs in 4-H and my Dad knows a lot!) and I have the drive. I want people to have the same opportunities that I had, so they can learn about their food, agriculture and animals. It is in my best interest to share my point of view with as many people as I can. Plus how awesome is it going to be to have two of my friends play on the ranch with me?

Kristen found the pig waterer part.

“Adult 4-H” has started. My friends Kristen and Mahina are joining my “4-H club” as founder members. With the help of The Intern (more about him later), we started fixing up our pig pen last weekend. I’m hunting down Red Wattle piglets to buy. I think this is one of the most exciting endeavors I have started recently. I think the potential to learn and teach is huge. Stay tuned!

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Am I Really the Crazy One?

Edit from October 2013: “if you’re a strong, powerful, smart woman, you tend to end up at some point in a roomful of men trying to prove that your ideas are good.” Elizabeth Moss

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I went to my local county cattlemen’s board meeting tonight. My blog was on the agenda because for the past few months I had been asked to use my social media savvy and create a Facebook page for the group. I’ve posted mainly fun facts and articles about the industry, but I figured since my blog post about California Beef Council dropping the social media ball directly impacted Butte County Cattlemen (since they all pay into the check-off), I’d post a link to my blog on the Butte County Cattlemen’s facebook page.

Ready to talk the Board about my blog, change within the industry and facebook.

Some of the members didn’t like that I did that. I understand that fighting and drama can look bad when done within the industry. But when you read my post about the California Beef Council, I feel like I am not really fighting or attacking. I offered my help, I want to get involved! I did point out that the beef industry has a problem when the group we fund to talk for us, won’t talk to us. So it confused me that these men took issue with my stance. I guess I thought more of them would be upset too.
I found myself being the only woman and the youngest one there trying to explain social media, blogs, my blog, the story behind my blog, and how social media works to a group of men that, I think it is safe to say, don’t fully appreciate this technology, it was like talking to a roomful of my Dads. It got confusing. People interrupted me and told my story for me (although that part was kinda nice – I got to hear more about the drama I caused higher up, but I didn’t know because NO ONE WOULD TALK TO ME ABOUT IT). I got annoyed that I could have been sitting on my couch, with my cat and wine (Wino Wednesday!), instead of being talked at about a thing I know and am pretty good at sometimes.
I went ahead and printed off a couple of my blogs, the ag code that explains the California Beef Council’s job, and Todd Fitchette’s blog about my blog, hoping to give the board members some background into what I have been doing. I don’t think that helped, but I did try and do my due diligence to explain why I thought I was there.

My packet of information about the California Beef Council.

The meeting went on about if Butte County Cattlemen should even have a Facebook page. A side note, I asked how many of these men even had a form of social media and I think 4 out of the group of 10 or so did, one mentioned that he knew how to turn on a computer! I guess I do understand now, why these guys aren’t as upset at the lack of social media in our industry when they don’t understand what it is or how powerful it can be.
I think by now, most of my serious readers realize I love ag, I love anything to do with it, and I spend an enormous amount of my time talking and sharing about it. I was honest and told them it really wouldn’t hurt my feelings if they removed me from their Facebook administrator because I do have my hands in so many different ag related activities. They said that they wanted me but they wanted policies and procedures, more regulation – no drama, no opinions, you know kinda the stuff that makes me such an amusing person. I told them that for a donation to my scholarship they could tell me what to post, and I wouldn’t piss anyone off.
So about that time I burst into tears. Because when I am put on the defensive and not listened to, that is what I do. It was a highly effective tool to communicate with my Dad and since these men all reminded me of my Dad, I went there. I do hate that about myself, it makes me look very unprofessional, but it is also a huge part of who I am. However, want to know how to make a room full of cattlemen really uncomfortable?
So that was my meeting. I think they decided to have a young cattlemen take over the page. I must question though, how many pages about the beef industry do we need that only talk about puff? How effective has that been?
I went home after I started to cry. I’m on my couch with Jack cat, doing what I do best these days, writing about the odd predicaments I get myself into. I don’t feel like my point was gotten across. I feel like I am missing yet another opportunity to help my industry. I feel like I don’t know how to communicate with others in my industry, am I the only one that feel like this? Am I really the crazy one?

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Wordless Wednesday: It’s That Time of Year

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Birthday Poem!

It’s my birthday today. Birthdays make me super emotional. I’ve been crying all day, not sad crying, just I’m-the-center-of-attention-for-no-reason-crying (what, you don’t do that?). Anyway for the last few minutes this had me shedding more pretty big tears of attention. My friend Sir Ian Moore wrote this for me, I’m also printing this out for my frig. Go check out Ian’s blog for more funny, intelligent and witty Irish things. Thanks Ian, this is really cool and touching.

Megan’s Birthday Poem

It’s that time once again

We celebrate the passing of a year!

(and what better way to celebrate

But by the passing of some beer!)

You’ve managed to amaze the world,

By challenging people’s minds.

By point out some obvious facts

(“it’s LFTB, not pink slime!)

You’ve taught us all about ranching

And what really happens on a farm!

(and while GMO’s won’t give us super powers

It certainly won’t do us harm).

I know how beef is slaughtered!

And how Monsanto helps us all!

And that if you look in a farmers barn

you WON’T find a chicken 20ft tall……

You’ve helped open people’s eyes

You’ve shown us the truth

You’ve shown us some amazing things

(even if they are links to cowgirl boots)

I think that you’re amazing

And I thank my Irish luck

For getting to know Megan Brown

(who doesn’t mind that my rhymes suck)

So Happy Birthday Megan

I hope you have a very special day

You’re an amazing wonderful person

In every single way!

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New Boots!!!!

I follow a crap ton of agriculture blogs. If it happens in the world of ag, I want to know about it! An awesome benefit to following so many blogs (in addition to knowledge) is the giveaways! I do them occasionally on this blog, but my giveaways suck compared to some out there, like this one by the Farmer’s Trophy Wife and The Boot Barn! BOOTS!!!!!

Do you know how hard it was to take this picture? It was all I could do not to open this with my teeth! I hope you all appreciate that.

I’m not going to go into details, but parts of my summer were a bit rough. Things have calmed down a lot and I’m feeling a lot better about life in general, but there were a few weeks there when I was less than thrilled. My luck and summer started getting a lot better when I won these bad boys.

OMG. THEY.ARE.FABULOUS.

I woke up to an e-mail one fine July morning with the news I won the giveaway on the Farmer’s Trophy Wife’s blog! I thought she was joking until I had my morning coffee and received an e-mail from Rachel at the Boot Barn. After that I told everyone who would listen that I was having a wonderful day because I won fancy red cowgirl boots! Our UPS Man, was put on high alert!

Sean was stoked for me. He knew!

Due to the amazingness of the Shyanne Women’s Embroidered Clover Flower Western Boot, it took a while for them to get here. But want to know what? It worked out perfectly because I got them in the mail the day before my birthday! Guess who has new boots to wear out on her birthday? This cowgirl!

Proof! I won!!! ME!

I’ve had so much fun wearing my new boots around my office today, because they are new, the bottoms have no scuffs, this has enabled me to do my best Tom Cruise in Risky Business impression (except I have clothes on). I’ve slid past my boss’s door so many times I’m sure it isn’t funny anymore, but I’m still deeply amused! Tee hee!

Have I mentioned how good they smell? New boot smell is right up there with fresh cut hay and new horse smell! Mmmmmmm

Thank you Boot Barn and the Farmer’s Trophy Wife! I’ve wanted to new pair of boots for a very long time, but I’m trying to be a responsible adult (it’s hard) and pay off my student loans before I buy nice things for myself. I feel like this is a birthday present and a responsible adult present all in one!

See?! I can slide!!!!! Weeeeeee!!!!!!!

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California Beef Council – Let’s Get Better Together!

I haven’t been a huge fan of the California Beef Council (“CBC”) lately. They poked me with a stick and I didn’t like it. I didn’t like the way my stick poking was handled, I didn’t like the secrecy (felt like Mean Girls in high school), I didn’t like the outcome. However, cause and effect is a funny thing, because of their stick poking I got to meet my idol and she validated me.

My experience with the CBC was a good thing. It opened my eyes to ways CBC could get better at talking to their producers and our consumers. Instead of staying mad and bitter, I want to help, I want to use my voice, my knowledge  and my point of view to make CBC better, after-all this is my industry and way of life we are talking about.

I got this in the mail. CBC wanted more money, and it seems like California cattle producers didn’t want to give more. I think I know why.

First, in case you aren’t a cattle producer, this is the way check off works. We have the CBC and the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. The Cattlemen’s Beef Board is the national level the CBC is the state level. When we sell a cow/beef animal/bull/calf/anything, we must give $1 from the sale of that animal to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. Fifty cents from that $1 is then given back to the CBC. Our $0.50 per head investment is meant to have CDC  do these things (pay attention because I am going to refer to this A-F list often):

A) Increase beef consumption;

B) Give out accurate information about the nutritional benefits of beef;

C) Talk about methods that cattle people use produce beef;

D) Talk about all the high standards beef producers use to produce beef;

E) Educate about what would happen without a beef industry;

F) Educate about beef trends to help our consumers understand the industry.

All very important things, right? But this is where I have my issue. Once the CBC got on my radar and I started trying to communicate with them to ask them for help with these things, they didn’t (see below) help me at all! In fact I felt like they basically said “we don’t do that”. I voted no on the referendum because of that.

The above referenced e-mail from Christie (Christie works at the CBC and we went to college together, I think we even had the same job in the farm office, right Christie?)
My e-mail back. I never got any suggestion back.

If my Beef Jar readers recall, I went on a quest with our local paper earlier this year. They printed poorly done, unfactual articles about the beef industry, I went to the CBC for help (you can read more about that quest herehere and here). I never got help.

I tried to ask My Beef Checkoff how I could help,  and as you can see below, I got the same vague run around.

I started getting paranoid. What if it was just me this was happening to, fortunately (or not), I’m not alone!

This would be a great opportunity to post Dr. Grandin’s video about the slaughter house abuse.
She’s got a point.
Another producer would like a dialogue.

I got myself so worked up about this, I even wrote a column about it for Feedstuffs. The “Megan obsession thing” is kinda happening. I just feel like my industry could get better, together.

I feel if CBC made a few changes they would be a more effective organization. If they became more effective, producers would be far more likely to increase our fee when asked next time. I know I would have no problem supporting the CBC if they communicated with us, the producers, especially when those producers point blank ask for help.  It is frustrating, being ignored by the very group that is supposed to promote what we do.

The California Beef Council has a website, a facebook and twitter account – and I think they are being under used. Social media is a powerful tool. I see several other state beef councils doing a wonderful job with it. Instead of ignoring the people commenting in their facebook and twitter, they engage them, ask them about why they have question. These are our consumers, we want them to talk to us, to trust us, not the media or the “google educated” farmers, right?

CBC, do the things you were created to do. Promote, educate, and share. There are so many wonderful cattle producers, processors, dairypeople, chefs, dietitians, scientist, professors,  and veterinarians in California that would be ecstatic to contribute to CBC. If you aren’t comfortable talking about an issue (for example custom exempt slaughter) within my industry ask us! Use us! Come to a family ranch in California, according to your ballot you have at least 1,829 ranchers that met your requirements, can you imagine the stories  they could tell? I think it would be far more authentic than explorebeef.org, don’t you?

When I browse the CBC facebook page I see fluff. Go ahead – check it out, if I was just an average consumer, looking for industry facts I wouldn’t find them there.  I would find information about football rivalry, or burger battles,  nothing about Lean Finely Textured Beef or mad cow, or the the recent animal abuse videos. I don’t understand why CBC doesn’t talk about relevant topics – isn’t that supposed to be their job?

Ok CBC, let’s get better. Start using your social media to talk to both your consumers and your producers – no one likes to be ignored. Remember on social media it’s not always about the one person asking the question or making the comment, it can also be about the 10 other people that are lurking the conversation too. Also take some responsibility, I know you are busy and I’m not asking you to respond to “every media request”, just to some, once in a while, when someone asks. And finally don’t be so scared to post information that is relevant to what the national media is covering, I feel like that is an important part of your purpose.

California Cattlepeople let’s help. We need to become more vocal when the councils we fund, start dropping the ball. We shouldn’t accept the fact that our state council isn’t stellar – let’s help get it there! I cannot tell you how frustrated I’ve become with other producers that just nod their head in agreement when I tell them CBC needs some work but laugh and roll their eyes when I suggest they get involved (you guys know who you are!). Let’s get motivated! Our futures as cattlepeople depend in it.

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Wordless Wednesday: I’m on Vacation

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Wordless Wednesday: It’s Coming

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