Tag Archives: ag

Back in the Saddle Again

I know I’ve been saying this all the time, but what a weekend! This was a biggie. I got a new horse. I know, I know, I can’t believe it either. I can only explain it by saying this was meant to be. My poor readers, you have been forced to read horse related post after horse related blog post. Apparently this fact was not lost on all those in my inner-circle-of-Megan. My Fairy God Mother, Cathie called my Mom last week because there was this horse, a horse named Sue, that Cathie thought was perfect for me. Sue is a mare. And as you recall, mares have not been allowed on this Ranch since the early 1980’s. When my Mom told me about Sue, I immediately dismissed the idea. I’d never been allowed mares, why would I be allowed to have one now?
Well, I don’t know if it’s something in the water from our new well, or my Dad realized how much I miss having a ridable, dependable, Megan appropriate horse, but I was allowed to pursue the possibly of getting Sue. My Boyfriend and I went out to the Trainer where Sue was staying to meet her, and learn a little about her. Sue is an 17 year old retired cutting horse. And she was good at it, in her prime she was ranked 3rd in non-professional cutters. Robert Wagner (yes, the actor), owned her. She ended up being retired at age 12. Her last owners were dispersing their herd and wanted Sue to find a special home, because she was their special little mare. Once I saw her and got to visit with her, I understood why.

Sue saying hi!

She is breathtaking. I’m not just saying that because she is my pretty, pretty, princess horse. She really is beautiful. She is very sweet, alert, curious and SMART! Plus her confirmation and color is just perfect. She is petite, feminine and dainty. She even smells like new horse. Just a lovely little mare.

Watching Sue move through her paces.

After I met Sue and watched her move around the arena, I just knew she would be the perfect little girl for me. But would my Parents allow it? Making that phone call to my Mom, the one where I told her Sue was my dream horse, was sooooooo scary. What if they changed their minds? What if they wanted me to wait for gelding? What if they completely changed their minds and ALL horses were off the table?! I tried not to completely melt down when I called my Mom, I tried to stick to the facts, she was cow-type horse, she was my-sized, well trained, smart, well built, sound, perfect for exposing our cattle to a horse and rider (as Dr. Grandin recommend I do).
They said yes. Yes, Sue could come home, here to the Ranch. We could see if it worked. As long as I was committed to being back in the saddle. Ha! As long as I was committed to being back in the saddle!? Being horseback is more natural to me than walking! When I was a little girl, I couldn’t run, I galloped. Like a horse. All of my most vibrant and happy memories are horse related. Hair didn’t grow on the inside of my legs until my mid-twenties because I rode so much as child and teenager. Being around and on horses is my happy place. It’s what I was born and bred to do, five generations before me lived for horses and cattle. A very large piece of who I am was returning to me. I’m back.
This was Wednesday, when this all came to a head. When I got to send that text that said “it’s a go!!!!!”. I had to wait until Saturday until Sue came home. LONGEST. FOUR. DAYS. OF. MY. LIFE. I spent the week killing time. I cleaned my house. I cleaned my closet (lots and lots of western type jeans available!). I cooked for my Parents. I talked about Sue non-stop. My boss told me to go home early Friday, I’m sure, because I couldn’t shut up about Sue. Friday was the hardest day. It was the day that would not end.

My Boyfriend, the rockstar. And cowboy in training.

My partner in crime/boyfriend/legal counsel, plays in this band called Surrogate (they are really good, you should probably check them out). Friday night they played at a local venue because they were nominated for a Cammie, which oddly enough, is put on by my friends at the Chico News & Review. It’s a wonderful event, all kinds of different, local musicians and bands are showcased and honored. I think it is just awesome the CN&R supports all kinds of music!

Me supporting our local newspaper CN&R, and local bands! I’m trying to lead by example in hopes that the CN&R will support all local ag, like they support all local music! Hey, I can try right?!

Seeing that show couldn’t even calm me down. All I could talk about was Sue. I think my excitement was contagious. Sue was kind of a big deal. I finally had to take myself home at 2:00 A.M. because I was just too excited to stay in town with the Boyfriend, he needed sleep.
Finally. Sue got delivered Saturday evening. She was mine. She was here.

Sue’s first steps at her new home.

I spent the rest of my weekend bonding with Sue. We’ve been taking walks. We’ve been grooming. We’ve had treats. We’ve been taking walks with the Boyfriends (mine and her’s, Leo).

The Boyfriend, having his first ride on his new, old, horse, Leo. They did so well!

We are going to spend this week becoming friends. We are going for walks, we are going to graze, we are going to be groomed. After a day, Sue already nickers to me when I go out to her pen. This coming weekend, we will ride. Before we become a team, I want her to know we are friends, that this is her home, and she is loved.

Grazing and bonding.

I spent my weekend outside with my horse. I am sunburned. I’m covered in horse sweat, hair and dust. I’m exhausted. I stink. I’m sore. I am so stinking happy.

2 Comments

Filed under Ag, photos, Ranch life, Uncategorized

Meg Brown – Official Farm Bureau Member

I received something in the mail this weekend that made me feel a lot better about life. This was huge to me and it means so, so much to this girl. I got an official letter from the executive offices of the Farm Bureau giving me a free one year membership. It was a breath of fresh air after my Summer of Ag Drama.

Most of my followers remember the drama with my blog this past July. To be honest, it hurt my feelings. It felt like the staff in the executive offices in Sacramento (NOT the executive Farm Bureau staff) had it in for me. I still don’t understand why I got singled out for being open and honest about my ranch. I’m sure if they had a multi-generational cattle ranch in their families they would want to share it too.

I dedicate a large amount of my time blogging, writing letters to editors, and sharing my ranch so the 98% of our population not directly involved with production ag can see how the other 2% live, if they so choose. I don’t get paid to share, I figure it is in my best interest to answer any questions the public has; after all it is my way of life we are talking about.

Often I get frustrated or hurt feelings because of my “agvocating” efforts. Because ag is more than a job to me, people often don’t understand how personally I take it. I think that is part of the reason my blog drama this past summer hurt me so deeply – it was an internal attack from people I thought should understand what it is like to carry on a legacy. On that same note, that is why this letter and gesture means so much to me. It is an incredible feeling to get some recognition and I am excited and honored to be a part of this group. Thank you Farm Bureau, more specifically Mr. Jamie Johansson and the Butte County Farm Bureau.

9 Comments

Filed under Ag, Rants

Fun Ag Facts V

Fun ag fact of the day: in the state of Arizona, it is illegal for cowboys to walk through a hotel lobby wearing their spurs.

fun ag fact of the day: only about 1 percent of the corn we grow is eaten as corn (sweet corn).

fun ag fact of the day: Avocados have the highest protein content of any fruit and they contain more potassium than bananas.

fun ag fact of the day: There are about 45 breeds of sheep in the U.S. and more than 900 in the world.

fun ag fact of the day: The black walnut is a Native American species. Currently the black walnut is used mainly as a rootstock for English walnuts. The meats are tasty but thanks to a very thick shell, they are a lot of work to crack and remove from the shell.

fun ag fact of the day: It takes 19% less feed, 12% less water, 33% less land per unit of beef produced today as compared to 1977.

fun ag fact of the day: Starbucks uses over 2% of the nation’s annual milk supply.

fun ag fact of the day: California grows about 70% of all the asparagus grown in the United States. More than 50,000 tons of asparagus are grown in California every year.

fun ag fact pf the day: 100% of US-grown dried figs come from CA.

fun ag fact of the day: Animal ag in the U.S. accounts for more than $16 billion in revenue and employs more than 2.5 million Americans.

fun ag fact of the day: Currently there are fewer than 300 kiwifruit growers in California, each farming an average of just 13 acres. Even so, California produces around 98% of the kiwifruit grown in the U.S!

fun ag fact of the day: California grows both “dry flesh” and “moist flesh” varieties of sweet potato. The “moist flesh” type is sometimes referred to as a yam, and the “dry flesh” as a sweet potato. They are both sweet potatoes.

fun ag fact of the day: About 95 percent of the apricots grown in the U.S. come from California.

Fun ag fact of the day from Miss Jenny Dewey: My post-Food Inc myth of today:The movie brings up concerns about slaughter and food safety. It doesn’t tell you is that in federally inspected slaughterhouses, those in which meat is slaughtered and can be resold, there is a USDA inspector ON-SITE the ENTIRE time the operations are going on. Sometimes more than one inspector. So it’s not like slaughter operations are just going on without any sort of regulation or supervision.

fun ag fact of the day: figs were imported from the West Indies to Spanish missions in Mexico and subsequently spread to California with the Franciscan missionaries who planted them in the mission gardens at San Diego in 1769 and up the Pacific coast to Santa Clara by 1792, Ventura by 1793, and later on to Sonoma, giving the name Mission to those first dark purple California figs.

fun ag fact of the day: Cotton is a member of the Mallow family of plants. The Arabic peoples called it “Qutun,” which is where we get the word “Cotton.”

fun ag fact of the day: The sweet potato a member of the morning glory family. The part we eat is actually an enlarged storage root!

fun ag fact of the day: 50 percent of soil is air and water. The rest is mineral and organic material.

Fun ag fact of the day: There are more than 300,000 tons of grapes grown in California annually which in turn produces 17 million gallons of wine each year.

fun ag fact of the day: The average age of U.S. farmers is 57.

fun ag fact of the day: Grapes for sparkling wine are harvested sooner with lower sugar levels and higher acidity than those picked for still wines.

fun ag fact of the day: Lettuce is actually a member of the sunflower family.

fun ag fact of the day: Georgia is the largest producer of peanuts in the United States with over 1.6 BILLION pounds (45% of the total production in the U.S.)

fun ag fact of the day: 7 out of 10 heads of lettuce grown in the U.S. are from California.

fun ag fact of the day: California produces 1 out of every 5 glasses of milk consumed in the nation.

fun ag fact of the day: There are over 800 varieties of Pecans. Sizes range from: mammoth to extra large, large, medium, small and midget.

fun ag fact of the day: The national cowherd of cattle and calves is around 31.4 million head, that is the lowest Beef Cow Inventory number in at least 38 years.

fun ag fact of the day: California ‘s 22,000 beef producers care for more than 5 million head of cattle and about 37 million acres of rangeland. Many California cattle ranches have been owned by the same family for four or five generations and most ranches are family-owned and operated.

Fun ag fact of the day: (Via Ms. Amy Sipes) A beef recall notice, not tied to illness outbreak or any illness at all, is a glaring light that the downstream system is working. Not a symptom of a greater problem.

fun ag fact of the day: The Bureau of Engraving and Printing depends on farmers to produce paper currency—75% of every bill is made of cotton.

3 Comments

Filed under Ag

Back When We Had Herefords…

We made the transition from herefords to black angus in the early 1990’s. The black calves simply brought more money at auction and they seem to have fewer health problems, like cancer eye. We have one or two old black baldy cows left, but, for the most part all that’s left of our hereford herd are old pictures like the one below. I enjoy looking at old pictures of livestock to see how breeding trends have changed. This guy below reminds me of a buffalo!

20110925-022824.jpg

Breeding trends are especially interesting in reference to sustainability. My Dad often shares how he remembered selling calves that were two years old and 800 lbs., now we sell our 12/13 month old steers at a base weight of 850 lbs. (in a good feed year). How did we do this? Genetics, an awesome vaccination program, good nutrition, using modern technology that was available to us. In addition to improving our herd, we also improved our land. I mentioned before we laser leveled our fields to improve production. We also leave each ranch empty for 6 months out of the year. We practice rotational grazing and attempt to mimic a natural cycle.

20110925-022946.jpg

I’ve been told that it takes 19% less feed, 12% less water, 33% less land per unit of beef produced today as compared to 1977. By looking at old pictures it really helps me to “see” the comparative advantage. It seems like animal ag has made some pretty big advance in the past 30 years. It’s exciting to see what the next 30 will bring!

20110925-022954.jpg

Leave a Comment

Filed under Ag, agriculture, animals, Beef, History, Know a California Farmer, meat, photos, Ranch life

No Consumers Were Harmed in the Making of This 4-H Meeting

The pictures posted below are of a 4-H meeting, we are between the ages of 13 and 16. The same processor from my previous blog is custom exempt harvesting a heifer for us. Funny story about this particular heifer – when this same group of kids came out that fall to pick up their 4-H steers, this heifer tried to kill us. It was extra funny because the boys literally ran screaming for the fence leaving me all alone to deal with “Margo”. We tease them to this day about their lack of chivalry. However I did go on to run track…. coincidence?

It’s important to note that these young kids were not adversely affected by seeing a custom exempt slaughter. If I recall, my Mom fed us all hamburgers after we watched this.  We all grew up to work in agriculture. One is a large animal veterinarian, one works in swine reproductive medicine and surgery, another is a deputy ag commissioner. And then there is me and we all know how I turned out.

Point is, if kids can handle watching a slaughter in real life, the beef industry should be able to handle a personal blog about a family run ranch.

20110801-090312.jpg

Mr. Dewey pointing out liver flukes.

20110801-090329.jpg

The organs coming out.

20110801-090344.jpg

More liver shots.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Ag, photos, Rants