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Wordless Wednesday: Boots’n’Blonde

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My Top 13 Cattle Working Tips….

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  1. Wear comfortable and supportive underwear and socks. There is nothing worse than getting an epic wedgie while running up and down a catwalk of a chute.
  2. Well…as long as we are on the subject…..Invest in a really good sports bra. The rocks + ATV’s = giving yourself a black eye.
  3. Bring an extra jacket because it’s always colder than you think, especially on an ATV. A beautiful, balmy morning can quickly turn into hypothermia and snotcicles.
  4. Wear short sleeves underneath because it gets hotter than you planned and boob sweat in your fancy sports bra is not your friend.
  5. Try and get as far away from the boss as you can, this lessens the likelihood you’ll get yelled at.
  6. Bring Chapstick, it’s wonderful for many uses. You never know when you’ll need to lube up a gate that is stuck or when your lips need moisturizing.
  7. Wind burn is as bad as sunburn. Wear lots of sunscreen and a big hat, you’ll thank me when you’re my age and you still get carded.
  8. Check all gates for hornet’s nests first! Those suckers hold a grudge and will get you at all costs. It’s like getting punched, it’ll ruin your day.
  9. Bring toilet paper. It’s a long way back to the house, there is no shame peeing in a stock trailer. Dripping dry is not time efficient.
  10. Keep your mouth shut as much as possible. I swear the cows get great joy flicking poo at and on you. Cow poo doesn’t taste good.
  11. Shut and lock and double check that you locked every gate you pass through. You do not want to be the one responsible for accidentally letting the cows out.
  12. Wear boots that are comfortable. There is nothing worse than breaking in a new pair of boots during a work day. You’ll be so busy, you won’t notice your blisters until they bleed.
  13. Bring your sense of humor.  Sometimes things will go wrong, people will get snapped at, and you will get poo in your mouth – it’s life, you just have to spit it out and keep moving forward.

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CropLife America 2014 – I Went, I Saw, I Spoke

Now that I am back on the ranch and have calmed down sufficiently to form coherent thoughts, I want to share my experience at CropLife America’s 2014 Policy Conference. This was the first time I’ve done anything of this caliber, it was quite an eye-opening experience for this ranch kid.

Speaking in public or even performing in public (ask me about the burlesque show I was in!) is not an issue for me. Years and years of 4-H, FFA, and college clubs have honed me into an old pro when it comes to crowds, plus once you’ve sang and danced in your underwear in front of your hometown, there is nothing left to fear!

Or so I thought.

Speaking in front of a roomful of people that I respect and lurk often? Whose books, articles and blogs I go to for information and opinions? With cameras and people live-tweeting what I was saying!? In our nation’s capital?! With no cow poo on me?!? Nope. That was not my natural habitat and more than just a whisper outside of my comfort zone.

I was so scared the morning of the conference that I took almost no pictures, which is rare for me! They had TV's where live tweets where streaming, I could see my friend Jenny's tweeting and it made me feel so much better!

They had TVs where live tweets where streaming, I could see my friend Jenny’s tweets and it made me feel so much better!

I was terrified the morning of the conference. It was so ridiculous because I met many of the other participants and CropLife members the night before, and everyone was fantastically nice. We were going to be talking about a subject that is my greatest passion and deepest love. Regardless, the few hours before my panel I was a hot mess. I was convinced I had made a HUGE mistake by agreeing to do this. I wondered if anyone would notice if I just hid in the bathroom?

I met my fellow panelist, Dee Dee Darden, the night before. She was warm, engaging and knew her ham (seriously I want to buy a country ham from her)! Jesse Hirsch, I was familiar with because of his work with Modern Farmer (subscribe, it’s great stuff). And our moderator was Ali Velshi (OMG). And then there was me – needless to say, I felt out-gunned, intimidated and a long, long, way from home.

I was so scared the morning of the conference that I took few pictures, which is rare for me. I stole this picture from CropLife America. Look how terrified I look.

I was so scared the morning of the conference that I took few pictures, which is rare for me. I stole this picture from CropLife America. I look terrified.

When it was time to start, I nervously stumbled on the stage and tried to smile. I kept reminding myself that I castrate things for a living. That no one in that room was 1200 pounds, mooing and trying to kill me. Thankfully, Jesse and Dee Dee spoke before me, so I had a few minute to acclimatize to being on stage. When it was was my turn to speak, Mr. Velshi brought up Silly pig, and my hogs, which is my happy place. Much to my surprise, I opened my mouth and words actually came out! Once our panel started, I lost my nerves and decided I had made the right choice by not hiding in the bathroom.

As promised, the video of our panel:

Let’s talk about Ali Velshi for a second. A large part of the reason I was willing to leave the ranch and participate in this panel was because I was familiar with his work both on TV and when he moderated the US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance Dialogues in New York. Mr. Velshi gets it; he realizes how important agriculture is and he talks about that fact. We have a primetime, well respected journalist taking time to moderate conferences and interact with farmers and ranchers –  are we paying attention Agriculture?

What I like most about Mr. Velshi’s moderating style is how he approached this sometimes contentious topic with humor and knowledge, it made me want to send him some Brown Ranch Beef. He quipped that his “perception of food is just fantastic” but at the same time was able to weave serious issues that face agriculture into the conversation. He mentioned that Al Jazeera realizes their main markets tend to be in the northeast but our natural resource-related problems tend to be elsewhere and they are trying to bring attention to that fact. Hey Agriculture, again does that sound like another industry we know?

Since I’ve been home, I have made more of an effort to watch Al Jazeera because I want to be informed about their reporting on those issues that are relevant to me. I urge you to do the same, I believe it is important for agriculture to engage and be aware of journalists and media that are willing to listen to us. Plus, Al Jazeera is right next to RFD TV (at least on my TV) so it makes watching both convenient! I have to say, Al Jazeera does do a stupendous job of reporting the news (no Justin Bieber or celebrity weddings!).

To wrap up, attending this conference was sensational for me for so many reasons. Getting out of my comfort zone, no matter how terrifying it was at the time, forced me to learn and accept new points of view, which makes me a more effective communicator. Mingling and having conversations with national leaders of my industry was enlightening and inspiring. But something I did not plan on getting from this conference was the confidence to do it again. I now know, that if someone asked, I could get on a plane tomorrow, and hold my own anywhere in the world. What a feeling.

I promised myself that if I kept my foul language in check and did a good job, that I could buy myself a new pair of boots....

I promised myself that if I kept my foul language in check and did a good job, that I could buy myself a new pair of boots….

 

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Felfies in D.C.

As you all know, I went to Washington D.C. to speak on the CropLife America 2014 Policy Conference. Of course I am going to write a ton about it, but for now, because I’m still stumbling around in a daze, asking myself if that really just happened, I’m posting some Felfies I took.

They had little wines on the plane! After I finished it, I realized I was going to miss my connection flight. It's cool though....

They had little wines on the plane! After I finished it, I realized I was going to miss my connection flight. It’s cool though….

Because I got to meet Keedi and Dana! They never spoke to a 6th generation cattle rancher before, so we had a wonderful conversation that made our flight time zoom by!

Because I got to meet Keedi and Dana! They never spoke to a 6th generation cattle rancher before, so we had a wonderful conversation that made our flight time zoom by!

My hotel was super nice. I may have enjoyed it a whisper more than I should have (but come on, I live in a barn!).

My hotel was super nice. I may have enjoyed it a whisper more than I should have (but come on, I live in a barn!).

I had one free day to roam around D.C. and let me tell you, I put some miles on my poor little feet!

I had one free day to roam around D.C. and let me tell you, I put some miles on my poor little feet!

Felfie with the Washington Monument.

Felfie with the Washington Monument.

I love the Jefferson Memorial. He was such a powerful thinker.

I love the Jefferson Memorial. He was such a powerful thinker.

I finally got to meet my friends Tim and Alex and spend some time with them. They took me on a walking tour of parts of the City I never would have seen, it was beautiful!!

I finally got to meet my friends Tim and Alex and spend some time with them. They took me on a walking tour of parts of the City I never would have seen, it was beautiful!!

We had dinner the night before the conference with the other panelist. I didn't have any cow poo on me AND I wore make-up!

We had dinner the night before the conference with the other panelist. I didn’t have any cow poo on me AND I wore make-up!

Folks, my felfie with Ali Velshi, the crowing glory of my felfie collection. I was a tad star struck.

Folks, my felfie with Ali Velshi, the crowing glory of my felfie collection. I was a tad star struck.

Ali Velshi has some badass socks, but I think my boots can hold their own.

Ali Velshi has some badass socks, but I think my boots can hold their own.

 

And finally, this cowgirl went home.

And finally, this cowgirl went home.

This conference was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever had the honor to be involved with, and I was so grateful for the experience. Next week they will be posting videos of the conference, so I can share more!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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