Tag Archives: drama

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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Filed under Ag, Beef, food, Ranch life, Rants, Scholarship, Uncategorized

Blog Update

Hi. Thanks for visiting my blog. Because of the recent drama my last Wordless Wednesday post caused I wanted to give you all an update. However it takes me forever to write, because I suck at it, so you get this for now. I’m working on a longer post that will explain how this whole thing ended. Also Jenny Dewey has very graciously agreed to be a guest blogger. I’m very excited about it. Jenny is the daughter of Dave, the processor who slaughtered (I used it! ha), our beef. She has a pretty unique perspective and access to things most of us never get to see – plus she is a pretty amazing photographer.

In the meantime Andy Vance is going to interview Skype me (hello – bucket list!) (and I’m skyping! I feel like the future!). He posted an article about the blog too – http://goo.gl/H7p9n .

I’ve calmed down a lot and learned a lot from this whole thing. So I’m glad it happened. Thank you again to everyone who support me, commented, retweeted and e-mailed me. You all rock!

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Wordless Wednesday: A Beef Harvest

WARNING!  This might be considered by some to be gross, inappropriate, or tragic, but I think it is extremely important share the how’s, what’s and why’s of our food. If you have any questions about anything you see please ask – I love to share about the ranch.

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I got some feedback from the California Beef Industry that apparently my blog is offensive. To be honest I’m pretty upset about it.  Jake Dewey from Chico Locker and Sausage called me this morning to say a representative from the California Beef Council called Chico Locker to make sure they knew about it. I’m upset because the CBC couldn’t contact me directly.  I’ve known many of the people that are on that council for years.  I’m upset because I caused Chico Locker drama.  I’m upset my own industry can’t talk to me.  I’m upset they feel like we must hide a major part of our industry.

My intent with this photo essay is to share my life on a commercial cattle ranch. I feel like most of us are so far removed from our ag roots, and that makes me sad. I hope to offer a glimpse of what less than 2% of our population does for a living.  Ag is not pretty.  It is not easy. Agriculture – is dirty, hot, cold, bloody, messy, hard – I have no wish to sugar coat it for my readers.  I want to you to know what it is really like, I want to provide transparency. And I’m heartbroken my OWN industry doesn’t want me to.

That being said, this slaughter is CUSTOM EXEMPT. That means it will not be in the retail market place. This beef is for my family’s consumption and no one else’s.  The reason we choose to slaughter our beef in this fashion is that I think it is better for my animals. It’s less stressful for them.  We don’t have to take them anywhere, they can stay in the environment they are used to.  Again the health, safety and welfare of my animals in the most important thing to us – and the California Beef Council should recognize that on ranch customer harvest plays a part of that. If you look farther back in this blog you will find a prior posting (https://megraeb.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/inside-gasp-cargill/) that shows how beef that goes into the retail market is processed.

I received an e-mail from the California Beef Council after I twittered them the following:

“MegRaeB: hey did you guys have a problem with my blog yesterday? I just got a call from the Locker that you guys contacted them.”

This is the response:

Hi Megan,  I want to apologize how this has spiraled. I didn’t mean to ruffle feathers with anyone. I was forwarded your blog by another organization that saw your twitter message directing your followers to your blog about slaughter. I would like to make the point clear that we are not trying to sensor personal blogs, Twitter or Facebook messages. If that’s the way it came across, I apologize. My concern is that pictures like the ones posted would turn people away from eating beef, or meat in general. Yes, consumers are too far removed from agriculture and our practices and it’s our duty to try and connect the consumer to modern production. However, I do think there may be a better way to convey to consumers how on-farm slaughter occurs, and a better explanation of custom slaughter versus federally inspected slaughter facilities, etc. It’s also important to get the message out to the consumer that as an industry, our collective goal is to produce wholesome, safe beef using the best science and technology available. Research has shown that consumers are concerned about food safety, more than animal handling and environmental issues. The pictures are not only graphic to a consumer, but they also don’t explain the science-based practices and regulations that the industry follows – and the millions of dollars we spend each year to produce safe beef – All of these messages have proven to resonate very well with consumers. Again, I want to apologize if it looks like we have an issue with the post. I’m just concerned about the message consumers will get from the pictures. As an industry representative, I have to be prepared for any possible feedback from consumers, media or other beef producers that might read the blog. I do want to applaud your outreach efforts, I believe we need more producers like yourself doing that. Instead of taking your blog down, why don’t you add a line about “This is how we do in on-farm, to learn about federally-inspected facilities, visit explorebeef.org.”   Please call me if you want to talk about this. I don’t have your phone number. Shannon  Shannon Kelley Public Relations Coordinator

You can tell they didn’t read my blog before they e-mailed me. Bums me out. Like I said before I’ve already posted links to retail harvest, I’ve addressed the science and technology that they industry uses. You can see that sort of information of the website they recommend going to – explorebeef.org. I’m very active on both my facebook and twitter explaining modern beef practices. But how often does a consumer get to see a custom exempt harvest?  Never.  You know what? I’m not sorry I posted these pictures and I’m not changing anything. Shannon – next time we do a custom exempt harvest why don’t you come watch, come talk to me, I would love to explain to you that consumers want transparency, they don’t like it when we hide things from them. And there are many stories in agriculture – not just the shinny, pretty, edited ones on explorebeef.org.

Oh and P.S. I already had explorebeef.org linked to blog. Again might want to read a blog before you attack it. Thanks!

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Being bled out.

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Attaching her to the kill truck so he can process her.

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The skinning process.

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Removing the legs so he can hang her.

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Opening the chest so he can remove the guts.

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Notice how the carcass never touches the ground?

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The guts coming out.

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Liver flukes, a common parasite in natural and organic beef.

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Guts removed, skinning almost done.

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Sawing the beef into halves.

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Now it will be loaded into his refrigerated truck. It will be transfered into the locker where it will hang for a couple of weeks. It will then be cut, packaged and frozen.

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The skinned skull, people want them for projects and landscaping.

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UPDATE: because several people did ask for more information I’m updating this blog by adding some videos. Again if you think you are going to be upset – don’t watch.

http://youtu.be/wzIE_t8JPsg

http://youtu.be/OtIPD_6WeOc

http://youtu.be/Kl1uOnX-l5k

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