Tag Archives: meat

Wordless Wednesday: It’s That Time of Year

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CN&R, Pink Slime and Good Reporting

During California’s last election, there was an initiative that was poorly written and harmful to California’s egg industry, prop. 2. Most of our local papers advised voters to educate themselves about the issue and realized this was an initiative written and supported by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). As my very smart readers know, HSUS is for the most part, not what they seem. But that is for another blog post.

One local paper, The Chico News and Review, supported prop 2. Basically they fell victim to the excellent marketing campaign (baby pigs are cute!). Also this paper loves to quote anything our local Farm Sanctuary says as truth, even if it isn’t. Well, I bet you all would be surprised to learn I started a letter writing campaign asking them to use better resources when talking about local agriculture. I actually just found the e-mail exchange, I should post it, it was funny!

The CN&R did get an ag intern from our local University and things were a lot better. Then the intern graduated, and things went back to normal. It became apparent to me, that this paper only cared about their own agenda, not the community, not the local farmers or ranchers, not the animals, not the land. I went on to law school, and didn’t have time to write a letter every time skewed facts or misinformation was printed. I also started this blog in hopes of getting some good information out there. Plus it’s common knowledge within this community that the CN&R is not the best place to get news.

With all the bad media coverage going on about, well, pretty much everything, I think it’s time that the agricultural industry step up. We need hold the media responsible when they do their job poorly. These reporters need to understand that their fear mongering does have a direct impact on our livelihoods and familys. And that is not ok.

This week’s edition of the CN&R spurred me into action. I’m posting the article for you to read and I’m posting my letter to the editor. Feel free to use my letter as a template if this article upsets you as much as it upset me. Again I’m not telling you to eat burger made with LFTB. I believe it is incredibly important to have choice in our food supply.  Using fear and fallacies to limit that choice is a new low and should not be condoned. 

Dear Editor,

Your recent article regarding “Pink Slime” in the Green House Greenguide was very disappointing. Instead of reaching out to local experts to gather facts, educated opinions, or doing any independent research about lean finely textured beef (LFTB), Ms. LaPado used hyperbole to demonize a product and company that she is apparently unfamiliar.

Butte County is an agricultural community, in an agricultural state. Many of Butte County’s local farmers and ranchers, that you claim to support, work tirelessly to combat sensationalism like your “Pink Slime” article. Promoting this type of misinformation to the public and our consumers only hurts the very family farmers you claim to champion. Do you expect readers not be alarmed when the very title is “Soylent Pink”?

What surprises me the most, however, is as someone who reports about sustainability, Ms. LaPado never mentions why LFTB is used. Cattle-people like myself would have to raise anywhere between 516,000 to 654,000* extra cattle per year to produce same amount of beef if we did not use the lean beef trimming, which is simply beef that has been separated from the fat in beef trimmings and not “basically offal swept up off the slaughterhouse floor” as Ms. LaPado claims. Using the whole beef carcass is instrumental to improving sustainability. It would take a lot of natural resources to produce all those extra cattle.

Ms. LaPado also failed to mention that three out of four BPI plants have closed due to the repercussions of incomplete journalism, leaving thousands of people struggling in an already uncertain financial economy. The “corporate beef giant” BPI, has a very solid food safety record and clean facility. Noted food safety attorney, Bill Marler, even reiterated that fact. Did BPI need to show more transparency? Absolutely. People have the right to full disclosure in our food supply. But did BPI deserve this smear campaign? No.

As I mentioned before, many local farmers, ranchers and processors work incredibly hard to make ourselves available to newspapers, blogger and journalists. We are also lucky enough to have two agriculture colleges, and several slaughterhouses in this area, it’s not hard to find a good resource about meat or beef. In fact, Chico Locker and Sausage Company at http://chicolockersausage.com operate a very informative blog about current meat issues. My blog, thebeefjar.com also contains information about modern beef production. I also noticed the CN&R on twitter. Twitter makes available a wealth of knowledge through #agchat, and the ability to connect with industry experts in one tweet.

In the future, I sincerely hope you use educational resources available to you and do your due diligence by using factual information.

Thank you,

Megan Brown

6th Generation Cattle Rancher

*According to Dr. Jude Capper

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My Interview with KPAY Radio

The beautiful thing about being a cattle rancher is, unlike dairy, I don’t HAVE to wake up early. However this morning I was up long before the Ranch chickens. Why? Because I got the rare opportunity to be on the radio!!!! Matt Ray of KPAY 1290 AM asked me on his show this morning to talk about the Beef Jar and agriculture.

Let me tell you what, this was a great experience! Matt was so nice and funny! It was great to meet yet another twitter friend! Again if any of you aggies get this chance, go for it! Interviews are fun!!! A big thank you to Matt and KPAY for giving me this opportunity! It was great to finally put a face to the voice!

I know you probably want to listen; Matt was nice enough to record the interview for me. So without further ado, here it is!

http://soundcloud.com/kpay-matt/meg-brown

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Giveaway: Butte County Locals Only

This is a blog about our cattle ranch, so it’s time to do another beef giveaway. Unfortunately I can’t ship my beef so this giveaway is for locals only, sorry! This is for one pound of our grass finished, fall slaughtered, dry aged, 5 step animal welfare certified, no added hormones, no antibiotics, black-angus, processed by Chico Locker and Sausage and Co, ground beef. Perfect for meatloaf, hamburgers or casseroles! Yum!

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All you have to do is leave a comment below and I will deliver! I will select a winner using random.org, next Tuesday, February 28, 2012. Good luck!

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Giveaway: Beef Made Easy

Everytime I sell a beef animal, $1 of that sale goes to a program called The Beef Checkoff. My State Checkoff gets fifty cents and the National Program gets fifty cents. This program is funded by Ranchers just like me all around the country. The point is to use this money to promote and research the beef industry therefore increasing demand for my product. Always a good thing. By law, checkoff funds cannot be used to promote particular breeds nor can they be used to influence government policy or action, including lobbying.

For the most part, I really like this program. Granted, I’ve had my differences with them on my local level, but hopefully everyone learned their lesson and in the future, they will know how to contact me. I now look at that difference as a wonderful learning and growing experience. The Beef Store does offer some really great and fun educational materials. Including:

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This week’s giveaway! I’ve wanted one of these posters for about as long as I can remember. Turns out I’m not the only one! I ordered 3 of them and I didn’t even get to keep one for myself! Oh, well, now I have an excuse to place another order and do some more beef related giveaways!

You know the drill. Leave me a comment and next Friday, February 10, I’ll use random.org to pick my winner. Good luck!!!

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MeatMe: A Love Story

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I got the most amazing opportunity this past weekend. I got to “open my barn door” and show two people from L.A. our Ranch. It was amazing. Honestly, I was nervous and a little scared about it. But it could not have gone better! Even Jacob the house Bald Eagle made an appearance!

(yeah that is me freaking out – Bald Eagles are freaking cool).

I’ve been offering tours of the Ranch for years now, Sean and Laura were the very first people to take me up on it. I’d never met them in “real life” until they drove all the way up here from Southern California! I ‘met’ Sean (Aka Meat Me) over twitter this past Fall. His passion for all things meat put mine to shame, I loved it and wanted to help in any way possible.

Now I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but Sean is doing a project called MOO to MOUTH: MEAT a True Love Story. This project will take a look at women in the beef and meat industry – basically a way better version of pasture to plate. In addition to myself, Sean took photos and videos of Jenny Dewey of Chico Locker and Sausage and Lindy & Grundy in West Hollywood. Why don’t I just let his poster speak for itself?

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While they were on the Ranch, Sean took some videos. He told me I could share them with you guys as a “preview” if you will. Since I haven’t delved into video production yet, I’m totally stealing these from him to put on this blog! (Thanks Sean!)

(Play this song, it was the one I was talking about in the clip)

(I had the “flu” here. Please forgive me.)

I’d just like to thank Sean and Laura again for driving all the way up here! Putting up with my massive bottle flu, and for having an interest in what I do. This was such a positive experience for me, and literally made me practice what I preach. I hope this project both educates and inspires. This experience along with the shorty nomination and scholarship has really given my passion a boost. Watch out America!

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Shorty Awards

The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media, recognizing the people and organizations producing real-time short form content on across Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube, Foursquare, and the rest of the social Web.”

http://shortyawards.com/MegRaeB

Oh, the Carly Simon song “You’re So Vain” is playing in my head right now. But I can’t help but notice the Shorty Award’s Food category doesn’t have a lot of multi-generational Cattle Ranchers nominated. Want to change that? I do! I can’t help it, but I DO! Here we have yet another, shameless attempt to promote myself. It’s hard!!!! I’m doing it anyway (I might have had a glass of wine in order to write this post, maybe, probably, maybe). Anyway vote for ME! http://shortyawards.com/MegRaeB

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Wordless Wednesday: Whole Food’s Beef

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Brown Ranch: Pasture to Plate

I noticed in all my research on the Internets there is no comprehensive pasture to plate photo essay for consumers to see. Explorebeef.org paints a very pretty picture but it definitely has some holes in the process. I give you Brown Ranch – Pasture to Plate:

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Birth – Usually in June/July.

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They hang out with Mama and the herd until they are processed.

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Calves are processed at around 1 and a half months of age.

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They come home to the winter Ranch around 5 months old.

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They graze all winter and are weaned in the spring at about 10 months old.

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At about twenty two months old, the cattle we kept back from the commercial herd get custom exempt slaughtered here on the Ranch. The commercial cattle are sold when they  are around a year old and weigh 900 pounds. The commercial cattle will become the meat that consumers can buy from Whole Foods, Costco, Raley’s – for example. Those cattle will be processed in a facility very much like Cargill’s.

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Mr. Dewey is amazing to watch.

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A hot carcass.

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It will be taken to his meat locker where it will dry age for 18-21 days.

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After it’s aged the meat cutters will break it down into the cuts most consumers are familiar with.

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This is an art, as far as I’m concerned.

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Steaks, glorious steaks.

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The equipment used to cut and package the meat is amazing.

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Jerky in the dehydrator.

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This is the cow my Parents gave me for my 30th birthday. I made it into jerky and ground beef (and a couple of special Megan steaks).

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It says my name!

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BBQ is my favorite steak cooking method.

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Brown Ranch grass finished beef.

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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.

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Mr. Dewey pointing out liver flukes.

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The organs coming out.

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More liver shots.

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