A Tribute to Farm Moms

A blog post dedicated to farm moms everywhere in honor of Mother’s Day.

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In case you forgot, today marks a very special day that honors all of our wonderful mothers. Yes, it’s Mother’s Day. When I think of this today, I cannot help but think of my own mother. Even my grandmothers, my aunts and other women who have all been major influences in my life. What do all these women have in common? They are all farm moms.

By growing up on a dairy farm, I quickly learned how much hard work and dedication it takes to be successful farmers. My parents worked their tails off day in and day out just to be sure enough money was rolling in to keep the farm afloat and provide for me and my two sisters. I cannot help but think and admire all the work my mom put in. (Yes, my dad did too; however it is MOTHER’S Day so moms gets the glory today. All of you dads out there, you will get your turn next month!)

Often times, the role of a farm mom gets overlooked. We tend to forget how much work our moms have to do as 1) a farmer’s wife and 2) a farm mom. They work hard. They put their heart and soul into everything they do. They seriously are the backbones of any farming operation. Farm moms are usually the ones who always hold the pieces together and the first ones to say “Everything is going to be all right.”20131122-121808.jpg

Let’s face it, our farm moms out there need some time in the spotlight. Well, here is their opportunity. As you read this post, I encourage you to think about the farm mom and/or moms in your life. Think about everything she has done for you while you were growing up and/or everything she continues to do for you. Farm moms are truly unique and one-of-a-kind because they truly wear so many hats. From raising the kids, to filling in for dad when needed, to some days spending time doing farm chores and other duties one the farm, our farm moms truly are rock stars. So, here is a tribute to all of you farm moms out there. It’s a poem that attempts to display just how special farm moms are and how many responsibilities they have. I hope you enjoy this, and I really hope you will share to show the world just how awesome our farm moms are.

A Tribute to Our Farm Moms

by Alison Bos, MyAGventures

A farm mom is not your ordinary mom;

She is one who works hard from dawn to dusk and dusk to dawn.

 

She is loving, caring and tough as nails;

And is even  dad’s number one helper  hauling hay bales.

 

If daddy gets sick and cannot do chores;

A farm mom is the first one out the door.

 

She keeps track of records and make sure everything is right;

To always ensure the future of our farm is bright.

 

A farm mom also cooks the most delicious meals;

Sometimes so good, we have to wonder if it is real.

 

She works in the garden, cleans the house and helps out with farm chores;

And of course always makes sure her kids are never bored.

 

She worries a lot and always makes daddy make her a deal,

That he will watch us carefully while he takes us working in the field.

 

A farm mom also tends to the sick animals we face;

She takes care of them with such compassion and grace.

 

If her children or husband are sick, hurt or not feeling swell,

Our farm mom will do whatever she can to make us well.

 

She hauls us to fairs, shows and maybe even rodeos;

And always make sure we are in presentable clothes.

 

She does the laundry and makes sure we always have everything we need;

And teaches us to never be disrespectful or show greed.

 

As we get older, we soon understand;

That to have a farm mom as a mom makes us the luckiest kids in the land.

 

A farm mom is the most unselfish woman we know;

Always putting her family and farm first before herself, don’t you know?

 

She can ease our worries and dry our tears.

And chase away our deepest fears.

 

As the days pass by and the years drag on,

A farm mom still continues to remain strong.

 

Through good times and bad,

She always stands firmly right beside dad.

 

Truth is, we need more moms like her;

Because a farm mom is a real treasure.

 

Farm moms, we can never say thanks enough;

As we know your lifestyle is extremely tough.

 

As a farm kid, there I one thing I can boldly say.

My farm mom will always brighten my day.

 

Next time you (farm mom) are feeling a little overwhelmed and distressed;

Please remember that as a farm mom, you truly are blessed.

 

Thank you farm moms for everything you do.

For being a great example and supporter, just to name a few.

 

Thank you to my farm mom for everything you have done;

As you have shown me how the game of life is won.

 

So to all you farm moms everywhere,

Please realize that there are truly none others that compare.

 

As I look to the future, I can clearly see,

A farm mom is exactly who I want to be.

 

Now if you are a farm boy, don’t shy away,

Because you know you want a farm mom as a wife someday.

 

Truth is, we truly cannot deny;

Farm moms are the best, and now you have an explanation why.

 

As you can see, our farm moms do A LOT. It is my true hope that this poem can serve as a reminder to our farm moms out there that they are so amazing. I encourage you to share this poem with that special farm mom in your life. I cannot fully describe the roles farm moms play in farms and farm families all over the world. They really are some of the strongest women out there.

When I reflect on my childhood, I really cannot see how my mom was able to do so much for my family and our farm. A typical day for her would be to wake up early, do chores, fix breakfast, get us to school, come home, clean house, do laundry, help my dad with any other tasks around the farm, pay bills, get us to any activities/events we needed to get to, do evening chores, fix supper, help us with our homework, and the list goes on and on. (Whew!!!!!) What is amazing about this? My mom never complained about her role. From what I understand, this is a common trait among farm moms everywhere.

Thank YOU Farm Moms!!!

Thank YOU Farm Moms!!!

Farm moms, I truly cannot say thank you enough. Your hard work and efforts truly are appreciated. Even though you may feel a little underappreciated at times, let it be known that we really do not know what we would do without you. Your role is respected. You deserve much more credit than you receive. Always remember that!

I also want to give a personal shout-out to my mother. She is my rock and the woman who has inspired me to be the woman I am today. I am so blessed to have her as a mother, and I thank God every day for her. In addition, thank you for my grandmothers and my aunts for also being a positive role model, as well as excellent examples of how a farm mom should be.

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Happy Mother’s Day to every mother out there, especially to you farm moms. Enjoy your day, try not not work too hard, and take a moment to understand just how special you are.

Until next time, and God Bless You All!

~Ali

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Farming Frustrations

Here’s some things that drive farmers crazy

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Sometimes things happen…and our first reaction is simply, “Ohhhhh snap!”

We all have those “things” that just drive us plum crazy. Some of those things cause us to be late, cause us to spill a drink or just cause our day to go from bad to worse. Getting hung up at every stop light, getting behind that person driving slow in the fast lane, putting on a piece of clothing and realizing there is a huge stain or even realizing you are completely out of coffee. Bottom line is there are just “things” that frustrate each one of us to no end.
So, since this is a blog dedicated to agriculture, I decided to come up with a completely randomized list of different “things” that specifically drive farmers crazy. Or better known as “Farmer Frustrations,” as I like to call them.
For all of you farmers, you probably will be able to completely relate to this list. You will probably even think of several more. However, I just wanted to come up with a list to give everyone an insight as to what we have to deal with on a daily basis. FF_15
Here is MyAGventures’ list of Farmer Frustrations…
• Let’s talk about those lovely garden hoses that we use each and every day to get water to our livestock or to our crops. FF_10
– There is hardly anything more frustrating than a hose that constantly gets a kink in it. That means you have to put down the hose, walk to the kink, walk back to the hose which is spraying water everywhere at this point which in turn gets you soaked. It happens all the time.
– While we are on the subject of hoses, during the winter months, they are pretty much useless. And let me be the first to tell you that once a hose is frozen, it is going to be frozen for a while. FF_blog
– I know most of us have been guilty of leaving water running somewhere and forgetting about it. Example: You are filling up a water tank and think, “Let me run and do this real quick while the tank is filling.” And, of course, we forget about it, tank overflows and creates somewhat of a mess. (Don’t even try to deny the fact that you have probably done this!)
• Now let us discuss the inevitable problem of forgetting to close a gate. Admit it. If you are a farmer, you have been victim of this mistake.
– It seems as if you always forget to chain a gate when 1) you have places you absolutely have to be; 2) when the weather is not in very desirable condition ; and 3) it is to the pen where you have livestock that is the ones who don’t like being caught. FF_7FF_3

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Yes, it is all fine and well…until the tractor won’t start

• We’ve covered the topics of garden hoses and forgetting to close that gate. Now let’s move on to the subject of that complete feeling of despair when that trusty piece of equipment – whether it be tractor, farm truck or whatever else – won’t start.
– Scenario: You are fixing to start something major. Planting, mowing hay, etc. You get in the tractor seat, get ready to fire the engine and… nothing. Talk about a major bummer! So that puts you even farther behind. Story of our lives right? But all you can do is smile, get ‘er fixed, and try again. (After a few choice words of course)
• Most farms require the feeding of hay. Many times, farmers have to feed bales of hay by hand. Nine times out of 10, when a farmer proceeds to throw that flake of hay to their livestock, the wind is always blowing from the opposite direction. What does this entail? This means the farmer gets completely covered in pieces of hay – in their eyes, hair, clothes, you name it. It is definitely not pleasant.
– Also, have you ever been hauling hay and have a bale bust? Bottom line is hay is a major part of livestock farms; however it does bring some headaches along with it. 635_10201149542602710_513969476_n
• We have already mentioned the frustration of leaving a gate open somewhere. Now we can move into the frustration of fixing fence. It is part of the farming life; however, there is hardly anything more frustrating than having to take time out of your busy schedule to fix fence.
– I don’t know about you all, but any time I think of fixing fence, barb wire immediately comes to mind. If you are a farmer, chances are you have been cut by a barb wire fence. It is pretty tricky stuff to work with! FF_6
• Now let’s talk about those little annoyances provided by good ole’ Mother Nature. I’m talking varmints, weeds, and those kinds of things. FF_8Critters getting into grain, mice tearing up feed sacks, thistles taking over hay fields, weeds popping up in crop fields, the list goes on and on. These nuisances are once again, just a part of the life.
– I will also include rocks in this farmer frustration. Ever try to dig a post hole and have rocks get in your way? Pretty frustrating. Has a huge rock ever tore up a piece of equipment? Definitely frustrating! FF_9

 

  • I will put this in here for everyone who has had the opportunity to raise a calf on a bottle. It seems as if there is nothing more frustrating than a calf who will not nurse from a bottle. Your back hurts from bending down to attempt to feed it. You want to give up, yet you know the calf needs the milk to survive. You feel oh so helpless, and oh so frustrated. Andddd when you do get it to nurse, then we have a whole new frustration to deal with… hunching. 224218_2043435207539_3010869_n

 

  • And I will put this in the list for all you who have horses on your farm. All I can say is there is nothing more annoying than having a horse you cannot catch. That is all I am going to say… FF_2

 
• Okay, now to move on to the next farmer frustration. This one is more of a serious matter; however I could not leave it out. This frustration is thievery. Farmers are the victims of so many cases of theft. From livestock to equipment, thieves target farms on a regular basis. It is completely sick if you ask me!
– I think I can speak on the behalf of many that if you are attempting to steal from a farmer and you get caught, I would hate to be in your shoes. (You would wish the police would have got to you first.) The fact is, farmers do not mess around.

I hope this list has brought a smile to your face of has made some realize just a few challenges farmers face on a daily basis. There is no doubt that we all encounter frustrations on a daily basis that impact our daily schedule; however I just wanted to point out some specific issues farmers do face. Yes, these issues can make a person get mad, say some not so nice words and maybe even throw some things. However, at the end of the day we realize that things could always be much worse. At least that is what I was taught. Kaci 072
So the next time that frustration presents itself, remember to take a breath and just smile. I know it is much easier said than done; however these frustrations are going to face us whether we like it or not.
I hope you got some entertainment out of this! It was definitely an entertaining piece to write. If you can relate, feel free to share it! Also, leave a comment of a farmer frustration you have experienced on your farm or ranch. I’m sure you can list many more! FF_18
In closing, I just want to point out that no matter how many “farmer frustrations” a farmer/rancher is faced with, they still have the dedication and commitment to keep pushing forward. Farmers are truly the most resilient people you will ever meet and endure so much in order to provide you (consumers) with an affordable, safe and wholesome food product. These frustrations may get in the way sometimes; however I know farmers would not trade their lifestyle for anything. FF_12
As always, thank a farmer and God Bless You All!
~Ali

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A Letter to My Farm Family: Thank You for Giving Me the Farm Life

163245_1770898914302_3973129_nYou know, we can read and write blog posts about growing up on a farm or living the farming dream. I want to take it a step farther. I want to honor those who have inspired us and given us the opportunity to grow up a farm kid and for some of us even pursue our own dreams of owning our own farm. So, I decided to write a letter dedicated to those who have instilled the farming/agriculture gene within us. Whether it is parents, grandparents or other family members, this letter is written especially for them.

Several people ask me why I have chosen agriculture as an area to study and pursue a career in. What is the number one reason why I selected this industry to base the rest of my life on? The answer is my family.

A Picture of the Fulp Family at the 2010 Ozark Empire Fair

A Picture of the Fulp Family at the 2010 Ozark Empire Fair

Dear (insert your farming influence person here) for me, it is my parents and grandparents:

Thank you. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be born into a farming family. Thank you for allowing me to spend my childhood growing up on a farm. Thank you for teaching me about how important agriculture is.

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Growing up a farm kid has been such a blessing that I did not realize until later on in life. I learned about how hard work is important and about taking responsibility. I learned that there is nothing more peaceful than a country sunrise/sunset or more rewarding than watching a newborn animal be born. On the flip side, we learned that life is not always fair. Losing animals, witnessing accidents, experiencing years of pure bad luck… I learned early that I should never take anything for granted. I learned that I should never give up. Most importantly, I learned that there is so much more to farming than what meets the eye. Farming is an important part of every single person’s life.

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As I grew older, I may have seemed as if I was unhappy with our lifestyle. I may have groaned when you made me go outside in the freezing cold to check livestock or when I had to get up early in the morning to go feed. I would get upset if I could not go out with one of my friends because we had hay to bring in or work around the farm to be done. I know it appeared like I did not care; however little did I even know, I was actually just getting molded for my future.

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When the “real world” got closer, I realized that farming and agriculture is in my blood. I am just as passionate about it as you are/were. I realize that I want to make it my future because you have made it apparent to me that farming is important and agriculture was my future. It truly is the only way I know; therefore there is no doubt in my mind I want to be a part of the industry for the rest of my life. The moment I realized that was one of the most refreshing and relieving feelings I have ever felt.

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Yes, I do realize that this lifestyle is not easy. It is not a career that holds guarantees. It is not something by which I will be able to make so much money that I will live in a mansion or drive a fancy vehicle. Truth is, I know there will be times when I will wonder how I will survive or get by. There will be times when I will feel like I have run out of options. There will be droughts, floods, storms, blizzards and other natural disasters that will affect my career. There will be years when fuel/feed prices are high and my output prices will be low. There will be several obstacles that will stand in my way. With each day, there will be new challenges. You have shown me this. You have taught me how to handle it.

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You see, I have learned from you. I have been watching you. I have been taking mental notes. You have been my mentor and my role model. During times of hardships, I have noticed how you never gave up and how you always found a way to keep your head held high. The stress, the tears and the heartache… It is all inevitable in this lifestyle; however you have taught me that the passion I hold for the farming lifestyle burns strong enough to fight the fear of giving up. Your example of strength and courage through those hard times has been engrained in me. I am prepared because of you.  On the flip side, the joy you had made me realize that you loved what you did. You were happy, and I realized how I want to be happy too. How would I be happy? By following in your footsteps and following the farming dream.

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Let’s talk about those good times a little more.  I will never forget the look on your face after a good harvest or after you saved the life of an animal. You have taught me that along with the heartaches, there is great joy in farming. We had so many good times, so many laughs and so many precious memories made. From the moment when I drove the tractor for the first time by myself to the moment when you left all responsibilities on the farm to me when you left for a few days, there were so many moments that I will never forget. This is what the farm life is truly all about. This is what has inspired me to follow the same path you did. I want to experience those things too. I want to experience it all.

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During the good times and the bad, I know I must always remember why I chose this lifestyle. I chose it because 1) I want to keep my family’s tradition alive; 2) I want to do my part in keeping food on peoples’ tables all over the world; and 3) I could not imagine my life being any other way. You are the ones responsible for this mindset. You have taught me so much and I am so thankful for that. I could easily go on and on; however I want to end with the valuable lessons and responsibilities you have taught me.

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First of all, to be able to make a living in the agriculture/farming world, I must be passionate about what I do. Secondly, I must be resilient and willing to push forward, even when the future looks doubtful. Next, I will not be successful unless I am willing to work hard and remain dedicated, as well as committed. I must also make farming a priority. Lastly, I must always keep a strong faith and pray to God constantly for the productivity, safety and well-being of my operation. Faith in farming is so important!

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Thank you again for raising me on a farm and inspiring me to continue your tradition. Thank you for allowing me to realize that I want my own kids to someday experience what I did. Thank you for laying down a pathway for my future. Most of all, thank you for being a great role model that I will aspire to be like every single day.

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I love this life, and I could not imagine it any other way. I seriously cannot thank you enough.

Much love,

-The future of agriculture

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If you are thankful for growing up in a farm family, share this with those who have influenced you. Share this with your friends so they can realize just how valuable this lifestyle is to you. So many people do not realize how much more there is to farming and how much the farm life teaches us. We are hard-working, passionate and driven individuals who are responsible for feeding the world.

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Until next time, God Bless our Farmers and God Bless You All!

~Ali

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Living the Country Life: 28 Truths about Living in the Country

By: Alison Bos

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Yes, I know there are a lot of posts like this floating around out there. There are several different scenarios that define us country folk. However, I felt like it was time to put a Missouri twist on this and tell the world about how it is growing up in the country in rural southwest Missouri. I know that you country people all around the world can relate to most, if not all, of these truths. Being country is a true blessing, there is no doubt! 71486_10200886065815955_913961266_n

Whether you grew up in the country, you still live in the country or both, you know there are things that make us different. There are some things that make us stand out. Yes, there are stereotypes. Yes, there are those out there who give country a bad name. However, we cannot let these things get in the way of being proud of our lifestyle. This list could have easily gone to 100 truths, but I decided to stop at 28. As you read this, I encourage you to take a trip down memory lane or just take a moment to appreciate the country lifestyle. Feel free to comment to add to this list because I know there are so many more truths about living the country life.

So, sit back and enjoy these 28 truths about living the country life.

1. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, prettier or more refreshing than being able to look up at a star-filled sky. No smog, no city lights – just the glow of billions of stars against a clear, black sky. On nights of a full moon, well that meant the opportunity for a moonlight horseback ride or just another excuse to have a bonfire.

2. You looked forward to the months of May and June. Not just because of warmer weather, but because it meant hay season. That meant driving the back roads with your windows down so you can fully enjoy the smell of freshly cut hay. We all know there really is no better smell than that! 975738_10201201608424323_1289800375_n

3. Even though it may add 10 extra minutes on your drive time (also known as taking the scenic route), you would drive as many back roads as possible to get to your destination so you would not have to deal with heavy traffic and crazy drivers. Plus, this gave you the chance to enjoy the country scenery. 20140131-210345.jpg

4. To this day, you cannot stand drinking “city water.” The only water you would drink came from a well. There is nothing better than that stuff!

5. While we are talking about drinking water, you do not care what “experts” say about the dangers of drinking from a water hose. You do/did it anyways because it is just SO good.

6. You have been stopped by two or more locals stopped in the middle of the road talking. Do you get annoyed? No. Shoot, in most cases you turn your flashers on, get out and go join the conversation.

7. Family gatherings, weddings and other major get-together were planned around the following: chore time, huntin’ season, calving season, harvest season, etc. That is just how things are done. Cranberry

8. A date night between a country girl and a country guy did not consist of dressing up on going downtown to a fancy restaurant in a big city. A good date night consists of either going to a local movie theatre, drive-in, cruising the back roads, sitting around a bonfire or just hanging out on the tailgate of a pick-up truck.

9. When you got behind a tractor, combine or other piece of farm equipment on a road, you never get mad or annoyed. You actually kind of enjoyed it because you did not mind admiring a good piece of farm equipment. untitled

10. You did not go to the city pool to cool off on a hot summer day. You went to the closest creek. funnycisco

11. Your idea of fun on a snow day did not mean going to some small hill and sledding down it a few times. Your idea of fun usually involves trucks, 4-wheelers or horses pulling a sled (or something similar) in a wide open field. 1463025_10202501721966349_1679051367_n

12. You literally cannot stand being confined in a big city, or any city for that matter. Big cities drive you insane – sirens, car horns, traffic, etc. You just are constantly ready to get back home where you can enjoy some peace and quiet.

13. Unfortunately, living in the country meant dealing with people dumping random things. Dogs, cats, goats, couches, TV’s, trash, you name it. However, even though the stuff was not yours, you still take care of it. (You have taken in more stray animals than anybody else you know.)

Yes, we had someone dump a goat close to our farm. So, we took her in.

Yes, we had someone dump a goat close to our farm. So, we took her in.

14. Quality family and/or friend bonding time occurred at the following: hauling hay, hunting Morel mushrooms, fishing, gathering walnuts and cutting wood. Even though some of these things are not exactly “fun,” you actually looked forward to them because you get to spend time with people you really care about. 23652_1430318800012_154699_n

15. Living in the country meant you did not trick-or-treat like kids in the city did on Halloween. Trick-or-treating meant loading up in the family car and driving countless miles to all of your neighbors. If you did not show up, they would be calling asking where you were.1379944_10202138596528440_472048931_n

16. You always look/looked out for you neighbor. If they had cows out, you stop to help get them put back in. If they had a tractor break down, you would offer them yours. If they needed help getting hay hauled in before the rain came, you would drop what you were doing to go help.

17. When there is crime going on, country people really come together. Thieves and trespassers are NOT tolerated. Neighbors look out for neighbors; it is as simple as that. 5342_201789796644687_27104960_n

18. There is seriously nothing more beautiful or amazing than a country sunrise or a country sunset. You can never imagine not living somewhere where you could not enjoy either of these. sunset

19. You knew how to drive far before the legal age of 15. You could drive the farm truck, tractor or 4-wheeler “like a boss.” 20131122-121739.jpg

20. The sound of frogs, crickets, owls, coyotes, etc. are like music to your ears. Those sounds beat the hustle and bustle of the city any day. Speaking of music, country music really is where it’s at.

21. When neighbors would hear you got something new – new tractor, new farm equipment, new cows, new horse, new car, etc. – they would find an excuse to come over so they could check it out.  Bambi

22. Hunting season, especially deer and turkey, is like a major holiday. 1477933_10152084328280362_542341466_n

23. Being involved in 4-H and FFA is an honor and is something you just do. FFA_24

24. This is how you could tell time without a watch or looking at a cell phone: when the school bus would go by; when the cows started moving; the noon whistle (all of my Billings, Mo. readers will understand this!); when the neighbor dog would return from his rounds; this list could go on and on.

25. There was no better meal than that of one prepared by your mama or a country girl. Fried chicken, fresh fish caught from the local pond, mashed potatoes, vegetables from the garden, sweet sun tea from a Mason jar, homemade ice cream and blackberry cobbler. That is how it is done in the country. 1063582_10201269437240001_237994884_n

26. Going to school meant several things. A) being tardy because a train stopped you, you got behind farm equipment, you had trouble with your livestock, etc., were totally acceptable. B) You had to drive a minimum of 5 miles to even get to school. C) You have driven your tractor and/or rode a horse to school on at least one occasion. D) If you rode the bus, you usually were the first one on in the mornings and the last one on at night.

27. You realize you will never leave. Country is in your blood. You want your kids to enjoy the country life and you know deep down in your heart that there is no way you could live anywhere else. 1461195_10202426154797217_804234034_n

28. You fully understand that being country is not defined by your wardrobe, what you drive or your hobbies. Being country is a lifestyle and is a true privilege. Yes there are some out there who think they are “country;” however, you know in your heart that you are country through and through. You have no doubt that country defines you now and always. 935761_10201016928285343_2095876359_n

As you can see, the country lifestyle is pretty unique. There definitely is nothing like it. Being born a country girl is something I thank God constantly for, and I am sure the rest of you country girls and boys think the same way. 1010051_10201357392398825_1969740970_n

I hope you enjoyed this new list of truths about the country life. If you can relate, please share this with your friends! Let’s show everyone just how lucky we are to be true country folk.

Until next time, and God Bless You All!

~Ali

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I am FFA Proud: 25 Truths about Being Involved in FFA

By- Alison Bos Graduate Student, William H. Darr School of Agriculture at Missouri State University. Alumni of Billings FFA Chapter, Missouri FFA Association

Attention: This is not directly affiliated with the National FFA Organization. This post simply reflects my own personal experiences while I was a member in this wonderful organization. This post was created to show the world just how awesome FFA is, and how many opportunities it provides for students. Facebook continues to block this post, so I just wanted to write a disclaimer showing that this is my own beliefs and personal experiences. Thank you!

FFA. So many thoughts and memories come to mind whenever I hear those three letters said together. Since it is FFA week, Facebook and Twitter have been full of posts about FFA which has really caused me to take a trip down memory lane. I asked myself the question, “What has FFA done for me?”

Best friends enjoying convention!  Photo Courtesy of- Anna Brown, Marionville FFA Chapter- Missouri

Best friends enjoying convention!
Photo Courtesy of- Anna Brown, Marionville FFA Chapter- Missouri

Just like farm kids, I believe those involved in FFA are truly lucky individuals. Being a part of an organization that is agriculture-based is a blessing in itself. You are learning more about the industry that we rely on to survive, while growing as a person and learning skills that will benefit you your entire life. FFA becomes truly becomes your passion and inspires you to be better. You want to be involved. You want to be successful. You want to grow as a person. You want to learn more. FFA inspires you to want to do more. The FFA motto, “Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve” really holds true.

“Today, there are 579,678 members aged 12-21, in 7,570 chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands” (www.ffa.org).

Wow, almost 580,000 members!!!! Does that make you excited or what? I look at it as agriculture’s future; therefore knowing there are that many young members makes me extremely happy. This does not even include alumni, so just think of how many people FFA has influenced since its beginning in 1928. It also serves as proof that this really is a special organization that is doing remarkable things. (I can go on and on about how great this organization is, but I think you all get the point.) FFA_17
After thinking about how remarkable the National FFA Organization is, I came up with a list of truths about being an FFA member. This list could easily went on and on; however I picked out 25 truths that really display the lives of FFA members. For several of you, be ready to take a trip down memory lane, nod your head and smile as you read this list. For others who may not be familiar with FFA, be ready to learn more about it, as well as be inspired to become involved in some way.

Learning teamwork at Area Officer Institute at Camp Rising Sun in Missouri!

Learning teamwork at Area Officer Institute at Camp Rising Sun in Missouri!

25 Truths about FFA Members

1. One of the highlights of entering high school was finally getting to become involved in FFA. You have been chomping the bit to finally get to participate in contests, go on trips, etc. You were sooooo ready! imagesCAJ0LRTU
2. Becoming a new FFA member meant 1) ordering your very own FFA jacket; 2) beginning your record book; 3) learning the FFA Creed; and 4) learning FFA knowledge.

FFA members serve on Courtesy Corps at Convention.  Photo Courtesy of- Kristy Sivils, Pierce City FFA Chapter- Missouri

FFA members serve on Courtesy Corps at Convention.
Photo Courtesy of- Kristy Sivils, Pierce City FFA Chapter- Missouri

3. Ordering your very own FFA jacket was a huge deal. (Who would have thought a blue corduroy could make a kid feel so giddy?) For many of us, it was the first official jacket that had our name on it. At the time, little did you know, some of the best memories were to be made while you wore that jacket. These memories are those that you will cherish the rest of your life.

Cheyenne Estep with her sister Shelby at the 2009 National FFA Convention.  Photo Courtesy of- Cheyenne Estep, Marionville FFA Chapter- Missouri

Cheyenne Estep with her sister Shelby at the 2009 National FFA Convention.
Photo Courtesy of- Cheyenne Estep, Marionville FFA Chapter- Missouri

4. The FFA manual became your best friend. Learning about history, the meaning of the emblem, parliamentary procedure, official dress and much more became knowledge that you never really forget.

Missouri FFA Convention 2013 Photo Courtesy of- Stephanie Bos, Billings FFA Chapter- Missouri

Missouri FFA Convention 2013
Photo Courtesy of- Stephanie Bos, Billings FFA Chapter- Missouri

5. The FFA Creed. I am sure all of us freaked out when we discovered we had to memorize and recite it. Guess what? Even when we did not think we could, most of us did memorize it and recite it. Yes, those third and fourth paragraphs were tough to get through; however you ended up getting through it. What is really crazy? I almost guarantee that most of us can recite at least the first paragraph if we were asked to right now. “I believe….”

Photo Courtesy of- Fastline

Photo Courtesy of- Fastline

6. Beginning your record book usually meant utter confusion and chaos. You also asked the question, “Why do I have to do this?” at least once. Despite the stress and confusion, this book ended up being a vital part of your FFA career.

Goats can be used as part of FFA members' SAE projects.

Goats can be used as part of FFA members’ SAE projects.

7. You are told to choose something for your SAE (Supervised Agriculture Experience). Little did you know that your SAE would teach you so many life skills. Record-keeping, organization, management, finance and responsibility were just a few skills you learned. Plus, you had documentation of how your hard work really pays off.

SAE Project---Dairy Placement Photo Courtesy of- Dakoda Baxter, son of Jason and Becky Baxter, Billings FFA Chapter- Missouri

SAE Project—Dairy Placement
Photo Courtesy of- Dakoda Baxter, son of Jason and Becky Baxter, Billings FFA Chapter- Missouri

8. Let’s talk more about those FFA jackets and official dress. Yes, official dress sometimes got annoying; however you always ended up wearing it with pride. Ladies: official dress gave you the excuse of having to purchase pantyhose before the age of 18. Gentleman: official dress allowed you to learn how to properly tie and wear a tie before you got out of high school.

FFA Official Dress

FFA Official Dress

9. You had to memorize yet another phrase. (FFA really builds your memorization skills!) You learned that when a president says, “FFA members, why are we here?” to say the FFA mission. You also quickly grasped the concept that the last sentence should be said loud and proud. “…THAT EVERY FFA MEMBER SHOULD POSSESS!”

"...THAT EVERY FFA MEMBER SHOULD POSSESS!!!!!!"

“…THAT EVERY FFA MEMBER SHOULD POSSESS!!!!!!”

10. Being an FFA member meant the opportunity to travel. A lot. Conventions, WLC (Washington Leadership Conference) held in Washington D.C., workshops, contests, the list goes on and on. How many other organizations can offer opportunities like this?

FFA= Endless Opportunity.  Photo Courtesy of: Shelby Estep, Marionville FFA Chapter- Missouri

FFA= Endless Opportunity.
Photo Courtesy of: Shelby Estep, Marionville FFA Chapter- Missouri

11. Being involved in your FFA chapter meant participating in a variety of events and activities. Food for America, FFA Week (where many had the excuse to drive their tractor to school), barnwarmings, fruit sales, etc.

Teaching elementary students about agriuclture.  Photo Courtesy of: Kristy Sivils, Pierce City FFA Chapter- Missouri

Teaching elementary students about agriuclture.
Photo Courtesy of: Kristy Sivils, Pierce City FFA Chapter- Missouri

12. You were beyond excited to participate in CDE’s (Career Development Events). Yes, you were excited to travel and let’s be honest, have a reason to get out of school. However, CDE’s benefited you in more ways than you realize. To be successful, you had to put the time in. They also allowed you to conqueror any fear you may have had about public speaking.

Equine Judging is an example of a CDE in FFA. Photo Courtesy of Cassie O'Hara, Missouri State University

Equine Judging is an example of a CDE in FFA. Photo Courtesy of Cassie O’Hara, Missouri State University

13. CDE’s often meant spending many early Saturday mornings at workshops. Even though Saturdays were your day to sleep in, you still would wake up to go because you knew that you needed the practice.

SAE Project- Beekeeping Photo Courtesy of- Erin Mullins, West Nodaway FFA Chapter- Missouri

SAE Project- Beekeeping
Photo Courtesy of- Erin Mullins, West Nodaway FFA Chapter- Missouri

14. While we are on the subject of CDE’s, let’s talk about having to give reasons. Reasons literally scared you to death. (To this day, I do not know what was so intimidating about walking up to a person and give them your reasons…it literally made me shake like a leaf.) However, reasons allowed you to work on your speaking abilities while using the knowledge you have about whatever it is you are judging. “I place this class of ….”

Hard work does pay off! Photo Courtesy of: Jessica Verch. Billings FFA Chapter

Hard work does pay off! Photo Courtesy of: Jessica Verch. Billings FFA Chapter

15. As you progress through high school, you begin realizing how lucky you are to be involved in FFA. Highlights of the school year almost always include FFA. You begin building friendships that are destined to last a lifetime. You begin realizing how much opportunity you have to succeed, as well as discover what talents you have been blessed with.

Chapter Banquet!  Photo Courtesy of: Haleigh Bruce, Fair Play FFA Chapter- Missouri

Chapter Banquet!
Photo Courtesy of: Haleigh Bruce, Fair Play FFA Chapter- Missouri

16. Your FFA advisor turns into one of your mentors. Most of us can honestly say that our FFA advisors were different than other teachers. It is hard to explain, but you really do not see them as teachers. They become your role model. Plus, how many people can deal with a group of high school kids on long trips without completely blowing a gasket? Yes, our FFA advisors are truly one of a kind.

My dad was my FFA Advisor!

My dad was my FFA Advisor!

17. FFA members spend a lot of time in those big, yellow school buses traveling to activities. This means even more opportunity to make memories with your friends. (And in some cases, see how far you can push the patience of your advisor.) You make some great memories and share a lot of laughs while on these buses. Plus, your bus becomes a country music jam session when a good song comes on the radio.

Many memories are made in FFA. Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Bos, Billings FFA Chapter- Missouri

Many memories are made in FFA. Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Bos, Billings FFA Chapter- Missouri

18. Being able to go to the National FFA Convention was a HUGE deal. Many do not realize how big these conventions are. Plus, you make memories with friends that you will never forget. Most of the time, convention also meant traveling to other neat places. In Louisville- Churchill Downs and Louisville Slugger; and in Indianapolis: Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Lucas Oil Stadium.

Lucas Oil Stadium, Home of the Indianapolis Colts and the American FFA Degree Ceremony when National FFA Convention is held in Indianapolis.

Lucas Oil Stadium, Home of the Indianapolis Colts and the American FFA Degree Ceremony when National FFA Convention is held in Indianapolis.

19. When you hear the phrase “sea of blue,” you do not think of an ocean or body of water. You think about all the blue jackets you see at national convention.

"Sea of Blue Jackets" Indianapolis, Indiana  2009 National FFA Convention

“Sea of Blue Jackets”
Indianapolis, Indiana
2009 National FFA Convention

20. National conventions equal the opportunity to go to HUGE trade shows. These trade shows allow you to learn about various agricultural schools, companies and organizations, as well as allow you to get a lot of “free stuff” and even meet celebrities. They are so fun!

Eli Young Band visits trade show at 2009 National FFA Convention

Eli Young Band visits trade show at 2009 National FFA Convention

21. As you get closer to graduating high school, you begin striving to win a proficiency award for your SAE. You have worked hard and when your proficiency wins area and goes on to state, you realize that hard work does pay off. For the few who win state and go on to nationals, the feeling of accomplishment is beyond compare.

Brittany Groves, state proficiency winner in dairy with Stephanie Bos, State FFA Degree Recipient Photo Courtesy of: Stephanie Bos, Billings FFA Chapter- Missouri

Brittany Groves, state proficiency winner in dairy with Stephanie Bos, State FFA Degree Recipient
Photo Courtesy of: Stephanie Bos, Billings FFA Chapter- Missouri

22. Finding out you will be receiving your State FFA Degree is sort of like winning state in an athletic event. (Okay, maybe that was not the best analogy to use, but it is a big deal!) You have that “I did it” feeling and are beyond excited to walk across the stage at your state convention to receive your degree.

State FFA Degree Ceremony at the 2013 Missouri FFA Convention

State FFA Degree Ceremony at the 2013 Missouri FFA Convention

23. The American FFA Degree is the highest achievement an FFA member can receive. Receiving this is seriously one of the greatest feelings ever. You know you made your chapter proud, your parents proud and your community proud. Walking across that national stage hearing the screams of your parents, friends and members of your FFA chapter is something you will never forget.

American FFA Degree Ceremony. Congrats Erin!  Photo Courtesy of- Erin Mullins, West Nodaway FFA Chapter- Missouri

American FFA Degree Ceremony. Congrats Erin!
Photo Courtesy of- Erin Mullins, West Nodaway FFA Chapter- Missouri

24. The last time you wear your FFA jacket is a bittersweet moment. You realize just how much you will miss everything about FFA. (Do not be surprised if you shed a few tears.) You realize just how much FFA did for you and molded you into the person you are today. You think about the memories, the friendships and the accomplishments you have experienced during your FFA career. Even though you are sad it is over, you realize that those memories will stay with you forever, your friendships will continue and those accomplishments will benefit you the rest of your life. Plus, you know there is still opportunity for you to remain involved!

Honorary FFA Degree is awarded to Joyce Cutright.  Photo Courtesy of- Joyce Cutright, Director of Missouri FFA Convention Media Room and Per Course Agricultural Communications Instructor at Missouri State University

Honorary FFA Degree is awarded to Joyce Cutright.
Photo Courtesy of- Joyce Cutright, Director of Missouri FFA Convention Media Room and Per Course Agricultural Communications Instructor at Missouri State University

25. FFA provided you with much more than you could have ever imagined. You have an understanding about the importance of agriculture, you have acquired skills – leadership, knowledge, teamwork and dedication – that will positively affect your future endeavors, and you are inspired to make a difference. FFA is a big deal and a true blessing, there is no doubt.

FFA makes me HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY!  Photo Courtesy of Kerstine Whittaker, Republic FFA Chapter- Missouri

FFA makes me HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY!
Photo Courtesy of Kerstine Whittaker, Republic FFA Chapter- Missouri

As you can see, FFA is a special organization that has impacted and influenced thousands. The opportunities within FFA are abundant. You can travel. You can gain life skills. You can learn. You can grow.
What has FFA done for you? What are some of your fondest memories? I hope this serves as a way for you to reflect on your personal experiences within the FFA. I also hope this makes you realize just how lucky we are to have an organization like this available for students across the nation to be involved in.

Community Service Photo Courtesy of- Jessica Verch, Billings FFA Chapter

Community Service
Photo Courtesy of- Jessica Verch, Billings FFA Chapter

In honor of FFA week, I just want to take a moment to thank the National FFA Organization. Thank you FFA for providing me with some of the best memories of my high school career. Thank you FFA for the opportunities. Thank you FFA for the good times. Thank you for the laughs.

I am FFA proud. Are you? Share this if you are!

Until next time, and God Bless You All!
~Ali~

My parents were my inspiration to be so involved in FFA.

My parents were my inspiration to be so involved in FFA.

- I am a proud FFA alumnus from the Billings, Missouri FFA Chapter and the daughter of Alby and Angela Bos. My dad is the current FFA advisor at Billings High School and was an active FFA member during his high school career. My mom was also an active FFA member in high school and was even the first woman to win the National Dairy Entrepreneurship Proficiency Award. In addition, I have one cousin and several good friends who teach agriculture. So, FFA means more to me than many realize!

Shelby Lea Estep. Wonderful young lady who loved FFA. She is greatly missed by many <3  Photo Courtesy of- Shawna Estep, Marionville, Mo.

Shelby Lea Estep. Wonderful young lady who loved FFA. She is greatly missed by many <3
Photo Courtesy of- Shawna Estep, Marionville, Mo.

This post is dedicated to a very special young lady who was taken from this Earth way too early. Shelby Lea Estep was someone who was truly passionate about FFA and wore that blue jacket with pride wherever she went. I was fortunate to go on a few trips with this girl, as well as see her at fairs in the area. FFA meant so much to her, and I am truly honored to be able to write something to dedicate to her memory.

I looked through all of our pictures trying to find the best one and seeing them all brought back so many emotions. FFA taught me so many things that I will carry with me forever.. and I’m so blessed and beyond thankful to have experienced three years with this girl (Shelby) by my side, and one with her in my heart. – Anna Brown, Marionville FFA Chapter, Missouri

Other Photos of FFA Members in Action!

SAE Project Photo Courtesy of- Dakoda Baxter, Billings FFA Chapter- Missouri

SAE Project
Photo Courtesy of- Dakoda Baxter, Billings FFA Chapter-  Missouri

"Walking across that National FFA Convention stage is something I will never forget.."  -Alison Bos

“Walking across that National FFA Convention stage is something I will never forget..” -Alison Bos

Washington Leadership Conference held in Washington D.C. Photo Courtesy of- Kristy Sivils, Pierce City FFA Chapter- Missouri

Washington Leadership Conference held in Washington D.C.
Photo Courtesy of- Kristy Sivils, Pierce City FFA Chapter- Missouri

Being in FFA meant having the opportunity to travel to national convention. You usually get to go visit attractions while you are there. While in Louisville, my chapter visited Churchill Downs!

Being in FFA meant having the opportunity to travel to national convention. You usually get to go visit attractions while you are there. While in Louisville, my chapter visited Churchill Downs!

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2007-2008 Area 12 Officers at Camp Rising Sun in Missouri

Trips to places like the National Ag Hall of Fame are example of field trips FFA chapters take.

Trips to places like the National Ag Hall of Fame are example of field trips FFA chapters take.

Farm Animal Truths: Ten Misconceptions Revealed

Let’s face it. There are thousands, maybe even millions, of people who have never actually been around farm animals. There’s people who have never touched one, and in several cases, have never even seen one in person. The only contact or knowledge of farm animals have come from a television screen or a computer. It is hard to believe, right? 931329_10200924874946159_300658159_n

It took me a while to understand this concept, but after witnessing this personally, it comes as no surprise. You see, a few summers ago during an internship, I had opportunities to participate in public dairy education activities. The first one, I had actually brought one of my cows with me to allow people to pet her, touch her, take pictures, etc. There was an older woman (probably in her late sixties), who told me, “Hun, this is the first time I have ever seen or touched a cow.” I could not believe it! I had similar experiences while at the20140131-210402.jpg Missouri State Fair. People of all ages would tell make comments such as “I had no idea that is where milk comes from,” or “Look, mom it’s a real cow!” As I would pick my jaw up off the ground, the reality would hit me. There are so many people who just do not know.

There is no question as to why people have false perceptions of what modern-day farming is all about. It is a lack of education – which we have to change – and getting the false idea of what farming is from movies and internet videos. Movies like Babe, Charlotte’s Web, Home on the Range, The Barnyard, etc. give viewers the idea that farms should have a big red barn, white fence, rolling green pastures and animals roaming around as they please. Yes, there are a few farms like this; however as agriculturists, we know that we could not provide enough food if all farms were like that. It is reality. It is fact. There is no other way around it.

Then you have what people can find on the internet. There is so much material containing false information or portraying false images of agriculture. Videos of animal abuse, commercials and mini TV series are a few of what goes viral and is seen by millions. Obviously, not all goatfarmers are abusers. Large farms are not what the “Scarecrow” commercial shows. Last, but certainly not least cows will not explode like the new Hulu TV series called Farmed and Dangerous implies. You see, there is so much false representation out there. It is up to people like you and me to tell agriculture’s story and educate the public about farming methods/practices.

I know that this is a topic of several blog posts out there and this is information that most of my readers are aware of. I am a person who enjoys humor and loves to laugh. With this being said, I decided to put my own twist on this post and provide you all with something you can smile about. If you are a reader out there who does not know a lot about farm animals, maybe this will give you something to smile about, as well as something you can learn from. I came up with a list of ten common misconceptions of farm animals that people have. Some of these are things you may have heard before, but I decided it was time to write something credible about farm animals. Brown_Swiss_photo

So sit back, feel free to smile and enjoy this list of ten misconceptions of farm animals!
1. Brown cows do not produce chocolate milk. Sorry to burst your bubble, but they do not. Chocolate syrup (or something similar) is what makes chocolate milk. That is fact.
2. Pigs do not talk to spiders, do not herd sheep and do not magically keep themselves clean. I know Babe and Charlotte’s Web tells something completely different, but that is Hollywood folks. If you have been around pigs at all, you know that is okay for them to be dirty. Sometimes they like to lay in the mud in order to cool off. So if you see a pig that is very dirty, do not panic. That is how they adapt to their surroundings and regulate body temperature.
3. Let’s talk about horses for a minute. As cool as Silver looks while rearing as The Lone Ranger says “Hi, Ho Silver!” that is not a desired response while one is riding a horse. While we are on the subject, horses are not ridden like you see in some western movies. The picture below shows how horses are generally ridden. No arms going everywhere, no guns, no being chased by Indians, etc. Sorry! 1470108_10202289806108585_860852273_n
4. Most farms are not barnyards full of a few cows, a couple horses, a small flock of chickens, a goat, some pigs and a sheep or two that live together in a red barn surrounded by white fences. It is just not the case. Today, farms have to be bigger and more specialized to be able to meet the food demands of our rapidly growing population. Trust me, this is true!
5. Bulls do not just attack men in leotards carrying a red cape or when they see red in general. Yes, this is the case in Looney Tunes; however it is197436_1002207137488_4811_n not the case in real life. Truth is, bulls are very dangerous animals that can attack a person at any time. (They are very important obviously because without them, no calves would be born. By the way, even though the movie Barnyard shows differently, bulls do not have udders!) This is why artificial insemination is a safer option. This also shows just how much danger some farmers put themselves in on a daily basis. Bottom line, bulls are not to be trusted.
6. Goats and sheep are more dangerous than what you see in movies like Babe or Home on the Range. You see, these critters can actually really hurt someone, especially those with horns. Even though goats are super cute and are seen in petting zoos all over, it must be noted that you must have a secure area to pen them in. If not, they will be out before you can say “boo.”
7. Most dairy cows do not wear bells. (Yes, I know there are some in some countries that do; however that is not a common occurrence in Northbrown_swiss America.) Dairy cows do not sing, do not actually advertise to “Eat More Chik-N” and do not literally help raise your kids. And in case you wondering, California is not the only state where “happy” cows come from.
8. Gathering eggs is not always a pleasant experience. There are some hens that will flog you causing you to run around the coop like a crazy person. Plus, you always have to watch out for the rooster. Those dudes are plain unpredictable. Oh, and geese? They are not your typical “Mother Goose” figure. They are completely opposite actually. Just ask someone (cough, cough this girl) about how it feels to be chased by one. NOT FUN!
9. Farm dogs are more than the old dog that just lies on the porch all day or than a dog that just chills in the bed of a pickup truck all the time. (Most cases they are not old bloodhounds like you see in a lot of shows and movies.) These dogs are a vital part of many farms. They can work livestock, protect livestock and are usually very good watch dogs. Instead of “man’s best friend,” they are simply a farmers best friend. The cool thing about this? These dogs love what they do!
10. Farm animals require constant care and attention. Movies tend to not show the hard work, time and effort it takes to care for these animals. Reality check—you ready for this? Farm animals are challenging and expensive to raise and care for.  They do not feed themselves, they do not build their own shelters, they do not magically heal themselves from injury/disease, they do not just suddenly walk out the gate to go on an adventure to save the farm, they do not “party” during the night when the farmer is asleep, etc. Truth is, they are animals. They are animals who supply us with food, fiber and so many other products. What makes a farm animal able to do this? Farmers who are good managers and caretakers.

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This list could easily go on and on. These are just some things that I have heard personally or just find funny. Now can you see how easily it is forwinter_storm people to have false impressions of farming and agriculture? There is so much influencing factors out there that cause people to have an idea of farming that is simply not true.

It is time for a reality check. Farming is not what you see in the movies. It is not what you see in those cruel videos. Farming is what puts food on our tables, clothes on our backs and so much more. Farm animals play a major role in this. Think of what you eat on a daily basis. Pizza, hamburger, egg, ice cream, steak, wool, milk, etc. are all examples of what farm animals provide. Think of life today if we did not have farm animals? Not a pretty picture is it. See the image below. All of these products come from cattle. They provide us with a lot don’t they?

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I hope you got a smile or two out of this. I know I did! Ultimately, I do hope this serves as an eye-opener of what farm animals are and what they are not, as well as what they do or what they do not do. They are extremely important to our food supply, which is something we have to realize. In addition, we must remember to thank those who dedicate their lives to raising and caring for these animals.

I will close by saying this. In honor of Thank a Farmer week, which was last week, I want to extend a special thank you to all of our farmers and ranchers. Your hard work, difficult lifestyle, commitment and dedication is extremely appreciated. Keep up the good work as you continue feeding the world.

Remember, to be sure to thank a farmer and appreciate farm animals.

Until next time…

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God Bless You All!

~Ali

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GO TEAM USA IN SOCHI AT THE WINTER OLYMPICS! PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN

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I Stand for Ag

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We all stand for something whether we are aware of it or not. We stand for something we are passionate about, something that is important to us. We take a stand and encourage others to stand with us.

I stand for agriculture. Why? It is my passion. It is something that I understand we could not live without. It defines my family and upbringing. Most importantly, agriculture defines our future and it is time people understand that.

It is time that farmers, ranchers, agvocates and others within the agriculture industry come together and take a stand. We have to show the general public and lawmakers just how important agriculture is. I do not know about you, but I am tired of seeing agriculture not being respected and appreciated like it should.  I am starting a movement – it may work, it may not – for everyone to take a stand and proudly say, “I Stand for Ag.” istandforag

Let’s get this trending on Facebook and Twitter using this: #istandforAG. Let’s make some noise!!!!!

I took a different approach to writing this. I provided reasons to stand for ag from a farmer, agvocate and consumer standpoint. The farmer and agvocate standpoint was easy; however writing from the consumers standpoint was a bit of a challenge. So what I did, I wrote from the standpoint of a consumer who has learned about agriculture and its importance. I provided something we can all strive towards. One day, if consumers would have these responses, I sure would be happy, happy, happy.

So, let’s get to it. Let’s find out why #istandforAG.

From the Farmers’ perspective:

  1. I stand for Ag every time I wake up at the crack of dawn knowing I have a full day’s of hard work ahead. Caring for livestock, fixing 20140131-210345.jpgfence, repairing the tractor, keeping track of farm records…you name it. I may complain, but deep down I would not trade my life for anything. Then at the end of the day, I lay my head on my pillow and thank God for seeing me through another day.
  2. I stand for Ag every time I spend countless hours in the tractor seat – whether it be baling hay, planting, feeding round bales, etc. Some may see this as boring, but to me, I see this as a way of life.
  3. I stand for Ag every time I spend countless dollars and time working hard to save the life of one of my livestock. Whether it be delivering a backwards calf, saving a horse that has coliced or giving my vet a call in the middle of the night to come help with a sick animal, I do everything I can to make sure my animals are healthy.
  4. I stand for Ag every time I see farm kids – either my own or someone else’s – helping out and/or playing on a farm. I know that is the future of our food supply, and I will do all that I can to show them what hard work, commitment and a true love of the farm life is like.20140131-210505.jpg
  5. I stand for Ag every time I see my family. When I see my parents, my siblings, my grandparents, my aunts/uncles, my cousins, etc., I have a sense of pride that I am continuing the family tradition. I realize that I am blessed to be part of a farming family!
  6. I stand for Ag every time there is a year of hardship and heartache. Natural disasters, disease, increased input prices (feed, fuel, labor, etc.), decreased commodity prices…I remain optimistic that next year will be better. I love the lifestyle too much and have learned that it is not for quitters. Farming requires faith and grit, which are two things that I rely on.
  7. I stand for Ag 365 days a year, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. I endure harsh working conditions. I face hardships. I work long hours. I have the responsibility to provide for my family, my land and my livestock. I am responsible for feeding the world. I am a farmer, and I am important.

From the Agriculturists’ (agriculture students, educators, specialists, etc.) perspective:

  1. I stand for Ag because I understand just how important the industry is. I know that without it, we would not survive. 20140131-210402.jpg
  2. I stand for Ag because I know that it is what will feed our growing population. It is our future, and I know I must work hard to help people understand that.
  3. I stand for Ag because I know we rely on a small portion of our population to feed us. (In the United States, less than two percent of the population is involved in production agriculture.) I know that I must work to keep those who feed us able to do their jobs without scrutiny.
  4. I stand for Ag because I am concerned about my future, my kids’ future and everyone’s future. I am investing in education to learn more so I can be a better “agvocate” for the industry.
  5. I stand for Ag because I cannot tolerate farmers and ranchers being victim of attacks from animal rights and environmental groups or not gaining support from our government. I cannot stand to see farmers being portrayed as something they are not and getting treated20140131-210444.jpg without the respect the deserve. I am not afraid to take a stand.
  6. I stand for Ag because I am completely intrigued by the industry. I am amazed at the advancements that have been made to produce more food with less. I am amazed at the pratices our farmers are taking to preserve land and conserve water. I am inspired by farmers’ resiliency  and hard work ethic. I am also shocked that so many people are uneducated about the importance of the industry; therefore making me want to tell agriculture’s story to anyone willing to listen.
  7. I stand for Ag because it is my passion. It is what my life is based around and how I want to spend my future. It is so underappreciated, and it is my goal to educate the general public about its importance. I want to be a voice for our farmers/ranchers.

From the Consumers’ perspective: (Our ultimate goal and target audience)

  1. I stand for Ag every time I put food in my mouth. A farmer and/or farmers worked hard to produce that food, and I am thankful for that. Knowing I can put food on the table that is safe for me and my family to eat is humbling. 5342_201789796644687_27104960_n
  2. I stand for Ag every time I walk into a grocery store and I know there will be an abundance of food available for purchase. Food that is wholesome, safe and affordable is a priority, and would not be possible without the efforts of farmers and ranchers.
  3. I stand for Ag every time I look at personal spending accounts and see that I do not spend a majority of income on food. Knowing I can afford food is a relief as I understand without food, I would not survive.
  4. I stand for Ag every time I drive through the countryside and appreciate farms. I know the hard work it takes to operate a farm, and have full appreciation for those who dedicate their lives to it. 156554_10150777226640699_1785757480_n
  5. I stand for Ag every time I get behind a tractor or combine on the road and do not get upset about it. I know that it is a very important part to almost every farming operation and is aides in providing me with food. I respect the individual in the driver seat and give them a wave as I pass by.
  6. I stand for Ag every time I go to a fair and walk through the agriculture buildings. I see how much farmers care for their animals, as well as how much value they put into their products. I see they work hard and that they truly have pride for what they do.
  7. I stand for Ag much more than I realize. It is something that we cannot live without. I am thankful for farmers/ranchers and hope they know their value. Agriculture allows me to have the life I do, and I am truly grateful.

Agriculture is pretty important, right? We may have different reasons for standing for agriculture; however we cannot deny that 1) without agriculture, we would not survive; 2) farmers deserve so much more credit than what they receive; and 3) we need to educate as much as possible about agriculture’s importance. 20131020-204715.jpg

Are you willing to take a stand? Share this. Use #istandforAG. Let the world know that you understand just how crucial agriculture is to our daily lives and our future. I’m willing to take the stand…

I hope you are too.

Until next time, and God Bless You All!

~Ali

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For the Love of Horses: 21 Facts about Horses and Horse Lovers

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By: Alison Bos

I once had a professor tell our class that “if you ever have a daughter, you better be ready because you will be purchasing a pony.” Our class laughed because deep down, we all knew it was true. Whether raised in the country or the city, there are so many little girls and even little boys who dream of owning their own horse, riding it through the fields and just having an animal to be their partner. 1546136_10202657633624043_1668778204_n

Unfortunately, a lot of little kids’ dreams about having their own horse never become a reality. However, there are several who do have the opportunity to grow up around horses. There are even those who get their own horse later on in life and get to end up fulfilling their childhood dream. This concept of people and horses does cause a lot of people to scratch their heads and wonder, “What is the deal with you and horses anyways?”  Well hang on because hopefully this blog will answer this question.

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Growing up, I feel like I was one of the lucky ones. I was a farm kid and also had a mom who was just as passionate about horses as I was. At six months old, I was put on a horse and have not looked back since.

Throughout the years, I have owned several horses. Each individual one has taught me something. A few of them even became like a best friend. They were my world and my escape from the stresses life would bring sometimes. Looking back, I really do not know how I would have made it through high school, and even college, if it was not for horses. I am sure there are many of you out there who can agree with that statement. Horses are more than what meets the eye. This is a concept that is often misunderstood because some just do not realize how much of an influence they can have on our lives.

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Every person has their own hobby that they are passionate about. It is that one hobby that they dedicate hours to and enjoy it. (Most of the time) It is that one hobby that ranks high on their priority list. Well for people like me, that one hobby revolves around the horse.

So here is a list of 20 things that many do not realize about us horse people and horses in general. This is 21 things that make us want to keep horses in our lives no matter where life leads us. 1000810_10201220383773695_397817303_n

So hang on to your hat and enjoy these 20 facts about horse lovers and the influence horses have on our lives.

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  1. Your first pony or horse is an animal you will never forget. They put up with you when you had no idea what you were doing. They would let you ride them for endless hours pretending you were a cowboy, rodeo queen, or whatever else your imagination came up with.
  2. Growing up, you did not have posters of the “hottest” celebrities or the “coolest” bands. You had posters of horses everywhere in your room.
  3. Breyer Model Horses were a common request on your Christmas and birthday lists. When you were given money, you would save up to 576184_10200774084856501_2077119822_nbuy a new one.
  4. Your favorite movie, TV show and book list included the following: The Black Stallion, Black Beauty, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, Mr. Ed, Seabiscuit. More current movies: Hidalgo, Secretariat, Flicka and more. (Oh and the buckskin in Dances With Wolves is one that you literally drool over.)
  5. Nobody, and I mean nobody, took the remote from you when there were equestrian events on TV. (This is even true for most of us now!) The Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes made you so excited. Olympics were only important when equestrian events were on. The first week of December during the National Finals Rodeo gets you giddy as all get out.
  6. Fun road trips include the following: Rodeos, horse shows, horse clinics, horse races, horse fests. You wanted to learn more and you wanted to build dreams of owning horses like you would see at these places.
  7. Common websites visited on your computer included Dreamhorse.com; Equine.com; Barrelhorsewold.com; horsetrailerworld.com and 935761_10201016928285343_2095876359_nany other websites that deal with horses.
  8. You are constantly planning your dream horse barn. Your dream horse trailer. Your dream horse. Your dream saddle. You have it all in your head even if it may not become a reality. Horses make you a dreamer, there is no doubt.
  9. You love your horse enough that they are in your prom and senior pictures (and for many, engagement pictures too!). Those pictures always turn out to be your favorite too.
  10. As you get older, you appreciate more about the horse. Not only are they beautiful creatures, but they are tremendous athletes and such trusting individuals. They really can do A LOT. They can carry a rider and America1393904_10202301002228481_1085074010_nn 734433_10202297160172432_417491144_nflag; they can jump jumps taller than a lot of people;  they can run around three cans doing a barrel pattern in breathtaking speed; they can run with such stamina and grace; they can work cattle; they can have pistols shot off their backs; they can carry disabled people for therapeutic purposes; they can carry soldiers in wars; they can do maneuvers most don’t know they’re capable of – for example reining  and dressage just to name a few.  alisonandcisco.jpg
  11. It does not matter how expensive horses are to own, care for and maintain, it is all worth it to you. The feed, wormer, vaccines, farrier 148602_1464077093231_6846913_nbills, vet bills cost a lot, but you do not care. The tack, equipment, fencing, trailer, truck, etc., also cost a lot, but once again, you do not care. It is not about the money; however it is about what makes you happy. Horses make you happy. And let’s face it. You spend more money on your horse than you do yourself. You would rather buy horse things instead of clothes.
  12. You have had (or currently have) that “one horse.” It is that horse that has left true hoof prints on your heart.  It is the horse that you are proud of. It is your “once in a lifetime horse” that you trust completely, love whole-heartedly and becomes literally like your kid. It’1011939_10201448932847279_1758945640_ns the horse that you can ride at any time and feel like the luckiest person in the world.
  13. Horses teach you what real trust is. You learn to trust an unpredictable, 1200 pound animal that could easily kill you. I know it sounds pretty harsh, but it is true. You trust your horse with your life each time you are around them and on their backs.
  14. It does not matter what kind of day you are having, a horse can make it better. Just hearing them nicker at you when they see you can turn a blah day into a good one. Just like that. You can also go just pet them, groom them and “talk “to them and it will brighten your day. If you are having a bad day, you can bury your face into their mane, cry and even feel like your horse understands. And, there is NO greater feeling than running your horse through the pasture after a bad day, or any day for that matter. 1186043_10201802419644228_460070482_n
  15. A horse can buck you off. You can break bones. They can run off with you, kick you, bite you, etc. However, this does not make you hate them. You love horses enough that you stick with it no matter what.
  16. Horses teach you to conquer fear. I can almost guarantee that if you own horses, you have been injured at some point. You have fallen off. Yes, you do gain fear after these things happen because it is scary. However, you learn to conquer your fear because there is a horse out there that helps you regain trust.
  17. Horses teach you something all the time. It is a constant learning experience when dealing with horses. Even if it is DSC06361a horse you ride every day, they always seem to do things that you learn from. You know what they like, what they don’t like. What they understand and what they don’t understand. You know just how far you can push them. How do we know these things? Horses teach us.
  18. Horses inspire you to be a better person. I know this sounds cliché, but it really is true. You see, when dealing with horses, you cannot have a bad attitude. You cannot be mean. They are docile, willing and perceptive creatures that respond best when treated with compassion and respect. They can sense when you are upset and tense. They are simply amazing. What is even cooler? The fact that horses bring you closer to other people who love horses too. 316460_2465861527933_1787093346_n
  19. If you have a horse that is sick or injured, you do everything in your power to bring them back to health and keep them comfortable. You spend money that you really do not have to give them veterinary care and attention. You lose sleep to check on them in the middle of the night. Shoot, in some cases you even sleep in the barn with them because you care that much.
  20. You base your future plans around whether or not you can have horses. You will only move to a place where you are able to bring your horse with you. Sounds crazy, but it is true.
  21. You know 100% that you want your kids to have the opportunity to have horses growing up. You want them to experience everything you did. You want horses to teach them the lessons they taught you. Even though it will be one of the scariest feelings ever putting your own child on top of an animal like a horse knowing the risk, you know you cannot stop your child from experiencing it. It’s that simple.

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As you can see, there are more to horses and horse lovers that meet the eye. We are all very similar in a lot of aspects. Undoubtedly, we are all on the same agreement that horses are amazing. They influence us in so many ways. Hopefully, this post will serve as an eye-opener – or a reminder- of just how much horses do for us. Kaci 149

Do horses influence you? Do you have a horse that is your world? Do you just want people to realize why horses are such a big part of your life? 1241582_10201837149232446_1816536938_nShare this! Let people know why you love horses.

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it. Horses have been, and continue to be, a huge part of my life. I am very blessed and thankful for the horses I have been around the past few years, whether it be the ones I personally own or the ones I spend time with at work/school.

“Challenge me. Dare me. Or even defy me. But do not underestimate me. For on the back of my horse, anything is possible.”

Until next time, and May God Bless You All!

~Ali

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This post was inspired by my personal horse, "Cherry Bomb"

This post was inspired by my personal horse, “Cherry Bomb”

You Might Be an Agriculture Student…

By: Alison Bos, Graduate Student in the William H. Darr School of Agriculture at Missouri State University

Some of the MSU Ag staff and students with the governor of Missouri.

Some of the MSU Ag staff and students with the governor of Missouri.

Being an agriculture student in college for going on six years now, as well as being that “ag girl” during my four years of high school, I have noticed there are some traits that truly set agriculture students apart. My goal here is not to be stereotypical by any means. My imagesCAJ0LRTUgoal is to- 1) allow readers to realize that agriculture students, just like farm kids, have a unique way of life that is quite different from others; and 2) to allow former, current and future agriculture students to read this and smile because they know it is true.

I do not want to take away anything from those of you who maybe did not seek degrees in agriculture or were not involved in FFA. I am sure you have had positive experiences in your area of study, and your area of study has provided you with similar opportunities. If that is the case, share your experiences! I am simply sharing mine.

Currently, there is an upward trend in students seeking degrees in agriculture. (http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/story/2012-08-01/agriculture-industry-studies-surge/56809406/1) Also, “today, there are 579,678 FFA members, aged 12‒21, in 7,570 chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands” (www.ffa.org). Bottom line is that there are a lot of agriculture students out there.

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Billings, Missouri FFA Chapter in Indianapolis, Indiana during the 2009 National FFA Convention

Before I go into my list, I do want to spend some time praising all of you who dedicated your time to furthering your agricultural education in high school and/or college. Agriculture is definitely an underappreciated and misinterpreted industry that many have very false perceptions about. There’s the typical stereotypes about “agriculture people” out there that sometimes brings along times when you are given a hard time about being an ag student. The most important reason, however, is that agriculture feeds the world. For those of us who have and/or are devoting time in becoming more educated within the agriculture industry, we truly are important. You see, agriculture students understand. We “get it.” Less than two percent of the population is involved in production agriculture; therefore it is crucial for people to have a strong knowledge about agriculture in general. So from this agriculture student to you all- thank you for making the decision to choose agriculture! There is no doubt that we really are important.

Okay, back to the “You Might be an Agriculture Student” list. Like I mentioned before, feel free to laugh and smile as you read these because I guarantee that you will realize they are true.1536560_10202649286975382_2068401974_n

(Also, feel free to read “you might be an agriculture student” in the same way Jeff Foxworthy says “you might be a redneck.”)

Okay, let’s start with the obvious-

  • When you talk about a commercial dedicated to farmers aired during the Super Bowl more than the game itself, you might be an agriculture student.
  • When conversations consist mainly of your livestock, your horses, your farm, your equipment, etc. instead of the game last night or the most current fashion trends, you might be an agriculture student.
  • There are two occasions by which you notice a sharp decline of students in attendance and nobody can get upset about it. These occasions are the first week of gun deer hunting season and the National FFA Convention. Yes, you might be an agriculture student.
  • When you can wear camo, your “barn clothes”, boots, spurs and coveralls and have no shame. You might be an agriculture student.
  • When you see someone else in the clothing items mentioned above in another building or department on campus and you get a warm, fuzzy feeling because you think, “look, there is someone like me,” you might be an agriculture student. 536006_10150750952753524_1603440227_n
  • When you can tell what vehicles belong to ag students- examples: bale spikes on a truck, feed in the back, stickers of their favorite farm equipment company plastered over the rear glass window/bumper, manure/mud on vehicles, just to name a few- you might be an agriculture student.
  • When dirt and mud on floors from dirty boots is considered normal and not disgusting, you might be an agriculture student.
  • When you can miss class because your horse is sick, cow is calving or other similar reason and your agriculture teacher/professor completely understands, you might be an agriculture student.
  • When examples of “fun” activities to go do with your fellow aggie friends include bonfires, haunted corn mazes, concerts, conventions, backroading, livestock/horse shows, Farm Fests, etc., you might be an agriculture student.
  • When agriculture class field trips consists of going to places like wastewater plants, cattle A.I. (artificial insemination) facilities, local farms, greenhouses, grocery stores, recycling centers and more, then you might be an agriculture student. 576485_10150777224030699_1584263415_n
  • You are sitting in class and just cannot wait for the opportunity to share a past experience, the way you do things on your farm, something you have endured with one of your animals, or the excited feeling you get when a professor uses you and/or your farm as an example, you might be an agriculture student.
  • On most days, you will walk by someone in the agriculture building playing music. 99% of the time, it is country and you feel right at home, then you might be an agriculture student.
  • In most cases, there will be an area where “everyone” hangs out whether it be a commons area or a computer lab. (For my MSU people, the Student Activities Room) Here, instead of studying, you talk, sing, teach each other how to two-step, play spades, watch YouTube videos, look at Craigslist, look through tractor magazines, look at cattle sale catalogs and much, much more, then you might be in agriculture student.
  • When you walk in an agriculture classroom or agriculture building and think, “Thank goodness, I am right where I need to be…I feel right at home,” (just like the TV show Cheers, everybody knows your name) you might be an agriculture student.
  • If you and your friends have looked at Animal Crackers and tried to “judge” them like you would in an FFA judging contest to determine what kind of animal they are, you might be an agriculture student.  183832_10151251696515813_1151846823_n

Here’s a few more, but these are the less obvious. These are the ones that I have personally experienced in the William H. Darr School of Agriculture at Missouri State University. I have a feeling that most agriculture students all over the world feel the same way at their school. We truly are lucky to study something that is so important that fuels a passion within us that cannot be described by words.

  • Being around people who have a similar interest, a similar background and/or a similar passion of agriculture like you do, and you feel like you a right where you belong, then you are lucky enough to be an agriculture student.
  • The passion for agriculture your professors/teachers have inspires you. They make you want to learn more about the industry. They11269_1293562981202_5763305_n understand you are agriculture’s future, and they want to make sure you know how important you are. The cool thing is that your professor/teacher will do anything to help you and you believe without a doubt that you are surrounded by the best faculty at your school, then you are lucky enough to be an agriculture student.
  • You value your education and you understand your importance. Ultimately, you have a strong sense of pride because you will be responsible for the feeding the world, you are lucky enough to be an agriculture student.
  • Not only are you surrounded by people in agriculture, but you also have the opportunity to join student organizations that are ag based linking you to people who have similar interests as you (which creates long-lasting friendships), you are lucky enough to be an agriculture student. 71486_10200886065815955_913961266_n
  • You are surrounded by good, down-to-earth people who are willing to help you even if they do not necessarily know you. A group of students going to lunch will see you sitting at a table and go, “Hey we are going to lunch, you want to join?” You honestly never feel alone because there always seems someone there to talk to or study with, then you are lucky enough to be an agriculture student.
  • Let’s be honest. Days there are tests, early morning classes, 3-hour long lectures, etc., and you aren’t necessarily happy about it, BUT you still go and do  not totally dread it because you are excited to see friends and classmates, then you are lucky enough to be an agriculture student.
  • When you talk to students from other departments and you hear them say, “Man, I wish we had that,” or “I am so jealous because1080215_10201553747747586_398289611_n of everything you get to do,” then you are lucky enough to be an agriculture student.
  • You have the opportunity to participate in so many things, meet so many friends that you will keep for years and are beyond satisfied with your education so much that you inspire those younger than you to study agriculture too, then you are lucky enough to be an agriculture student.
  • It does not matter how many years pass, you can still recall memories from “way back when.” When you see someone from school a number of years later, you and talk to them and reminisce (“Remember that time when Dr. ________…” “Remember when we went to the National FFA Convention…” “Remember when…”) You don’t forget and your friends don’t either and you realize that those were some of the best days of your life, then you are lucky enough to be an agriculture student.
  • Yes, there will be people who will stereotype you, give you a hard time, make false judgments, etc., but you really do not care because you understand your value and importance, then you are lucky enough to be an agriculture student.
  •  I know I have kind of said this before, but you know your passion and you know your place. You know you are “home” and right where you need to be. You understand your are important, and you understand how important agriculture is. 222300_1029355496180_6215_n You “get it.” You have pride in what you do, and you are never afraid to share your experience being an agriculture student. You know you are lucky and are a part of a huge family. You understand your worth and know you are going to play a huge role in the future. I cannot stress this enough-

YOU ARE LUCKY ENOUGH TO BE AN AGRICULTURE STUDENT!

This list truly could go on and on. I feel so blessed to have been an “ag kid,” all throughout high school and college. From my FFA days at Billings High School to my college days as an aggie at Missouri State University, I am so thankful for the experiences that agriculture has provided. I am thankful for the people I have met. I am thankful for being a part of an industry that feeds the world.  Are you?

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I hope this has allowed some of you to go down memory lane or some of you to realize how lucky you were to have been an agriculture student. For those who may not be agriculture students, I hope this gives you an insight to what it is like. I will be the first to admit that I am biased; however I just want to share just how proud I am to be an agriculture student!

If this touches you or you can relate to this, share it! Let people know how proud you are to be a student in agriculture whether it has been in FFA and/or in college. We are lucky. We are proud. We are aggies.

Until next time, thank you and God Bless You All!

~Ali 1186043_10201802419644228_460070482_n

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2013 The Year of the Farmer: 13 Reasons Why You Should be Thankful for Farmers & Ranchers

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It has been almost a year since Dodge aired the “So God Made a Farmer” commercial during the Super Bowl and declared 2013 as the year of the farmer. As 2013 comes to a close, I thought of no better post other than one about the importance of our farmers. There may be some other blog posts out there like this; however in my opinion, there can never be too many posts about thanking those who put food on our tables.

With an increasing global population, a decreasing amount of land available for food production and with less than 2% of the U.S population directly involved in production agriculture, there is no time like the present to strive to educate the public about agriculture and farming practices. It cannot be stated enough how crucial it is for more people to understand agriculture and not be influenced by common misconceptions (i.e. animal welfare, GMO’s, antibiotic use, etc.). There is no doubt that the general public needs to be more knowledgeable about agriculture, as well as more aware about just how much it impacts all of our lives.

It was rather difficult coming up with only 13 reasons why we should be thankful for our farmers. (Granted, give me enough time and I could probably think of 100 reasons.) It can be assumed that several of you can thank of several other reasons other than the ones I listed as well. However, the main purpose of this post is to educate those who may not be aware of just how much farmers do and provide for us. It also was written to remind farmers that they truly are important.

Let the countdown to the list of 13 reasons to be thankful for our farmers begin now.

Bazinga

Five

Four

Three

Two

One

AND HERE WE GO!!!!!!!

Thirteen Reasons Why You Should Thank a Farmer

  1. Let’s start off with and state the obvious. FARMERS FEED US!!!!!! Without them, we would not be able to go to the grocery store and have access to an abundance of food products. We would not have food on our tables, in our cabinets, in our refrigerators/freezers, and the list goes on. Could you imagine a world without plentiful food? Yeah, neither could I. So yes, you definitely should thank a farmer. 12973_10201593605023993_1495218490_n
  2. Less than two percent of the U.S. population are farmers. Why is this important? For starters, we rely on a very small number of people to provide us with food we can consume and export to other countries. (Approximately 23% of raw products are exported every year.) Farmers not only provide for us here in the United States, but they also provide enough to export for people of other countries to consume. So yes, you should definitely thank a farmer.
  3.  Forget the typical stereotypes a lot of people have about farmers. There is no doubt that farmers are smart. Many do not realize just how much it takes to be a farmer. Farmers have to be able to be their own mechanics-they have to be able to fix a variety of things; veterinarians-they have to be able to provide basic care to their animals; bookkeepers/accountants-they have to be able to crunch numbers to ensure their farms efficiency and profitability; and they have to have a general knowledge and understanding about a wide variety of topics such as grazing practices, vaccination regiments, fertilizer applications, when to mow hay, when to plant crops, etc. You see, farming is much more than what meets the eye. So yes, you should definitely thank a farmer.
  4. Farmers work 365 days a year. There are no days off because it is a holiday, snow day or weekend. Farming requires time, hard work, dedication, perseverance and commitment. It is definitely not an easy job. It is definitely not a profession where you are guaranteed to be wealthy. It is not a profession where you can predict how much money you will make. There’s no doubt this lifestyle is tough. So yes, you should definitely thank a farmer.
  5. Farmers do CARE about what they do. Yes, there has been videos released of animal abuse occurring on farms; however those people who were in the videos are not what I consider a farmer. Farmers put the needs of their animals above their own. They seek practices that is most conserving of their land. They work to keep animals comfortable and land productive. This level of care simply represents just how genuine most farmers are. So yes, you should definitely thank a farmer.
  6. Tradition is very important to farmers. Most of the farmers I know come from several generations of farmers. Not only do they understand the importance of farming in general, but they also farm to keep their family tradition alive. This is5342_201789796644687_27104960_n important because at least one of their kids will want to keep the tradition of the family farm going. This is important because that gives us assurance that the future of farming is in good hands. So yes, you should definitely thank a farmer.
  7. Farmers are dedicated. As I somewhat mentioned before, farming relies on so many uncontrollable factors such as weather, disease outbreaks, global issues, etc. A severe flood can ruin an entire corn crop. An outbreak of disease can negatively impact beef production. A tornado can wipe out an entire operation. An early freeze can destroy a crop. This list can go on and on; however the point is that farmers still push on no matter what the risk. They remain optimistic and do not fear what the future may hold. They focus on producing a safe and wholesome product. So yes, you should definitely thank a farmer.
  8. I think it is safe to say that farmers are some of the best examples of how neighbors should treat one another. Yes, I know there are probably some of you out there who have neighbors that cause you grief. However, when it comes right down to it, farmers always seem to step in when help is needed or tragedy strikes. Look at the community in Illinois that lost a farmer or at how an abundance of farmers came together to help a family of a fallen farmer in Iowa. People came from miles around to help these families get their harvests done. Why is this important? We live in a society where good is overlooked by so much evil going on. It is so humbling to see just how strong the farming community is. So yes, you should definitely thank a farmer.
  9. Stemming from the previous reason, farmers demonstrate what it means to stand united. Obviously with everything going on in our nation’s capitol and other issues occurring all over the world with constant controversy, it is once again so humbling to see a group of people who work together and who help each other. Farmers truly do that. An example of this can be seen in how farmers from all over the United States acted to help those in South Dakota affected by the tragic blizzard that struck there.  “Within the ranching community we are helping each other and doing what needs to be done. Working together to help our neighbors regardless of how financially hurt we are” (Agricultureproud.com).  Farmers also stand united when protecting the agriculture industry from false accusations made by animal rights organizations. Standing united is definitely an important part of the farming community. So yes, you should definitely thank a farmer. 20131020-204715.jpg
  10. Let’s face it. Agriculture in the United States is what makes the country what it is today. This is important for U.S. citizens because we live in a land where we have an abundance of safe, wholesome food at a very affordable price. For those in other countries, a strong U.S. agricultural industry means the opportunity for others to import U.S. products, as well as adopt farming methods that could lead to increased productivity. We truly are so fortunate to have a strong agricultural industry. We have no other people to thank other than our farmers and ranchers. So yes, you should definitely thank a farmer. 
  11. Farmers are caretakers of the land. Land use for farming is a very precious resource. With that being said, it must be properly cared for in order to remain productive in years to come. Farmers are adopting methods by which will conserve land, water and soil. Erosion control practices, rotational planting, rotational grazing and different tilling practices are just a few examples of steps farmers are taking to ensure land’s productivity. In addition, farmers provide habitat for wildlife – providing for at least 75% of the nation’s wildlife. Despite what some may say about farming destroying our environment, farmers truly do care about the land. So yes, you should definitely thank a farmer.
  12. From my own personal experiences, I think it is safe to say that farmers are major contributors in their communities. Whether it be 77aefda9-da0d-4379-9635-b83e1b1fd312donating to their local FFA chapters, 4-H clubs, booster clubs, fair boards, etc., farmers do take part in giving back to their respected communities in some way no matter how financially strapped they may be. In my community of Billings, Missouri, farmers do so much for this town. They provide assistance in weather events (tornadoes in 2003 and 2006, the ice storm of 2007 just to name a few), they support our high school, provide animals/equipment for educational events. I’m sure it is like this in every community, which to me is so amazing. So, yes you should definitely thank a farmer.
  13. Farmers endure so much to produce food that is safe, abundant and affordable for consumers. You may be asking yourself, “Why would someone want to endure so much, not make an abundance of money and not know what each year holds?” The answer is simple. Farmers are passionate about what they do. They love their lifestyle. They understand its importance. They value their livelihood. Farmers remain this way no matter what struggles and hardships they may be facing. Talk about determination, right? There is no doubt that farmers are underappreciated, undervalued and not given the respect they so deserve. With that being said, YES WE SHOULD DEFINITELY THANK A FARMER!

Hopefully this post has been an eye-opener to those who may not realize the importance of our farmers and ranchers. Hopefully it has provided farmers and ranchers with a sense of importance, as well as a sense of pride.

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The year 2013 has definitely been a good one when it comes to agvocating and reaching the public about the importance of agriculture. The “So God Made a Farmer Commercial,” numerous agricultural blogs that have went viral, parodies that have received millions of hits on YouTube and several stories about agriculture being shared on social media outlets are just some of the positive efforts that have happened this year. We also cannot complain about this years growing seasons. Of course, there were some hardships too. The South Dakota blizzard, the tornadoes that ravaged Oklahoma and Illinois, major flooding events, areas of drought and the recent ice storms are just some of the disasters that some of our farmers had to face. However, as I mentioned before, farmers are resilient and determined to keep pushing forward.

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Now it is time for you to take action. Thank a farmer. Respect a farmer. Next time you find yourself behind a slow tractor or combine on the road and become irritated, remember it is those people who feed you. Just do what Craig Morgan sings and “smile and wave, and tip your hat to the man (or woman) in the tractor!” If you drive by a farm and see a farmer working, give them a thumbs up and a wave. Just be grateful and thankful for them. Show some appreciation and respect!

Dodge Ram declared 2013 as the Year of the Farmer. I vote we all take a stand, raise our voices, be thankful for our farmers and make every year a year of the farmer. So share this, share the “So God Made a Farmer” video, share another blog you like that talks about the importance of farmers/agriculture. Just take action to help educate the public about the importance of farming!

Farmers, thank you for all you do!

Until next time…

God Bless You All!

~Ali

My farming family!

My farming family!

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