Living the Farm Life: 20 Life Lessons the Farm Instills

Having the opportunity to have been born and raised on a farm is truly a blessing. Growing up on a farm has taught me so many values and life lessons which have molded me into the person I am today. The truth is, those who have had the opportunity to have been raised on a farm or currently reside on one, understand this concept fully. There is absolutely no doubt, we are lucky. Why? What makes growing up and/or living on a farm so great?

Well, the answer is not as complex as one may think. In fact, the answer is quite simple. The honest truth is there is no other lifestyle like it. There is no other lifestyle where one can learn and be responsible for so much, while fulfilling the role of feeding the world. Pretty remarkable, huh?  2014100495174705

Previously, I have created a post about the truths of growing up a farm kid and how the entire experience is so unique. Now, I want to take it to the next level. Now I am striving to show the world just how amazing living the farming experience is.

So what does farming teach a person? Read these twenty life lessons to find out…

1) Nothing compares to the value of hard work and a strong work ethic. This is something that will never leave you. Hard work is required on a farm. If you are not willing to work, your farm will not survive; therefore you learn at a very young age just how important hard work is and how far it will take you.  DSC00364
2) Nothing comes easy. For all who have stepped foot on a farm can attest to the fact that farming is a tough lifestyle. There is really nothing easy about it. It is a 24/7 job, which a concept not a lot of people can wrap their heads around. You then learn that in order to accomplish something great, you must be willing to take a path that is far from easy. You cannot ever take the easy way out. 168298_1795752055615_1580732_n
3) You will do whatever it takes to keep your family’s tradition alive. Think about it. 98 percent of farms today are family owned. Many farms have been passed down from generation to generation. You learn the importance of your family’s tradition and then will find the desire to uphold that tradition. Your family is one of the most important things in your life, so you will do whatever it takes to protect the heritage. 2011 024
4) Responsibility. Farming teaches you this imporant quality. As a farmer, you are responsible for so many entities; therefore, you must develop responsibility to ensure the needs of your farm are met. You then learn that responsibility is important in everything you do.


5) Priorities. Your farm comes first. If you have a sick animal, you stay with them so that you will save their life. You have hay down and a storm comes. You drop everything to get that hay in. Sometimes, this means you must miss out on normal life events – parties, family get-togethers, etc. You do whatever it takes in order to keep your farm successful. You learn to prioritize. 2008 is Great 032
6) Importance of faith in farming. Farming is hard, there is no question about it. In order to continue, you have to have faith. You learn that faith is the basis of every endeavor you face. 4
7) Fully appreciating God’s works. Living on a farm provides you the opportunities to witness several of God’s works. Sunrises, sunsets, births of newborn animals, watching a mother caring for her young, watching your kids grow and prosper on the land you have worked so hard on, watching your crops grow… God works every day and you are lucky enough to witness it. new baby
8) Essence of listening. Farming requires listening. You listen to your heart to know what steps to take. You listen to your gut when making decisions. You listen to your animals to know what it is they need. The truth is, you become a person who can listen which is very hard to come by. Farm 078
9) Working for future generations. You are the one not only responsible for feeding the world for years to come. You are also the one responsible for doing what it takes to get your children to follow in your footsteps. You are working for them. 20140829_165445
10) Concept of achieving a goal. You set goals – when you want your hay cut, when you want to get your planting done, how many calves you want to send to the sale barn, and the list goes on. In order to meet your goals, you must have a plan in place and the willpower to follow that plan. You have determination to achieve the goal and the rest is history. 7
11) Problem solving and critical thinking. Each day, you are faced with a challenge. You have to learn how incorporate critical thinking in order to solve problems in the most efficient way possible. ice 07 025
12) Care and compassion. You have to have this in order to be a successful farmer. Farming takes someone who is caring and compassionate. There is just no other way of putting it.  6
13) Being a caretaker – family, land and livestock. You are the one responsible for caring for your family, your land and your livestock. You play a huge role in so many different ways, which makes the farming lifestyle that much more exceptional. 975738_10201201608424323_1289800375_n
14) Understanding the value of a dollar. You become conscious of what it takes to have strong monetary skills. In addition, you quickly learn that life is not all about money. You learn that there is no monetary value on happiness; therefore proving you are not farming to just make money. You farm because you love it, which teaches a valuable lesson regarding everyday life. Not everything is about money… 1016244_10201392292111296_1643819930_n
15) Never giving up. Persistence is key in the life of a farmer. No matter how high feed prices get, how much fuel costs or how low the market prices get, you have to push through. This persistence shows through in every task you face. doc
16) Being humble in good times and strong during the bad. As with anything else, there are going to be good times and bad. With farming, it is so important to stay humble when things are good because in a blink of an eye, things can turn south. More importantly, you learn that you must stay strong during the bad times. The way you handle bad times encompasses how you will get through. It will make you stronger to endure more challenges for years to come. starbright
17) Knowledge and wisdom. The amount you learn – from basic remedies to solve everyday problems on the farm, to medicines for your animals, etc., each day provides more learning experiences that makes you that much better. Cranberry 045
18) Respect – elders, land, animals, etc. You respect those who have farmed before you. You respect the livestock and land that allows you to provide for your family. This is something that will never leave you. photo 2
19) Importance of agriculture. You quickly learn your importance. YOU are the one responsible for putting food on tables all over the world. Without agriculture, we would not survive and you completely understand this. 12973_10201593605023993_1495218490_n
20) Knowing the character being a farmer instills into you is something you will never be able to replace. With fewer and fewer people being directly involved in production agriculture, you understand your worth. You understand you are a rarity. The pride you have for your lifestyle inspires you to work hard to be the best person you can possibly be.  5342_201789796644687_27104960_n

 

As you can see, growing up on a farm reaps benefits that follows you throughout your life. It is something you learn to be proud of and you are sure to thank God every day for the opportunity you had or have to be a farmer. Unfortunately, not a lot of people get to experience this. Not many people “get it.” However, for the few of us that are left, it is up to us to protect the farming lifestyle. It is up to us to protect our heritage and ensure families have food on their tables for years to come.

We truly are special people. We truly are a gift. As farmers, we have a purpose. As farmers, we have values in which cannot be replaced. 11

Are you proud to have grown up on a farm? Are you proud to still live on one? I hope this has served as a reminder just how incredible, yet tough, the farm life is. If you are proud to be a farmer, I encourage you to share this post. Show everyone you know just how amazing farming is.

Remember just how special the farming life is and as always, be sure to thank a farmer.

Until next time…

~Ali

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P.S. – Have a safe and Happy Halloween!!!!

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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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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, going fishing, 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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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”

A Cinderella Story Featuring a Cow Named Bambi

Miss Bambi

Fulp Wonderment Bambi

Its the month of August so all of us “show people” know what that means. Show season is in full swing!!! Showing is what this post is mostly about; however it also demonstrates how a dose of bad luck can be quickly turned around by a simple gesture of love and generosity. So sit back and enjoy as I share with you a Brown Swiss Cow Cinderella Story.

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Timberline Jetway Toni

Angela

Timberline Denmark Angela

Like with most of my blog posts, I will begin with a background. When I was growing up, my parents owned a dairy farm where we milked about 60 registered Brown Swiss cows. The cows my parents had developed and/or purchased were simply good and some of the best in Missouri and even the United States. We had grand champion several consecutive years at Ozark Empire Fair in Springfield, as well as several grand champion titles at the Missouri State Fair. We even won Supreme Champion (which is HUGE) at the state fair and Reserve Grand at World Dairy Expo with a cow back in 1999—Timberline Jetway Toni—who has been named one of the greats.  Among winning state shows, our cows had earned All-American and Reserve All-American titles, stood in the top of their class at the World Dairy Expo, won the first ever 3-year old futurity at WDE and even won at other national shows across the country. Needless to say, we had a very strong reputation in the Brown Swiss industry for having top of the line cows and I’ll admit it, huge targets on our backs. We sadly had to sell out in 2004 which I will say was one of the most difficult days of my life. (However, I am proud to say that even today- approximately 9 years later- our cows are still having a huge influence on the Brown Swiss breed through their offspring and continued success in the show ring.) A few years after selling our cows, my parents decided to buy some heifers for my younger sister and I to use as FFA projects and just to give us the chance to show again. Long story short, this turned out to be not as good as plan as we hoped for.

Our first year back, we had a very good show string winning both junior and grand champion at the state fair with two of our animals. We felt really good about our decision to be back; however our luck quickly headed the other way. My parents purchased a really good cow out of Wisconsin named Starbright for my little sister because she never had the chance to own and lead a milk cow. Well after her successful show season the first few months we had her, her health went downhill. It took us a year to get her pregnant and when she finally calved in, her health took a major turn for the worst. She was battling respiratory problems so severe that the vet at the University of Missouri said she could not survive on an actual dairy farm. So my parents being as awesome as they are, decided to set up a portable milker at our house and milk her here. We milked her for 3 months, twice a day at our place. She was happy, healthy and as you can imagine, very spoiled!!!! We all got very attached to her because of her gentle personality and having to spend so much time with her. When show season came around, we felt like she was healthy and strong enough to get back on the tanbark. She was milking over 70 pounds of milk per day, gained all of her weight back and was not showing any signs of having breathing problems. We hauled her to the state fair with hopes of her doing well, as well as the chance of my little sister being able to show a milk cow for the first time. Starbright settled right in at the fair the first two days she was there. The day before she was to show, I noticed her being off her feed and appearing to not feel well. We immediately called a vet to be sure she was okay. Long story short, late Friday night, Starbright breathed her last there in Sedalia, Mo. It was a traumatic life event for my entire family; however my little sister was hurting the worst. She loved her Starbright and it was obvious that Starbright loved her. I will never, ever forget my mom coming into our hotel room sobbing and having to listen to my little sister sob too when she heard the news. (I’m crying right now as I write this.) I will never forget this as long as I live. No person should have to go through losing a cow at a state fair like we did. The next few days, I remember not being able to walk through the barn without having tears streaming down my face. My little sister was a wreck. In the FFA show, I cried as I led my cow for the grand champion drive knowing that it should have been Starbright and my sister out there instead of me. The really bad thing about all of this is the fact that there were people there who began spreading rumors that we killed our cow by “drowning her” to get her looking good for the show when we were actually following the university vet’s orders of giving her BlueLite to get her rumen working. So not only did we have to deal with losing the cow, we also had to go around telling people that we did not kill our own cow by showing them necropsy reports that her lungs were bad and full of infection. (Mizzou’s necropsy on her showed that only 10% of her lungs were functioning and that is was only a matter of time before she couldn’t survive any longer.) Anyways, as you can imagine, we were completely devastated. My sister would cry every single day for the next several weeks. Not seeing Starbright in her paddock was so, so hard.

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Stephanie with our grandparents, Gary and Sue Fulp

About a few weeks later, my grandma- Sue Fulp- called us. She said that she and my grandpa wanted to give my little sister a calf to help heal the hurt she was feeling from losing Starbright. As much as we told grandma she didn’t have to do that, she insisted. Needless to say, a little Brown Swiss calf ended up over here. The calf’s name was Bambi and let me be the first to tell you, it fit her perfectly! She was about the size of a large dog and didn’t weigh 75 pounds. (Most swiss calves her age would have weighed about 120 pounds or more). Even though she was small, she was cute, cute, cute!!! We raised her up and my sister even showed her the next year. She was just an average heifer and always stood in the middle of her class. We sold the rest of our small herd that year, but kept Bambi because she was a gift. (We even tried giving her back, but she said absolutely not.) So we just turned Bambi out and let her grow. Of course with her being the only cow on the place, she also became extremely spoiled and was just like a big pet. When she was old enough, we bred her to one of the best bulls in the breed and she was confirmed pregnant due to calve in May. Throughout the winter, we noticed Bambi was no longer living up to her name. For whatever reason, she went through a major growth spurt. The heifer got HUGE! She was one of the biggest springer heifers any of us had seen. When May came around, Bambi calved in with a really good heifer calf. We sent Bambi back to my aunts and grandparents’ dairy where she would be milked thinking she probably would not turn out to be a show cow and focused most of our attention on that little heifer calf she had. My sister ended up calling the calf Bazinga. (We’re Big Bang Theory fans, can’t you tell?) Bazinga waBazingas a nice calf there was no question. She also had genomic numbers that were out of this world. She never got sick and always had a good appetite. When she was close to being weaned, she began this really bad habit of chewing her rope in half. We were sick of chasing her and worried she was going to get hit on the road, so we decided to go ahead an put her in the weaning pen. She was in there a good 5 days and did not have any problems. Long story short by day 6, we found her down almost dead. We ended up losing her and to this day do not know what caused it. Bazinga even made the profile picture of New Generation Genetics on Facebook and I even had inquiries about her from Europe. It’s always the good ones! Once again, my little sister was devastated. How much bad luck can one kid have?
Fulp Wonderment Bambi Supreme Champion FFA Show 2013 Ozark Empire FairIn the meantime before we lost Bazinga, we realized just how good of a cow Bambi truly was. Back in June, my cousin had called us and said we should highly consider showing Bambi because she had turned out to be a really nice cow. We entered her in the Ozark Empire Fair not expecting much. Granted there was only two head of Swiss there and she was the only cow. HOWEVER, seeing her all clipped and full of milk gave us a good indication that she really was good. Both judges told us she was one of the best 2-year olds they’d seen and that she needed to be shown at the state fair and other national shows. Bambi ended up winning Supreme Champion of the FFA Show beating all other breeds. There was about 80 head of dairy cattle there and many exhibitors stopped by to tell us we had a good one. Unfortunately, there were those who talked saying it wasn’t a big show and that winning supreme was not a big deal there. Well it definitely was to us knowing the full story and knowing she was a gift from my amazing grandparents. Also, being able to see the excitement on my sister’s face after seeing it completely devastated when she lost Starbright was simply amazing. My grandma and grandpa were soooo excited when they heard how well Bambi did! So, we ended up paying late fees and entered her in the state fair.

Bambi_and_Ali

Me and Bambi or as we also call her “Bam-Bam”

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So thankful for this cow allowing my sister to experience this!

Bambi made the trip to Sedalia with my cousins and their cows. She did well in the open show placing 2nd in her class and winning reserve intermediate champion. In the FFA show, she won her class, was intermediate champion and reserve grand champion. Bambi will also be making a journey to Stillwater, Oklahoma for the Southwestern National Show and possibly even to Louisville, Kentucky for the Eastern National Show.

Throughout all of this success, we make it known that people know Bambi’s story and be sure to give all the credit to our grandparents. We want their story to be heard!

This has been a lengthy post, but given the story, I did not want to leave any details out. For some, it is hard to understand how attached we get to our cows. For others who do understand, they will get teary eyed as they read this post. I do look at life differently than a lot of people, but to me this story serves as a life lesson. My grandparents saw my sister hurting and did what nobody else did. They acted and gave my sister a calf to help heal the hurt. My grandma obviously had no idea Bambi would turn out the way she did…nobody did! (Honestly, I almost laughed when I first saw her because she was such a runt.) They acted out of love, kindness and generosity. To me, that is what makes this story so special. Of all the calves she had, for whatever reason she chose Bambi. I truly believe that the reason Bambi turned out so well is because of my grandmas act of nothing but pure kindness and love. Some may be jealous, some may be pessimistic, some may even just shake their heads. I don’t care.

I think it is fate, and I believe it is God’s way of showing us that no matter how bad life gets, there are always better days ahead. He really does reward us for living like Christians should

Look at my sister for example. She lost Starbright and Bazinga. If it was not for Bambi, I do not know how she would be right now. The really cool thing about this is that Bambi was not a result of going out and spending thousands of dollars. She was not a result of greed. I am so thankful for my grandma and grandpa. They set a good example like always and this story just proves that. It also proves that everything really does happen for a reason. Next time you see them, give them a hug. Congratulate them on breeding a phenomenal cow. We are the ones who show her; however they are the ones who created her. They are the ones who gave my sister this opportunity. They are truly an inspiration! I love them so very much. Words truly cannot express how appreciative, honored, blessed, and the list goes on and on, myself as well as the rest of my sisters and cousins are to have them as grandparents.

This truly is your typical Cinderella Story. Granted, there are probably not many of these featuring a cow; however when you’re a girl who has been involved in dairy for so long and who has grown up loving basketball, I couldn’t resist using the term to describe this story. I hope this influences you like it has influenced me. Thank you for reading this all the way through. Until next time, God Bless!

~Ali

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Way to hang in there Steph. This is only the beginning for what is in store for the two of you!

Agriculture… “It has led me here to this”

These past few weeks, I have had several moments where I have thought about how I have gotten to the point I am at today. How has my decisions affected the person I am, the person I want to be and the person I will be in the future? How exactly have I ended up where I am? Besides the fact that God has blessed me beyond measure and the support I have received from my family, I can only think of one other answer to this question. The answer is agriculture.

To back this story up some, I should begin by discussing my upbringing and background. I grew up on a dairy farm. I was put on a horse (and even Brown Swiss cows) before I could walk, I started helping in the milk barn before I even started kindergarten and can remember getting into some trouble doing things that typical farm kids do. So yes, agriculture has been with me from day one. I was always active in 4-H and FFA by showing cows and horses and participating in contests. However, looking back to my senior year in high school, pursuing a career in agriculture did not even cross my mind.

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Many people can’t believe this because they’ve always known me to be the ag kid of my class and even of all my sisters. I actually thought I wanted to become a physical therapist (all I saw were dollar signs) and eventually work at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis. In my head this sounded like the perfect plan, but when it came right down to it, my heart was leading me in a completely opposite direction. When I attended freshman orientation at Missouri State University, the realization hit that physical therapy was not my fit. I had a small meltdown when I got home from the first day of orientation because I felt like my future was blurred. What was I going to do with my life? How would I figure out what I wanted to do? Luckily, my dad agreed to go to the second day of orientation with me so I would not have a complete anxiety attack. I am so glad he did!!! He was the one who took me to see the head of the William H. Darr School of Agriculture which ended up being one of the most influential days of my life.

Within 30 seconds of being in the school of agriculture, I knew I had found my “home.” There was no doubt that agriculture was my future and that it was where I belonged. The four years I spent working on my undergraduate degree were some of the most memorable times of my life. I surpassed the expectations I had of myself—I went from a shy, unconfident girl to a woman who has utmost belief in herself to make a difference in this crazy world we live in and to keep agriculture a strong industry. Everything I learned from growing up on a farm- including hard work ethic, determination, teamwork and leadership- pushed me to be a strong student and leader. I also overcame the fear of stepping up out of my comfort zone and experiencing as much as possible. Internships, joining the Missouri State Equestrian Team, becoming an officer in student organizations on campus and becoming more involved in my community were just a few that happened because of this. I quickly learned that hard work and taking risks really does pay off, and also that I should always have faith. When I reflect on my entire undergraduate experience, it does not seem real. (I also do not know how I was able to do so many things in four short years!) These years developed me into the person I am today and have made me fully understand how important it is to stand up, protect and fight for our agriculture industry.

As many know, I am now in graduate school at Missouri State working on my master’s degree in agricultural communications. Has it been stressful? Most definitely, but I know it is going to be well worth it. I feel like I am just being primed to be an influential “agvocate” and promoter of the agricultural industry. Whether it be public relaitons, promotion, marketing, writing, broadcasting or whatever else, I believe that I will be well prepared for whatever my future career has in store. I do know that I want to do whatever I can to help our farmers because it is them who keeps us all alive. I want to do my part in educating the public about where their foods comes from so that they will not be influenced by extreme animal/environmental activists and so that they will learn to have a greater respect for farmers/ranchers. I also want to do my part in ensuring that future generations will not go hungry. And above all, I want to do all I can to keep agriculture thriving in the United States.

So when asked how or what has been a major impact of my life, I can safely say this. God, my family and agriculture has! My journey has been a pretty crazy one; however I feel so humbled and blessed. I am so fortunate to have be part of a great agriculture school and also to have a strong agriculture background.

Next time you find yourself pondering about how you have gotten where you are in your life, tell us about it. Share your story!

As I wrap up this extremely long post, I want to say this-

The world of agriculture has led me here to this!

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Journey to Delaware

While many spent their spring breaks at the beach or with their families, I spent mine in the tiny state of Delaware. (The nations first official state!) You are probably thinking two things right now. 1) What in the world were you doing there? and 2) What is there to do in that state?

I made the trip to Harrington, Delaware (home of the Delaware State Fairgrounds) to show horses in the IHSA Western Semi-Finals, I had qualified for this event by being the Reserve Regional Champion a few weekends ago. Granted, there was not much to do in the small town of Harrington; however this trip was one I will never forget. I have highlighted my experiences and have put them in a list below. Enjoy!!!!

  • I got to fly on an airplane for the 3rd time in my entire life. We flew out of St. Louis into Philadelphia the first trip. On the trip back home, we flew from Philadelphia, Cincinnati then to St. Louis. It was amazing because a trip that would have taken 16 hours driving only took 2 hours in an airplane. Thank goodness for that!
  • It was amazing to see how many people did not know what a hat can was. I got so many strange looks from people as I carried it through security and on the plan. Once I explained it to them, you would have thought it was the coolest thing they had ever saw.
  • I got to experience firsthand the craziness of Philadelphia drivers. We had to ride in a bus from the airport to the car rental place. The driver’s name was Al and he told us that he was “an express driver.” He wasn’t kidding. That man was flat-out CRAZY!!! We made it there in one piece…suprisingly.
  • The state of Delaware is tiny; however a very interesting state. It has a lot of agriculture, which I thought was very interesting. There were several acres of flat cropland, along with several wooded areas. Even though there was a lot of crops, I did not see a single cow. There were several horses, however.
  • Harrington, Delaware is home of the Delaware State Fairgrounds, where the horse show was held. It is also home of Chick’s Saddlery, which is a famous discount tack store. There were few restaurants and hotels; however it did have a very large casino, which appeared to be the town’s hotspot.
  • We were only an hour away from the ocean. Since I had never been to the ocean before, we spent all of Friday morning at the Rehoboth Beach. Seeing the ocean for the first time was a feeling I will never forget! Even though the Atlantic was freezing cold, I still had to put my feet in the water to say I had been in an ocean. It was definitely worth it.
  • Saturday and Sunday were spent showing horses. I had made it out of the preliminary round on Saturday, which allowed me to show in the final round on Sunday. The final round did not go as I would have liked. I ended up placing 7th out of 16. (I needed 4th to make it to nationals.) Even though I would have liked to have made it to nationals, I still felt very accomplished for even placing. The competition was really tough!

As you can see, I had a very eventful Spring Break. Delaware ended up being quite an interesting little state. It was a very fun experience being able to participate in the 2012 IHSA Semi-Final competition. If it was not for this horse show, I would not have been able to visit a beach or visit Delaware itself. It is crazy to think that myAGventures have made it to this state; however I am so grateful that it did.

What did you do over Spring Break? Hopefully you have a story to tell, along with memories that will last a lifetime!!

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