Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My November Column

Every month I write a column for the Dakota Farmer magazine.  I've really enjoyed writing it over the last couple years.  Last months column was pretty special for me.  I've had several people tell me that this has been their favorite article I've written.  Take a look and tell me what you think.

Click here to see the magazine article.

The cable news channel CNN ran a story on their website this summer that raised the question “Does 4-H desensitizes kids to killing?”.  As a former 4-H member for 13 years and the parent of a first year 4-H member this certainly caught my attention.  Over the course of those 13 years I spent countless hours leading, washing, combing and clipping on calves.  I did everything I could to make them as comfortable and healthy as possible.  So how could anyone ever believe that this somehow desensitizes kids?  
According to the story, some believe that 4-H helps desensitize youngsters into having no emotional attachment to animals raised for food.  A few of the commenters even tried to claim that this was some grand conspiracy by the meat industry to keep them in business.  Apparently by forcing these kids to sell their livestock to be processed somehow turns them into greedy, uncaring people and will lead to a life of mistreating the animals in their care.  
The truth of the matter is that it teaches kids about responsibility and how life works and is sustained.  We just capped off our 4-H year with a trip to Rapid City, SD for the Western Junior Livestock Show.  It’s a tremendous show that our son was very excited to be part of.  For his first year in 4-H he decided to show a bred heifer named Morgan.  All summer and through the fall he learned how to care for his calf.  He probably put a hundred miles on his bike just going back and forth to the barn to check on her.  In the end his hard work paid off when he proudly marched his well-behaved heifer into that show ring with a grin on his face.  
While we were at the show I tried to figure out how all of the hard work each one of those kids had put in that summer could somehow be a bad thing?  I didn’t see any desensitized kids.  What I saw were hard working, polite young people, working with their families and their fellow 4-Her’s to learn responsibility and proper livestock care.  
I also couldn’t help but think what a better place our world may be if every kid had a “Morgan” in their life for just one summer.  Morgan will be in our herd for the next several years but like every cow on the ranch her time will come to an end.  However, the lessons she taught our son will last forever and for that I’m grateful.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Food Defense Drill

TPS holding 'food defense' drill today 

by: ANDREA EGER World Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
11/8/2011 10:59:54 AM

Tulsa Public Schools and local emergency responders will be conducting a "food defense" drill Tuesday. 

Officials said evaluations of potential terrorist threats revealed that the school district's food production and distribution system could be vulnerable to attack from an individual or group wanting to cause public panic or harm to children and their families through the intentional contamination of food.

In addition to TPS officials, Tuesday's drill will involve the Tulsa Area Emergency Management Agency, the Tulsa Health Department, emergency response and law enforcement agencies and local healthcare providers.

"Our job is to evaluate potential threats to our schools, and there is always the possibility that schools could become a target," said Bob Roberts, emergency management coordinator for TPS. "It's important that we act proactively to prevent the tampering of foods that are used in schools. We need to be prepared for emergency situations, to respond quickly and effectively if a crisis occurs and to have recovery plans in place.

The practice exercise will test our battle readiness and ensure that we are in the best possible shape to act should an event occur."

The exercise will be a discussion-based drill based on a Department of Agriculture toolkit that will guide participants through a mock scenario of an intentional food contamination in the schools.   Read More

A couple of things crossed my mind when I read this.  First was about how things have changed over the years.  We've gone from nuclear attack drills now to food defense drills.  And the second thought I had was that this should remind everyone how important a home-grown food supply really is.  The quickest way that our country could lose it's sovereignty is by relying on other countries to produce the food and fiber we depend on.  So when we see anti-agriculture groups trying to regulate farmers and ranchers out of business in this country they are really damaging our country's ability to survive.   -Troy

Friday, November 4, 2011

Steaks for Troops Needs Your Help

It was last January when I had the privilege of meeting Bill Broadie.  Bill has spent his entire life in the beef industry except for the years he gave to his country.  He's a Vietnam War veteran that, like many of his fellow soldiers, didn't receive the hero's welcome he should have when he came home from the war. 
It's hard for me to understand why this would ever happen but Bill wanted to make sure that our current soldiers didn't have to experience the same thing.  He combined his passion for the beef industry with his appreciation for our nation's returning heroes when he formed the All-American Beef Battalion.  It's a program that feeds our troops and their families the best home-cooked steak dinner imaginable when they return home from the war. 
Going out for a nice steak dinner with our families is something that most of us take for granted.  But these soldiers haven't seen their families in months or years and during that time they certainly weren't eating at a nice restaurant.  Listening to Bill tell the stories of how much our troops appreciate this simple act of appreciation will bring a tear to anyone's eye and make you appreciate everything you have. 
We were excited when Bill called us this week to give us an update on the program.  They have fed nearly 100,000 steaks to our troops and their families since the program started. This program runs on the generosity of those who donate money and supplies.  But lately they have been feeding more steaks than there is cash coming in.  Every soldier deserves our thanks for their sacrifice which is why I’m proud to donate so they can enjoy a great steak served by America’s farmers and ranchers.  
I would really encourage all of you to support it as well.  They are a non-profit that relies on people like you.  If they can't get that support then our troops don't get to enjoy one of these meals.  
Bill is serving his country for the second time in his life, let's give him the appreciation and support he should have gotten the first time.  Please visit the All-American Beef Battalion and make a donation today.