Leaving for college doesn't mean leaving the farm.

College Life

Pork Problems

Sitting in my PE lecture this morning, I get a text from my sister about pork on the Early Show. Some of you might have seen it, but for those of you that didn’t, here it is!

Consumer Reports Sounds Alarm on Pork Safety

After Bethany told me about it, and I later watched it, it actually made me kinda mad. This is how our industry gets a bad reputation. Watching the video, they told you all the side effects and then hit you with what I loving call ‘word vomit’. They tell you all the scientific aspects that the average person can’t understand and that the same average person will eventually tune out. When they get done with the ‘word vomit’, they bring out the report of Scott Hurd, a former USDA food official from Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, who states that the report ‘is inflamed and used a small amount of data to frighten people.’ He also states that the meat is safe. But did most of America see and understand that portion of the segment? I don’t think so. I think most were still struggling to understand all of the scientific terminology from the previous portion. So this is your chance! Your chance to spread the word about agriculture and tell the story of your pork! Good luck!


Coming Back

As you have probably noticed, I haven’t blogged in a long while. Coming home last summer to two straight weeks of intense farm work and a drought that is still lingering in our pastures, it was hard to find the time or the energy to type. I have been considering getting back to blogging for a while now, but could never get that final push to actually sit down at the computer and open up my WordPress account. This last weekend has been that final big push. Attending Track 2 of the Agriculture Future of America Leadership Conference, I realized that I missed blogging.

The Missouri State Crew at AFA Leadership COnference

We were constantly talking about Twitter and LinkdIN and I knew that I had to get back to blogging. Most of you have probably never heard of the AFA program, so I strongly suggest you check it out! Bringing together about 500 hundred college students for a four day weekend of leadership, communication and networking, it is the best conference I have ever attended. Not only did I get that push to jump back into social media, I also made a lot of contacts throughout our industry. While sitting in one of the sessions, we talked about communication of our story to the public, and how many farmers hide in their communities. I am tired of sitting back and hiding in my community. So here I am telling my story again! I guess I had to realize that I wasn’t blogging to get as many followers and comments as I could, I just needed to tell my own story and hope that one day, I will be able to influence the lives of others like this conference influenced my life.


20 Things I Learned my First Year of College

  1. Clean your dorm bathroom more than once your whole first year. (That’s a whole new level to nasty!)
  2. Calling your parents involves actually talking, not just asking for one thing and then hanging up.
  3. When you only get to ride your horses on the weekends, they tend to get fat very quickly.
  4. Pay attention in class. You will actually be able to use it later in life. (Especially those agriculture classes)
  5. Take classes that you want to take, not just the classes that are in your major (that’s how I changed my major all together!)
  6. When the teacher says to study, make sure you actually study.

    Me actually studying!

  7. Driving in the ‘big city’ of Springfield, Missouri takes on a whole new meaning of paying attention to the road.
  8. It also takes on a whole new meaning to getting lost.
  9. Talk to people in your classes. Without someone to laugh with and talk to, that semester is going to drag on.
  10. Join clubs. Not only does this help you meet people, but it gets you contacts in your industry.
  11. Coming home to work on the farm really shows how out of shape college makes you.
  12. If you want to do something, whether it be go out to eat, join a club, or change majors, DO IT. Holding back will get you nowhere, while giving it a shot is going to push you ahead of the crowd.
  13. Get to know your teachers. This may seem like something that everyone says, but I must say it’s actually true.
  14. Enjoy the view, literally. Living on the eighth floor gave me a great view of most of the MSU parking lots.

    The parking lot… through my screen of course!

  15. Make new friends, but don’t ignore the old ones.
  16. You can talk with your dad about weaning weights, and pasture rotations and actually contribute intelligent information to the conversation.
  17. Your bed doesn’t actually make itself.
  18. People outside of the agriculture department have never seen mud boots like yours and will stare at you.
  19. Don’t wish your days away. Today is here so live it like there is no tomorrow.
  20. And finally, don’t look back. It’s in the past and not coming back. You have to keep looking forward, forward to what you want to be. Because that is when you will find out who you truly are.

Sisters at Science Camp

For the first time in a long time, my weekend didn’t start with my sister and I driving home. Instead, I passed my exit following two Missouri State University vans full of my Sigma Alpha sisters headed to Rolla and Cub Creek Science camp for a sisterhood retreat. And let me tell you, I was not excited!

After dealings with a flat tire and a car battery that didn’t want to stay charged, I was ready to go home. After getting in our cabin ( with air conditioning, what a relief!) and having the usual camp food of hot dogs for supper, my night was turning out way better than I expected; especially after we went to the camp zoo. If I can’t see my own horses, the next best thing is exotic animals and miniature horses. After team building with Hulu hoops and noodles ( the colorful water floaty kind), I thought it was time for bed. But with twenty other girls in one cabin and a very intense game of Buzzword, I finally for to climb into my bed at one o clock. The next day we had a whole new load of adventures waiting for us outside our cabin. After another wonderful meal of camp food (this time it was pop tarts) we struggled into rope harnesses and helmets.

Ready for the ropes!

After we got the awkward harnesses tightened in a the right places, each sister got attached to the rope swing while the rest of us pulled them up. It was a pretty cool concept to know that your sisters alone are pulling you that high into the air. After the ripe swing, we all conquered an awesome zip line and ate our final round of camp food, ham and turkey sandwiches.

Ready to pull!

After some more team building after lunch, we found some shade for the closing remarks. As we sat there, I realized that I had a lot of fun. Which I didn’t think was gonna happen so that got me thinking about other things. Maybe I should try new things more and look at old things with a new perspective. On Sunday, as I worked my horses, (to my delight, Chex wasn’t limping!) I realized that not only do you have to give new things a chance but you have to be thankful for what you have.

Two of the things I am thankful for- my horses and my home.


My Empty Bucket

If you live anywhere near Mid-Missouri, you know that this weekend was a complete monsoon. So, that means nothing exciting happened on the farm. Except for Chex is longer swelled up! With flooding and mud everywhere, I stayed inside pretty much the whole weekend, (except when Bethany and I went outside and got completely and absolutely soaked feeding everyone on Sunday).

Instead of doing exciting things outside, I tried catching up on homework. I ended up looking at Pinterest and catching up on all the blogs I haven’t read (I am the ultimate procrastinator!). Reading other blogs really gets me thinking about my life and where it’s going. So instead of finishing my homework, I decided that I needed a Bucket List! Doesn’t everybody? It may not be long but hey, I can always add new stuff! So here it is, after one day and couple of inches of rain:

My Bucket List

Travel

  1. Washington DC- Its one of those places that I think each person should visit with their family and with Dad in the Army, it has an even bigger meaning
  2. Las Vegas- Another place I think every person should visit, but not with my family. 🙂
  3. Montana- I would love to see and even be a part of a ‘real’ ranch even if it is only for a visit
  4. Amarillo, Texas- Being in almost every country song, it has to be a pretty cool place

Crafts

  1. Twenty Five Pinterest crafts- I am a new Pinterest member and I must say, my craft list is already overloaded!
  2. Finish my Desk- Three of us college girls are renting a house next year, and instead of buying a desk, I decided to build it. Currently, it’s only a stained wooden top though.
  3. Build a bookshelf- What can I say, I like working with my hands (and Markway’s never do anything easy!)

My half-way-done desk

School

  1. Network- Last November, I went to AFA and made lots of friends my own age but didn’t make any industry contacts (which is VERY essential!)
  2. Get an internship- Goes hand in hand with networking
  3. Get a master’s degree… eventually- By eventually, this could mean in three years, five years, or ten years.

Fun

  1. Go to wine tasting- A class is offered at Missouri State University, just have to wait until 21!
  2. Learn to drive the boat faster- And by faster, I mean the fastest I have driven is just over an idle when we snag

  1. Go river rafting- Rocks, rapids and all.
  2. Go to a beach- And not have a plan for the day, just me, the water and what I want to do
  3. Learn to drive the truck and trailer- I want to be able to go to the arena when I want, for as long as I want

Our 'Rig'

  1. Go skiing- Nothing like flying down a mountain to give you an adrenalin rush!
  2. Ride a mechanical bull- Again with the adrenalin (I’m an adrenalin junkie!)
  3. Learn to two-step- Technically, I know how to do it, I just suck at it.

Personal

  1. Journal- I keep saying it will happen, but one day I am going to make it happen
  2. Memorize my M number– Which is basically your Missouri State University social security number
  3. Connect with old friends- College has gotten in the way of my home life 🙂
  4. Show more gratitude- Doesn’t everybody need to?

My hope is to finish it by the end of my college career, but who knows! Any more suggestions?


The Simple Things

“Are you going home again?” Every Thursday, my day is full of the same question, and of course, the answer is always yes. Most people don’t know why I go home each weekend, but for me the answer is simple. On Sunday, I rode my horse, Rowdy, with my barrel horse, Chex, ponied beside me. As I loped around the field, the answer was easy. I go home because I love the simple things in life. I like driving home on a two lane back road with good music in the background. I like coming down our driveway and seeing horses on one side and cows on the other. I like painting our pulling tractor on a Sunday, splitting wood on a Saturday, eating a homemade supper on a Friday night. I love the smell of hay as we feed our cows and the sounds my horses make when it’s feeding time.

Thinking about all the simple things made me think of where I would be without my farming background. I wouldn’t have any hobbies, responsibilities, or anything to do in my free time. I wouldn’t have horses or cows, and I wouldn’t know how to drive a tractor or a truck and trailer. I wouldn’t have the fun memories of fishing and swimming in the pond or sledding behind the four wheeler. But most of all, I wouldn’t have the friends and family that share the same experiences with me. Basically I wouldn’t have a life!

Going to college made me realize that my heart would always be in the agricultural industry. It also made me slow down and enjoy the simple things of life. Even though, I may change my mind about what I want to do with my life, I know it will always be centered around the simple things.


Spreading the Word

When I was a high school senior, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. When people would ask what I wanted to be when I ‘grew up’, I would give the career that I currently thought I wanted to do or just give the standard ” I’m going into agriculture”. This is when people started to bug me. If I said my current career (which was usually a veterinarian), people would usually nod enthusiastically and say something that was supposed to encourage me. If I said I had no clue, they would laugh, and patting my arm, refer to how their son or daughter had no clue either and they turned out just fine. But if I said I was going into agriculture, they wouldn’t nod enthusiastically or talk about their own kids. “Oh, that’s nice” and a subject change was the usual response. Why was there such a difference in their responses when I was still going into the same field? Because they, like many other people around the world, are uneducated about the agriculture field.

Now that I am in college, these people to seem to grab my attention more. Cruising through YouTube, you can find multiple videos that show people who are uneducated about our field. So what should we do? We should educate the public, of course! By talking to local high schools about the William H. Darr School of Agriculture, I am doing my part. But you can do your part, too. Make your own YouTube video like the one we made in our Public Relations in Agriculture class. Just answering the question of where your beef comes from at your local supermarket could change the way people look at our industry. No matter how small your part is, we must start spreading the word. Spreading the word about how our food is grown, where our clothing comes from, and how agriculture is our life.