Category Archives: Cattle Handling Videos starring Feed Yard Foodie!

My Story…

We all have a story.

A chronicle of our individual lives or even a moment in time that helped to determine what makes us “unique”.  Because each of us plays a vital role in the success of our families, our communities, and our country; each story carries a meaningful message in this journey we call life.

The above video is my story.  A seven minute glimpse of Anne — the mom, the farmer, the American.  In 2016, many of us spend a significant amount of time studying food: where it comes from and who grows it.  We make a valiant effort to try to understand why is it grown in so many different ways across the United States.

I hope that my story will provide meaningful insight and transparency relative to farming and food production.  It a story of love, pride, hard work, and technology — that is what allows our farm to be successful.  Matt and I began our work as farmers 19 years ago.  We spend each day committed to each other, and working side by side to continuously improve the way that we grow food.

Please take a few minutes to watch my story.  Please take another minute to share it so that others can get a glimpse of life at a feed yard — a segment of beef farming that is often misunderstood.

The next few blog posts will talk specifically about my partners in the beef production cycle: from the ranchers that provide care for our cattle during the first year of their lives all the way to my brand partners that bring our beef to your dinner table.

Together, we will get a better sense of where your beef comes from!


Filed under Animal Welfare, Beef Cattle Life Cycle: Ranch to Retail, CAFO, Cattle Handling Videos starring Feed Yard Foodie!, Family, Farming, General

Megan’s Dirt and Fun Before the Sun…

After almost three months of summer vacation, my three girls went back to school yesterday.  While we are all looking forward to having more of a routine to our days, I have to admit that I will miss not having them around as much.  My two favorite blondes spent quite a bit of time with me this summer at the feed yard and it will be a bit quiet with them back at school!

Enjoying a beautiful dawn at the feed yard…

One of my “summer” goals was to engage my girls and encourage them to continue learning through the summer months.  Below is a video of my favorite 10 year old emptying a pen of cattle at the feed yard at the beginning of an exercising session.  In addition to starring in the video, Megan also edited the video to include music for your entertainment.  Many of you will remember that Jason Aldean’s hit “Fly Over States” is one of my favorite songs—well, Megan likes it too!  I think that the combination of the song and her video shows clearly what happens in a “Fly Over State”.  Happy watching 🙂


Filed under Cattle Handling Videos starring Feed Yard Foodie!, General

Cattle Handling 101…

Well, it is a good thing that I became a feed yard manager instead of a teacher!  Although it appears that some of you watched the video, only four of you took the interactive challenge.  Many thanks to Robert, Carol, Sherry and Bill for taking the challenge!

Last weekend, I was bemoaning to my husband the fact that my cattle handling videos do not seem to interest very many people—to this comment he replied, “Well, you need to tape the videos in your swimming suit instead of your coveralls.”  While that is an interesting thought, I believe that my years of living in a bathing suit have passed me by.  Handling cattle in a bathing suit would also go against my feed yard safety policy which requires long pants and boots.

20 years ago...

Even though the interaction part of Thursday’s post did not garner great participation, good cattle handling is such an important part of the care that I offer to my animals that I would like to take a few minutes to comment on the video…

At AL Ranch before shipping to my feed yard...

The cattle in the video came from AL Ranch.  Those of you that remember my long series of posts tracing Calf #718 last summer will remember Al and Sallie Atkins (if you missed the series of posts you can find them under the Calf #718 topic archive on the home page).  The cattle featured in the video traveled from AL Ranch to my feed yard a couple of weeks ago.  I had my husband film the beginning of the 3rd day of acclimation for the cattle.

On the 1st day of acclimation, this group of cattle were very sensitive, and I was able to send them to the back corner of the pen before even opening the gate.  They had calmed down significantly by the 3rd session, and so it required a little more energy and pressure on my part to move them away from the gate.  I walked down the bunk line swinging my outside arm with energy in order to get their attention and get them to move away from the gate.

Question #1 was True!

While I want to teach my cattle where the gate is so that they exit the pen easily, I do not want to train them to simply run out of the gate every time that it opens.  This is why I asked the cattle to move away from the gate and toward the corner of the pen before I asked them to leave the pen.

Question #2 was True!

If I had not placed some pressure on the cattle when I entered the pen, then they would have immediately left the pen—they both remembered where the gate was and were interested in leaving!  By the last day of acclimation, the cattle’s interest has changed and  they would rather stay in the pen and just wait for breakfast.  At that point, I know that the animals have attributed comfort to the home pen and I have been successful in acclimating them.

Question #3 was C. Mousey Brown!

Shortly after I entered the pen there was one animal in particular that wanted to go directly out of the gate.  I had to remind the animal a couple of times to move with the group instead of going off on her own to exit the gate.  It is very important for me (as a lone handler) to encourage my animals to move as a group.  If they do not all go together, the flow of the cattle is disrupted and it makes my job as handler very challenging.

Question # 4 was False!

While the video may have been more entertaining if I had been knocked down on my behind by this animal, that is not what occurred.  You could see, however, that I had to move fairly quickly one time to make sure that I redirected the animal toward the herd.

Question #5 was B. Straight Lines and Angles!

If you watch my movements carefully, you will see that I walk in straight lines and move in angles toward the cattle to create alternating pressure that moves the cattle in the direction that I want them to go.

Question #6 was False!

These cattle (once I let them go toward the gate where they wanted to go) have a lot of energy and move very quickly.  They have quite a bit of impulsion.  If you remember back to the last cattle video that I put up, one interesting contrast between the two sets of cattle was their level of impulsion or energy.  While the first pen moved more slowly, this pen of cattle from AL Ranch moved with a higher level of energy.

Question #7: I calmly walked away from the cattle and then applied alternate pressure as needed to manage the flow of movement. This allowed them to leave the pen with confidence.  With a group of animals that have this much energy and desire to go somewhere, once you get good movement it is important to back off and remove the pressure so the cattle stay in a learning frame of mind.  It would be easy to overstimulate cattle of this nature.

My goal is learning and communication which results in organized movement.  While the pressure is what moves the animals, it is the release that allows them to learn.  The amount of pressure that is appropriate to use when handling cattle will change with each group of animals depending on their genetic nature and their prior cattle handling experiences.  It also changes during the acclimation period as the cattle begin to learn and become more comfortable with the handler.

Question #8 was False!

I move in a zig-zag pattern behind the cattle as they trail down the alleyway.  This is an alternate pressure movement (pressure and release) that encourages the animals to continue moving in a straight line.  Cattle are unable to see the area directly behind them, so as I move in a zig-zag pattern they can see me out of the corner of each eye which allows for consistent communication.

Sharing my passion with Megan--the next generation of good cattle handlers!

My husband and children remind me frequently that I tend to be a bit long winded when I get on the subject of cattle handling.  It is a subject that I love.  I hope that my passion is contagious—otherwise you probably quit reading about 500 words ago!


Filed under Cattle Handling Videos starring Feed Yard Foodie!, General

Take the Feed Yard Foodie Cattle Handling Challenge!

We look just as young today as we did 16 years ago when this picture was taken!

I come from a long line of teachers.  My beloved Grannie taught 4th grade for 40+ years, and my amazing mom is still stimulating and educating young high school minds on the art of literary critique and essay writing.  As she so eloquently states, “my students keep me young!”. I believe that interactive learning is important, so I am inviting all of you to Take the Feed Yard Foodie Cattle Handling Challenge!

My favorite 12 year old remarked last night that I had been doing too much pontificating lately..

I always try to follow her advice so, to mix things up a bit, I would like to do an interactive series looking at cattle handling.  Now, as you read this, you should not get that same “sinking sensation” in your stomach that you used to get when you forgot that there was going to be a quiz and showed up to science class completely unprepared…I will not be grading your efforts, and I promise that participating will be FUN!  However, the amount of FUN that we have will be contingent on your enthusiasm and willingness to participate (please don’t let me down here, this will only work if you all watch the video and answer the questions!).  I laughed to my husband last night that I could offer signed copies of the American Cattlemen magazine as Cover Girl to the folks that participate, but he looked at me like I was crazy so I scrapped that idea…

Participating is easy: Step 1: watch this video of the beginning of an exercising session with a group of cattle (it is about 4 minutes long). Step 2:  answer the questions listed below about the video.


1. True or False: At the very beginning of the video, as I walk down the outside edge of the pen to the gate, I swing my outside arm back and forth to both get the cattle’s attention and move them away from the gate.

2. True or False: The cattle remember where the gate is located and are interested in exiting the pen.

3. The animal that challenges me right after I enter the pen, is what color? A. Black, B. Black and White, or C. Mousey Brown.

4. True or False: You can tell that the animal is challenging me because it knocks me over on my behind…

5. My walking pattern while working with the cattle is comprised of A. Circling or curved movements or B.  Straight lines and angles?

6. True or False: These cattle are very lazy and have no energy as they exit the pen in the middle of the video.

7. How do I respond when the cattle begin to walk past me and exit the pen?

8.  True or False: I walk directly down the alleyway behind the cattle without ever changing my angle to them after they leave the home pen.

Extra Credit:  Name three ways that these cattle are either similar or different than the cattle in the last cattle handling video that I put up a few weeks ago.  Here is the link to the last video if you missed it:

You can leave your answers either in the comment section of this post or send them to me privately via the Ask Me section of the blog.  Next Tuesday’s post will talk about both the video and the answers…Have FUN!


Filed under Cattle Handling Videos starring Feed Yard Foodie!, General

Movie Night With Feed Yard Foodie…

A long way from the Lily Pulitzer clothes that my mom used to buy me...

It has been a while since I posted a video clip from the goings on at the feed yard…

The YouTube video link below shows me taking cattle out of the pen for an exercise session…

If nothing else, it has probably been a while (for most of you) since you saw a short lady in coveralls handling cattle…My fashion sense seems to have changed a bit…



Filed under Animal Welfare, Cattle Handling Videos starring Feed Yard Foodie!, General