Category Archives: Nutrition (cattle and human)

Beef…It’s My Comfort Food.

All the while that Megan and I attended the Live Well 2013 workshop in Chicago last weekend, I kept thinking to myself “Why do I eat Beef?“.  There are truly a myriad of reasons why I choose to eat beef everyday; however, my pensive consideration of this question continually led me back to one answer.


Beef is my comfort food…

It is the food that reminds me of the love of family gathered around the dinner table.

This is what it is all about...

It is the food that brings back memories of my dad grilling in the backyard with a smile bright enough to light up the deck.steak dinner 014

It is the food that celebrates my past while also creating new cherished moments with my own children in the kitchen.IMG_3023

It is the food that I reach for to fuel not only my body, but also my soul.

Ultimate T-Bone

I love beef because it does so much more than just provide nutrition for my body.

Beef creates a culture of love and celebration that provides the backbone of our family meal traditions.



Filed under General, Nutrition (cattle and human)

Meatful Mondays…

This fall, my favorite 7th grader developed a tendency to role her eyes at me during family discussions.  I adopted a new policy at the Feed Yard Foodie house to counteract this unacceptable habit—every eye roll is equal to 10 push-ups.

She’s gotten pretty good at them…

This new rule has led to two developments: 1. There are fewer eye roll movements at our dinner table, and 2. My oldest daughter is developing “pipes” for bicep muscles that rival what mine looked like during my competitive swimming days…

This new protocol has been incredibly effective, and I view it as one of my more successful parenting initiatives.  My daughter is refocusing on showing respect for adults while also improving her physical strength.  It’s a win-win deal.  She is a smart kid, and over the past few months she has learned to catch herself right before the “eye roll” starts, simply replacing it with a smile instead.  The result is a much better dinner experience for the family!

The power of a beautiful smile and her Mama’s homemade meat loaf with home grown hamburger and tomatoes!

Every time that I read about the “Meatless Monday” campaign, I experience the same reaction as when my daughter rolls her eyes at me.  Very simply, I get angry.  The campaign (as seen again yesterday by the Los Angeles city council’s announcement) is frequently aligned with rhetoric about improving your health.  In this instance, Councilwoman Jan Perry is quoted as saying that the resolution is part of an overall “good food” agenda for the city which will result in better health amongst the community of Los Angeles.  I disagree with Councilwoman Perry—I believe that beef plays a key role in good health.

Beef’s Competitive Advantage #2

Beef is a natural food that is a great source of 10 essential nutrients including zinc, iron and protein.  There are 29 cuts of beef that meet the government standards for lean—some of my favorites include lean ground beef, tenderloin and T-bone steaks.  All of these 29 cuts of beef have 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 3 ounce serving.  The protein found in beef helps to maintain healthy body weight, build muscle (just look at my daughter’s biceps!), and plays an important role in a healthful lifestyle and disease prevention.

Here’s to strength and good health!

Is it possible to process or cook beef in a way to make it less healthy?  Absolutely…But, there are also a great variety of tasty ways to include healthy lean beef in your diet.  Ways that allow you to focus on good health while enjoying beef’s signature great taste.

Councilwoman Perry, it is not about the beef, it is about the way that it is prepared and what is served to compliment it! 

I believe that a healthy diet needs to include a diverse selection of food.  I feed my family beef almost every single day because I believe that it is a critical part of maintaining our good health.  I pair beef with fruits, vegetables and whole grains to provide a healthy blend of nutrients.  Between cross country, volleyball, basketball, soccer, gymnastics and swimming– my girls need fuel to get through the day.  Of course, we can’t forget the nightly push-ups either!

The west was won on a diverse diet of meat, grains and vegetables…Her cross country races were won that way as well.

The Feed Yard Foodie house proudly participates in Meatful Mondays

Have you served your family one of the 29 cuts of lean beef recently?  Check out for more ideas of how to fuel your family with great tasting lean beef.


Filed under General, Nutrition (cattle and human)

Redefining Breakfast…

Our house has always been a “cereal and fruit” breakfast place.  Most of that stems from the fact that I go to work before 6:00am every morning so my girls have learned to fend for themselves.  Cereal and fruit require little cooking and are fast and easy to fix…

My cattle eat breakfast at the same time that my children do, so Daddy is in charge of breakfast at our house…

There are times on the weekends when one of my older girls will make home-made pancakes (my grandfather has a secret recipe that is awesome!), or they will con their daddy into making home-made crepes with strawberries.  But, up until this week, cereal and fruit have provided the mainstay on school mornings.

As you all know, my girls went back to school last week.  You may or may not be aware that school lunch requirements as dictated by the USDA have changed significantly this school year.  These changes were precipitated by Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move” program designed to reduce childhood obesity.

She’s long and lean and needs to be properly “fueled”…

While I am a huge fan of fruits, vegetables and whole grains and fully support seeing more of a priority placed on these food items in the lunchroom; I am truly at a loss at the calorie and protein limits that are also included in the new school lunch plan.  As a seventh grader, my favorite Junior High Cross Country runner will only receive between 9-10 ounces of meat per week and 600-700 calories per day if she chooses to eat school lunch…

For someone who leaves home at 7:45am, goes to school all day, and then has Cross Country practice until 5:30 at night, the new school lunch leaves her body nutritionally unprepared for the demands that are being made on it.  As a young athlete who is still growing and developing, she needs some ZIP (Zinc, Iron, Protein) to get her through the day.  A 2 ounce hamburger is just plain not enough…

Neither are Cross Country races…

Matt and I spent the weekend discussing what we could do to solve this problem.  This week, we are “redefining breakfast” at the Feed Yard Foodie house.  Matt is taking up residence as a short order breakfast cook.  The cereal and fruit that used to be on the menu are now being replaced with needed protein and a hot meal to help my girls get through the day.

Hot oatmeal, bacon, eggs, pancakes, and breakfast burritos with eggs and hamburger will likely all appear on the menu as we venture through the week…

Only time will tell what Chef Matt will come up with–I am simply thankful that he is such a devoted daddy 🙂

While I am confident that Matt and I can come up with a compromise at our house to make sure that our girls get enough to eat, I am frustrated that this is an issue.  I worry that other children whose parents do not have the time, money or motivation to get up and cook for them will suffer.

We live in a small community where many of the Junior High and High School students do a sport after school.  Universal participation is necessary so that our school can have sports teams.  These young athletes need a good lunch that will carry them through the afternoon and its physical challenges.

Our school lunch program needs to FUEL THEM so that they can MOVE!

Does anyone have breakfast menu suggestions for Chef Matt to help him fuel our girls for the day?


Filed under General, Nutrition (cattle and human)

Fitness Is A Personal Choice…

I remember going for runs with my dad when I was in elementary school.  I think that I did my first 2 mile fun run in 2nd or 3rd grade.  My dad is a life-long runner and never got out of the habit when he retired from the Army Reserves.  He is still an active runner and walker today at age 67.  Fitness has always been his choice and he passed that on to me…

The habit of running paid off with two Florida Cross Country Team Championships…This championship was my junior year in high school–my teammate and I individually took first and second places and all five of our scoring runners placed in the top 20.

I also remember vividly when our family got our first VCR player.  I was in high school.  I came home from swimming practice one night with a friend, and heard very strange noises coming from the family room.  My friend remarked, “What is that?”

It was my dad, trying out his new VCR player and turkey calling instructional tape.  His sole reason for purchasing the VCR player was so that he could practice his turkey and duck calling prowess and become a more skilled hunter.  Apart from the embarrassing moments of friends stopping by while my dad practiced his unique skills, the VCR and TV remained virtually unused at my house.

Instead of watching TV, our family went for runs or did various other outdoor activities (including putting those turkey and duck calling skills to work hunting on ranches in Central Florida).  By the time that I graduated from high school, I could hunt, fly fish, run, swim, and sail with the best of them…

I shot a wild hog on my 13th birthday. My brother was my “guide”…

It would be pretty easy to say that I grew up in a very active and fit family.  Just about the only thing that we did not do well was sit still…Fitness and activity were an integral part of my upbringing and they still play a huge role in my life today.

I spend my days working with large animals at the feed yard.  When I come home, my hobby is working with and riding my horses.  I also still run, walk, and swim pretty regularly.  It seems as though the only time that I sit still is when I write blog posts!

I love to care for animals…

You could argue that I weigh 110 pounds soaking wet because I have good genetics, but I believe it to be much more than that.  I believe that my personal choice to be active and to eat a balanced diet also plays a large role in my physical stature.  There is no secret to my diet—I simply balance my food intake to include protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, while also balancing my activity level with the amount of chocolate that I eat (yes, I love chocolate dearly…).

I love to be active…

It seems as though every time the radio news comes on, someone is talking about the growing problem of obesity in our country.   In fact, I just heard the other day that Mayor Bloomberg of New York City decided to issue ultimatums curtailing the sale of beverages that contained sugar in order to combat the problem of obesity.  As I heard the radio announcement, I thought to myself fitness is a personal choice.

I volunteer many hours coaching the youth in my community because I believe that they will learn good life long habits of fitness by participating in athletics…

I teach my girls that every action has a consequence, and I believe that wholeheartedly.  Food choices and exercise are personal decisions, and they each play a role in our physical fitness.   Perhaps the answer to combating obesity is encouraging our youth to be active—fitness habits are learned early in life.

I not only “coach” my daughters, but I also lead by example and compete in the same swimming meets that they do thereby reinforcing that exercise is a life long habit…

The time that I spend with my girls achieving fitness is time that I truly cherish.  We not only train our bodies to be healthy, but we also build an invaluable loving family relationship.  Fitness and family fun go hand in hand—What is your favorite fitness activity to do with your family?


Filed under General, Nutrition (cattle and human)

The Bulldog Award…

My two favorite blondes had their end of the year gymnastics performance last weekend.  At the end of the program, a few special awards were given to gymnasts who demonstrated remarkable character throughout the year.

My favorite 10 year old received the Bulldog Award.  The Bulldog Award is given to the gymnast with the most guts and the most determination.  The gymnastics coach stated that Megan “was never afraid to try anything that was asked of her.”  Quite honestly, I cannot think of a more perfect award to give to my little cowgirl / gymnast.


Megan believes in herself and she is inherently trustful of others. 

She also inherited the 110% gene that I talked about last week.

When I try to view the world through Megan’s eyes, I get a very clear vision of hard work, trust and faith.  She exemplifies those qualities and also looks for them in the people that touch her life.  Those words, hard work—trust—faith, should resonate with all of you who read my “pink slime” blog series.

All the trust of a child combined with an astounding work ethic…She’d rather take care of cattle than plant my garden, but she still does it with care and a smile.

It has been almost two and a half months since the “pink slime” media craze began.  Regardless of our desires, it has–one way or another–affected all of our lives.  It will continue to affect all our lives for the unforeseen future…

I spend my days caring for cattle that will be harvested to provide beef for all of you.  Hard work is something that I love, and it is a steadfast reality in my life caring for food animals.  As I look to grow the safest and most nutritious beef using the fewest number of natural resources, I need technological advancements to combine with my hard work.  Equipment which enables more beef to be removed from each of my animals during the harvest process is critical to sustainable beef production.

He is raised to make beef—it is all of our jobs to ensure that none of it is wasted…

Beef Products, Inc. and their Lean Finely Textured Beef do just this.  Their state of the art equipment allows for 12-15 more pounds of beef to be effectively harvested per animal.  I harvest somewhere around 5500 animals per year—at 12# additional beef per animal that is 66,000# of beef!  This exceptionally lean beef is needed to make the lean hamburger that most consumers desire.

Every Action Has A Consequence…

What are the consequences of the Pink Slime craze?

  1. A high quality and lean protein source is currently being wasted (along with the natural resources that were used to grow it)…As I write this, hundreds of millions of pounds of lean finely textured beef sit in freezers waiting for retailers to resume purchase of them.
  2. The price of lean blend hamburger is rising as there is a shortage of it without the use of LFTB.
  3. A volatile and susceptible live cattle market (the price of my finished animals) saw a 9% decrease in the worth of my animals during the two week period following retail supermarkets removing the product from their shelves.  For each 1300# animal, that is a loss of $143.00.
  4. Beef Products, Inc. shut down several of their processing facilities because of lack of demand for their product.  This has resulted in approximately 900 Americans losing their jobs…

 While I have enough trust and faith to believe that eventually consumers will feel comfortable eating hamburger made with LFTB, I know that continued hard work and consumer outreach is the only way to accomplish this!

My blog brings my farm to you so that you can understand where your beef comes from…

 Today, I am asking all of you to do what I believe is the right thing for our country and its food supply.  Please take a minute to visit this website ( and write a letter to your retail supermarket asking them to resume purchasing hamburger made with LFTB.  It will only take a moment of your time, and it will allow my beef industry partners to continue to work hard to provide you with a sustainable and healthy beef supply.

She lights up my life as she learns to grow your food!

 We both need your hard work, trust, and faith.  Follow the example set by my favorite Bulldog Award winner, and determinedly keep the faith!




Filed under General, Nutrition (cattle and human)

Many of you know that I am the Vice Chairman of the Cattle Health and Wellbeing Committee for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.  This is a volunteer position on a national committee which works to ensure good animal health, and the safety of the United States cattle herd.  We work with our government (United States Department of Agriculture–USDA) and our veterinarians from all across the country to accomplish our goal.

I shipped these steers to harvest today---right after I participated on a conference call regarding cattle disease surveillance. I know that Healthy Animals Make Healthy Beef, and I am confident that these steers and their herd mates will provide high quality and safe beef.

One of the aspects of maintaining a healthy cattle herd is the monitoring of disease.  This monitoring is done for two reasons: 1. to ensure that the good health of the US cattle herd is maintained, and 2. to ensure that only healthy animals enter the food production chain.

You can feel confident that the beef that you buy at the grocery store or in a restaurant is safe and nutritious...Only healthy animals are allowed into the food supply chain.

Dr. John Clifford of the USDA announced today that routine disease surveillance and testing at a rendering facility in California found a dairy cow that tested positive for atypical BSE (Bovine Encephalopathy).  BSE is more commonly known as Mad Cow Disease.  A rendering facility is a place that dead animals are taken to for proper disposal.


My ranchers and I monitor the health of our animals from the time that they are little (like this guy in the picture) to the time that they make beef.

I believe that the finding today was a great demonstration of what an outstanding disease surveillance program we have in the United States.  A system has been in place in our country since the late 1990’s to ensure that this disease is controlled and isolated if discovered within the cattle herd—there have been only 4 confirmed cases of BSE in cattle in the United States to date.  A system has been in place in the United States ever since the disease was discovered to ensure that no animal with Bovine Encephalopathy ever enters the food chain.

Please trust me and the other cattle farmers across the nation who work so hard to provide you with safe and healthy beef.

If you would like more information on BSE, please visit  This is a great website to find accurate information on this disease.  In the meantime, feel confident that the beef that you feed to your family is safe—I believe that it is with every fiber of my being.  I am serving my family hamburgers tonight and I do it knowing that the beef is safe, nutritious and full of ZIP (zinc, iron and protein).


Filed under General, Nutrition (cattle and human)

LiFT Up The Lean Beef!

LiFT up the Lean Beef…

LiFT up the value of American Beef Cattle…

LiFT up the Power Of Your Pocketbook…

LiFT up your voice in support of Lean Finely Textured Beef!  Help cattlemen like me to be efficient and responsible producers of beef—Help Eldon Roth and Nancy Donley continue to make food safety innovations that eliminate food borne illnesses.

Lean Finely Textured Beef--We use everything but the Moo!

The power of the spoken and written word is strong.  The image in your head after reading the above passage is much different than if I had told you to “beware of the pink slime”…To be responsible users of the spoken and written word, we must always strive for the truth.

Here are my thoughts on a few lingering questions regarding Lean Finely Textured Beef…

  1. Food safety relative to ground beef: There is an ever evolving and multi-tiered process governing food safety in ground beef.  From cleaning practices for live animals before they enter the packing plant, to cleaning and sterilization practices of meat during and after the harvest process, to rigorous “test and hold” procedures that ensure that meat is safe from food borne pathogens prior to shipment to restaurants and grocery stores—the advancements being made on food safety relative to ground beef are impressive and growing by the day.  In fact, beef farmers are waiting on a pre-harvest food safety tool that is currently being reviewed by the government that may add another layer to the multi-tiered process.  For more information of food safety practices relative to ground beef, click here: BIFSCo Document. Eldon Roth has created an additional food safety tier for his LFTB product which alters the pH of the beef and destroys food borne pathogens like Ecoli 0157:H7.
  2. The history of LFTB and why it is used as a blended ground beef product: Consumers for the last 15-20 years have been asking for leaner hamburger.  From a supply standpoint, what we were lacking in the U. S. beef supply to fulfill consumers request for 90+% lean ground beef was a supply of very lean beef to blend with the higher fat content ground beef that we traditionally have provided.  Eldon Roth’s technology which enables 12-15# of additional lean beef per harvested animal has been tremendously successful in providing the needed additional lean beef to fulfill this consumer request while also increasing the amount of lean beef that can be harvested from each animal. LFTB is very lean beef (94-97% lean) which is difficult to make hamburger patties out of on its own because the meat does not hold together (it wants to crumble instead of patty).  However, it is perfect for blending into other ground beef to make the 90% lean beef product that people desire. Click here to see the nutritional labels of both LFTB (as a stand-alone product) and 90% ground hamburger containing no LFTB:

    Nutritional comparison between LFTB and 90% hamburger containing no LFTB...

  3. To Label or Not to Label: Secretary Tom Vilsack of the Department of Agriculture stated in a press conference held on March 28th that there are two types of government mandated labels for food products in the United States, 1. Nutritional labels that allow consumers to see caloric levels, fat content, protein content etc. (see the above listed nutritional label for LFTB and 90% ground beef) and 2. Warning labels that allow consumers to be cognizant of a hazard or problem with the product (for instance, alcoholic beverages are labeled to state that consumption of alcohol has been shown to be  harmful to unborn babies).  An appropriate nutritional label for ground beef is listed on every package that is sold in the United States whether it contains LFTB or not.  There is no hazard associated with any ground beef so a warning label would not be appropriate.  An additional note relative to this discussion: Food products that contain “food additives” are required to carry a label, however, LFTB is NOT AN ADDITIVE and CONTAINS NO ADDITIVES. Therefore, it does not require “food additive” labeling.  For a more detailed explanation of labeling, please click here: The Labeling Process
  4. The practical effect of reducing or eliminating the use of LFTB in ground beef:
  • Jobs will be lost.  As we stand today, there are 650 people out of work for an indefinite period of time.  The uncertainty and loss of jobs will affect not only the families directly involved, but also the rural communities and agricultural economies that are tied to beef production.
  • An entire community of people—from farm to fork— stands to lose from this current situation.  I am no exception to this as I will see a decrease in the value of my cattle if the market for LFTB disappears—You are no exception either because the price of lean ground beef will rise.  While this may seem strange (the value of my animal decreases as the price of that animal’s meat increases), it is a reality because the process of making lean ground beef will be less efficient. The resulting shortage of lean hamburger will require certain higher priced lean roasts to be made into ground beef which will work to raise the price.  At the same time, there will be more wasted meat because hundreds of millions of pounds of meat will be lost if LFTB is no longer used for ground beef.
  • Beef Import (beef from other countries) numbers will rise as a shortage of lean ground beef prevails.  Because of recent drought conditions throughout the southern plains and a weak economy, the current cow herd (reproductive herd) in the United States is the smallest we have had since 1955.  A small reproductive herd means that the domestic beef supply is already tight—losing the hundreds of millions of pounds of lean beef produced annually with LFTB will further tighten this supply making us more dependent on foreign imports for our beef supply.
  • Strides that have been made to reduce the environmental footprint of beef by efficiently harvesting more pounds of healthy beef (12-15#) per animal will be lost.

All of this because of an inappropriate use of slanderous words which created a fictitious food scare! … I ask you to please stand up for the truth and sign a petition to continue the use of LFTB in the United States ground beef supply.  Click here:  Additionally, please continue to help me to spread the truth about LFTB by sharing my blog posts and referring people to Finally, contact your local grocery store and your Congressmen so that they know that you support the use of this nutritious and lean beef!

 LiFT up your voices to help spread the truth!


Filed under General, Nutrition (cattle and human)

In Defense Of A Good Man…

I remember vividly the first time one of my daughters came home from school crying because someone had started a nasty rumor about her.  A whole myriad of emotions went through me…disappointment, sadness, anger, and finally a complete sense of helplessness.  I wanted to go find the child who started the rumor and discipline her, but all I could do was comfort my daughter and give her advice about how to deal with the challenge.  The experience left me with a sick feeling deep in my stomach and a disappointment in humanity that touched my core.

It has been a long time since I have felt that way, but yesterday I experienced that same myriad of emotions as I watched an investigative reporter from ABC news smear and belittle a very fine group of people during a press conference held by Governors and Lieutenant Governors from the states of Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Kansas and Texas.

The panel of governors, lieutenant governors, and food safety experts that stood up in Defense of a Good Man and his product...

Megan and I traveled to Sioux City to meet Eldon Roth and his Beef Products, Inc. family so that we could see first-hand the people and the company that makes Lean Finely Textured Beef.  For me, it was a day filled with emotion as I met Eldon, his wife Regina, their son, daughter, son-in-law and many of the employees of Beef Products, Inc.  I also had the privilege of meeting Nancy Donley of STOP Foodborne Illness who has worked collaboratively with Eldon and Regina to create innovative food safety measures relative to ground beef and Lean Finely Textured Beef.

Eldon's wife and daughter, who took the time during a very difficult day to make a 10 year old girl feel special. I hope that Megan will grow up to be as courageous and giving as they are...

I wish that I could find the words to convey to all of you the sincerity and the innate goodness that I felt as I visited with the Roth’s and their BPI family.  They are the type of people that I want to bring into my home for Sunday night dinner—They are the type of people that I want my children to grow up to be like—They are the type of people that makes me love Nebraska because they CARE and work passionately to improve the lives of others.

Ten days ago, I wrote a blog post entitled “Hard Work, Trust, and Faith” as I tried to work out in my mind all of the conflicting media coverage regarding Lean Finely Textured Beef.  In that post, I stated that one day I hoped to be able to meet Eldon Roth and personally thank him for all that he has done.  Yesterday, I was able to do that.  We both had tears in our eyes as we shook hands, and although I was just meeting him for the first time, as I looked into his eyes I could see that he was a very special man—A man who quietly and innovatively works each day to be a people builder and inspire greatness in all those that have the pleasure of working with him.

Megan and I with Eldon and his family after the press conference...

I have continued to receive questions and comments from readers that are interested in learning more about Lean Finely Textured Beef and what role it plays in hamburger.  My post for Tuesday will focus on the answers to those questions.  In the meantime, I offer a personal thank you to Eldon and his family for inspiring me to achieve greatness in all that I do to care for cattle and raise safe beef.


Filed under General, Nutrition (cattle and human)