Tag Archives: Cattle

Different Types of Animals…

Thoughtful Thursday

animaltypecollage2.jpg

While a farmer cares for all of her animals, she must offer appropriate care relative to animal type.  Care for food animals is made up of a complex blend of cattle welfare, responsible land and resource use, and a focus on human food safety.

It varies from the type of care that my youngest daughter offers to her favorite cat because the animal’s purpose is different!

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Looking To the Future…

It is impossible to move forward without looking to the future. One thing that I shared in common with Robin Coulter Lapaseotes was a dedication to young people. I love to mentor and I know that guiding youth also held a special place in Robin’s heart.  We both recognized what an important role the next generation plays in the sustainability of agriculture in Nebraska.

Robin, at her feed yard just outside of Bridgeport Nebraska...

Robin, at her feed yard just outside of Bridgeport Nebraska…

I spent a day last week in Robin’s home community of Bridgeport speaking to high school students and talking with a couple of local cattlewomen. While I truly wish that Robin could have been there in person to share the day with me, I know that her spirit carries on with strength in the beautiful sandhills of Western Nebraska.

A beautiful sunrise off of sandhills ranch land near Bridgeport.  Thanks to Terryn Drieling for the picture...

A beautiful sunrise holds the promise of a new day…

Much like my town of Cozad, Bridgeport’s economy is tied to agriculture with farmers and ranchers making up the backbone of the community. There is an air of friendliness that permeates the region, with residents quick to offer a smile or a few minutes to visit. It is the quintessential Nebraska small town and personifies what I love most about my adopted state.

While I initially envisioned this trip west as a tribute to Robin, I think that I likely brought home more blessings than I could have left behind. This is often the case when I find myself speaking to students. I was able to catch the classes on the day before they left for the Nebraska State FFA convention and there was much excitement and enthusiasm about the impending trip to Lincoln.

Bridgeport FFA Students...

Bridgeport FFA Students…

I rounded off the day with a great visit with Terryn Drieling and Naomi Loomis. Terryn and Naomi are new up and coming bloggers as well as ranch hands, feed store managers,  moms, and a myriad of other things. I encourage each of you to check out their blogs and support them in their efforts to share their lives with fellow beef lovers!

Terryn and her family...

Terryn and her family…

Terryn blogs at Faith, Family and Beef

Naomi and her family...

Naomi and her family…

Naomi blogs at From the Corner of the Circle L

As I drove the 180 miles south and east headed for home, it occurred to me that looking to the future required not only personal intr0spection, but also reaching out to others to help you carry the torch.  It is finding the balance between remembering those that have influenced your life in the past and looking forward to new acquaintances to accomplish the work that still lies ahead.

Destiny is no matter of chance.  It is a matter of choice.  It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.

William Jennings Bryan

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Gold and Blue…

Thoughtful Thursday

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Cattle are great recyclers:  turning the remnants of last year’s corn crop into beef to nourish each one of us…

The striking contrast between the gold of the corn stalk stubble and the blue of the winter sky is my favorite combination of colors

— it was also one of my dad’s favorite —

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Thoughtful Thursday…

Dad and Karyn searching for the elusive trout while a loyal four legged friend stands guard...

Dad and Karyn searching for the elusive trout while a loyal four legged friend stands guard…

My dad loved to take pictures.  He viewed it as a challenge and enjoyed playing with his camera as he explored hunting, fishing, and spending time with his family.  After he passed away last fall, my mom gave me his camera.  I have spent the winter trying to work on my photography skills.

In order to inspire me to continue to strive for excellence with my camera savvy as well as giving all of you a chance to experience some “less verbose” Feed Yard Foodie Posts, I am going to try a series of Thoughtful Thursday’s this spring.  The goal of these posts is to provide each of you with an inspiring thought while also capturing a snapshot of the natural beauty that exists on my farm.

Welcome to Thoughtful Thursday!

coffmancalf1a

A farmer defines success by the health of her animals, the care of her land, and their beautiful marriage which results in her gift of food to those in need.

The Feed Yard Foodie

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Through the Eyes of Others…

Seeing yourself through the eyes of others always leads to an insightful introspection.  I have taken part in many media interviews over the past decade, and each one has been a tremendous learning experience.  Whether the image that I get when I read the article is the same as the image that I see in the mirror each day or if it is a different one — I develop a wider perspective with each interview.annecorn

The following article appeared in the Kearney Hub yesterday as the newspaper “Saluted Agriculture” this week.  It was a fun interview for me to do as the reporter was genuinely interested in my farm and how I grow beef.

From Florida to Cozad Feed Yard: Burkholder’s Journey is just about everything cattle and she loves it.

A second article that focuses more on Feed Yard Foodie appeared in another section of the same paper.  I am humbled to be highlighted in such a big way, and thankful for all of the opportunities that a life in agriculture has offered to me.

Voice of Agriculture

As we celebrate National Agriculture Week, please take a minute to get to know a farmer.  We all get smarter as we get to know each other and see the world through the eyes of others…

 

 

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Alliances…

The Ivy League Basketball championship team gets an automatic conference championship berth in the NCAA tournament.  It is likely that many years no Ivy team would qualify for the trek to March Madness without the conference affiliation as larger schools with athletic scholarship possibilities tend to dominate the college basketball circuit.

Conference alliances of college teams are common place with membership bringing the schools recognition, monetary compensation, and the ability to bring the product of athletic entertainment to a broader audience.  The teams continue to maintain their own independent identities while also attaining the expansive status of conference membership.

Enjoying a little spring time afternoon sun...

Enjoying a little spring time afternoon sun…

My father-in-law and Archie built our feed yard in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s on the land that Archie’s family homesteaded on a generation before.  The feed yard is literally a combination of a dream and a tremendous amount of hard work.  We have the ability to house up to 3000 cattle at one time—this size was fairly average thirty years ago, but falls much closer to the small end of the scale in 2014.

The truth is that I love the small scale of my cattle farm.  Although I assume all of the responsibilities that come with being the owner/manager, I am still able to be very “hands on” with my animals working alongside my crew of three.  Exercising/acclimating calves, leading the processing crew, reading bunks and periodically checking daily cattle health are all things that I love to do.  I know that if I expanded the size of my farm that a lack of time would necessitate that I give up some of those “hands on” things.

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There are 4 X as many cattle as people in Nebraska…

The down side of a small farm in rural Nebraska is having a large enough supply of cattle to be able to build the brand and marketing program that I need to bring a responsibly raised and quality beef product to those customers that desire it.  I recognized many years ago that something was going to have to change for my small cattle farm to remain sustainable in the ever evolving industry of beef production.

I needed an alliance — I was the small Ivy League school that wanted a chance at the the big dance…I went looking for cattle feed yard conference to join in order to reach my goal of long term sustainability while still remaining true to my personal daily commitment to animal welfare and high quality beef.

He is good for all of us...

My oldest daughter is a lot like me, he is good for both of us…

My husband often looks at me with a patient smile on his face and says, “Anne, there are few people in this world that can live up to your standards.”

It is no secret to anyone who knows me that I am an incredibly particular person.  I set the bar high in a constant search for excellence.  I don’t settle, and I spend each day trying to inspire my daughters to share that same passion.

She's got a little of me in her too...

My volleyball playing cowgirl has a little of me in her too…

More than a year ago, my feed yard became a part of the Progressive Beef team, and joined the cooperative called the Beef Marketing Group.  Progressive Beef and BMG gave me the conference affiliation that I needed while still allowing the independent identity that I desire for my farm.  The alliance is a strong one, and I am proud to be a part of such an innovative and quality minded group of cattlemen.  Honestly, I view this affiliation as one of the greatest successes in my professional career.  I recognized what challenged my cattle business, and single-handedly found a way to fix it while still remaining true to the standards that make me uniquely Anne.BMG.jpg

My alma mater has never been able to make their Ivy League conference affiliation result in a win in the final game of March Madness, but Will Feed Inc. made the winning slam dunk with their conference alliance with the Beef Marketing Group.

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The Lens of a Farmer…

When I moved to Cozad, Nebraska in the summer of 1997, I looked at the world through the lens of a young college educated urbanite.  Living in a small town and being intricately involved in the raising of food was not in my repertoire.  I came with a large number of ideas and very few applicable real world experiences.

Matt and I with my brother two days before we moved back to the farm in Nebraska...

Matt and I with my brother two days before we moved back to the farm in Nebraska…

My first years on the farm were marked by humility.  I spent quality time with a scoop shovel, learned how to ride pens checking cattle and how to run the feed truck.  I also spent time behind a desk with my eyes glued to the computer screen as the commodity markets scrolled across.  My life revolved around learning to ask pertinent questions and observing carefully.

A couple months later on the farm...

A couple months later on the farm…

I had no idea that caring for food animals and growing beef was so complicated…

In 2014, there is no part of agriculture that is simple.  I wear many hats to complete all of the tasks that fall under the job description of feed yard owner and manager.  It took me a decade to become comfortable and confident in the role of boss lady, and after 17 years I am still learning something new every day.

My job is to offer them optimal care while producing great tasting beef and wisely using the resources of our farm...

My job is to offer them optimal care while producing great tasting beef and wisely using the resources of our farm…

Sometime during my tenure on the farm, an evolution began to occur as Americans became interested in where their food comes from.  Not only did this interest manifest itself in the grocery store, but also in college classrooms all across the country.  The discussion of the right way to grow food was taken up, and today continues to be debated by academics as they do their best to observe the modern food production system from 10,000 feet.

From philosophical novelists like Michael Pollan to investigative reporters like Eric Schlosser and Chris Leonard, many urban dwellers have tried to offer advice on what is wrong with the modern food production system.  I believe that many of these critics are challenged by a lack of first-hand experience of being a farmer.  I consider that first hand experience to be a critical link to properly understanding the complexities of modern agriculture and the growth of food in 2014.

It is a great blessing to raise my girls on a farm in rural America...

It is a great blessing to raise my girls on a farm.  I hope that they too will feel the call to use their gifts by contributing to rural America.

I am the first to admit that there are many ways that food animal production can improve; however, I do not often find myself agreeing with the suggestions that come from these philosophical academics.  I find their descriptions of rural America and farming to lack a full perspective and understanding.  It seems as if they discover the story that fits their preconceived notions rather than the entire picture of how and why the modern day food production system operates as it does.

Chris Leonard has a new book that hits the bookshelves today called The Meat Racket.  In it, Leonard paints a dismal picture of both my farm and the small town rural America that I love with all my heart.  While a large part of the book discusses chicken production, a section of it encroaches into beef cattle farming and attempts to discredit the cattle feeding cooperative of which I am a proud member.BMG.jpg

The next few Feed Yard Foodie posts will take a closer look at the Meat Racket , as I share a different perspective on rural America and the growth of food through the:

Lens of a farmer…

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Kindred Spirits…

There are many who knew Robin Coulter Lapaseotes better than I, but there are few that admired her more.  A trail blazer and mentor, Robin lived for her family and her beloved Coulter Ranch.

The center of her life...

The center of her life…

Robin spoke from her heart with a brutal honesty that earned her my respect from our very first encounter.  She believed in living life to the fullest, determined to make the most out of every day.  Robin likely accomplished more in her 56 years than most do in 90.  Perhaps that is why God chose to take her last week in a tragic accident that has left her family, her community and the Nebraska beef family in shock. robinhorse

Robin demanded hard work from those around her.  She possessed just enough humor to soften the unbending stubborn streak that made her uniquely Robin.  Our lives were separated by close to 200 miles and many individual responsibilities with our families and our livestock, but I enjoyed tremendously the times that our paths crossed.

It was a true joy to bounce ideas off of such a savvy and bold contemporary — the fact that she also had the perspective of a woman made those times even more special.  My favorite time with Robin was almost a year ago when she and I participated in a day long women’s mentoring seminar for students at the University of Nebraska Engler Entrepreneurship Program.

Three Kindred Spirits sitting at the head table hoping to impart some "wisdom"...

Three Kindred Spirits sitting at the head table hoping to impart some “wisdom”…

Alongside Ann Brunz, Robin and I spent the day mentoring young women who wanted to make their lives in agriculture.  The three of us were kindred spirits as we shared the joys and challenges of being a woman in a traditionally male business.  Robin’s advice for the students was simple:robin2L

Life will test you, what’s done is done, move forward with confidence.

I thought of those words as I watched her children at the funeral service on Saturday — battling the grief and shock but knowing deep down that their mom would be anxious that they accept “what’s done is done” — remember what she taught them — and, most especially, that they would carry on with confidence.

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Robin and her husband Pete. My favorite quote from the funeral, “It’s really hard to tell Pete ‘No’, unless your name is Robin.”

Costa, Nicole, Jake and Cassie:  Robin prepared you well.  She believed in you and a part of her will remain with you always.  Follow your dreams and continue to build your lives in a search for greatness.

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