Tag Archives: new beginnings

Pursuing Excellence…

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Our Dartmouth College swim team shirts boasted the saying Pursuing Excellence across the back.  It provided a good fit for me as I have always felt the need to raise the bar.

My favorite farmer laughs and tells me that my standards are too high –To which I remind him that I am hardest on myself so everyone else should be in good shape 😉

Managing a feed yard for twenty years taught me the critical importance of a good team.  When you care for thousands of animals, it is impossible to do the job without the help of others.  Because the welfare of those animals is dependent on you, anything less than excellence in care is unacceptable.

A willingness to unselfishly give your all while simultaneously inspiring others to do the same allows for success.

Last week we shipped the final pen of cattle from our feed yard, and I officially started a new journey. I joined the team of Innovative Livestock Services and the Beef Marketing Group. BMG is a cooperative of feed yards in Kansas and Nebraska that operate under the Progressive Beef QMS.  My feed yard spent the last four years as a member of this coop and, during that time, I discovered a group of kindred spirits.

The mission statement of my new team states:

Combining innovation with the passion of our people to empower our rural communities and grow great tasting and sustainable beef.

Anyone who knows me can read that statement and see what a perfect fit this opportunity  is for me. I will play a dual role working on quality assurance and communications projects.  The quality assurance role enables me to continue to work to improve cattle welfare, and the communications projects allow me to empower my voice as an advocate for agriculture.

anne-dandy

While change is hard and transitions are not naturally comfortable for me, I am truly excited to begin this next leg of the journey. For those of you who follow me on Facebook or Twitter, I invite you to like and follow my new team’s work on Facebook at Innovative Livestock Services or Twitter @ILSBeef.  I am striving to do a more dependable job posting multiple social media messages a week on these new outlets 🙂

As for Feed Yard Foodie, look for the usual weekly ramblings on our family, our farm, and my new adventures as the Burkholder clan continues on the pursuit of excellence.

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Filed under General, ILS Beef / Beef Marketing Group

And Then There Were None…

Yesterday morning we shipped the final pens of cattle from the feed yard to Tyson.  A calm wind with temperatures in the mid-20’s provided an easy ship out environment.  Mother Nature also rewarded us with a beautiful sunrise toward the end of the process.

As I watched the last cattle truck pull away from the load-out chute, my emotions threatened to get the best of me.  I took a moment to remember back to the first of the lasts as I experienced the last of the lasts. This particular shipment marked the end of our feed yard era, and the finality of the moment left me drained.

I wasn’t quite sure how to feel with the knowledge that, for the first time in twenty years, I had no cattle directly depending on me for care.  An internal struggle waged as the uplifting element of freedom fought with the deep rooted desire to be needed.

Recognizing the necessity and wisdom in change is sometimes easier than living it out. Watching the cattle truck pull away forced me to face the reality in a way that I had not yet done. I took a brief moment to feel sorry for myself before I packed my FAITH and went back to work.

faith

In that transition moment from self-pity to resolve, I made the decision to be happy. 

While that decision does not preclude me from experiencing difficult moments tinged with sadness, it focuses my attitude on the positive and grants me the strength to make the most of the future.  LIFE is a verb, and I recognize that my ability to achieve happiness is directly related to how I chose to live it.

  • Staying true to my core values
  • Trusting both myself and God on the journey
  • Recognizing that there is so very much more left to do on the journey…

All of these things give my life purpose, and I am looking forward to cowgirling up to make the most of it.

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Filed under Chronicles of a Retiring Feed Yard Boss Lady, General

New Beginnings…

Perhaps it is because I grew up in South Florida where there was only a very subtle change of seasons each year…

Amphibious South Florida children! Can you guess which one is me?

Perhaps it is because I have witnessed first-hand the miracle of life with the birth of my three daughters…

My angels are not this little anymore...

Perhaps it is because after learning to balance three children, 3000 animals, and a recovery from a chronic illness, I take nothing for granted and revel in the beauty that each day brings…

My brave crocuses are first sign of spring, but the tulips and grass follow quickly behind...

Perhaps it is because I spend 365 days out of the year outside working in the weather that the changing seasons bring…

Summer, Fall, Winter, or Spring---they rely on me every day to offer good care...

Perhaps it is because we celebrated the Easter holiday last weekend…

With every season that passes, their ever-growing maturity and compassion makes me feel renewed...

Perhaps all of the above reasons play a role in my belief that spring is a time of new beginnings.

Dandy enjoys a sunny spring afternoon (as well as the new green grass to eat!)...

Since I relocated to central Nebraska, it has always seemed to me that the new-year really begins as the spring winds bring warmer temperatures and the grass greens up.  Although the calendar states that we start a new year January 1st, Mother Nature brings in the true new-year about the 1stof April.  Each year, I never realize how much I missed the sound of the birds singing until the silence of winter gives way to the life of spring. One morning the silent air is filled with the joyous calls of birds.  It is like an epiphany for me as I realize how much I missed the chatter of those beautiful little creatures over the course of the cold winter months.

Mr. Robin Redbreast sings in our newly blossomed apple tree...

Just as the grass begins to turn green and the birds begin to sing, my husband gets the itch to start farming.  The rural Nebraska countryside is filled with tractors preparing the land for spring planting.  We started planting new alfalfa this week and corn planting is just around the corner.

Preparing a field to be planted...

In fact, it will not be long before Matt begins harvesting the older fields of alfalfa.  Alfalfa is a perennial plant which comes back out of dormancy year after year as the temperatures warm and the birds sing.  Almost 2/3rds of our crop ground is planted to alfalfa, and Matt hopes to get 4 cuttings during the growing cycle of April to the end of October.  A good alfalfa field will prosper for 6-8 years before it gets tired and must be rotated to another crop.  My favorite color is green, and I truly love the beauty of a vibrantly growing alfalfa field.

This gorgeous plant brings the color of life to the countryside as it grows, and will also ensure life to animals as it makes a wonderful source of feed...What a wonderful new beginning!

As you read this post, I am in Washington DC spreading the good word about agriculture and beef…Look for future posts on the topic of “Feed Yard Foodie Visits Capitol Hill!”

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Filed under Farming, General