Tag Archives: respect

Listening…

Listening

To hear — really hear — amid the noise

to risk being open to another perspective

amid the impacted certainties

to be able to listen to impassioned pleas

while owning the cries that come from our own hearts.

To hear an argument that does not resonate

disagree, if that be our call,

without demeaning the bearer of the words.

Amid the colliding words

injured by the words

injuring with our words:

help us to hear

your

Words.

Amen.

Women’s Uncommon Prayers: Our Lives Revealed, Nurtured, Celebrated

pasturetree.jpg

It is by listening that we broaden our perspective—

It is through empathy that we are able to share —

Respect enables us to build a bridge…

The Feed Yard Foodie

3 Comments

Filed under General, Thoughtful Thursday

BlogHer Feature…

BlogHerBadgeYesterday afternoon, BlogHer featured a version of “Different Kinds of Smart” on their Green section.  I wrote the original post (posted this last Monday on Feed Yard Foodie) after having a “virtual conversation” with an environmentalist from Oklahoma on the BlogHer network.  Please take a minute to visit the BlogHer site to support me by liking or sharing the post.  To read the article on BlogHer, simply click the words in Green below this picture of my girls.

As you might guess, my daughters are INCREDIBLY excited to have this picture up on the BlogHer site for all to see...

As you might guess, my daughters are INCREDIBLY excited to have this priceless picture up on the BlogHer site for all to see…

Environmental Sustainability Needs All Smarts On Deck

A special thanks to Heather, the “Green” editor, for featuring my post!

Leave a comment

Filed under Feed Yard Foodie "In The News", General

It’s Not About the Trailer…

When I bought my quarter horse (Dandy) from Mike Coffman in the spring of 2005, I realized the childhood dream of being a real horse owner.  While I had a couple of work horses at the feed yard, their care was primarily provided by my cowboy and I only rode them sporadically.

He full-filled a dream…

To have my own horse in my own backyard fulfilled a very special and personal dream.  Dandy was a coming four year old when I bought him from Mike.  Lucky for me, God made him a big, gentle creature and we have spent the last seven years learning from each other.

Dandy taught me a lot about communication, feel and intent.  He taught me to be a strong yet compassionate leader.  He taught me that slow and steady is always true, and to never take anything for granted.

Most importantly, he taught me that “It’s not about the trailer”…

One day, a couple of months after I brought him home from Mike’s ranch, I wanted to load him on my horse trailer and take him down to our grass pasture to ride.  I had trouble that day loading him on the trailer.  I got frustrated with myself, I got frustrated with him, and it was not a good experience for either one of us.

In the months that followed, I learned that the more time and effort that I invested into our relationship—the clearer our communication became and the easier it was to get him to be my partner.  You see, that day early on in our relationship, it wasn’t about the trailer—it was about the lack of trust and lack of good communication that made loading him challenging.

Today, it only takes the pointing of my finger and the lifting of the lead rope for Dandy to happily load into the trailer.  In fact, I move him from pasture to pasture around my house with that same point of the finger.  Sometimes it seems as though he reads my mind and offers what I desire almost before I ask for it.  Conversely, I can also provide what he needs and desires at critical times in our partnership —that is the power of a relationship that is based on trust.

What used to challenge us is now easy because I took the time to lay a good foundation and invest in the relationship…

As a blogger and a beef farmer that believes in transparency, I am often asked by other cattlemen how we can reach out to our customers that live far away from the farm to explain ranching practices or products that are used to raise beef.  There is no simple answer because I believe that it is not about the ranching practice or the animal health product any more than my problems loading my young horse were about the trailer.

I do not have a job without someone who wants to purchase my beef…

It is, quite simply, about the relationship between the farmer/rancher and the customer.  Is this relationship based on trust and truth?  Or is it riddled with distrust and inaccuracies?  In short, it is about whether you trust me to offer good care to my animals and use the resources on my farm in the best way.  Equally important, it is also about whether I trust you and value your questions and concerns regarding the way that your beef is raised.

I believe that I offer good care to them, but I need to be open to explaining that care to those that are interested…

It is not about the antibiotic, the growth hormone, the beta agonist, or the feed yard…

It is rather about the quality of our relationship and our ability to have a respectful conversation about all of the things that are listed above.

  •  Can we empathize and have compassion for each other?
  • Can we trust that each one of us can learn from each other and do our own special part to work for the betterment of our country?

    My dream gets better with each day that passes…

I think that we will find that our lives are enriched by the knowledge that we can share with each other, just as my beloved quarter horse has enriched my life and taught me that the best communication skills are the ones that are based on love and respect…

11 Comments

Filed under General, Natural Horsemanship

The Boss Lady…

My crew of guys at the feed yard call me the “Boss Lady”.  Most days the term is used with a smile.  Occasionally, it is accompanied by a boot kick to the dirt and a bit of grumbling.  It is always used with an underlying current of respect.

Checking the quality and mix of feed just delivered to a pen of new cattle...

I am frequently asked how a young woman was able to be successful in the predominantly male world of cattle feeding.  The short answer to that question is simply “hard work”.  Respect is earned—it is not a gift—and my crew respects me because they know that I work just as hard as they do.  I have slowly climbed my way from the bottom of the “useful” scale to the top.  Today, the success of the feed yard is intrinsically tied to my leadership.  My guys know this, and hence, the term “Boss Lady” was formed.

I am very proud of the term “Boss Lady” because it signifies that I have proven myself to those most important to me.

My father-in-law took a tremendous leap of faith when he gave me a job at the feed yard in June of 1997.  I had a cum laude degree from an Ivy League institution; however, as he so eloquently pointed out, I knew NOTHING about caring for cattle and growing beef.  The icing on the cake was the fact that I was a young woman wanting to enter a man’s world.

Taken in 2006, my father-in-law with one of the new generation of strong and opinionated young women that Matt and I have blessed the family with...

My father-in-law is a very smart man.  He knew that I was going to have to earn respect, and he started me at the bottom of the crew working for $6.85 an hour because that was where I deserved to be.  I honestly cannot tell you the pivotal point in my career where I became the “Boss Lady”—it was a slow transition that occurred over many, many years.

There is both an art and a science to good feed delivery...

  • I learned to “run” a scoop shovel…
  • I learned to run the tractors…
  • I learned to run the feed truck…
  • I learned to “read bunks” and understand nutritionally what our cattle needed…
  • I learned to vaccinate and care for the health of our cattle…
  • I learned the psychology of cattle handling…
  • I learned how to load and unload cattle off of semi-trucks…
  • I learned about environmental stewardship…I learned about governmental regulations pertaining to the environment (unfortunately they are not always one in the same)…
  • I learned how to do bookwork and accounting (something that still challenges me)…
  • I learned how to buy and sell cattle…
  • I learned how to buy feed ingredients…
  • I learned that the volatility of the markets leaves my business vulnerable…
  • Of all of the things that I learned, the most important was never to judge a group of people or an industry that you do not understand…

    Here I am mixing a bottle of vaccine that I will use to stimulate the immune system of my cattle upon arrival at the feed yard. This keeps them healthy...

The list could literally go on and on and on…I already knew how to sweat and work hard from my years of athletic training, I just needed to learn how to apply that to managing a feed yard.  I spent the better part of a decade watching and learning.  Today, I not only watch and learn, but I also lead my team.

I am responsible for every single one of my animals..They need me...If you eat beef, you need me too...

I no longer worry about gaining respect.  Rather, as the Boss Lady, I worry about shouldering the responsibility of 3000 animals, making payroll for my crew, and keeping my business afloat despite the ever increasing volatility of the markets and further reaching tentacles of government regulation.  I added blogging to the list when it became apparent to me that if I did not share my story with you, then someone else would tell an inaccurate version in an attempt to dissuade you from buying my beef.

Testifying at a House Agricultural hearing in Washington DC...

While I take great pride in wearing the “Boss Lady” hat, some days my shoulders are bent under the weight of the responsibility that comes with it.

11 Comments

Filed under CAFO, Foodie Work!, General