Tag Archives: social media

Touching Base…

It seems that although I have been busy engaging on social media, that I have not done a good job checking in with each of you at Feed Yard Foodie. I am in the process of developing a new weekly theme to carry through the winter; but have not had the opportunity to get it completely lined out in my mind. I hope to have this started next week.

In the meantime, I figured that I would share links to my work on social media for Innovative Livestock Services and the Beef Marketing Group. For those of you that follow me on facebook, you have seen this content. For those of you that don’t, I hope that you will take a look at it. I found it very personally meaningful to create 🙂

2018 started with a video describing the Beef Marketing Group — who we are — and what we value. For those of you who wonder about the agricultural cooperative that I work for, this will give you a glimpse of the people and our focus.

This week premiered another video talking about “What is life like in a cattle feedlot?” This video appeared on Innovative Livestock Services as part of our educational series to provide accurate information to folks interesting in learning about “where their beef comes from”. The video is performing amazingly well on facebook with over 30,500 views in the two days that it has been up 🙂

For those of you that like to read words instead of watching videos, here is a link to a blog post that I recently wrote comparing living space in a feedlot to New York City.

I hope that each one of you experienced a blessed Christmas season and a Happy New Year! Thank you for all that you do to support me on this social media journey. #togetherwearestronger

Leave a comment

Filed under General, ILS Beef / Beef Marketing Group, Video Fun on the Farm

Tips for Facebook Live Broadcasts…

The weekend before Thanksgiving I attended the Nebraska Youth Beef Leadership Symposium at the University of Nebraska. I was asked to share my thoughts on “Building Trust” with the students, and (as often is the case) I came home smarter than I left. While at UNL, I had the privilege of hearing Haley Steinkuhler give insight into using Facebook Live broadcasts as effective social media tools.

Over the past 12 months, I’ve gone to work to build the skills needed for video social media outreach. I am a long way from “accomplished” in this department, but I’m getting smarter every day! It was an awesome opportunity for me to get to hear Haley and I wanted to share with all of you a list of tips for using Facebook Live that come from a blend of advice from both Haley and myself.

  1. The average attention span for humans is 8 seconds, so it is important to have a good start to your broadcast! That being said, as a live/interactive social media tool, a good Facebook Live allows time for interested viewers to get connected to the real time event before getting into the heart of the broadcast. It’s a delicate balance! Don’t be afraid to promote the event ahead of time to increase your “live audience” interactions.
  2. A good rule of thumb for informal Facebook Live broadcasts about agricultural topics is 3-7 minutes in length. While 3 minutes is short and hard to effectively communicate a topic within, you have to remember that asking your audience to give you 10 minutes of their day is a BIG ASK in today’s culture. I’m still working on this as I always seem to have too much to say!
  3. Many of the views will occur after the event ends so be sure to save and share the video after the fact.
  4. Facebook Live fits well when sharing: Special Events, Exciting Announcements, Interviews (Q&A’s), How To’s, Virtual Tours, and Behind the Scenes topics.
  5. Make sure you have a strong WiFi connection as well as plentiful battery power on your phone.
  6. Make an outline for the broadcast to keep you focused but let your personality show through by not using notes during the actual broadcast. No one expects you to be perfect — Be yourself!
  7. Depending on video length and location, using a “stand” allows the video picture to be less shaky.
  8. If outdoors, be cognizant of the weather as wind and cold can cause less than ideal experiences. Wind wreaks havoc with the audio and severe cold weather can cause your phone to stop working during the broadcast.
  9. Reiterate your core message multiple times during the broadcast as most of your viewers will not actually watch the video from start to finish.
  10. Give your viewers a “shout out” if they interact and ask questions during the broadcast. It is easier to accomplish this if you have a broadcast partner that can help you out — multitasking while running a live broadcast is hard!

Below is my most recent Facebook Live Announcing the Nebraska Beef In Schools program recently implemented by Holdrege Public Schools — As you will be able to see when watching, I am still building my skills! It is a fun journey 🙂

For more information on the Nebraska Beef in Schools program click here

A special “Thank You” to the University of Nebraska as well as Haley Steinkuhler for helping to make us all smarter! If you have any other thoughts or tips to share regarding Facebook Live broadcasts please share them in the comments 🙂




Leave a comment

Filed under General, ILS Beef / Beef Marketing Group, Video Fun on the Farm

“Anne Gates”…

Annegate3I think that it is impossible to pour your heart and soul into a business for 2 decades and not leave some sort of a *mark*.  The running joke at the feed yard revolves around what my favorite farmer affectionately calls Anne Gates.

I’ve always been a small person with a higher than normal energy level.  In short, I fit in small places and move pretty fast.  Over the years, I have created a variety of small passageways that allow me to move seamlessly around our corral systems at the feed yard.  Since I care for animals that are 6-13 times bigger than I am, I have the advantage of being able to fit through spaces that cattle would not even consider going through…Quite frankly, I can fit through spaces that my favorite farmer wouldn’t consider squeezing through 🙂

My crew thoroughly enjoyed my three pregnancies laughing that, at least for short periods of time, I had to be normal and use the real gates.  While I did not mind spending a few months walking in their shoes, I was always glad when my babies arrived and I could go back to using my own unique paths around the feed yard…

annegate1.jpgWhen I look back on the last 20 years as a beef farmer, my mind recalls many Anne gates — some of which are not physical passageways, but rather metaphorical bridges from my farm to the outside world.  This blog is one of them.  In 2016, agriculture in the United States faces many challenges.  Quite likely the greatest comes from a lack of effective gates from the farm to the dinner plate.  Less than 2% of Americans work as farmers, and most of our urban counterparts are more than two generations removed from the farm.  Understanding where your food comes from is no easy task, and finding good information on it resembles the old adage of finding a needle in a hay stack.

Raising cattle takes a unique set of resources as well as a relatively long period of time.  Beef farming epitomizes the newly popular slow food movement as breeding cattle live more than a decade, and cattle raised solely for the production of beef thrive for close to 2 years — grazing grass pastures and then spending a few months in a feed yard at the end of their lifetime.  Doing it right takes dedication, patience, and a whole lot of hard work.

One of the things that I have attempted to convey with Feed Yard Foodie is the complexity of caring for cattle and growing beef.  The gate of transparency challenges farmers, and figuring out how to explain daily animal care and business decisions to those that live outside of the farm is hard.  I struggle with this, and I know that I am not alone.

After six years of sharing, I can report that I have likely learned more than I have imparted.  I realized in the early days of Feed Yard Foodie that my social media experience needed to be bidirectional as relationships and trust (even virtual ones) are built not just through sharing but also by receiving.  The good thing about a gate is that it doesn’t cost any more to travel two directions and you can build it as big as you need it to be 😉

While I am closing the gate to my feed yard in about six months, I do not plan to “close the gate” to this blog.  It is an Anne gate that I am keeping until I both run out of things to say and run out of things to learn…Many thanks all of you for taking the journey with me.





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

Refilling the Cup…

Katie Pinke of the Pinke Post made a comment on Facebook last week stating the difficulty of finding ways to “refill the cup” as an advocate for agriculture. Katie has many years of experience in social media and her intuitive thoughts often leave me pondering. As advocates for agriculture, our cups of energy are often depleted. Learning how to refill them is a journey of survival.

annecattlemiranda.jpgThis April will mark the 5th year anniversary of the Feed Yard Foodie blog. Four hundred and eighty nine blog posts and almost a million views (from a half a million visitors) separate the naïve cattle feeder of 2011 with the seasoned (and somewhat hardened) blogger of 2016. So much has changed since the birth of this blog, and yet, so much remains the same.

It takes an enormous amount of optimism and energy to brave the social media world that revolves around agriculture. On a good day, you pick up a follower who shares some common ground and wishes to further understand “where food comes from”. On a bad day, you are threatened and disparaged with an appalling lack of basic respect.

As I close in on five years, I find myself reflecting and attempting to rationalize the volunteer time and energy that I pour into Feed Yard Foodie. I try to look past the heartache that sometimes permeates my outreach to find the shining light that leads me to continue down the ag-vocacy trail. It takes a constant effort to figure out how to tap that unlimited source of energy which serves to fuel the blog amidst the regular list of chores that go along with being a mom and a feed yard boss lady.

I tell my girls that the most important life skill they will learn is perseverance. Perseverance is all about refilling the cup. My words take on a new depth of meaning as they watch me “cowgirl” up and continue the journey. They live with the stubbornly independent mom and boss lady, just as they watch the vulnerable woman struggle to find the courage to continue to share her story.

My girls work every day to refill my cup because they watch first hand as others deplete it. I do not shield them from my struggles, and it teaches them to not only persevere but also to empathize and offer compassion to those in need.

Life is hard. It is filled with demands that work to deplete the cup. I believe that the difference between those who persevere and those who do not lies in the ability to gather the love and optimism that is required to refill the cup. That is a very personal journey as everyone’s cup is unique.

Below are five things that I have learned to rely on for the past five years in order to persevere:

  1. Accept that everyone (including you) is human. Learn to forgive.
  2. Notice your blessings – learn to look for the good as it is what refills your cup.
  3. Draw a line between your real life and your cyber life – understand that the majority of what refills your cup comes from personal interactions outside of the internet.
  4. Take the time to be pensive – quiet thinking breeds both respect and learning.
  5. Understand that temporarily walking away is not failure – rather it is a necessary component to finding the courage to continue.

I do not know how to measure the success of my agricultural outreach, but I can recognize the personal growth that has occurred as a result of it. The road to excellence is rarely comfortable and I can attest to the fact that being an advocate for agriculture is not a comfortable journey. I am thankful to all of you loyal Feed Yard Foodie readers as you play a vital role pushing me to search for continuous improvement on my farm. You all help to refill my cup by reading, commenting, and sharing of yourselves.


Filed under A Farmer's View on Foodie Thoughts..., General

Blogging Reflections…

WordPress sends out “blogging highlights” at the end of each calendar year.  Feed Yard Foodie saw 79,000 views in 2014 over the course of 94 new posts.  My longstanding goal is to get two blog posts up a week — I didn’t miss that by too much (average of 1.8 over the course of the year).

Perhaps the most interesting to me is to see which blog posts get the most “reads” and are earmarked as the most popular posts of the year.  Sometimes these align with my own personal favorite posts, and sometimes they do not.

2014_10_06_mr_Will Feed-3

The below five posts are the most popular of the year determined by statistics…

5 Lessons that I want my children to learn before they go to college.

Why I prefer a cattle feed yard to a shopping mall.

Kindred Spirits

Setting the Stage

Chipotle isn’t any fun to write about.

On a personal note, the following posts are my favorites for 2014…

The Best Part of Me

I Am From

Out Of the Mouths of Babes



I also have a personal affinity toward the most viewed post of the year (5 Lessons that I want my children to learn before going to college). 

This post came from a deep part of me as I struggled with a difficult situation.  Honestly, I wrote it as a way to achieve personal balance. I was pleasantly surprised that so many others identified with it.  This post ended up being as close to a viral post as Feed Yard Foodie achieved in 2014.

Do you have a favorite FYF post for 2014? 

If so, please share — I am always interested in which posts you all enjoy reading.

A special thank you to each and every one of you for taking the time to read my posts and share a part of your lives in 2014.

I am starting off 2015 speaking at Kansas State University this week, so I am headed down to Manhattan, KS to visit all of you Wildcat fans 🙂



Filed under Foodie Work!, General

Why We Write — Pass Along Questions…

My blogging friend at Seasonsgirl sent an intriguing “blogging pass along” my way this week. It delves into the mind of a blogger in an attempt to explain the question “Why We Write”. The intellectual in me loves these types of things, so here are my thoughts on the four questions asked of me…

Thoughtful Thursday!

What are you working on relative to writing?  I like to laugh that my blog is a labor of love. Writing is not something that a cattle feed yard manager does with any frequency, so blogging provides me with an outlet for my creative/writing interests. Because I have a busy family life with three daughters in addition to a farm of thousands of cattle and crop acres, at this time, my blog is my only writing project. The fifteen year plan is to write a book chronicling my journey from South Florida city girl to Nebraska cattle feed yard boss lady.


What makes your work different from others’ work in the same genre?  Blogging is a personal journey for me, a sharing of my family and my farm, so it is intrinsically unique because of its personal nature. There are also not very many cattle feed yard owners/managers that participate in the world of social media which further adds to my uniqueness.


Why do you write what you do?  My desire is to mix personal family stories and pictures with practical/real life experiences that I have on the farm.   At its’ very essence, I want to dispel the myth of the “factory farm” and place my CAFO in a truthful light. I am also in love with Rural America and my town of Cozad, and want to share the beauty of a rural lifestyle.


How does your writing process work?  I view writing as one of my life’s vocations. I write when I have something to say or share, and I like both the format of writing in series and writing individual posts that come to me spontaneously. Writing also serves as an act of catharsis for me — a way for my brain to process experiences as well as focus on the blessings that occur in my daily life. It helps me to remain positive despite the challenges that I face. In the three years of my blogging journey, a love of photography has also developed, and sharing visual images of my family and farm has become a great passion.

Blogging has truly been a journey for me — what began as a simple desire to dispel myths relative to cattle farming and feed yards has turned into a process of personal growth. I learn so very much by sharing my farm, and truly value to feedback that I receive from my readers.

And now I tag two other writers that I want to learn more about:

 The first is Terryn at FaithFamilyBeef. I first met Terryn when she was a college student, and have watched her mature into a talented cattle woman as well as a dedicated and loving wife and mother. Terryn and her husband ranch in Western Nebraska about three hours from my farm.

The second is Robyn at RanchWifeChronicles. Robyn grew up in Nebraska but has made a life with her husband on a ranch in South Dakota.   She has been very helpful to me as I have learned the art of blogging and picture taking, and has served as a great mentor and resource.  She even came to visit our farm a couple of years ago which was really fun!

A big thanks to Seasonsgirl for inspiring me to think about why I write — Also, a big thanks to all of you for taking the time out of your busy lives to read my posts…



Filed under General, Thoughtful Thursday

Why Blog?

I read a blog post this week that spoke to me so much that I am going to deviate from my Sustainable Spring series to tell you all about it.   The author of the post is Aimee Whetstine who blogs at everyday epistle.



Aimee was one of my very first “virtual friends”.  Although I have never met her in person, I value the relationship that we have built over the past year and a half.  I faithfully read her words each week because she respectfully inspires me to think even when we look at issues from different perspectives.

You can read Aimee’s post at http://projectunderblog.com/debunking-8-rules-of-blogging/ or visit her at http://everydayepistle.com/.

This week, Aimee tackled the issue of “Why Blog”, and what rules a blogger should live by.  It took me back to the weeks preceding my leap into social media in the spring of 2011, and also inspired me to rethink my current goals.

He is a silent contributor, but I could not do it without him...

We’re in this together…

Aimee did this with two short pieces of excellent advice:

  • Publish when you have something to say.
  • Your blog is a reflection of what matters to you.

I began blogging because I had something to say.  I wanted to open up my farm in an effort to have a respectful conversation about how I care for cattle and raise beef in a feed yard.   I believe in transparency and I believe that every consumer has a right to know how their food is raised.

I've become a farm girl and the days that I spend in the processing barn "working cattle" are some of my favorites...

Over the past 16 years I’ve become a farm girl, and the days that I spend in the processing barn “working cattle” are some of my favorites…

I continue to blog because I love to write.  I am a naturally reserved person, but I have found that I love to share my life through pictures and the written word.  From the challenges that I face — to the joys of raising my daughters in rural America, blogging is truly a personal journey that brings me joy.

Because I am not good at separating my life between raising cattle, parenting my girls, and sharing our story; my blog is a reflection of what matters to me.  It is a voluntary “labor of love”, and one that I am very proud of.  While it is sometimes easy to get caught up in the social media hype of blog statistics, I believe that blogging is truly about sharing, conversation, and personal growth.

There are many different types of conversations, but they must all be based on respect...

Conversations come in many types, but they must all be based on respect…

There may be times in the future that I *temporarily* may not have anything to say (my favorite teenager would like to go on record here to say that she doubts it!); but I will always come back because Feed Yard Foodie is an extension of me—a creative and intellectual outlet for the Ivy League educated psychologist turned cattle caregiver.

They are not just a number, they are an animal that deserves to receive good care and will give its life to nourish my children...

They are not just a number, they are animals that deserve to receive good care and will give their lives to nourish many very special people…

Hat’s off to Aimee and the countless other people that inspire me daily to be the best that I can be.  Thank you for respecting the individual that I am, and for choosing to join me in my adventures.

Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.

Vince Lombardi


Filed under Foodie Work!, General

The Illuminating Blogger Award…

I opened my email Tuesday morning to see that Seasonsgirl had nominated me for the Illuminating Blogger Award.  I love the timing of this nomination because my last post discussed my goal of being “an illuminating light” on how cattle are raised to make beef.

light bulb concept

I “met” Seasonsgirl through Social Media last fall, and have truly loved getting to know her through both her blog posts and also the personal messages that we have shared.  The more I interact with her, the more that I realize how many of the same values we share.  She is a woman of strong faith who loves animals and is interested in both “where her food comes from” and fun ways to cook it.  I am so thankful that we have become “virtual friends” and I love her openness and willingness to share with me.

The rules for the Illuminating Blogger Award are as follows:

1. Visit and thank the blogger than nominated you.

2. Say a few words of gratitude on your blog and share the nominator’s link with your readers.

3. Say a few words about yourself and then pass along the award to 5 other bloggers.DSC03744

About Me:

I am a city girl turned cattle farmer.  I traded my flip flops for cowboy boots in 1997 when my husband and I moved from New Hampshire to his family’s farm in Central Nebraska.  Through hard work and determination, I learned to manage a cattle feed yard and become an excellent cattle caregiver.  I believe in providing my animals with holistic care, focusing not only on physical fitness but also realizing the important role of mental and emotional fitness in animal health.  I proudly grow beef that I feed to my family and to yours!  My husband and I are blessed with three daughters who are a constant source of joy, energy and vast amounts of dirty laundry 🙂

My nominations to continue the award:

I truly enjoy Aimee Whetstine’s faith based blog http://everydayepistle.com/.  I love to read her thoughts on a variety of issues and really respect how she ties her posts back to her faith and favorite scripture readings.  Aimee is a brave woman who tackles many difficult topics, and always manages to both write with integrity and respect the differing views of others.

I met Aimee through Ryan Goodman of http://agricultureproud.com/.  Ryan is an Arkansas native who is working on a graduate degree at the University of Tennessee.  Although his first love is cattle and his graduate studies of Beef Reproduction, he is an incredible wiz at social media and has been a tremendous mentor for me as I struggled to learn the ins and outs of blogging.

Kim Brackett of http://beefmatters.org/ gives a glimpse into the life of a busy woman raising four children on a ranch in the western United States.  I love Kim’s beautiful photography, and her natural gift of imparting the joy of raising a young family on a ranch.  I always leave her site identifying with her stories and reminiscing about times with my own daughters.

Debbie Lyons-Blythe of http://kansascattleranch.blogspot.com/.  Debbie is a cowgirl at heart and owns and manages a ranch in the Flint Hills.  I love to keep up with Debbie because she gives me another glimpse of a woman making her way as a “boss lady” on a cattle farm.  Debbie has mama cows, calves, and breeding heifers instead of a feed yard like mine but I love to watch her confidently run her ranch in the neighboring state of Kansas.

John Suscovich of http://foodcyclist.com/.  You all just met John last week via a blog post and podcast.  John left his job in NYC a couple of years ago to bike with his wife across the United States visiting farms and learning “where his food comes from”.  Now, John is building his own farm in Connecticut and also producing “how to” podcasts demonstrating different types of farms to interested listeners.  I love that John has followed his personal “call” to understand food production and is now living his dream to become a farmer.

All of these folks have illuminated a unique vision for me.  I thank them all for enriching my life and wish them the best as they continue blogging and living their dreams!


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