Friday, December 31, 2010

The Pioneer Woman…

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and were able to spend some quality time with your families’.  I received a really neat Christmas gift this year in a gift exchange. It’s a family tradition on my Mom’s side of the family – everyone brings a gift a draws a number. Each family member gets to choose a gift in the order of the number they receive. The person choosing this gift has two choices: choose a new gift or steal a gift that has already been opened. It is so much fun! Anyway, now I will cut to the chase and tell you about the gift I received… The Pioneer Woman Cookbook.

The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, not only shares her amazing recipes but also gives her readers a glimpse into her life as a mother, wife, and rancher. Ree calls herself an “accidental country girl” as she grew up in an urban setting surrounded by shopping, country clubs, and Broadway shows. She thrived off of large cities such as Chicago until she ran into the Marlboro Man…I will let you read the cookbook to figure out the rest of her story!

I love this book because Ree is passionate about who she is and what her family does. Her recipes are simple, practical, and delicious as well as her photography eye-catching.

Hint: Ree’s Cobbler recipe is TO DIE FOR!

Check it out and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rancher’s work hard to ensure their cattle are healthy and safe during the winter season…

Calving season is always my favorite time of year on the ranch…it is like opening presents on Christmas day, you finally get to see what you have!

Over thanksgiving the heifers (a heifer is a female that has never had a baby before) started calving.  During calving season, which for my family is from now until the end of February, you never know what the weather will be like. There are some nice, sunny days and others that are blustery and snowy! It is the rancher’s job to make sure that  all the cattle are tended to, have food to eat, fresh water and something to block the wind. When it snows, we put hay out for them to eat and roll hay on the ground so they have a dry, warm place to lay. This is especially crucial with newborn calves because they cannot withstand the cold as well as the cows. 

While I was home, one of the heifers had difficulty calving.  When this happens we have to manually pull the calf to make sure that the calf is born healthy and the cow is safe.  If there are problems and no assistance is given, there is a possibility that neither the mother or calf will survive the laboring process.  The cow and calf that we assisted both ended up being perfectly fine! As soon as the cow was turned loose, she immediately went to lick her calf.  Shortly after, the calf was standing on its’ feet and nursing.  Here are some pictures showing the entire process. 


This is when my Dad started pulling the calf, you can see its hooves. It is important that the cow is caught in a tight space to be sure that she is kept safe as well as the rancher who is trying to assist her in the birthing process.


Here Dad is rubbing the calf to make sure it is breathing properly. You can see that it is already holding it’s head up! The cow and the calf will be kept in the barn with hay for bedding to make sure the calf stays dry and warm for the first few hours of it’s life.

Keep checking in on my blog to learn about more ways that ranchers take care of their cattle during the winter season.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


This was found in the Cosmopolitan magazine…all I have to say is Toby Amidor is my hero!  We need more good, positive publicity like this that tells people the true story about beef!

Did you know there are 29 lean cuts of beef? Many of them you have probably heard of….T-bone steak, flank steak, sirloin steak?? Ring a bell? Did you know that ground beef (hamburger meat) that is 95% lean qualifies as one of the lean cuts of beef??

When you go to the grocery store and stand at the meat counter, it can be a very overwhelming purchasing experience. There are so many different cuts and options…how do you know what to buy?

This website contains information about beef in general.   The specific link I have posted contains a downloadable, lean cuts wallet card. This is a pretty neat tool and can really take the confusion out of purchasing beef!

Hope you find this helpful!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Working Calves

After the calves were hauled home from grass we let them get acustomed to their new surroundings for a couple days and then it was time to vaccinate them. The reason why we vaccinate our calves is to protect them against viruses and some diseases. It's a lot like a mother taking her child to the doctor for routine checkups and shots. As the calves come through the barn we get their weight and give them vaccinations. By getting their weight it allows us to get a good inclination of how they are growing. All this information is written down in a notebook to be trasferred into a herd database. By keeping accurate records, we know each time a calf was moved to a new location, given a shot or medicine if it is sick, and all of its' birth information (who the calf's parents are, what day it was born, and how much it weighed).

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Weaning Time

Fall is fast approaching which means several things: 1) cooler weather 2) the leaves will begin changing colors 3) Labor Day weekend with my family 4) the calves will be coming home from summer grass.

In every young animals life there comes a time when it must be separated from it’s mother and begin life on it’s own.  For our baby calves, that “time” is at about 8 months of age.  This may seem harsh and even sad if you are unfamiliar with livestock production.  These calves are fully capable of being on their own: they no longer need their mothers milk and they rely on forages and grain as their source of nutrition.  Eight months seems like a relatively short period of time, but not when you compare it to the life cycle of a cow.  These heifer calves will have hit puberty and be able to conceive a calf by the time they are 12-15 months of age (on average).  The gestation of a cow is about 9 months so most heifers have their first calf when they are 2 years old.  On the flip side, bull calves (the boys) are able to breed a female at a year old. Castrated male calves are either fed on forages, grain in a feedlot, or a combination of the two until they reach a mature weight and are ready for harvest.

I am excited about going home this weekend because I will have an opportunity to see all the calves and spend time with my family.  That is one of the neat things about families involved in the cattle industry in general, it is a family affair!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Scraping the pens!

Hey y’all! Hope everyone is enjoying the nice summer weather! The days aren’t too terribly hot here yet; however, I know it’s coming! This morning we are scraping pens on the JRJ Ranch.  During the winter season we have to feed a lot of hay since snow is on the ground a large percentage of the time and the cattle aren’t able to graze. As a result, a lot a hay wastage accumulates with manure from the cows and the pens must be scraped come late spring/summer.  By scraping the pens,grass is able to come back up in those places where it might have died before. 


The pen scrapings are very helpful to farmers.  Since the scrapings are composed mostly of manure, it is a great natural fertilizer for crops.  The manure is scooped up with a big tractor and placed in a spreader truck that they use to haul it to the fields and spread over the crop. 


Scraping pens is only one of the steps a rancher takes to help take care of and preserve the environment that we have been blessed with.  To check out other steps that are taken and visit ranches from around the United States on a virtual tour go to

Friday, May 28, 2010


Hello all!!  Hope everyone is enjoying the warm summer weather and has had a chance to get out in the sun!  Today is national hamburger day and with Memorial Day weekend celebrations its a great opportunity to fire up the grill!!

Here is a recipe that you might give a whirl, I thought it sounded delicious! I know my family will be having hamburgers tonight and steak this weekend. Have a fun and safe weekend!

Cheesy Jalapeno Pepper-Stuffed Burgers

Total recipe time: 30 minutes Makes 4 servings


  1. 1 pound ground round
  2. 1/4 cup prepared thick-and-chunky salsa
  3. 4 frozen cream cheese or Cheddar cheese-stuffed jalapeno peppers
  4. 1/4 cup prepared salsa con queso
  5. 1/4 cup chopped fresh plum tomato
  6. 2 tablespoons sliced pitted ripe olives
  7. Prepared thick-and-chunky salsa


  1. Combine ground beef and 1/4 cup salsa in large bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Lightly shape into four thin patties. Place one stuffed pepper in center of each patty; wrap beef around pepper to enclose, sealing seams and forming ball. Flatten balls into patties about 4 to 5 inches across and 1 inch thick.
  2. Place patties on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, 15 to 16 minutes, until instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into center registers 160°F, turning occasionally.
  3. Spread 1 tablespoon salsa con queso evenly over top of each burger. Sprinkle evenly with tomato and olives. Serve with salsa, as desired.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

There’s no place like home…

I never thought I would miss the flat, treeless, dirt roads of SW Kansas…but the last two days I have had the pleasure of taking walks and realized that I had.  There are no cars, people or houses…just the wide open skies, an empty road, and cattle grazing the green grass nearby.  This leaves you to walk, sing along with your ipod, or I guess you could even dance in the middle of the road and no one would ever know.  Oh the benefits of a country lifestyle…  As much fun as school is, I will be so glad when I can finally leave the city and find my own quiet haven tucked back in the middle of no where some day!  And of course, there will be cows…

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

University of Missouri Collegiate CattleWomen

I came across this article on Facebook and wanted to share it with everyone! It is neat to see what women are doing across the US to spread the word about beef! I would encourage all of you to watch the YouTube video at the bottom of my blog!

Meet Your Meat on Campus


By Sara Brown

The vast majority of our consumers do not understand where their meat, milk or eggs come from. You can sit there at the computer and type in a number of search keywords, and find a wealth of opinions about the beef industry, farming and agriculture. Some will be accurate, but most won’t. Now, you can sit there and complain about it, or you can do something about it.

These girls from the University of Missouri (MU) Collegiate Cattlewomen decided to do something about it. Their “Meet Your Meat” campaign brought a show heifer to the middle of Lowry Mall on the MU campus, while the local Boone County Cattlemen’s served hamburgers and ribeye steaks to passersby.

As crowds of students, walked by, here’s what I heard:

“What does she eat? She’s huge!”

“Want to try a sample? Ribeye steak is one of the 29 lean cuts of beef.”

“Come pet the cow! It’s two months pregnant!”

“I love beef. It tastes so good!” (Really it was more like “luuuuuuuuvvvv”, but I think you get it.)

“Isn’t kinda mean to have the smell of meat going right into the cow’s face?”

I have to give these girls an amazing amount of credit. They handled the comments and questions like a pro! With attention getter “Cupcake” an Angus heifer from member Morgan Kueckelhan, there were many students stopping to take pictures and learn about the animal. Erin Mohler, PR committee chair for CCW and a student from La Plata, Mo., says there were a lot of production question from students, as well as if they had a response to the movie, Food, Inc.

“We try to tell people that, we are here to tell our story, so if you don’t mind, let me tell you about myself and what we do on my farm back home,” Mohler says. “It’s very important that the young growing community understand the importance of [knowing] where their food comes from.”

The Boone County Cattlemen and CCW members cooked about 500 burgers and ribeyes for the event, while the CCW members sold “I ♥ Beef” t-shirts.

And the answer to the fifth question above? “The only smells cows are concerned about are hay, grass and corn. They don’t even know what a hamburger is.” 

Meet Your Meat YouTube Video

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sharing the story of BEEF

Yesterday afternoon four KSU Collegiate CattleWomen girls and myself went to a Spring Fair in Clay Center, KS to promote beef! The building was full of different types of booths, everything from cabinetry to cakes, but you could smell the delicious smell of steak cooking from the front doors!

On the menu was thinly sliced top round steak marinaded in Daddy Hinkle’s instant marinade, all of which was purchased from our local Ray’s Apple Market.  It was wonderful and so easy to prepare!

(Pictured below is KSU freshman Lauren Geiger who is majoring in Pre-Veterinary Medicine.  Lauren is from NW Missouri where her family raises purebred Angus cattle.)



1. Place thinly sliced steak in electric skillet on 200-250 degrees.

2. Lightly sprinkle some of Daddy Hinkle’s instant wet marinade onto the meat, followed by D.H. dry marinade.

3. Cook for 2-4 minutes until meat is cooked all the way though and is at 160 degrees.

4. Serve over rice, as fajitas, or even on top of a salad!

Here are some beef facts that we shared with the people who visited our booth:

  • Beef is a nutritionally dense product that is full of nutrients including zinc, iron, protein and B-vitamins.
  • ZINC is a nutrient that you probably don’t think about very much, but your body needs it for things like growth and development, maintenance of your immune system, wound healing and appetite control.
    • A 3oz. serving of beef contains as much zinc as            11 2/3 (3 oz.) servings of tuna meat!
  • IRON helps in carrying oxygen to body cells and tissues, making new red blood cells, aids in brain development and supports the immune system- all to keep you healthy.
    • A 3oz. serving of beef contains as much iron as 3 cups of raw spinach!
  • PROTEIN helps keep you energized and is important in supporting many of your body functions.  Protein is a part of all your body’s tissues, even muscles, bones and organs. Proteins can also serve as an energy source and work with the immune system to protect you from disease.
    • One 3oz. serving of beef provides 50% of the protein recommended daily.
  • B-VITAMINS help you to unleash energy in the food that you consume. Calorie for calorie beef is one of the best sources of many essential B-vitamins.
    • A 3oz. serving of beef contains as much B12 as 7 (3oz.) skinless chicken breasts!

When part of a balanced and healthy diet, beef can help to maintain a healthy weight, build muscle and fuel energy for physical activity. 002

(Pictured above is Lauren Geiger and Karl Dawn Hobbs visiting with a consumer. Karl Dawn is a junior at KSU majoring in Ag. Education. She is from Beloit, KS where her and her Dad raise Shorthorn cattle.)

Monday, April 19, 2010

It’s Grilling Season!

Hello everyone, spring time is here and it’s time to start up the grill! :) I know everyone’s lives seem to be super busy this time of year and grilling is an easy solution to make the most of your dinner with quick prep-time and easy clean-up!

One of my favorite things to cook on the grill is kabobs! The best part is, there is no recipe and you can make them as creative and colorful as you want! They are great for your everyday dinner or even fun to make when you invite friends over!  All you need is some beef fajita strips from your local meat market, some veggies (peppers, onion, tomatoes, zucchini, squash…), and you can even add pineapple like I did! You can marinade the meat with some Italian dressing and soy sauce if you like.  Thread the meat and vegetables onto wooden or metal skewers and cook until the meat reaches 160 degrees and is cooked all the way through.  Remove from the skewer and server over a bed of brown or white rice!

This meal not only tastes good, it is also very nutritious!  It’s loaded with vegetables and beef is a great source of protein, iron, zinc and B-vitamins.  These key nutrients help fuel your body so you have more energy, boost your immune system and help build strong muscles!


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

40th Anniversary of Earth Day

Your Views: Celebrate day with a steak

Garden City Telegram

Published 4/13/2010 in Commentary : Letters to the Editor

I am a cattle producer from southwest Kansas and am an everyday environmentalist. The 40th anniversary of Earth Day is rapidly approaching and will soon be celebrated among grade schools through class activities and even in junior and senior high schools by discussion in science classes.

There are many ways that I, along with my fellow farmers and ranchers across the United States, contribute to sustainability. With the economy, everyone is following the trend of trying to do more with less and cattlemen are no exception.

Did you know that land available for grazing more than doubles the amount of land we are able to use for food production in the United States?

As a cattle producer, we pride ourselves in producing a wholesome, nutritious and safe product using the least amount of resources possible. We want to preserve the land to the best of our ability so it will be available and can be passed down to future generations.

From pasture to fork, beef is a nutritionally dense and pleasurable eating experience. Beef is an excellent source of zinc, iron and protein. Just one three-ounce serving of beef contains 10 nutrients essential for life.

These key nutrients help fuel your body so you have more energy, boost your immune system and help build strong muscles. There are 29 cuts of beef that meet the government's requirements for lean, including: T-bone steak, strip steak, filet mignon and top sirloin. Why not celebrate Earth Day with a steak dinner?

Let's support farmers and ranchers who give every day to take care of the land and produce the food we often take for granted; and also give thanks for the land we have been blessed with. Happy Earth Day.


Sublette, KS

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Women in Agriculture

At the beginning of this semester, I was approached by a staff member of the KSU Collegian (school newspaper) who wanted to write an article about women in agriculture. My initial reaction was, “Wow, this is great; finally someone who wants to write a positive article about agriculture”.  As I met with the girl for the interview, I quickly realized that she was looking for information regarding how women were not given a fair chance in agriculture as well as the college of KSU.  I was very frustrated by this and quickly informed her that this was definitely not the case.  As a women in agriculture, I have never felt that I was treated unfairly or differently because of my gender. In fact, I feel that we have very important roles within the industry. An example is the promotion of beef.  I cannot think of a better person to market beef to a mom in the grocery store, than a women herself! (not that men couldn’t also do this effectively)

This afternoon our Collegiate CattleWomen group went on a couple of farm tours.  Our last stop was at Fink Beef Genetics in Randolph, KS.  Lori and Galen Fink have raised cattle since the late 1970’s and are very influential and progressive members of the beef industry.  After a tour of their operation, Lori and Galen treated us to homemade cookies and sat down with all of us to discuss our role in the industry.  Lori told us that when she was in high school, she was the first female and the first female FFA officer in their chapter. At this time, this was a huge fete. She said the school officials were worried about things like there only being a men’s restroom in the welding shed and how they were going to have to make a women’s bathroom.  She said they didn’t realize she wasn’t interested in welding, she wanted to get involved in things like livestock and meats judging . After college, she applied for a secretarial position within the beef industry where previously the position had only been occupied by men.  A fellow industry member encouraged her to apply for the job and assured her that she could do it and would do a great job.  Lori got the job but said that she felt extra pressure to perform at a level beyond what was expected. She thoroughly enjoyed it and earned trust fr0m men within the industry. Today Lori serves on several beef committees on the state and national level, with men.  She says that today women are given an equal opportunity and the sky is the limit as far as what we can accomplish.

Listening to Lori tell her story made me truly appreciate how far the agriculture industry has come.  It also made me realize that we shouldn’t take our rights for granted, someone had to stick there neck out there to get us where we are today, women like Lori.  She is an inspiration to me as well as the other girls in our group!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Going home to the cows!

This weekend I will be going home for Easter weekend! I am so excited because I will get a chance to look through the cows and calves! The babies are about 2-3 months old now and are growing!  We have one set of twins, a heifer and bull calf (girl and boy), they were about 45 pounds when they were born.  An average calf is usually about 70 pounds, so they were very small at birth.  I will take pictures of the babies when I am at home and post them!

We will also be artificially inseminating the cows this weekend.  We do this because it gives us the opportunity to expand and improve our genetics by breeding to bulls that we would not be able to buy and use as natural service sires.  The process is very similar to in-vitro fertilization in humans.

Hope everyone has a great Easter and gets to spend some time with their family!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Beef producers care about the environment.

Consumers are growing more curious about how their food is produced and it seems that anti-agriculturist groups are taking full advantage of this by spreading negative, inaccurate information about agriculture.  I was browsing the web this afternoon and found a quote from a blog titled, Guide to Good Food: Factory Farming and Industrial Agriculture:

“Factory farming and industrial agriculture are unsustainable systems that produce large volumes of food but have little to no regard for the environment, animal welfare, soil and water quality, food safety, worker rights, farmers or local communities.  That focus is on maximizing profit and efficiency- but at great cost.”                            Source-–industrial-agriculture/

First of all, cattle producers have a deep respect for the land and want to make sure that their family farm and land is sustainable, so it can be passed to future generations. They do this by implementing practices such as soil nutrient management plans, using trees and fences to protect natural streams, planting trees, practicing rotational grazing, and enriching wildlife habitats.  Did you know that grazing area in the US more than doubles the area that could be used to produce food while limiting soil erosion, preserving wildlife habitat and reducing the risks of wildfires? Beef produced in the US is under strict compliance with federal, state, and local environmental regulations.  This includes the Clean Air and Water Acts.

You may be asking now, “So what about feedlots?”.  Most cattle in the US are finished in feedlots or concentrated animal feeding operations.  Feedlots have become the focus for many critics when they talk about “factory farming”.  Feedlots allow us to produce more pounds of beef using fewer resources like land, feed and water.    Large feedlots have Environmental Engineers on staff to make sure that the operation is under compliance with the EPA (environmental protection agency) who govern these types of operations.  Part of this persons job is to make sure that manure is managed correctly and water quality is protected.  All feedlots must submit an annual report and develop a plan for handling waste. 

This is the area most consumers fail to recognize, not because it is their fault, but because they haven’t been presented with the information. 

Remember, above all beef producers have the consumer in mind.  Our goal is to produce a safe, wholesome and nutritious product…for YOU!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Animals must be cared for…Rain or Shine!

Hello Readers! Welcome to the “ranch” thanks for popping in and reading my first post! I would encourage you to read the right hand side of the blog under, About the Ranch, so you can get some background info on me and the purpose of this blog! Throughout this blog, I will probably post a lot of articles that are found online.  I will try to make sure they are short and fast, easy reads…I know everyone is busy! I will also do my best to post pictures, it is said they speak a thousand words and will be much more effective than me rambling on and on to you!

Feel free to comment and please, please, please pass this on to your friends!

I stumbled across this blog post on Facebook today and it is very neat and excellent at showing the lengths ranchers go to to ensure their cattle are taken care of! It is a short read and has several pictures that will surprise you! Here it is…

Battling the elements to care for animals

Welcome to the maternity ward. It’s starting to get packed,” Tim Kaldenberg says with a smile as he guided a calf into a barn on his Albia farm last week. This spring Kaldenberg, like many cattlemen across the state, is literally knee deep in mud while trying to provide care for calves that are being born daily………

Read the rest of this article at: