Tuesday, January 31, 2012


For all you "twitter-ers" (or is it tweeters?) out there, you have probably seen the hash tag #NCBA12 or #CIC12 floating around. That is where I will be this week! NCBA stands for National Cattleman's Beef Association and CIC is Cattle Industry Convention. It rotates to various locations every year and this year it's in Nashville, TN...the perfect place for a convention in my mind! People travel from all over the U.S. to come to this conference. This morning I met a gentleman from New Mexico and my roommate is from Florida. The Kansas State University Collegiate CattleWomen will be bringing a group of about 30 girls along with many other universities that will follow suite.
So what am I doing here? For the past two years, I have attended the convention as an attendee. This year, I have the opportunity to see how the entire convention is orchestrated as an NCBA intern! I am here with 15 other interns and we are all either undergrad or graduate students at different universities across the country, literally! We stretch from Florida to Washington.  We all have at least one thing in common, our passion for the beef industry. Yesterday while meeting the interns, I was amazed at how many things I had in common with each of them - we either knew the same people, had similar backgrounds, majors, etc! I am so excited about the many people I will meet and connections that will be made this week!
If you are in Nashville at the convention, you can find me in a black shirt (along with the other thousand people that will have black shirts on!). There are expected to be around 7,000 cattleman in attendance, just a few!
Since Nashville is only 5 hours away, I was able to drive. Tennessee is a beautiful state!

The view from our hotel room window...gorgeous!  This is actually all inside a building but the roof is glass so if feels like you are walking outside. The hotel is huge.

The hotel is so big it has it's very own Vera Bradley store :)

One of the fountains in the hotel at night.

Last night we had rib eye steak for dinner at a little restaurant across the way, the waiters/waitresses were very talented and performed throughout the night. Really cool atmosphere and great food!

Pecan pie...incredible.

The calm before the storm this morning. By noon today this place will probably be packed and crazy! 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Teaching kids valuable life skills

This weekend I had the privilege of judging the Montgomery Co. Livestock Show in Winona, MS. This was my first show to judge in the South and I had a BLAST! From the moment I arrived I was blown away by the nice families, how welcoming everyone was, and how polite the kids were! Before the show started I was "observing" the families and all of them were working together to get their animals ready and laughing and having a good time! I was very obvious that the kids were excited, happy to be there, and loved every minute of what they were doing! The kids did an awesome job showing and had done really well working with and preparing their animals prior to the show.

After the show I had the opportunity to visit with one of the Moms. She was sharing with me why she felt that 4-H, agriculture, and livestock were so important for her kids and their family. Showing livestock is a great opportunity for families to spend time together. In today's time, as sad as it is, this is becoming a rarity. The kids are responsible for getting up before school every morning to feed their animals and then as one little boy put it, "When I get off the bus from school, I got outside to my lambs so that I can exercise them, work with them to get ready for the shows, and feed them." During showmanship I asked the kids a variety of questions and one of them being, "Tell me about your lamb (or goat, heifer, etc.)". Every one of these kids could tell me in detail what they were doing at home to properly take care of and manage their animals. This teaches kids responsibility and a work ethic at a young age. It also teaches them how to care for livestock.  Most of these kids also had a lot of self confidence and weren't shy while I was asking them questions. They have to think on their feet while in the show ring and this will translate to job interviews many years down the road. These kids are learning life skills as early as 5-7 years of age that are irreplaceable. When they are grown and mature they will know how to work, obtain and hold a job, and how to be professional in business settings.
I was very proud of all these kids. They did an awesome job and should be commended for all their time and effort they have put into their projects!

The kids and I after the show!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

"You want me to put my hand where?"

Each semester my lab mate, Katie, and I help teach the livestock reproduction lab.  Our lab is unique from many universities because the students have the opportunity to learn the technique of artificial insemination (A.I.) and practice weekly for a semester.  The process of A.I. includes inserting an A.I. gun or rod into the vagina and through the cervix so the semen can be deposited into the uterine body. The millions of sperm eventually travel up the horns and to the ampulla of the oviduct where the sperm will meet the egg and one lucky little guy will fertilize it. Many of these students are in the pre-veterinary program but many not necessarily have a livestock background.  For the students that have limited to no experience working around livestock, this gives them hours of hands-on experience prior to applying and entering the veterinary program. For students that come from a ranch background, it gives them the opportunity to learn the technique, become proficient at it and apply it in their own herds back home. 

The first day starts the same every semester with the students trying to find the cervix in the cow.  As we get further into the semester, they transition from the hesitancy they experience on the first day to successfully artificially inseminating a cow! This is the part I enjoy the most, when you see that lightbulb go off and the student succeeds. For those of you that are familiar with A.I., you know that it is something that requires a lot of patience and practice before being successful. When learning, it can be extremely frustrating so I get to do lots of preaching on patience! 

Here is one of the students on the first day! 
Although Day 1 is a shocker for most of the students, they always have a good time! My favorite quote of the day was, "Man, once you get inside there it's a different story...I didn't know it was going to be like that!". Never a dull moment in repro lab...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Mama giving her baby calf a morning bath! Did you know cows had such long tongues? A cows tongue is roughly 12 inches long. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Mrs. Ann's Monster Cookies

Hey everyone! Yesterday, I made some monster cookies (my absolute favorite kind of cookie) and they were SO DELICIOUS that I had to share the recipe. The recipe came from my friend Ann...she has this cooking thing down! :)

Here are the ingredients you need:

1 stick of butter or margarine, softened
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 c. peanut butter
2 t. vanilla
4 1/2 c. oatmeal
1 T. karo
3 eggs
2 t. baking soda
1/2 bag chocolate chips
1/2 bag m&m's

Combine margarine, brown sugar, sugar, and eggs until creamy and fluffy. Fold in remaining ingredients. Drop by tablespoons onto greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. 


Friday, January 20, 2012

23 Million Jobs

This photo has been floating around the web in response to yesterday's Yahoo article. Thank you to the National FFA Organization for getting this message out!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Are Agriculture degrees useless?

While on Twitter today I ran across a lot of buzz about an article written titled, College Majors That Are Useless. Being an #agvocate, that caught my attention and it immediately made me furious!
Here is their top 5 "useless" degrees breakdown:

#1 Agriculture
#2 Fashion Design
#3 Theatre
#4 Animal Science
#5 Horticulture

I am a KSU Alumni that majored in Animal Science and I am now working towards my masters degree in Animal and Dairy Sciences studying Reproductive Physiology. I have found my degree extremely useful from the time I began working on my bachelors in 2007. I remember calling home my freshman year to tell my Dad what I had learned that day in Animal Science. I now have the opportunity to teach undergrads and one of the best things is seeing that light bulb go off when they finally are able to pass an A.I. rod through the cervix when learning how to artificially inseminate cows!
As you can tell, I have a very hard time believing that Agriculture or Animal Science are "useless" degrees. I think I can speak for myself, my colleagues, and the students I teach when I say that the reason we major in an agriculture type degree is because we are passionate about the industry and learning how we can better feed the world. We are committed to supplying the world with a safe food supply and every one of us are contributing to that whether we are feeding cattle, breeding a heifer, harvesting a field, or milling wheat to make flour. When you think about all the steps that your food has to go through from the time it leaves the pasture/field and ends up on your plate it a process that involves a lot of people dedicated to feeding America.  Without these people with these so-called "useless" degrees, where would America be? I think that these degrees are pretty dog-gon important and I commend the young people that choose to pursue these degrees!

Leave your opinion on eburnsthompson // From Small-Town Iowa Girl, To Big-City Lawyer blog and be sure to vote in her poll!

I love seeing these signs as I drive down the highway in Kansas!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Go, Cats, Go!

While I was at home over break, I was trying to get some pictures of the bulls as the sun was setting. Dad and I were messing around and came up with this! :) We love our K-State wildcats! 
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

RA Brown Ranch

Do you have questions about beef production? I found this video on You Tube while searching for beef production videos to show to my livestock evaluation class. I think it's really neat and shows how important family and producing a safe product (beef) is to beef producers!
For those of you that aren't familiar with the R.A. Brown Ranch, here is some info I found on their home page. You can visit their website here.
Since 1895, this progressive family ranching business has been producing some of the most superior cattle and Quarter Horses in the industry. The R.A. Brown Ranch raises and sells four breeds of cattle: Angus, Red Angus, SimAngus and Hotlander (a four breed composite developed on the ranch in the late 80’s). Extensive records are maintained on over 1000 head of seedstock cows. Since 1974 they have held their annual production sale on the 2nd Wednesday in October at the ranch in Throckmorton, TX. The ranch covers 33,000 acres in Texas andColorado. Originally established by R.H. Brown, it is now in its 5th generation. Today the ranch is owned by R.A. “Rob” & Peggy Brown along with their children.
Mission Statement: We are continually striving to improve the efficiency of converting God’s forage into great tasting, nutritious beef to better feed His people.

Friday, January 6, 2012

My Christmas break in pictures!

I had a wonderful Christmas break in Kansas with my family! It was so nice to just be HOME for a strait two weeks. I am a big home body. I am content with just staying at our house and hanging out with Mom, Dad, brother Beau, the cows, and having some major relaxation! It was perfect :) Here is my break in pictures (along with a few words...).
I was welcomed home by a foot of snow! It was wonderful. We have been really dry so the snow along with the rain that preceded it was the perfect Christmas present for the farmers! Brother Beau and I had to go out and clean the ice out of the tanks. It was about a foot thick...lots of ice! Ladies, he is available.  Comment for an application...of course I will screen all of them  :)
The bulls. Dad and I wanted to get some cool pics with the cake bin (the big white thing with the power cat) and the cattle but the bulls didn't want to be very photogenic. 
One of my favorite things about the holidays is cooking! Mom and I made coconut and chocolate meringue pies...YUMMY! 

Here is a picture of one of the calves that was born! Calving is my favorite time of year...this was taken just a few minutes after birth. The mama wasn't sure about pictures...she was already being protective.
The same calf at two days old...they are so cute! 

The weather was really nice so I was able to get some good pictures...

A sample... I will post more later!

Mom's side of the family came over for my "last beef dinner" before returning to Mississippi! It was absolutely incredible...I enjoyed every bite! I was spoiled by endless supply of beef when I lived close to home. Needless to say, I have a whole new appreciation for a good steak now! There aren't as many steak houses in the South...lots of chicken! I am learning to enjoy fried chicken though!

My reading material for the plane ride home. I forgot my magazine on the plane in the seat pocket so I hope the next passenger learned a thing our two about the cattle industry! 

That's it for now...look for more posts to come, thanks for stopping by!