Opportunities

I am currently in the spring semester of my sophomore year, and I am still unsure of what I would like to do after graduation. I struggle with aching to know what my future holds for me and I do not like continuing through life not knowing. Some of my friends and my college advisor says that I stress way too much about this, and they tend to tell me that I still have plenty of time to think about all of the different options.

My biggest fear in life is not knowing what I am doing with my life. I fear that I will never find a place that I feel like I belong in. Right now, I am majoring in agricultural communications, but I am considering changing my major to agricultural business-marketing and sales. As much as I enjoy writing, I am not sure if I could see myself using that for a career. I think that the business route is a little more broad and may give me a few more options that I would enjoy. I still may minor in agricultural communications, because communications is always used, no matter what field you go into.

As I have said in some of my previous blogs, I am also involved in Missouri State University’s Cattlemen’s Association and it has given me many different opportunities to do things. My organization is an affiliate of the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, and luckily they have been nice enough to forward us internship opportunities. I found one that looked really interesting to me and I began to look more into it. The more I read about it, the more excited I became. It sounded like an experience that would be educational, fun, and would help me with my future in the long run.

I decided to apply for the internship and kept my fingers crossed while I pressed the submit button. Eventually, they reached out to me and told me that I had been chosen for the interview process. I tried not to get too excited, because I still had a long way to go before I could possibly get the internship. So, I drove to Columbia, Missouri to have my interview at their main office. Luckily, I have an aunt that lives there, so she let me spend the night at her house and she gave me a lot of good advice before I left for the interview, that morning. When I went into the interview, I felt very nervous, but I also felt comfortable, because I was surrounded with people that were very similar to me and we shared very common passions.

I left the interview feeling confident, but I still did not want to get too excited because there was a good possibility that I would not be chosen for the internship. Several days later, I received an email from the executive director, asking if he could call me. When he called me, he sounded very laid back and casual, so I was nervous. It turned out that he was calling to tell me that…I GOT THE INTERNSHIP!

This summer, I am pleased to announce that I will be an intern for the Missouri Beef Industry Council. I will be based out of their Columbia office, but I will get the chance to travel all over Missouri. This will be a big change for me, because I am used to working on my family farm over the summer, but I think this will give me some experience that I need for my future.

One thing that I am guilty to admit that I was happy about, was that I felt relief when I received this internship, because it meant that I would not have to help during hay season at home. I could not be that lucky though. My new boss was so kind enough to let me only work four days a week, so that I can go home on the weekends to still help out on our beef farm…yay.

Although, I still do not have my future plans fine tuned, I know that I am headed in the right direction and that God will help lead the way. I am ecstatic to see what this summer has to hold for me and I will try to keep you all updated about this crazy, beautiful journey of mine!

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Together, we rebuild

I am deeply saddened by the events in Texas and my heart goes out to all the people who have lost loved ones, livestock, and their livelihood. There has been many great things written and shared. Since I have not experienced it first hand, I thought I would try to explain what I have learned, but I thought that I would also share some of the more memorable articles and things that I have seen, to share with those of you looking for more information:

As I sit here writing this and take time to think about all those affected by the fire, I cannot help but wonder where all of the agricultural critics are. Time and time again, I have heard activists and read articles from Human Society of the United States, HSUS, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, PETA, fighting for animal rights. They want animals to be treated so fairly and humanely, that they come into our lives to try to tell us how we need to treat our animals, that we have been taking care of for our whole lives. They try to make certain rules and take our rights, as farmers away from us. I am wondering though, during this horrific tragedy, where are they now?

As we sit hear mourning, and trying to spread the word of what happened, or trying to find ways to help, where are organizations such as HSUS and PETA? Where are they in time of agricultural disaster and time of need? American farmers could use all of the extra help they can get right now. Correct me if I am wrong, but to me they seem like they are so concerned about our practices and the well being of our animals, but are not here to show their “support” now.

I am struggling to understand how this is only a minor issue to some, and some do not even know about it. If an urban city would have burned, it would be all over the news and people would be more proactive trying to do things to help. Because it was a very rural, it seems that it is a topic that is not well covered outside of the agriculture industry. This is a very huge tragedy though, as people have lost their families, their livestock, their homes, and their whole lives. Farmers are not giving up though, as those that are able are getting back up to mend what they can and work hard to get what they can back.  

On the positive side, I am pleased and proud to look at the agriculture industry as a whole, as we help rebuild. There are people from all over the nation that are willing to help in any way that they can. Many are sending bottled water to families. Some that are able, are hauling loads of hay to areas affected by the fire, because it will take a while for the grass to grow back. Supporters are also sending supplies and money donations. In total, the agriculture industry is coming together to mend what they can and help begin the rebuilding process, that will be long and hard.

It will be a rough road to recovery, but as a whole, we can help rebuild and help heal. If you want to help, but are unsure how, please visit:

May the people who lost their lives rest in peace, and may God be with everyone.

Being positive in a negative situation 

This weekend, I decided to go home from college, due to us having a long weekend, thanks to President’s day. As I was helping my mom feed some peewee calves behind our house, she realized that there were supposed to be 19 calves in this pen, but we only counted 18. So, we loaded up the dogs and the cats, (yes, our cats like to ride in the ranger) and drove out of the pen and into the field to search for the missing calf.

 We drove to towards the pond and realized that the calf was not near the water, so we assumed that maybe it was eating hay and didn’t hear us calling them up for breakfast. There was no calf by the hay. Then we thought that maybe the calf was in the bottom and didn’t hear us. There was no calf in the bottom. There was no dead calf in the field, thank God, and there were no holes in the fence. 

After being optimistic, trying to create reasons that the calf did not come up for breakfast and being hopeful in finding it, we were starting to become ready to give up. My mom then decided to check her notebook and remembered that there actually are only supposed to be 18 calves in the pen. She had just moved one calf to a different spot the other day. 

Luckily, we were able to laugh about the situation and continue on with our day. I think the lesson that we learned was to always be optimistic about a situation, even if you do not need it in the end, at least you can say that you never gave up trying and you were cheerful and hopeful while doing so. 

Modern technology: Good or bad?

Do you ever think about what it would be like if we didn’t have social media; if all we had was the basic phone for calling and texting.

Don’t get me wrong, I use social media daily and it is a handy way to communicate with people, but sometimes I wish it didn’t even exist. The internet can become an addiction to many people. Many of us wake up and instantly check our phones and periodically get on them throughout the day.

What happened to old style communication? What happened to actually going out in public and interacting and adventuring with people.

It is true that some people that are now good friends, may never have met  if it weren’t for Facebook, but it feels like no one gets the old-style communication anymore. I am talking about when you actually approached people in public and verbally talked to them, or asked someone out on a date IN PERSON.

What happened to that? I miss that form of communication. Now we have texting, calling, FaceTime, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, and so much more that continues to grow every day. I wish that there were a way to get people to continue to use these apps, if they wanted to, but to also experience the world more “old fashioned”.

It is sad to think about how much we miss when we have our phones in front of our faces instead of viewing the world as we should. Some people say they feel like if they put their phones down, they will miss something.

Besides becoming addicted to social media, it also has several other downsides to it, that may cause mental health issues, particularity in younger people. They become “glued” to their phones and are always waiting or scanning for new updates on social media.

This has created a lot of cyber bullying and has made many teens have trouble relaxing or sleeping after being on social media sites, because they feel like they should get back on their phone. It causes them to be less active. It causes their self esteem to go down because they are constantly monitoring and thinking about what other people are saying.

I enjoy social media myself, but wish there was a way to find a good balance for using it. I think we are missing out on so many good things in our life by being so consumed by what is on our phones.

So before you pick up your phone, yet again for the day, think about reading a book, asking your friends to go hiking for the day, or catching up with someone, over lunch with your phones turned off. I mean after all, our ancestors turned out to be alright and they didn’t have all of this modern technology.

Voicing your opinion when you don’t know what you’re talking about 

Last week, in my political science class, we were discussing gun rights and whether we thought guns should be allowed on campus or not. One girl wanted to share her input, so she explained how she was against guns. 

She said that she thinks guns are evil and no one should have them. She thought assault rifles shouldn’t be sold, because it is just asking for a mass murder to occur, because machine guns can shoot more. She would feel unsafe if they were allowed on campus. 

After she was finished giving her input, she stated that she hates guns and has never touched one and thinks no one should. She also admitted that she knows nothing about guns. 

I think this is exactly how a lot of misconceptions happen with anything in society today. Whether it be discussing gun rights when you don’t know anything about guns, or an animal rights when you’ve never been in a situation to see how animals are treated in a facility you’re fighting against, or even just saying you don’t like something when you’ve never even tried it. 

I think anyone is entitled to their own opinion, but you need facts to back it up. You can’t sit in class, arguing against everyone who supports gun rights, if you don’t have an actual reason why you’re arguing against them.

Dear tomboys, 

I grew up with one older brother and all boy cousins. Running around with a rough crowd, made me quickly become a tomboy at a young age. As I was younger, I would play video games, play in the dirt, swim in the creek, and play a game my brother and I invented, called Cowboys and Indians. To this day, I am still a tomboy and tend to hang out more with males than females. 

As much as I love my girl friends, I seem to enjoy hanging out with the guys more. I like doing things outdoors, such as hunting, fishing, and riding four wheelers. Throughout high school and college, I have had a few boyfriends and flings, I guess you could call them. But before college, I had never gave much thought as to why I couldn’t get a guy to like me and be in a long term relationship with me. 

Lately, I have heard a lot of truth about how guys think, from hanging out with my college guy buddies though. I am invited over to do homework, play video games, and watch T.V. with them. The more I hang out with them, the more they call me “one of the guys” and include me in on their guy conversations.

I have heard them weigh in their numerous opinions about girls, many many times. They go on and on about “who has a nice ass” and “who they would like to get with”. Finally, tonight, the last straw was drawn that made it all click into place to cause my blood to boil. One of my friends started talking about how his dad once told him to get a girl who loves shopping so she will spend lots of time away from him so he can go fishing. I responded by asking about if the female doesn’t enjoy shopping and likes fishing, why can’t she go too? The male friend told me that fishing is guy time and that’s simply not a girls activity. 

I was shocked. 

They started telling me more and more about how they would prefer their girl friends to be more feminine so they can have more time with the guys. I also heard them talk about how if girls are good at a specific “guy” thing, then that could be a threat and embarrassing if the girl happened to be better at the activity. 

I find all these talks with the guys lately to be quite frustrating and don’t know what to think anymore. Of course I want to believe that not all men are the same. No human is the same. I don’t know if I am hanging with the wrong crowds, or if it is men my age who just like feminine, needy girls who will cook and clean and do whatever they want them to. To me, that is complete bullshit. 

I am more than capable of cooking, cleaning, and being kind to a man, but I don’t feel the desire to be needy and completely reliant on a man for things.

The fact that some of my best friends basically told me that I was undateable hurt my feelings and made me really mad. I don’t understand why I have to be more feminine for more people to like me? Is this something that will change with time or did I chose my friends, who I thought were great, all wrong. 

Of course, if I try to bring the matter up with them, they think that I am jealous and have started to become attracted to them, which is NOT the case! I just want to know why it is “impossible” to date a tomboy. 

After I had heard enough, I went home to digest all that I had learned. As much as part of me wanted to go shopping to get different clothes, start wearing more makeup, and become more feminine, the other part of me screamed why? Why the hell should I completely change who I am for a man? If they aren’t willing to accept me for who I am, then I don’t want them. 

I am far from perfect and I sure have got a lot of figuring out to do with my life, but I hope that when the time is right, God has a special man picked out for a tomgirl, like me. Until then, I will try to continue to patiently wait. 

Your old pal,

The tomboy who is tired of always being “one of the guys”


2015 deer season

In the summer, I operate equipment to move round bales and pick up square bales by hand, to haul. 

Not a huge fish, but it was a fun stress reliever.


JBS Brazil takes over United States

JBS, a packing house originated in Brazil, has started to buy out numerous United States’ packing houses. JBS is playing both sides, by bringing their own meat into the United States, which hurts our beef market, and by owning the large-scale packing houses, which is shutting more of our operations down.

“In the United States, JBS operates nine beef processing plants (daily capacity, 27,455 head of cattle), five pork processing plants (89,700), and 23 poultry plants (6,207,626),” agriculture website, Food Business News said.

What JBS is doing, is hurting our beef industry, now and for the long run.

According to the Food Business News, some of the major US packing houses that have been bought out by JBS include, Swift & Co., in 2007, National Beef Packing Co., in 2008, and Smithfield Beef Group, in 2008.

The only large-scale packing houses in the United States that have not been bought out by JBS, are Cargill and Tyson Foods Inc.

JBS continues to buy huge corporations like Swift Foods Co., which was the third largest United States processor of beef and pork, according to agriculture website, Market World.

They also continue to bring in their own beef, which lowers the demand for United States beef to be produced. This causes beef farmers to lose business and for people to start eating foreign meat. Are Americans really okay with this, or do they simply not know about the issue?

By allowing JBS to start importing their own Brazilian beef in, this hurts our own, United States, beef producers. If JBS buys the majority of main slaughter houses and stops slaughtering United States beef, production rates will go down drastically. This not only affects the packing houses being shut down, but also truck drivers who haul United States’ beef to the packing houses, the feedlots selling to the packing houses, the farmers breeding and raising the livestock, and everyone in between.

Americans do not know that when they go to the grocery store, they could be buying beef from out of the country. Long term, this will hurt our beef market and cause more people to have an economic loss, and even lose their jobs.

Many people do not yet know about this major agricultural issue, but the people that do, are not too happy.

“This is one of our worst calf markets in years. The USDA deregulated the ban on raw meat from South America. Now, JBS Brazil can ship raw carcasses directly to JBS USA. China and the rest of Asia already had a ban on South American beef, due to BSE, mad cow disease, and hoof and mouth disease. This deregulation poses a threat to our USA cattle herds,” Missouri State University animal science major, Paul Stark, said.

Stark also says this issue is really hanging up the American producer to dry.

This is an agriculture emergency that is either unknown by the public, or is over-looked. It is a case that is only getting worst, and needs to be handled soon. JBS has already purchased nine packing houses, and they will not stop there. They have stated that they are competitive and they know they are number one. If we are not careful, they are going to put us all out of business.

 

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“God made you perfectly, and you should be proud.”

Some people worry about their weight, acne, size of nose, ears, feet, breasts, etc. I have always been self conscious about my height. I have been “the tall girl” since elementary school. I am 5’10”, which is taller than the average woman. For me, being tall comes with long legs, long arms, clumsiness, big hands, and my least favorite…big feet.

I always want to wear heels, but am too afraid of towering over everyone, especially men.

Different people may say harsh things and shame tall women for being “too tall”. Many people say that if I get offended by them saying this, I just get my feelings hurt too easily. How is it fair that I am teased for being “too tall”, when I do not make fun of them for their height.

The other day, one of my friends shared a post from Long Tall Sally on Facebook. The post had a tall woman, 6’2″ to be exact, wearing heels asking what a couple more inches would matter. I commented, “I wish I had that confidence.” The feedback that I got was very heartfelt and eye opening for me.

Even though sometimes it is hard not being able to find pants long enough , or shoes big enough, I will stand tall and be proud of my body size, the way it is. I cannot change my height, so what is the point of complaining about it. I am still working on being more confident and I may not be wearing any high heels any time soon, but I will begin to stand tall and wear my height confidently.

The impact of a few simple words from a human being has a very powerful effect on the way people think. When people tease my about my height, it hurts my feelings and makes me self conscious. I feel more confident and proud when people praise me for my height and give me a simple compliment. I thought about it so much, that I ended up printing and taping the conversation on my bathroom mirror, for when I get ready in the morning.

The lesson here, is to think very carefully about what you want to say someone before you open your big mouth. You never know when you may be trying to tease someone about their biggest insecurity, and that is not okay. Let’s start building other people up, instead of tearing them down.

 

A Whole Different World 

There is something very satisfying about laying in the bed of a pickup truck, in the middle of a field, to look at the stars. You can hear the night time insects buzz and the tree frogs start to chirp their songs. The air smells crisp and fresh. After a long, hot, sticky day, the cool breeze on my sun burned face soothes me. 

As I lay there and look up in the beautiful, endless sky, it relaxes me. I have time to think about everything, or not even think about anything at all. I can feel my heart beat start to slow and my whole body begin to calm. 

I think that it’s safe to say that my favorite place to enjoy myself is simply in the bed of my truck, doing absolutely nothing, but gaze at the Galaxy and wonder what lies beyond what I can see. 

Homesick

Sometimes, no matter how great life is going at college, you just get homesick. A few nights ago, was one of those nights for me. I missed laying in bed back at home and still being able to see the stars out my window and hear the calves bawling at our barn. In a strange way, all of the “obnoxious” farm noises soothed me and helped me relax. So, I decided to take a little road trip. I was aching to see gravel roads, see cattle grazing on tender green grass, and breathe in fresh air out in the country.

As I hopped into my truck and searched for a back road, I instantly felt better as I saw the city lights in my rear view slowly fade away behind me. It seems silly, but I swear I felt the air get fresher the farther away that I drove. I started to see less asphalt and more gravel roads and lush grass. It felt good to be surrounded by a place that reminded me more of home. I started to see a lot of cattle, and it made me realize how many things I take for granted when I am at home.

I have lived on a cattle farm my whole life and never have realized how lucky I truly am, until I moved out. I love living on a cattle farm, but realized that I wanted to see what else was out there for me. I decided to go to Springfield to attend college at Missouri State to further my education about agriculture. As much as I love learning more and love all of the new friends that I have made, I miss being back home where I can walk into my backyard and be surrounded by cattle and peaceful silence, well silence from humans anyway.

Last year, before I left for my first year of college, a family friend gave me a card and what she wrote inside really made my mind wander. She wrote, “Have fun, be safe, and never forget the road that leads you back home.” Those words are something that I will never forget, and will think about every time I go somewhere new. Sometimes we have these hard days, but we just to keep on pushing through and remember what our dreams are and why we are doing what we are doing.