Stories, opinions, facts, convictions, and lessons learned from a small town farm girl.

Monday, July 2, 2012

It's Not Your Grandmother's Industry Anymore

Ben and I have been getting settled in to married life and enjoying every moment of the adventure! I can't help but feel excited about what the future has in store for us.

I've heard before that when going into a marriage, you have to know what kind if spouse you will be - as I unpacked our things this past week and set up our little home to bring it to life with our belingings, my mind drifted to the kind of wife I want to be. It is no secret, as I have posted on here countless times, that the life of a farm woman is not only the highest respected occupation in my mind, but also the life I want to lead for myself and the kind of woman I want to be. I stumbled across an article a while ago on the Arkansas Women in Agriculture's Facebook page that is too good not to share, titled 'A Woman's Work' on

Friday, June 29, 2012

Wedding sneak peeks

I will be posting a few wedding pictures on my facebook page! To get a sneak peek, "like" 'Because the West Wasn't Won on Salad' on facebook! Just click on the icon to the left to get re-routed! Enjoy!

Life these days...

A lot has happened since I've last posted on here. I am now the proud recipient of a Master of Science in Animal Science from the University of Arkansas. After graduation (and I mean RIGHT after graduation - the ceremony ended at 11 and my dog Huck and I were on the road headed east by 12:15) I headed home to Maryland to plan our wedding, which was a short dive weeks away at the time. It seems that writing a thesis and finishing up research for a Master's while planning a wedding from 1500 miles away proves to be difficult for even the most proficient multi-taskers... So the first part of my summer consisted of mass amounts of sunscreen in a last-ditch effort to avoid tan lines when I walked down the aisle as well as so many wedding crafts I am now considering selling everything as a "country weddin' package" on ebay. June 16th came faster than any date has ever approached that I can recollect and before I knew it I was walking down the aisle to be married to my dearest friend. Wehad a beautiful wedding - the entire celebration was outdoor on the farm I grew up on and if I had to do it all over again, I'd do it exacty the same. And at the end of the day, all that really mattered was that I was married to the man of my dreams. So I am now Mrs. Jessica Williamson. I moved back to Kentucky where my husband works and Lord-willing I will find work soon. I'll just do my part and leave it in His hands from there. Today we are headed to western Kentucky where he has a Kentucky Cattleman's Association Board of Directors meeting - looking forward to another day of newly-wedded bliss with my husband! Thank you all for being so patient in my brief absence from all things social media - stay tuned for wedding pictures and some fun details of the big day! Happy Friday!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Improving the Efficiency of Beef Production

It has been eons since I've last posted ... October? I have certainly let time get away from me, seeing as we're halfway through March.  I was inspired this morning to begin posting again as I read a blog of someone whom I admire very much, and I encourage you all to read and follow her postings - very cute, little tales of what life's like on the farm. Check out Melissa Beck's 'Calf Tales ... Rural Life in Arkansas'.  Melissa is my graduate advisor's wife, so I've had the pleasure of getting to know her through him.

A lot has happened since I've last written ... with the most grand change being that I will be a WIFE in June of this year!  In October of 2011, my boyfriend of 4 years asked me to marry him, to which I happily replied 'YES!'  So life has taken me on the wild ride of wedding planning while completing a thesis and preparing to graduate with my Master's in May, just a short month before I will walk down the isle.  Yikes!

While my life is about to change in big ways, there are also other changes occurring that are dear to my heart - the efficiency of cattle production in the United States.  I receive daily Drover's Cattle Network news emails - which I enjoy reading religiously on my phone before I crawl out of bed in the morning - and this morning, while reading a highlighted article, I saw another that caught my eye: Thirty Years of Improving Beef's Environmental Impact by Dr. Jude Capper.  It is a short, yet educational and informative article on segments of the beef industry and the strides we've taken to improve the efficiency of cattle production.

The article, summarizing Capper's work, states,
"By improving production efficiency, a reduction in the environmental impact is achieved by a dilution of maintenance energy requirements.  For the beef industry, this does not occur daily on an individual basis, but across individual animals over time and, on average, across the whole industry. The energy requirements for growing steers were 14,100 calories per day in 1977 and 20,300 calories per day in 2007.  However, because of the shorter days to harvest in 2007, only 27,000 calories were required to produce one pound of beef in 2007 compared to 30,593 calories in 1977.  Combined with the heavier carcass weights of modern cattle, in 2007 the United States produced almost 2.9 million more pounds of beef while harvesting 825,000 fewer cattle than 1977..."
"...Despite the fact that resources required are only 66 – 86% of what they were in 1977, the amount of beef per animal is increased 128%.  In addition, improvements in efficiency of nutrient and energy use have resulted in less manure production and greenhouse gas emissions."
 This chart shows the reduction in greenhouse gas emission since 1977 in today's production systems. Although I haven't jumped on the bandwagon much with the new pop culture trends in health, nutrition, and "going green", improving the efficiency of our ag systems is something I feel very strongly about, and research proving just how far we've come is beyond exciting for me.  So, I love this graph and all that it represents for our cattle industry.  Pretty impressive, if ya ask me.
 Have a wonderful week!