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

Thursday, April 29, 2010

"I do not believe there was any life more attractive to a vigorous young fellow than life on a cattle farm in those days. It was a fine, healthy life, too; it taught a man self-reliance, hardihood, and the value of instant decision... I enjoyed the life to the full."
-Theodore Roosevelt

What we love the most...

Last night as I watched my favorite show, Everybody Loves Raymond, a commercial came on that could've fooled even the most educated folks... A commercial for the Humane Society of the United States. This commerical, along with several others that are similar and have the same intentions, tugged at the heart and used emotions to portray their cause.

After speaking with some friends and family members about HSUS, I've come to realize just how little people actually know about this organization. HSUS is not an organization that donates their proceeds to reach out to local animal shelters ... their main agenda is the abolition of all animal agriculture. Again, let me restate that: The Humane Society of the United States' main goal is to remove all animal agriculture from our great nation.
I am unsure if the folks at HSUS and their supporters are aware of just how crucial livestock are to our daily lives - even vegans. Make-up, car tires, paint, soap, laundry detergent, drywall, and most importantly medications a just a few of the millions of things we use to enrich our daily lives as a result of animal by-products. For the sake of time and in an effort to keep myself off my little "soapbox," I will refrain from even getting into the economical impact that the removal of animal agriculture will have on America - let alone the livelihood of millions of American families that will be destroyed!
Thankfully, an organization has been created to monitor HSUS in an effort to spread the word of their agenda: HumaneWatch. Thank you, HumaneWatch, for all you work and efforts! I encourage you to visit their website and help to educate others on HSUS and how we can combine our efforts to stomp out this agenda!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"Agriculture is our wisest pursuit because it will, in the end, contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and above all: happiness."
-Thomas Jefferson

The Land of Opportunity

I'm new to the blogging world, so please just bare with me as I venture into this new form of communication...

I'll start off with a little about myself so I can lay the groundwork for my readers. My name is Jessica and I grew up in western Maryland on a cow/calf operation. My whole life has revolved around agriculture and in my heart I always knew that it would be my greatest passion. I grew up showing cattle in 4-H, in high school I was very active in FFA, and I continued my pursuit of agriculture on into college. Last December I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from a university in eastern Kentucky. I will begin my work for my Master's degree in August at the Univeristy of Arkansas studying ruminant (cattle) nutrition. In the meantime, I have been blessed with the opportunity of a lifetime - an internship with a private, nonprofit agricultural research institute in southcentral Oklahoma - The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation.

While I am a huge fan and follower of several other agricultural blogs highlighting the industry's production side, I would like to take a slightly different look at things - a side that is frequently overlooked and misunderstood... Agricultural research.

Now, please understand that I have just recently dove into the research side of the industry - up until a few years ago my entire life has centered around production ag... Striving for economic efficiency while turning over a profit. But frequently not much thought is put into how a farmer or rancher can become more economically efficient and who is behind the scenes making this happen...

Today, as I spent my afternoon in a greenhouse planting thousands upon thousands of switchgrass seeds into little tiny cells filled with sandy soil, I took a moment to stop and look around me. I was surrounded by scientists wearing white lab coats and rubber gloves, barrel after barrel of different varieties of soil, hundreds of different varieties of forages, several soil autoclaves, and over an acre of state-of-the-art greenhouses. I began to reflect on the life I've come to know and love for 22 years in a small town in western Maryland and just how far from that I am.

My dad has farmed nearly his entire life. Some of the grass seed that he plants annually for pasture to feed his cattle could have been developed right there where I sat in this chair. My grandfather, who is also a life-long farmer that works in his greenhouse from sun-up to sun-down, could have used tomato plants bred in the greenhouse right across from me. If Pap could only see this place I work... If he would've only had the opportunity to pursuit the dream that I pursuit every day.

I was struck with such strong emotion it nearly took my breath away. This is where it all starts - an idea, a plan, a dream - and the farmer is where it continues to take root and grow.

America is the land of opportunity and never in my wildest dreams did I imagine where it would take me. Oh, what I would give for my dad or pap - and for other family members who have passed on but managed to make agriculture their dream - to see agricultural research at its finest. But it is because they are who they are that I am who I am today. Their love for the land and agriculture instilled a drive in me that has allowed me to reach for my potential. And it is all I can hope for that they know just how much their passion alone can change their farm girl's world.

America is the land of opportunity. Do what you love. Love what you do.