Friday, April 30, 2010


Tonight we are headed to Sidney for the Best Kept Secret Bra Auction sponosored by the Women's Health Coalition.  I am pretty excited.  The Women's Health Coalition raises funds for surrounding counties to pay for cancer screenings and awarness programs.  The Bra Auction is a huge fund raiser and a huge hit.  People take a bra, decorate it how ever they choose, and then donate it to be auctioned off to the public.  All proceeds go to the coalition.  Below is a picture of the bra Juli and I decorated.  We had fun, and have already talked about how we will decorate next year.   The theme of our bra is "Cowgirl Up For Cancer"

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Meatless Mondays

I have been little snippets and references to Meatless Mondays, but never the full story.  I decided I wanted to know more about Meatless Mondays and just what all the fuss is about.  This is what I learned from my google search:

*Meatless Monday is a non-profit initiative who has a goal to reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.

*The are asking that in place of chicken, beef, or pork, just look for protein from beans, legumes, eggs, nuts and seeds instead.

*The MeatlessMonday website states that going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.
            *  REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide . . . far more than transportation.[3] And annual worldwide demand for meat continues to grow. Reining in meat consumption once a week can help slow this trend.
            *  MINIMIZE WATER USAGE. The water needs of livestock are tremendous, far above those of vegetables or grains. An estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef.[4] Soy tofu produced in California requires 220 gallons of water per pound.[5]

             *  HELP REDUCE FOSSIL FUEL DEPENDENCE. On average, about 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feed lot beef in the U.S.[6] Compare this to the 2.2 calories of fossil fuel energy needed to produce one calorie of plant-based protein.[7] Moderating meat consumption is a great way to cut fossil fuel demand.
*There have been many cities (San Fransisco, Montreal Quebec) and school systems ( Baltimore MA School Systems, University of CA school: Berkley, Davis for example) that have already adopted Meatless Mondays, with quite a few more considering it. 
*“Manhattan Borough President, Scott Stringer, says the goal is not to promote vegetarianism or ban meat eating altogether, it’s a way to encourage kids to eat less meat and more vegetables.”
Now no matter what the topic of discussion is, there are always many sides, thoughts and research.  That being said, I found some articles that are on the opposite end of the stick of Meatless Monday.
Below are some excerpts from an article I found on Drovers website this morning.  To read the whole article, go here.
'The big lie that has been repeated so often that many now consider it a fact is the claim made four years ago by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) that “cattle-rearing generates more global warming greenhouse gases, as measured in CO2 equivalent, than transportation.”

The report, titled “Livestock’s Long Shadow — Environmental Issues and Options,” was immediately used by animal-rights activists to argue that we should all become vegetarians in an effort to save the planet. That, of course, is hogwash. And now some scientists agree the analysis was, well, hogwash.

Frank Mitloehner, an air quality expert at the University of California at Davis, delivered a report last month to the American Chemical Society that undercut most of the claims about livestock and climate change.

Lower consumption of meat and dairy products will not have a major impact in combating global warming, Mitloehner says, despite persistent claims to the contrary. He says cows and pigs have gotten a “bum rap.” The claims that livestock are to blame for global warming are both “scientifically inaccurate” and a dangerous distraction from more important issues.'
'Humans can reduce greenhouse-gas production, Mitloehner says, “but not by consuming less meat and milk. Producing less meat and milk will only mean more hunger in poor countries.” He adds that “smarter animal farming, not less farming, will equal less heat.”
Further, Mitloehner says, “The developed world should focus on increasing efficient meat production in developing countries where growing populations need more nutritious food. In developing countries, we should adopt more efficient, Western-style farming practices to make more food with less greenhouse-gas production.”
Hmmm … that advice sounds strangely like utilizing modern technology and efficiency to help feed the world’s growing population. Why hasn’t somebody thought of that before? '

Now while I applaud anyone for choosing ot eat healthier and take care of our land, Idon't think I am convinced that Meatless Mondays is going to do any of this. 

Clean Water Act, changes coming down the stream?

I pulled this off of the WIFE Facebook page.   If you are not sure what WIFE is, go check them out.  They do some great work, all in the name of Agriculture.   As ranchers and farmers, we must work together to protect out natural resources and ourselves.  If the word change (read below) in the Clean Water Act is passed, it could become a nightmare battle in property rights, personal rights and doing what is best for rancher/farmers personal operatoins. 
*WIFE Member's Letter Published in the Washington Times*
Dear Editor,

I am a Montana rancher and an Area Director for Women Involved in Farm Economics (WIFE.) We are very concerned by Representative Oberstar’s introduction of “America’s Commitment to Clean Water Act.” As farmers and ranchers we are already committed to clean water. It is our lifeblood. Without clean and useable water we cannot produce the food and fiber with which we feed and clothe part of the world.
This bill would remove the word “navigable” from the Clean Water Act of 1972, thus expanding the federal government’s jurisdiction from just navigable waters to all water in the United States. This means the puddles, ponds, and seasonal streams that exist on our property. This could produce a bureaucratic nightmare for us. Through average rains, floods, or draughts, we need to be able to make our own decisions quickly for the survival of our crops and livestock.
Although the name of this bill sounds good, it will not ensure cleaner water. It will hinder economic growth in rural America, place hardships on farmers and ranchers and infringe on state and private property rights. Please ask your Congressmen to vote against this bill.

Shana Baisch
323 Road 300
Glendive, MT 59330

Cuts of Beef

How well do you know or remember your cuts of Beef?  I came across this interactive site where you can test your knowledge of beef cuts.  Take a moment and check it out:

Beef Cut Quiz

I got it right the first time (surprisingly).  How did you do?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Farming Widow

It's that time of year already. That time of year where I become a Farming Widow.

The time of year when Big D starts his schedule of early mornings, late nights and being home whenever T and I are not.

My widow status is a special thing at that, it doesn't stop when seeding is done. It lasts through irrigating, swathing, baling, custom farm work, fencing, and harvesting.

Big D and I do wave to each other as we pass each other on the road!

Big D loves what he does. So therefore I have no problem becoming a Farming Widow. Besides, while Big D's schedule has his driving in circles, irrigating, and putting out fires, T and I will spend our time gardening, riding horses, branding, rodeoing, taking swimming lessons, road tripping and enjoying our summer to the fullest.

Equine Infectious Anemia

Montana Department of Livestock reports that a horse from southwest Montana had a positive Coggins test for Equine Infectious Anemia.  

Just what is EIA?  The NDSU website defines Equine Infectious Anemia as contagious, viral disease that affects all members of the Equine species, including horses, ponies, donkeys, and mules.  Once animals become infected they are life-long carriers of the virus.

Acute, Chronic and Inapparant are the three clinical forms if EIA.  Symptons range from fever, depression, lack or loss of appetite, weight loss, anemia, weakness, stocking up (swelling of the legs), and edema.  Mares that have EIA abort their babies or fail to become pregnant.

EIA is spread through horse flies, deer flies, mosquitoes, and gnats.  The nasty annoying little blood suckers that they are! 

I recently scheduled appointments for 4 of my horses to get their blood drawn for the Coggins test.  No, not because I think they are carrying the disease, but because I will be headed into North Dakota several times this summer with my horses.  North Dakota requies all horses entering the state have a negative Coggins test.  The test is pretty simple and the results are good for a year.

EIA;  just another reason to keep those pesky little blood suckers under control!

Bareback Jack

When I was just a very young lad I walked up and I told my dad
A bareback rider's what I wanna be I want the whole world to know about me
In the rodeo arena I'll take my stand I wanna be known as a rodeo man
I'll come flyin' from the chute with my spurs up high
Chaps and boots reachin' for the sky
Spurrin' wild with my head throw'd back
You'll ask whose that well that's Bareback Jack
You'll ask whose that well that's Bareback Jack

It was a little windy that day!

I took T's saddle away from her.

And she is happy about it.

Crazy Kid.

All spring, T has been against using her stirrups and hanging on. So I did what any good mom would do, I took her saddle away. And made her ride with bareback rigging. The lil crazy kid loved it. Go figure.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Thumbalina & Charley

The other day I made mention of some calves that T was given;



A week later these two calves are going strong. So just how did T end up with Thumbalina (the smallest calf ever) and Charley (the cast is now off his leg and he is all healed)? Well, from her wonderful Uncle Terry, of course!

You see, Uncle Terry was tired of feeding calves, and he thought it would be a great idea for T to have these calves. Give her something to do. Keep her entertained. Wasn't that so very thoughtful of Uncle Terry?

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Starthistle. That kind of has a pretty sound to it? Right? Wrong! Yellow starthistle is currently ranked at the top of the state’s noxious-weed list, it is the only weed currently denoted as priority 1A, meaning that if detected it is to be eradicated. Several years ago the yellow starthistle was found in Stillwater county. Since then, state and local officials have been brainstorming on how to eradicate the intruder and its off spring.

In a recent article, State weed director Dave Burch said “From the state’s perspective, that’s our biggest threat. We definitely want to keep that one out of the state. Every time we’ve had a confirmed sighting, we’ve been able to eradicate it.”

In the past 25 years, there have been dozens of reports of yellow starthistle, but the current infestation is the worse. Each plant has potential of broadcasting thousands of seeds. Many fall right by the plant, but with Montana winds, they can be carried quite a ways. This weed patch, which is about 10 acres, is near a sight that stages construction projects, so equipment is always coming and going, spreading the weed to more places. Which is how they figure the weed came to be in Montana, catching a ride on equipment!

So what exactly is so bad about starthistle? Well, let me fill you in. Like many other noxious weeds, starthistle can quickly force out desirable species as it infests rangelands, farmlands and roadsides. Large invasions of starthistle will deplete soil moisture in the equivalent of 15 to 25 percent of the mean annual precipitation of an area. Starthistle also sucks up moisture earlier than competing plants, which causes native species to suffer from drought conditions, even in a good rain year.

The yellow starthistle is less than desirable as a feed source. Cattle, sheep and goats are known to graze on its early green growth, and some bird species feed on its seeds. But the weed is toxic to horses. When they eat the thistle, it attacks their neurological system and the horses end up starving to death, and is refered to as chewing disease. Another bad thing is some horses will seek the weed out to eat.

If you would like to know more check out this article in the Billings Gazette. Or go to MT Weed Control

Livestock Loss Reduction & Mitigation

As you may or may not know, wolves in Montana is quite the headache and controversy every which way you look at. In 2007, Legislature established the Montana Livestock Loss Reduction & Mitigation program to address economic losses from wolves and to create incentives for producers to take preventative steps to help decrease their losses. The board will be working with all kinds of agencies, both federal and state, to keep the line of communication open and conflicts down. They also will continually be seeking funding sources for current livestock losses and for longterm compensation solutions.

According to their website, the mission of the LLRMB is as follows: To help support Montana Livestock communities by reducing the economic impacts of wolves on individual producers by reimbursing confirmed and probably wolf-caused losses and helping to reduce their losses by approving projects and funding programs that will discourage wolves from killing livestock.

Wanna know more? Their website is:
The also have a facebook page they use to keep producers up to date on deadlines, news, meetings and happenings. Check it out here LLRMB Facebook.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Have you ever wondered?

I am one of those that has way too much to to think, about the most random stuff ever. I also like facts. Especially facts backed up by colorful charts and or maps. So you can about imagine my excitement when I found maps that give county by county detail of livestock inventories. There is a map for poultry, dairy cow, beef cow, and hog inventories. I was almost giddy with excitement and I just knew I had to share the excitement!

Below is the map for dairy cow inventory.

Here is the link to all the maps on the Feedstuffs website. Maps are available in high resolution pdf's AND there are excel spreadsheets of the census data used to create the maps.

Isn't that exciting?

Foot and Mouth Disease found in Japan

Below is an article I found on the Feedstuffs website this morning.

Japan suspends beef exports after finding FMD*

Ian Elliott

The Japanese government notified the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) Tuesday of suspected cases of foot and mouth disease (FMD) at a farm in Tsuno-cho Koyu-gun in Miyazaki province, prompting the government to suspend beef exports.

"A private veterinarian first found a suspicious case in the affected farm and reported it to the local government’s veterinary service on April 9, 2010. An official veterinarian observed that a cow had fever, anorexia, salivation and erosions in the oral cavity on the same day, but the others had no clinical signs," Japan's Ministry of Agriculture reported to OIE.

"Since two other suspicious cases were found in the same farm on April 16, the veterinary service examined similar diseases such as bluetongue, bovine viral diarrhea-mucosal disease, infectious bovine rhinotracheitis and Ibaraki disease, but they showed negative results by PCR (polymer chain reaction) tests on April 19," the ministry added.

The Ministry of Agriculture reported that samples were submitted April 19 to the National Institute for Animal Health, which affirmed last Tuesday that the cattle were infected with FMD virus.

Agriculture Minister Hirotaka Akamatsu told reporters in Tokyo, Japan, "The government will take every measure to prevent the disease from spreading further."

The ministry told OIE it has destroyed all 16 head on the farm, started cleaning and disinfection there and put quarantine zones in place around the affected farm.

"Movement restrictions within 10 km around the affected farm have been implemented. Export international veterinary certificates for ruminants and products derived from them have been suspended since April 20," the ministry said.

This is Japan's first case of FMD since 2000.

No excuses...

What a week it has been! I have been a very bad blogger, and I would apologize, but there is really no need, as I am pretty sure noone reads this crazy blog of mine. But heck, that won't keep me from blogging, cuz I am having fun with it!

So in the last week, I became an auntie again! My (first) Nephew, Parker Shane, was born last Wednesday. He had some problems breathing and he was airlifted to Minot hospital where he has been ever since. He is getting stronger and stronger by the day, and I can not wait to meet him!

Tally was given some bum calves the other night! Yep. That's all I shall say about that as Charley & Thumbalina (the calves) deserve their own post, complete with pictures.

Tally has gotten to ride some in the last week, which has made her very happy. I did take her saddle away from her and she is now riding with a bareback rigging. And, she loves it! You go girl!!

Below is a link to an article I found this morning in the Billings Gazette. It's a great article, and the title explains it pretty well Young Rancher defy trends, return to land. Take a moment and read it, you won't be sorry.

Have a great day! And I promise (to myself at least) to get back on a blogging roll!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Budget Cuts to Extension & Research Stations

A proposal to cut roughly $1.2M from Montana Agriculture Experiment Stations and $600,000 from Montana Extension Service is being pushed right now. These would be permanent budget cuts and would take effect July 1, 2010. I feel this is will be a huge hit to our states 4-H program, training sessions for producers, and ag research.

Take a moment to read the news release here, and then take that extra moment to send off an email to show your support for our states ag programs.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Donkey Basketball

I just can't help myself, I have to repost the following article. I can't help it. The article left my a little dumbfounded, a little amused and a little scared. I found the article at AofA blog along with Mr. Hadricks's comments. Here is a link to the original source to the article.

I am just not sure, yet, on how to comment on this article. I do know that I must dig in my picture archives to retrieve pictures of the last donkey basketball that was held at our local high school for a fundraiser.

Animal rights activists protest donkey basketball
by Ray Lane

SNOHOMISH, Wash. -- Donkey basketball -- is it clean fun, or simply cruel?

On Wednesday night, animal rights activists targeted Snohomish High School, where the popular annual family event took center court.

Simple advice and a pep talk paved the way for the tipoff, and a stampede of action on the court. Eight donkeys jumped into action with players on their backs.

The event was a fundraiser for a senior class graduation party with teachers and staff in black jerseys taking on the students in white.

But not everyone thinks it's fun and games. Animal rights activists quietly protested outside, saying it's simply cruel.

"The donkeys are pushed, kicked, shoved, and prodded to do something that is unnatural for them and confusing," said protester David Schirk.

Some say the event is bad enough, but having it at a school makes it worse.

"I think it sends a really bad message to children on how to raise them and cruelty to animals and to all beings, and what does that teach our children?" said protester Carol Guilbault.

But Bruce Wick, who owns the donkeys, says the animals are well-cared for, and really enjoy playing the game.
They're trained to follow the ball, and go up and down the court.

"When I back into the corral, they're all fighting to see who gets to go," said Wick of Donkey Sports.

To help ease the impact on the hardwood, the donkeys' hooves have rubber padding.

"They're pretty intelligent animals," Wick said. "And if they're sitting around in a small pen or stall all day, they're fighting boredom all that time."

Out on the court, they cut loose.

"It was pretty uncontrollable, but it was a lot of fun. They've got a mind of their own, definitely," said one rider.

"Everybody likes to see somebody look silly, and a lot of times, the donkeys will make the riders look silly," said Wick.

Wick says, overall, donkey basketball is fun and safe. But animal rights groups say event also comes with huge liabilities, because people can get hurt easily.

Grasshoppers in the News, again

The other day I posted a link to a map distributed by the USDA that is predicting the Grasshopper Hazard.

Today I found a radio interview where Tom Hougen, MSGA president, discussed the possible grasshopper infestation that is predicted for the year, and a New York City radio program.

Take a minute and listen to it either here or here.

I am praying that these predictions of a massive grasshopper hatching are wrong. I hope you are doing the same.

Japan's Restriction on US Beef

I read this this morning and thought I would pass it along.

Read the article and let me know what your thoughts are.
* Is Japan being too harsh with their beef ban?
* Are we asking too much for Japan to lift the ban?

Japan says it has no plans to ease US beef restrictions
(AFP) – 2 days ago

TOKYO — Japan said Tuesday it has no plans to ease long-standing trade restrictions on US beef imposed over mad cow disease, two days before talks in Tokyo between the two on the issue.

US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was travelling to Japan Tuesday for a four-day visit in a renewed attempt to settle the long-running dispute that has created friction between the allies.

But Japan's Agriculture Minister Hirotaka Akamatsu said he "has no plan to ask the government's food safety commission to review US beef", even if Vilsack demands it during their meeting scheduled for Thursday.

"Asking for a review by the food safety panel would mean Japan was heading in the direction of changing its trade restriction," Akamatsu told a news conference. "Honestly speaking, I don't expect to do so."

Japan, which used to be the largest importer of US beef, stopped the imports after mad cow disease was detected in an American herd in late 2003 and has only resumed limited imports since then.

As the ban threatened to turn into a trade war, with US farm state senators seeking sanctions, Tokyo agreed in 2006 to resume US imports from cattle under 20 months, except for high-risk parts such as brains and spine bones.

Japan's US beef imports now stand at only around 10 percent of their former peak, while Australia has become the biggest beef importer.

US farm state senators have again accused Tokyo of being too rigid on its beef ban which continues even though no new cases of the brain-wasting cattle disease bovine spongiform encephalopathy have been detected in years.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

American Angus Association President

I feel lucky to live in a area, and grow up in an area in cattle country. I feel fortunate that people in this big area that I call home are so passionate about their cattle. Back in November a local guy was elected President of the American Angus Association. While I was in high school a good family friend was elected President of the AAA. Having two presidents for such a big association from a close area like this is amazing.

Check out this article about our current president of the American Angus Association.

Big Award, Great Honor

A year ago Big D and I were privelaged to be able to attend the 2009 Montana Young Ag Couples Conference in Helena. It was a great trip where we met lots of new people and learned so much about the Ag Industry. During the week, there were several different workshops and guest speakers. One of those sessions was about Huls Dairy. He talked about the dairy industry in Montana and the U.S.. He talked about their struggles, and what they are doing to stay viable. He talked about the influx of people moving to their area, and not understanding the dairy industry, or agriculture at all, and the difficulties that can arise from that. It was a great session, easily my favorite of the whole week.

A while back I read an article about Huls Dairy. I stated that the dairy were one of 75 winners of the 2010 Blue Ribbon Small Business Award sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. I find that to be an incredible honor. Take a moment to check out Huls Dairy website. Their dairy has been in the family for 5 generations, and they have quite the story to tell.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Never Too Old To Become A Daddy

I ran across an article at The Beef Site that I found quite interesting. Back in the 1960's some semen was collected from bulls, processed and stored in liquid nitrogren at the USDA National Germplasm Conservatory – a sperm and embryo cryobank – in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Recently some calves were born and Louisiana Agricultural Centre from some 40-year old semen that was used to AI about 200 cows. With live calves on the ground born from this stored semen, scientists see two positives effects for the beef and dairy industries.

1. Germplasm banks that are storing frozen semen have a product that we know will work for livestock producers

2. Strides have been made in genetics, and some small differences in DNA – single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs – have been shown to be positive production modifiers that can and likely will be used to increase animal production performance.”

*SNPs can act as biological markers, helping scientists locate genes that are associated with a variety of traits, such as growth, milk production and disease susceptibility. Some of the older bulls in the study may have had these SNPs, and with our advance in technology scientists will be able to identify SNP's and different traits to help improve production.

To read the whole story check it out here

Monday, April 5, 2010

Learn something new....

..everyday. Did you know they (USDA) has a map to predict Grasshopper Hazard. Well, I sure as heck didn't. Crazy.

Curious to see what the predicted grasshopper hazard looks like where you live? Click here.

Happy Easter

I Hope you all had Happy Easter!

I hope the Easter Bunny found your house.

I hope you made it to church on time.

I hope you stuffed yourself on Cadbury eggs and chocolate.

I hope you were able to enjoy the sunshine.