Thursday, October 15, 2009

Beef.... It's What's definetly for Dinner!

We spent two days in Williams for our state board meeting. We had tours of two ranches- Perrin Ranch and Brooks Cameron's ranch.

Picture: Mike Mcauley talking about trees and water on the Perrin Ranch.

There was a lot of dust but we had a lot of fun and even had a few 'races' on dirt road. To say the least, our trucks were covered when we were done and back to the hotel.

After the tours and talking about how the ranchers are dealing with hunters and off-roaders and the drought in addition to the government regulations, we went to another ranch to have dinner.

And of course we had steak!!! Lots and lots of steak!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Time Magazine is Wrong

This week, Time Magazine is running an article that is blatantly wrong about American agriculture. In the article "America's Food Crisis and How to Fix it". The author states that we are pollutants of the environment and that we are factory farms that are pushing government subsidized crops down the throats of our over medicated animals.

I think he is dead wrong. We in America, have the safest and most affordable food supply. We have so many regulations that when we do use pesticides and fertilizers we have to fill out paperwork. How many times has the average joe had to fill out paperwork to get a weed out of his yard with the weed killer he picked up at the Home Depot or local garden center. The regulations that American farmers and ranchers use in growing the food and fiber that the average joe eats and wears is by far more than any other country in the world. The American farmer can now feed 143 people and in 1940 it was only 19. In the last 40 years, the price that the farmers and ranchers have received has been declining. Just because a person pays $12.00 for steaks at the store does not mean that the rancher received $12.00. In fact farmers and ranchers make about 19 cents from every dollar spent on food. This means that farmers in the US need to be larger and more efficient to provide the public with the safe and affordable food or they will go out of business. We complain about our gas prices and being dependant on another country for our energy. Can you imagine what we would pay if we were dependant on another country for our food?

Today's agriculture isn't what it was even 20 years ago. You will find family farms and ranches that are large and incorporated- in essence they are the factory farms that people complain about. The way farmers and ranchers operate are economically viable to survive but they are also ethical, scientific and environmentally sound. Why would someone use a method that would be harmful to the land or animals that they are dependent on for their livelihoods. Farmers and Rancher for the most part live and work on and around their operations with their families. They feel an obligation to their heritage but also to their community and children's future.

I would encourage people to read the article and then respond to the author about his very slanted and artificial story about the American farmer or rancher. And possibly invite him to another country to visit their farms and ranchers to see how it is in reality.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A week in Southern Arizona

Each year I have about two weeks that are just extra crazy then my life goes back to just normal craziness. I just ended my two weeks. I drove over 2500 miles in two weeks and by the end I was tired of driving and felt like I really knew my songs on my IPOD. I also end up needing to get the truck washed. Usually it isn't as dirty as it was when I was done but normally I don't go through a mud puddle (or two).

I had my normal board meetings in Graham, Cochise and Greenlee Counties. Then I had two policy development meetings in Yuma and Pinal and I also had my first annual meeting (Pima) and just a regular event meeting back in Yuma. I love the policy development meetings because farmers and ranchers get together to discuss issue that are important to them and their respective industries. This year we had great discussion on immigration, health care, food safety and CDL requirements. Annual meetings are always fun because you get to visit with people who you only see once or twice a year.

I facebooked my entire two weeks and it was funny. I mentioned the checkpoint leaving Yuma and some of my friends from Oregon didn't realize that we have Border Patrol Checkpoints. They are really easy to roll through if you are legal citizens and are not packing drugs. I went through the one in Yuma twice in one week- once at night and then again two days later. So on my trip through during the day- I snapped a picture so my northern friends would know what those of us in Southern AZ deal with. Thankfully I don't have to go through this one daily like some of my friends have to.

I think my childhood prepared me for this job. See I am an only child and I spend a lot of time now by myself driving too and from meetings. So I am ok being by myself and enjoy my company. For example- I drove from Safford to Duncan last week for the Greenlee board meeting and only met 3 cars on the entire trip (two of them were once I reached the town. But Arizona is a beautiful state and the drive is always nice.

Drive from Safford Drive to Duncan

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cochise County Picnic

Last Saturday I spent the afternoon and evening in Cochise County at their county Farm Bureau Picnic. We had a great tour of Cochise Groves, a pistachio farm and Golden Rule Vineyard. We had about 60 people show up and it didn't rain. It rained on me on the way there and just a few drops after I was headed back to Phoenix.

I did drive through a mud puddle pretty fast and felt great about getting the truck a little dirty- made me think of home.

I learned a few things about pistachios and wine grapes.

1. pistachios that are red in color are dyed to hide the flaws and stained shells from harvesting.

2. clear or natural shells are usually pistachios grown in the U.S. which means it comes from either CA (#1), AZ (#2), NM(#3) or TX (#4).

3. Pistachios don't actually grow out until almost harvest time, unlike all other crops such as corn, lettuce and such.

4. a pistachio tree can last for up to 50 years.

5. Male trees don't produce nuts.

6. Bees do not pollinate trees- it is done by the wind.

7. Wine grape vines are cut for two years before they actually are allowed to produce fruit.

8. Wine grapes taste nothing like regular grapes.

Vacation Bible School

I have been helping with the preschool group for Vacation Bible School. I know what you are thinking- preschool. I like little kids individually but as a herd it is a whole different story. I have come to the conclusion after only 3 days that it isn't too bad- although sometimes I think I may never have kids if I continue with the group. Ha Ha

We started out Sunday with 10 little kids but were able to pass four of them off to the Kindergarten class which only had 2. So we have six and they are really funny and very entertaining. We have three more days left. We have our lesson then head out to missions where we get to take a boat ride to visit different missionaries (Tuesday night was to some cowboy pastors in Idaho). Then we head to music and back for recreation and snacks then we get to go to crafts before heading back to our room to finish out the night with another snack and review the different lessons.

Our kids are also collecting items to send to soliders in Afghanistan. So we spent one evening during missions time coloring pictures and writing notes to put in all the boxes.

I have come to the conclusion though that I think I like babies more than I like any other age group- teens I don't really know what to say when they think their life is over and I can't really laugh at them (because that would be wrong). And little kids scare me a little so I like babies because you can smile and make faces and they just laugh and can't talk back to you and they still think you are funny and great!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

again... been a while

It seems like I can't keep up on this thing....

I have spent a lot of this year dog sitting or dad sitting. In October, dad had open heart surgery and I spent 3 weeks at home on the ranch. At the end of the 3 weeks, I packed up dad to come and stay with me (in my one- bedroom condo) for 5.5 months. It is very difficult to take a rancher and plop him down in the middle of mesa and expect him not to go crazy or to some extent drive you crazy in 5 months.

But we did have fun. When I was on the road to my various county Farm Bureau meetings, I would bring him along. He really enjoyed chatting with other farmers and ranchers. The weather may be different and some the crops were definetlydifferent but the issues were the same.
He even got to tour a cotton gin and ride in one the the new Case IH module building cotton pickers. He really liked that.

He went home in March and I started to dog sit and have done that off and on (more on) all summer.

We are currently in the middle of the county policy development meetings for all my counties. next week I start my county picnics. I really enjoy those.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

totally catching up

So I haven't written here in a very long time- maybe because I haven't really traveled that much (out of state) since I went to Greece.

However, I have still been busy...

I promise to keep posting on a regular basis now that I am back in the swing of things...

A short catch up of things that have happened since 2006

1. I bought a house- really it is an oversized closet that is 780 square feet (two stories).
2. I traveled to DC, Fargo, New Orleans and home in the last two years...
3. My dad had open heart surgery again and is now staying with me until March...

That is pretty much the big items in my life...

Until next time!