Bummer becomes a Mom…

A bummer (in the agricultural world) is an animal that doesn’t have a mom, so it is cared for and fed by humans. Just over two years ago my Mom had a bummer lamb that we called “BumBum”. I wrote about BumBum at No holiday ‘bummer” for this gal.

BumBum never got another sheep mom, so my parents fed her and cared for her until she was self-sufficient and could eat hay, grass, and grain. She grew well and became a nice little ewe. My Mom decided to keep her as a replacement ewe. In Bummer lamb to replacement ewe: Transformation Tuesday I shared that story.

I am happy to report that BumBum has recently become a mom! She loves her lamb and is doing a good job raising it. It has been fun to watch BumBum make this transition over the last two years.

BumBum.jpg
BumBum and her lamb heading out to the pasture.

Dr. Lindsay can also be found on:

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Meat and Agriculture on Lift Big Eat Big (LBEB)

I have followed Brandon at Lift Big Eat Big (LBEB) on Instagram for awhile now. His Instagram channel will delight foodies, agriculturalists, health and fitness buffs of all levels… well basically everyone! Brandon asked me to write up an article for his website on myths in agriculture, so I did. In turn, I have asked Brandon to answer a few questions for me – stay tuned, you will see more from him.

Until then, head over to the LBEB webpage and check out my article, as well as all of the other great information. Like what you see? Sign up to receive the newsletter.

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Dr. Lindsay can also be found on:

– Website (http://food.unl.edu/ag-and-food)
– Twitter/Instagram (agwithdrlindsay)
– Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/agwithdrlindsay)
– Pinterest (Lindsay Chichester-Medahunsi)

#nursesunite: An example for American agriculture? Food for thought Friday

Last week Miss Colorado represented her state in the Miss America pageant. Kelley Johnson performed a monologue on why she became a nurse and how a patient, Joe, told her she was more than JUST a nurse.

The following day, co-hosts on The View made flippant comments about her scrubs (her “costume”) and the doctor’s stethoscope she had around her neck.

Nurses and supporters of nurses across the country took to social media to defend Miss Colorado and the nursing profession. The View co-hosts did issue an apology after receiving so much backlash.

It was amazing to see so much support on my social media pages for nurses. As I watched this story develop and thought about the times in my life where a nurse helped make a bad situation better, it made me think about agriculture. Agriculture and nursing? Yes, it made me think… when will more farmers, ranchers, and their supporters rally around their industry like nurses did this past week? When people mock agriculture and the farmers and ranchers who work everyday to provide one of the safest and most economical food supplies in the world, why don’t we rally around those farmers and ranchers? When lies are told about farmers and ranchers why don’t we rally around them? After all, we ALL have to eat to survive, who do we think grows and raises that food? Farmers and ranchers!

Just like in nursing (or any profession) there are some bad eggs, some people that are an embarrassment to the entire profession, those bad eggs exist in agriculture too. Does the nursing profession let those bad eggs dictate how the other nurses are perceived? No, not from what I saw this past week when nurses across America united. In agriculture, why do the bad eggs determine what people think of agriculture? The negative images and negative stereotypes of American agriculture are what most people believe to be the norm.

The people who have chosen to raise food as their profession are more than JUST farmers and ranchers too. The farmers and ranchers I know have some of the same qualities of nurses… they provide the best care they can to the animal/patient in their care, they try to quickly and accurately diagnose a health problem so the animal/patient can begin recovery, they provide compassion when others may not be able to, they work on weekends, holidays, and nights, and they are some of the most selfless and humble people you will ever meet.

It is time to #agunite and to stand up for the farmers and ranchers who have taken a beating about their profession, the profession of growing and raising food. What do you say, will you #agunite and show your support?

Muchacha final———————–

Dr. Lindsay can also be found on:

– Website (http://food.unl.edu/ag-and-food)
– Twitter/Instagram (agwithdrlindsay)
– Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/agwithdrlindsay)
– Pinterest (Lindsay Chichester-Medahunsi)

10 Things Farmers are Tired of Hearing

BuzzFeed has come up with a great list of 10 Things Farmers are Tired of Hearing – and it is pretty spot on.

If you are reading this and would like more information about any of the points discussed in the article, please let me know, I would be glad to send resources to you or to visit with you more about agriculture.

If you are reading this article and would like to visit a farm or ranch in person, instead of looking at what is portrayed on your computer screen (not always true or accurate), please let me know – I would be more than happy to find someone across the country that can accommodate your needs.

And now… 10 Things Farmers are Tired of Hearing.

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Dr. Lindsay can also be found on:

– Website (http://food.unl.edu/ag-and-food)
– Twitter/Instagram (agwithdrlindsay)
– Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/agwithdrlindsay)
– Pinterest (Lindsay Chichester-Medahunsi)

Happy birthday to my favorite rancher!

Today is my Dad’s birthday! Woo hoo. Growing up birthdays were fun. You woke up to gifts on the table, my Mom made our favorite meal and dessert, and the entire family came over for dinner. Love that tradition. Distance makes it hard to do that, but the one tradition we continue is calling each other on birthdays and singing Happy Birthday. Mind you, none of us (with the exception of maybe my Mom) has a singing voice. So then it turns into an agonizing comedy act of how terrible it can be sung 🙂

Happy Birthday Dad!

Dad
Top: My parents, Center: Dad and I, Bottom: a man, his dog, and his backhoe.

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Dr. Lindsay can also be found on:

– Website (http://food.unl.edu/ag-and-food)
– Twitter/Instagram (agwithdrlindsay)
– Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/agwithdrlindsay)
– Pinterest (Lindsay Chichester-Medahunsi)

Cowboy Conversations… Throwback Thursday

As National Ag Week continues (also posted here and here), I wanted to share an oldie but goodie. My sister and I are the 4th generation on our family ranch which has been in our family for about 100 years. Below is a picture of my Grandpa (aka Pop) on the right and his brother, my great uncle (aka Bob) on the left (both have since passed). This was taken after working cattle, and they were washing down the dust with a Budweiser and a Pepsi, respectively. I have so many great memories of ranch work with my family, including moments with both of these guys.

Pop and Bob
Cowboy conversations

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Dr. Lindsay can also be found on:

– Website (http://food.unl.edu/ag-and-food)
– Twitter/Instagram (agwithdrlindsay)
– Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/agwithdrlindsay)
– Pinterest (Lindsay Chichester-Medahunsi)

When “sustainable” becomes unsustainable… Feedback Friday

This morning I saw the news article that Chipotle had announced they would now be sourcing all of their beef from Australia, instead of from Texas (or any other state that produces beef). I was confused and still am. So I thought I would throw it out for a Feedback Friday post. Now before you think this is a personal attack on Chipotle, it is not. This is an attack on any USA based company that isn’t even giving the USA a chance to produce the product. I love that consumers (myself included) have choices on where they eat and they type of food they eat. We get choices on what to watch on tv, what to wear, who to spend time with, and of course with our food – a huge perk of living in America. From what I understand, Chipotle sources its product from sustainable, humanely raised, no antibiotics, no additional hormones sources – correct? Well, we produce beef just like that in the United States of America. And with so many young persons/women/minorities wanting to become involved in agriculture, a specialty or niche product like what Chipotle wants could be perfect for their start in ag. So what I need help with understanding, and where I would like your thoughts: – Is shipping beef 8000 miles still sustainable? At what point does “sustainable” become unsustainable? – When a product is coming from another country how confident are we that the product was raised and grown to the same high standards we have in the US? What about federal inspections ensuring the safety? – Are there concerns over the potential food safety issues that may arise from a journey like that? The west coast is having shipping port issues at this time – will that impact these beef imports? – The price? I am sure a premium price is already being paid for this beef, will that price skyrocket with the addition of these shipping costs? What is the breaking point on the cost of the beef items for consumers? – Why does Chipotle not think American farmers/ranchers can provide the beef they need? Cows under tree Please help me try to understand… ——————- Dr. Lindsay can also be found on: – Website (http://food.unl.edu/ag-and-food) – Twitter/Instagram (agwithdrlindsay) – Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/agwithdrlindsay) – Pinterest (Lindsay Chichester-Medahunsi)

California ranchers bracing for Pineapple Express storm

California has spent the last several years in one of the worst droughts in the state’s history. And as if it couldn’t get worse, they are preparing to face one of the worst storms they have had since 1997 – the Pineapple Express. Today I have talked to both of my parents (Northern California area), and have seen several friends that also live in the area posting about the weather conditions on social media. Needless to say the wind is blowing 75 to 100 mph! The dust in the air is terrible and is limiting visibility, and they are preparing for power loss to occur by this evening. Additionally, rain and up to 4 inches of snow an hour may come!

While these conditions are going to be miserable for everyone in the path of this storm, they become more challenging and difficult for livestock ranchers. Ranchers and farmers know that this type of weather can be hard on all animals big and small, but they are preparing as best they can. I want to share with you some of the things my favorite California ranchers are doing to prepare:

– Extra bedding and pens. During a storm like this animals will instinctively huddle together and try to find a place out of the weather. Also, the baby animals will be coming! A change in barometric pressure usually means more baby animals will be born. Shed space can become limited if this storm lasts for several days. But those having offspring will at least be warm and dry.

sheep shed
The sheep shed has plenty of straw and should be warm and dry.

– Grass hay only! Animals can bloat (excessive gas in the rumen) if fed a high quality hay like alfalfa in windy conditions. Bloat, if not caught in time could potentially kill the animal. So to help eliminate this problem, ranchers are stock piling the grass hay as the primary feed, which almost eliminates bloat altogether.

– Water. Luckily our ranch has an artesian well and several creeks/ditches running through it, so most of the livestock will have water despite weather conditions. However, it is very common for the rural areas to loose power with winds like this, and that means no water can be pumped out of the wells. Water may have to be hauled or the animals moved to ensure everyone has access to fresh water during the entire storm.

– Flooding. Since California has been so dry for so long, a large amount of water may runoff the soil instead of be absorbed. One winter during a severe flooding event, we regularly checked ditches and water blockage systems (aka headgates) to ensure they were not blocked with wood, limbs, and other debris. By allowing the water to keep flowing, and not pooling, it helped to eliminate damage to ditches and headgates.

– Structures. This type of wind can be hard on structures, especially old ones and the roofs. Some of our old sheds have tin roofs. In the past, tin has been flopping around and eventually blew off as it is way too dangerous to try and fix it in a high wind event, as someone could easily be decapitated or severely injured. When part of a roof starts to flap around we try to throw tires or other heavy objects on the roof, and hope it makes it through the worst.

– Fires. One winter we lost several sheds and a part of our working corral (livestock handling area) due to an electrical fire. If an extension cord is plugged in for whatever reason, and the power goes it can cause a spark. And with high winds it doesn’t take long before you have a roaring fire on your hands with no ability to pump water. So my Dad has been checking to ensure everything nonessential is unplugged. All of neighbors try to watch out for each other for fires that may also start at feedmills, haystacks, and other structures.

Copy of July_2011_home 012
Fire is a great resource and can be fun, however, it is hard to control and can be dangerous in a high wind event.

– What can blow away? In winds of up to 100 mph anything that can blow away will blow away. Even livestock/horse trailers! Ours are filled with straw, which helps weigh them down, but there have been times the tractors were used to help anchor them down. A reality is those trailers can be blown over fairly easily with wind like they are now having. We have also had portions of haystacks blow down, various trash cans, and basically anything that isn’t weighted down or tied down blow away (eventually recovered at a fenceline). This can be a very dangerous situation for human and/or animal.

– Trees. Cottonwood trees grow well in their area, they offer shade, and can get very large. Several years ago, my parents decided to cut down the ones near the house as it posed a huge concern that they could blow over in a high wind event and destroy the house and anyone in the house. Trees near any structure in a high wind event should be monitored, as they pose a serious concern.

– Transportation. If the amount of snow comes that they are predicting, transportation will become very difficult if nonexistent for a couple of days. Growing up in the mountains you learn how to drive in bad weather at high altitudes and to appreciate a set of chains and an emergency winter kit (i.e. water, blankets, snacks, clothes, etc.) for your vehicle. You also know what it means to stay home if the weather gets too bad (I mean that is where the Donner Party passed through!). You also make the most of your shopping trips, stocking up on plenty of food and water in case you aren’t able to get out for several days.

– Loss of power. As I mentioned, it is not uncommon for my folks to loose power in a severe storm. However, this presents some real challenges. Luckily in our area wood burning stoves are the norm, so heat is provided. Everyone has a generator to rotate between freezers and refrigerators. And it is kind of like camping – salami, cheese, crackers, and a cold beverage is on the menu!

winter storm
Winter weather isn’t new for ranchers in Northern California, you just do the best you can for your animals and wait for it to pass.

This storm will not be a walk in the park, but by preparing now it will make things easier as the storm continues to pound the area with wind, rain, and snow. While this storm is daunting, the thought of moisture is exciting – as it is desperately needed.

I have blogged about cold weather animal care, preparing animals for severe weather, and preparing for a disaster.

What do you do to prepare for severe weather events?

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Look for me at the follow places too:

– Website (http://food.unl.edu/ag-and-food)
– Twitter/Instagram (agwithdrlindsay)
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