My roommate has influenced this blog. A few weeks ago she started to read a book about Polyface farming by Joel Salatin. This of course sparked my interest because I have never heard of such thing. So I googled and read up on this “Polyface farming” as well as Joel Salatin. I must say, that I very interested to read his book, as I hope you are too. Joel is a 56 year old full-time farmer in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. He is a third generation sustainable farmer and he returned to the farm full-time in 1982 where he continued adding to his parents’ ideas. Joel earned a bachelor’s degree in English and he writes in magazines such as STOCKMAN GRASS FARMER, ACRES USA, and FOODSHED, making him a well known writer. Their farm services more than 5,000 families, 10 retail outlets, and 50 restaurants through on-farm sales and metropolitan buying clubs with salad bar beef, pastured poultry, eggmobile eggs, pigaerator pork, forage-based rabbits, pastured turkey and forestry products using relationship marketing. Their family has done everything they can to make their farm sustainable and eco friendly. They encourage others join them and teach others ways of farming to make it the most beneficial to the environment and for the animals. I think it’s so cool that they are able to make living and be successful doing so, but that’s not even what’s important to them. They are more concerned with producing the best products they can without being considered and industry. I think more people should be enlightened by Joel Salatin and his family. Anyone can do it, and he says you don’t have to have land; it can all start with simple things, such as a garden. I hope to have more to blog about once I have read the book and I encourage others to read it as well.
As I was scrolling through my news feed on Facebook, an article caught my attention….a Blizzard in October. I clicked on the link and after reading it I was devastated. In western rural areas of South Dakota this past weekend, they suffered a dramatic blizzard. Ten of thousands of cattle died from the blizzard that swept through the state Friday. Not only is it a multi-million dollar impact to the state, but with the government partial shutdown and the Congress failing to pass the farm bill, the farmers and ranchers of South Dakota are at a complete and total loss. Timing couldn’t be any worse for this early October blizzard. Many of them are used to the harsh storms during the winter, but they were unprepared for the catastrophic storm as were the cattle unprepared as well, with no winter coat to protect them from the freezing wind and snow. With this being one of the hardest hit storms reporting twenty to fifty percent of rancher’s herds being killed. It worries me that since the government is in partial shutdown, what are they farmers and ranchers to do now? The government has programs to help those who suffer losses from weather, but those programs are ineffective since the farm bill failed to pass. Those in need have lots of questions and concerns, but who are going to answer those questions with the shutdown down employees being “furloughed?” Even if they are repaid for their loss, twenty percent of their herd being gone, it will take years for them to re-establish from that. All they can do now is record and document everything that they have lost in hopes that in the future they will receive the help to rebuild. As they continue on with their lives, looking for cattle that have blown miles away, unbury ones they lost, and depose of the carcasses of the cattle, I will pray for them and that they receive any amount of help they can get. Agricultural and cattle are too big in this world for something like this to go unnoticed.
In my public relations class this past week I had to privilege of listening to Lynzee Glass, the managing editor of the Ozark Farm Neighbor Newspaper speak to us. She shared with us statics and struggles they are under gone with their Newspaper over the past few years. With fifty-eight thousands readers throughout their viewing area, they were looking into using social media to increase that number of readers. The forms of social media that the Ozark Farm Neighbor Newspaper are currently using are directly with their Newspaper and they have more actively started using Twitter and Facebook to help expand their name and capture more readers. The newspaper also wanted to a target younger audience and using social media is the greatest way to do so. With most of their readers being males between the ages of thirty-five and sixty-four, cow-calf operators managing an average 329 acres Ozark Farm Neighbor was looking to broaden their reader horizon. Therefore they looked to social media to help them. With Lynzee Glass’s help they have been able to join and be more active within the social media network gain a more diverse demographics of readers. It’s one thing to have social media, but one the struggles businesses face is using that social media to their advantage. Updating and posting pictures and likes is a must. Having the most update information and using the most popular technology out that targets the younger audience the Ozark Farm Neighbor Newspaper is looking for. Adding to their business they have gained more followers on Twitter and Facebook as well as more likes throughout their posts. With their paper only going out every two weeks, they are able to publish and post more current information. The paper still caters to the already established readers by still publishing their usual paper, they are only adding to the readers and expanding their name.
This week in agricultural I have had the “opportunity “ to read and watch the recent video that Chipotle put out called “Scarecrow.” As an agricultural activist I have had some time to reflect on this video and think about what it was really promoting. Then I realized they are promoting what they want consumers to know not what is true, therefore I must promote what I want consumers to actually know about the agricultural industry. I can’t set back and watch this take place, and the only way I know how to do something is to inform. Inform people around my community, schools, and world what the agricultural industry is about. What better way to do that then through social media, such as Chipotle did. Starting with a short YouTube video that I have recently made with a follow classmate, we informed viewers about the so-called vaccines that harm the meat of animal. My job as a vet tech is to not harm the animal, but help them. We are a hospital for animals. So many people think that any type of injection is harmful to animal. If administrated wrong or too much is given or the wrong drug is given, then yes, that can be dangerous for the animal and the meat they provide us with. That is the same thing with humans and hospitals though. The drug gets in the wrong hands of someone; someone diagnosed with the wrong treatment, or given incorrectly can harm a person as well. You will learn through the video that they are helpful and safe ways to give vaccines. Such as being administrated by a vet, or given under the skin and not directly protruding into the muscle as all safe methods of treatment. Small steps such as my video or taking the time to just explain what the agricultural industry really is can change someone’s outlook on it and that is my goal.
Fall is in the air at 54 Feed & Seed! After our grand opening this spring, we decided to host our first annual Fall Festival this past Saturday from 9-3! We had great sales, free food, music, fresh produce, Amish Jams, our Purina Rep was on hand offering deals on Purina Feed products and of course mums and pumpkins were everywhere!! As well as free samples of various things and our gift shop was full of great deals. It was a wonderful way to connect with the community in Nevada, Mo and got our business booming to start the fall off. We were also able to get the youth involved and spread the word of agricultural on such a wonderful Fall afternoon with face painting, petting zoo, coloring, corn pit (instead of sand), a maze and a bounce house for kids.
A special thanks to our Purina Rep, Bud, for coming out and supporting the festival and being at service to answer any questions for our customers. This was a great way for the business to give back to the community and show our support as well. I loved being able to be involved in such a successful day and after all our hard and preparation, it finally paid off. As the new locally owned and operated 54 Feed & Seed Store, we appreciate everyone who came out and supported us, we couldn’t have asked for a better day! We can’t wait to host another event soon! Don’t forget to like us on Facebook or stop by and see us, we still have tons of mums and pumpkins left, as well as fall décor throughout our gift shop! Open Monday-Friday 830-530, and Saturdays 9-1 in Nevada, Mo just off west 54 hwy.
I am currnetly a senior attending MSU, where I will graduate in May of 2014 with a business agricultural degree. Even though I am living in the city, my roots are in Nevada, Mo where I was born and rasied. Very close knit family, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I enjoying showing pigs and riding horses. My life has always been based around agricultral and farming, so I know how important it is to stay informed of whats going on in the agricultural world. I work at a vet clinic and feedstore, which is what I plan to contuine after finshing school. I love being outside and working, just always doing something…fishing, hunting, riding 4-wheelers, rodeoing, and spending time with friends and family.