Ag Fact Friday!

Although it’s Saturday…

An acre of farmland, which is about the size of a football field, can produce 14,000 ears of sweet corn, 36,000 pounds of potatoes, 24,000 heads of lettuce, 2,800 loaves of bread and 266 pairs of blue jeans!

-TAG

new post coming soon!
 

In the right place

Here’s my catch up post from last week! From June 19-21, I had the opportunity and privilege to help with the University of Missouri’s Livestock Judging Camp. I joined a few students my age with livestock judging experience, along with the current MU Livestock Judging Team and Coach Chip Kemp, in putting on a workshop to help a few high school teams improve and revamp their judging skills.

To a “non-aggie,” livestock judging consists of the evaluation of a group (usually 4) of animals (whether it be cattle, pigs, sheep, meat goats…) and then consecutively making a decision how to place them by comparing them to the other animals in the class and by determining the standards of the particular class. After recording their placings, the participating team (made of usually 3 or 4 members) has each individual on the team give a set of oral reasons describing why they placed each animal in that consecutive order. Reasons allow each individual to get into details of each individual animal and are expected to deliver those with good tone and diction. From each class placing and each set of oral reasons, the individuals are given a score of one to 50. The team scores are combined and compared with other team scores for the final placings.

Livestock Judging not only teaches you how to correctly evaluate livestock, but it also helps improve your public speaking, self-confidence, and decision making skills. Perhaps my favorite part of livestock judging is the people you meet along the way the quality of animals you have the opportunity to see.

I joined my FFA chapter’s livestock judging team my freshman year and I quickly learned I had a keen interest for the contest. My team qualified and competed at state but we fell short of our goal of placing in the top 10. I had taken a break from livestock judging until the summer after my senior year of high school where I was asked to be on a 4-H livestock judging team with a few other people from my 4-H district. In September 2011, I joined my team-Will and Zech Moore of Belle, and Tara Fountain of Centralia-in judging at the state contest against many other competitive teams. To our surprise, we pulled away with first place medals and a trip to Louisville, KY to compete at the National 4-H Livestock Judging Contest held during the North American International Livestock Exposition.

After a lot of practice and reasons, our team took about a week off of school later that year in November to travel to different farms in the Louisville area and surrounding states to look at some of the best livestock in the country. It truly was one of the best experiences in my life, along with the actual contest. We we ended up placing 4th nationally- only one place away from having the chance to travel abroad and judge internationally, but it was still an incredible experience. As for my team members and others I met through 4-H and FFA contests such as this one, they are irreplaceable.

I hope the students who attended MU’s Judging Camp created stronger bonds with their team and made new friends, just as I did. You don’t find many opportunities  that allow you to compete and make friends at the same time, along with finding a source of preparation and confidence for your future. A chance where I get to “place” is one of my favorite places because there is aways someone to meet and something to learn.

From Left: Coach Nathan Martin, Centralia; Zech Moore, Belle; Shannon Yokley, Jefferson City; Will Moore, Belle; (Not Pictured) Tara Fountain, CentraliaThe official Livestock Judging Team Picture at Nationals.
From Left: Coach Nathan Martin, Centralia; Zech Moore, Belle; Shannon Yokley, Jefferson City; Will Moore, Belle (Not Pictured) Tara Fountain, Centralia

The “unofficial” team picture.

Thanks for reading! Can’t wait for Ag Fact Friday!

-TAL

“Judging animal shows is an honor. Judges have the opportunity to teach, help develop young people, showcase animal agriculture, and even provide a social and entertaining event to those in the crowd.”- Ken Geuns, Michigan State University Extension Specialist and Livestock Judge

“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”-Masanobu Fukuoka

Move over LMFAO…

“Ag”vocating in a fun way- these boys describe their duties on the farm in this video parody of “I’m Sexy and I Know It” by LMFAO.

Ag Fact Friday!

It’s Ag Fact Friday! Here you go!

Like snowflakes, no two cows have exactly the same pattern of spots.

 

New blog post coming soon! I’ll explain my hectic week :]
-TAL 

Ag Fact Friday!

I decided I will send a new ag fact your way every Friday to increase ag awareness!

Today’s ag fact:

Farmers grow corn on every continent except Antarctica!

This Time Around

As my first blog post, I thought I would start with a topic near and dear to my heart-the Missouri Agribusiness Academy (MAbA.)

MAbA is a week long, expense paid trip for thirty elite 4-H and FFA students in the state of Missouri. The students submit a written application, which can then be selected for them to compete as one of the top ten students in their district. There are six districts across the state where interviews are held. From the ten students in each district, five are chosen to represent their district on the academy trip, making a total of thirty eager agriculture enthusiasts. Each year, the academy rotates it’s location between Kansas City, St. Louis, and Springfield. In 2009, my MAbA class headed towards The Arch to gain knowledge of agribusiness here in the Show-Me State. Luckily, I was able to attend the academy again in St. Louis this year as one of the academy interns.

Five days were packed with a good variety of what the St. Louis Region had to offer the agriculture industry. However, we took the first day to tour the University of Missouri in Columbia to give the students a small dose of college experience. The students learned about the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and began with a debate with the infamous Dr. Jim Spain. Dr. Spain had the students analyze the current issues facing the agriculture industry and had the students explain each problem. The students really enjoyed his debate. The day continued with several other speakers like Dr. Jon Simonsen, Dr. MaryAnn Gowdy, Dr. Brad Fresenberg and Tim Reinbott. The day concluded with dinner and an etiquette course for the members to remember and use throughout the week.

Tuesday morning we departed for St. Louis with a day full of plant science awaiting the students. We arrived at our first stop at Monsanto Chesterfield Research Center where we toured the facility and ate lunch provided by Monsanto. The afternoon tour was at the Monsanto Creve Coeur Breeding and Agronomics Research Labs where the students learned how the scientists improve the current seed genes. Bill Ruppert of National Nursery Products spoke to the students at dinner about his agribusiness experiences.

Three days into the conference the students were still eager for new information and experiences. The morning was filled with tours of the Missouri Botanical Garden and Libraries. Soon after, we traveled to Schlafly’s Bottleworks for lunch and a tour of their facilities. The afternoon concluded with an abundance of vendors at a farmer’s market. The students truly enjoyed their speaker, Ken Ohlemeyer of AdFarm at dinner later that night. Ohlemeyer spoke about “branding” as a way for the students to market themselves in the future.

Gateway Greening, an urban farm in the middle of downtown St. Louis, was the first stop on day four of the academy. Following the urban farm was a tour of the St. Patrick’s Center, where the students learned about the Begin New Adventure Center where people can find help to start their own businesses. The bus soon traveled to a scrumptious lunch of ribs and brats provided by Lange Stegmann. The students learned about fertilizer and went on a tour of their facilities. Osborn and Barr finished off the afternoon with a burst of agri-marketing energy. Steve Peirce kept the students entertained at dinner by talking about social networking and planning for the future. Students finished their Thursday with an evening full of dancing and fun at the MAbA social.

Friday we departed for Jefferson City and had lunch at Madison’s Cafe downtown. The 30 students joined their family and friends, the Missouri Department of Agriculture staff, as well as their commencement speaker Dr. Terry Heiman in the Capitol Rotunda in celebration of their graduation from the academy. This was the 25th year anniversary of MAbA. Karen Wilde, MDA employee has been with the academy for all 25 years and was presented with a gift of appreciation.

Out of that brief summary of the week, there are so many things I left out. Things that cannot be described. Things that can only be seen, heard, tasted, smelt or felt by the senses. My MAbA trip in 2009 was one of the best weeks of my life. It was so surreal to have the opportunity to live it again. This time around feels just as special as my first time. I had the opportunity to spend my week with 30 wonderful, intelligent and passionate young agricultural leaders.

“I am looking at the future of agriculture,” said Steve Peirce, “right here.”

I was looking at the same kids that Peirce was. I looked at thirty students from all parts of Missouri. All were different in many aspects but had one common goal. If the future of agriculture is as promising as these students, our future in agriculture must be very bright.

MAbA

Our Bright Future in Agriculture