Last Friday, the National Agriculture Statistics Service, powered by the USDA, announced that Nebraska was now the leading state in the nation for cattle on feed – bypassing Texas. Traditionally, Texas has held the top cattle feeding state in the nation. However, as of Feb. 1, Nebraska surpassed Texas by 20,000 cattle to reach 2.46 million cattle on feed.
Why should this be a celebration for urban Nebraskans?
Our Stable Economy.
Cattle on feed create jobs for veterinarians, at co-ops, nutritionists, crop insurance agents, truckers, grain marketers, tractor sales, agronomists and agriculture journalists as well as farmers and ranchers.
In total, one of every four jobs in Nebraska are in agriculture. All of these jobs represent opportunities for people in our state.
Even Gov. Heineman weighed in, saying: “A strong livestock sector is critical to the state’s overall economic well-being. When our cattle industry does well, Main Street Nebraska prospers.”
And already able to account for one in four jobs – agriculture has more trickle down affects. Data shows that each farmer and rancher represents seven jobs in a rural community from hair stylists to teachers to doctors. This money stays local and allows for small towns to remain strong.
- Kassi Williams, farmer’s daughter
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
5 jalapeno peppers, diced and seeded*
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
1 1/4 pound boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes*
1 (10 oz.) can diced tomatoes with green chilies*
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 (14 oz.) can white or navy beans, drained
1 (14 oz.) can corn, drained or equivalent amount of frozen corn
8 oz. cream cheese
1 pound bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled, divided
Shredded cheddar cheese (optional garnish)
*You can adjust hotness by varying amounts of these ingredients.
- In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat and sauté onion, peppers and garlic until tender.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then add to the saucepan, adding another tablespoon of oil if necessary. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano and red pepper flakes. Toss chicken and seasonings together and lightly brown chicken on all sides.
- Stir in diced tomatoes, chicken broth, beans and corn. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Stir in cream cheese until completely melted. Add half of the crumbled bacon. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Add more chicken broth if too thick.
- Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and remaining crumbled bacon as garnish.
Yield: 6 servings
Recipe from sweettreatsmore.com and photo by Lois Linke.
Growing up in a rural community, FFA was a staple. I remember looking up to the high school students in their blue jackets with wonder. My elementary partnered with the high school to do the PALS program – where each fourth grader hung out with a FFA member once a month. It was awesome! These were also the high schoolers that would be helping at the county fair, coordinating community pancake feeds and much more. They were igniting our community.
I became an FFA member myself when entering high school. And 5 years later, I look back and realize that FFA allowed me to ignite my passion into a career. I learned a ton about agriculture, even as a farm kid, from livestock judging, to soil judging and how to read a plat book. And I gained first-hand experience in things like public speaking, research, balancing finances, marketing and too many more to name. This first-hand experience is available nowhere else to high school students.
If you missed it, this past week was FFA week – but it’s not too late to ignite! Find your passion and share it! Share your story and ignite others! FFA presented an opportunity for me and thousands of youth to learn, grow and excel – that’s something to celebrate year round!
And while I’m celebrating, I encourage you to reach out to your local FFA advisor and say thanks. Without their hours and hours of extra time driving, teaching and advising students – FFA would be impossible!
Thanks Mr. Hanna!!!
-Kassi Williams, farmer’s daughter
1. In a small saucepan, heat milk, butter and honey until the butter is melted. Let cool slightly (be sure it isn’t hotter than 110º F).
2. Sprinkle yeast over the warm water, mix lightly and set aside for 10 minutes.
3. Combine the yeast and milk mixtures.
4. In a large bowl (or mixer bowl if you plan to use a dough hook), sift 3 cups of flour. Stir in the milk/yeast mixture. Sift in the remaining flour and salt. Stir until cohesive.
5. If using a dough hook, work the dough for 2-3 minutes (you may need to add up to a half cup more flour). If kneading by hand, flour work surface and knead the dough for 3-5 minutes until elastic. Cover dough and let rest for 5 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, cover two baking sheets with parchment paper and sprinkle with cornmeal.
7. Flour work surface lightly and roll the dough out until it is 1/2 inch thick. Do not roll thinner than 1/2 inch.
8. Using a 3-inch cookie cutter, cut out circles (do not twist the cutter) and gently place them on the baking sheets. Sprinkle the tops with cornmeal and cover with a dry light-weight cloth.
9. Allow the muffins to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes or until nearly doubled in size.
10. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet (cast iron works well) on medium-low. Do not grease.
11. Gently place a muffin in your hand and shake off excess cornmeal. Gentle handling is key. Place muffin in the skillet and repeat until the pan is full. Do not allow the muffins to touch.
12. Keep heat on low. This can’t be rushed. Cook for about 8 minutes on each side or until desired brown color is achieved.
13. Cool on a wire rack.
14. Split and serve with your favorite condiments.
Yield: 18 muffins
Homemade English Muffins recipe from myfairbaking.blogspot.com and photos by Lois Linke.