Carrying on the Family Tradition at the Denver Stockyards

In the midst of mud from the freshly melted six inches of snow, miles of pens, and the hum of generators, I stand above the ground and take in my surroundings. The catwalk in the Denver stock yards is one of my favorite places in the world.  On it, I am able to look over a place that has historic value, as well as significance to my family.

img_4581

One of my favorite memories was this past January, seeing my photo on the Wall of Champions in the Yards as National Hereford Queen, since my parents and grandparents are on the wall, too. I am the fourth generation of both sides of my family to exhibit cattle at the National Western Stock Show, and the fifth generation on both sides to raise Hereford cattle.

img_0002

Photo Credit: Michelle Wolfrey

While these two traditions have uniquely influenced my life, the broader traditions of agriculture run deep in many families, such as my own.  There are technical traditions, such as branding cattle with the brand (and sometimes the same branding irons!) that have been in a family for years.  There are also traditions of agricultural life that are more so associated with values and soft skills.  For example, when I think of integrity, I think of a cowboy, because the image that most people have of a cowboy is a kind person who always helps and does the right thing.  Other traditions of agricultural life include grit, courage, and passion. These are a handful of the reasons that I am proud of the traditions that I keep as part of an agricultural family.

katie-nolles-info-bar

An Inside Look at How Antibiotics are Used in Livestock

Drought - Cattle on low hay 2

Everywhere I turn, I seem to be faced with advertisements encouraging me to eat antibiotic-free meat. While one beauty of being an American is that we have the freedom to choose how we raise our livestock and what products we buy.  In no way am I shaming antibiotic-free producers.  However, I understand that fear of antibiotic resistance and concern for animal well-being.

As a sixth generation beef producer from the Nebraska Sandhills, I have firsthand experience with raising livestock.  When cattle get sick with a bacterial infection, my family chooses to treat them with an antibiotic.  We don’t do this because a sick calf would mean a loss in profit.  I can speak for most if not all livestock producers when I say that our livestock are our way of life.  We put our heart and soul into caring for these animals, and it pains us to see them suffer.

To acknowledge the fear of antibiotic-treated meat animals, here are a few thoughts to keep in mind.  As producers, we develop herd health programs with our veterinarians, and receive training on proper dosage and withdrawal procedures. Relative to the topic of antibiotic resistance, many of the compounds used to treat animals are ionophores, which are actually antimicrobials that serve no purpose in human medicine, and do not impact antibiotic resistance whatsoever. While there are the few drugs that are utilized by both species, they are used to different degrees, as in the case of tetracycline, which accounts for only four percent of human antibiotic prescription, but comprise forty-one percent in animals. Producers feed the meat that we raise to our own families, so we would absolutely never taint the food supply.

Cow faces
As the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) goes into effect in January 2017, the use of antibiotics for growth promotion will no longer be allowed.  Antibiotic use will be more closely monitored by requiring a VFD or prescription for the use of medically important (those also used in humans) antibiotics.  The VFD, which is the result of an FDA Guidance for Industry, is part of the livestock industry’s effort to reduce antibiotic resistance.
If there are further questions about the VFD, livestock use of antibiotics, or livestock production in animals, the best solution is to contact a veterinarian or livestock producer.  While we may seem far away, we are more than happy to answer whatever questions about our way of life that you have!

 

katie-nolles-info-bar

Spring Cattle Work

cake -- JacobWhen I was a freshman in college I remember one weekend I had some friends ask me what I was going to do that weekend. I told them that I had to go home to help my family pair, sort, vaccinate, and move our cattle out to our summer pastures. To my surprise they would ask, “Why do you have to vaccinate them and sort them out?” At first I was shocked, I thought to myself, how would people not know why ranchers have to do that? But I took a step back and remembered that not everybody grew up in a ranching community and have been around cattle their whole life. After I told them why they seemed very interested in it and was glad they learned something new! So, I thought I would tell more people about why ranchers do this to their cattle.

After all the cows give birth to their calves in late spring, most ranchers move their cattle out to new pasture for the summer, a place where they will be comfortable all summer to roam and graze as they please. But before you can move them away from home you need to do some housekeeping duties first. First my family separates the good, healthy pairs. We only want to send our top notch, healthiest cows and calves to new pasture. So we separate the healthy pairs. In case you didn’t know, a pair is both the cow and her calve, the calves are still very young and need their mom’s milk for nutrients and to grow better. After we get the best, healthiest pairs separated, we need to sort the calves away from the cows. After we sort them it’s time to run them through the shoot.

pour on -- JacobYou need to sort the cows from the calves because you use different sizes of alleyways and shoots. Once you get them in the shoot, the procedure is the same. Each cow, calf, and bull, get two shots. One shot helps prevent pink eye, respiratory problems, and intestinal problems. While the other shot is just some vitamins to help keep them healthy. You also pour a certain about of pour on over their backs. Pour on is a liquid that you pour over the backs of them. This helps prevent flies from bothering them as much during the heat of the summer.

After all of this you load them up in trailers. Calves go on separate trailers than the bulls and cows because they could get trampled. Once they are loaded you take them to your desired location. Over the coarse of the summer you need to check on them frequently. Ranchers have to make sure they have enough salt and mineral for them just so they are getting extra nutrients and sometimes ranchers will give them a sweet treat called cake. Cake is little cylinder like pellets that you give to them as a treat; they taste very good to the cows and are full of nutrients so ranchers like them too. Ranchers also have to check on them to make sure the flies aren’t bothering them too much. If the flies are bad, we will spray more pour on over them.

Moving cattle out to graze over the summer is an exciting time of the year for ranchers. It gives them a much-needed break after the hard, cold, and long calving season. Ranchers love to check up on their cattle and make sure they are doing okay. Once Fall hits it’s time to take them home. When they get home it’s not long before the calves are sorted away again and taken to sale barns to be sold. This is quite possibly the biggest day for ranchers, as they will make most of their money for the year. Sale day is also either a sad or happy day for them, depending on whom you ask! Then they start all over again in the spring with calving out their new calves.

Jacob Goldfuss bio pic

Barbecued Brisket

Barbecued Brisket2Ingredients

4 lb. brisket

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon sage

½ cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce

1 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)

1 ½ cup ketchup

 

Directions

  • If the brisket has abundant fat, trim some of the fat off before proceeding. Spread salt and pepper over all surfaces of the brisket.
  • In a small saucepan, combine the remaining ingredients. Heat until the sugar dissolves.
  • Pour 1/3 of the sauce in the bottom of a roasting pan. Place brisket on the sauce.  Pour 1/3 of the sauce on top of the brisket.  Cover and bake in a 275º oven for 4 ¼ hours.
  • Slice thinly and serve with the remainder of the sauce.

Dairy and Bacon Prices Down, Apples Too

Lower retail prices for several foods, including whole milk, cheddar cheese, bacon and apples resulted in a slight decrease in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Fall Harvest Marketbasket Survey.

The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $54.14, down $.12 or less than 1 percent compared to a survey conducted a year ago. Of the 16 items surveyed, 10 decreased and six increased in average price.

Higher milk and pork production this year has contributed to the decrease in prices on some key foods.

“Energy prices, which affect everything in the marketbasket, have been quite a bit lower compared to a year ago. Processing, packaging, transportation and retail operations are all fairly energy-intensive,” said John Anderson, AFBF’s deputy chief economist. Lower energy prices account for much of the modest decrease in the marketbasket.

CS15_128 Fall Harvest Marketbasket SurveyThe following items showed retail price decreases from a year ago:

  • whole milk, down 17 percent to $3.14 per gallon
  • bacon, down 11 percent to $4.55 per pound
  • apples, down 7 percent $1.45 per pound
  • shredded cheddar, down 5 percent to $4.56 per pound
  • flour, down 4 percent to $2.37 per five-pound bag
  • bagged salad, down 4 percent to $2.46 per pound
  • vegetable oil, down 3 percent to $2.61 for a 32-ounce bottle
  • Russet potatoes, down 3 percent to $2.64 for a five-pound bag
  • white bread, down 1 percent to $1.69 for a 20-ounce loaf
  • chicken breast, down 1 percent to $3.42 per pound

These items showed modest retail price increases compared to a year ago:

  • eggs, up 56 percent to $3.04 per dozen
  • orange juice, up 7 percent to $3.43 per half-gallon
  • ground chuck, up 6 percent to $4.55 per pound
  • toasted oat cereal, up 3 percent to $3.09 for a nine-ounce box
  • sirloin tip roast, up 3 percent to $5.67 per pound
  • sliced deli ham, up 1 percent to $5.47 per pound

“As expected we saw higher egg prices because we lost so much production earlier this year due to the avian influenza situation in Iowa, Minnesota and some other Midwestern states,” Anderson said.

Price checks of alternative milk and egg choices not included in the overall marketbasket survey average revealed the following: 1/2 gallon regular milk, $2.21; 1/2 gallon organic milk, $4.79; and one dozen “cage-free” eggs, $4.16.

The year-to-year direction of the marketbasket survey tracks closely with the federal government’s Consumer Price Index report for food at home. As retail grocery prices have increased gradually over time, the share of the average food dollar that America’s farm and ranch families receive has dropped.

 

“Through the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures for food eaten at home and away from home, on average. Since then, that figure has decreased steadily and is now about 16 percent, according to the Agriculture Department’s revised Food Dollar Series,” Anderson said.

Using the “food at home and away from home” percentage across-the-board, the farmer’s share of this $54.14 marketbasket would be $8.66.

AFBF, the nation’s largest general farm organization, began conducting informal quarterly marketbasket surveys of retail food price trends in 1989. The series includes a Spring Picnic survey, Summer Cookout survey, Fall Harvest survey and Thanksgiving survey.

According to USDA, Americans spend just under 10 percent of their disposable annual income on food, the lowest average of any country in the world. A total of 69 shoppers in 24 states participated in the latest survey, conducted in September.

Slow Cooker Beef & Mushrooms

Recipes - slow cooker beef and mushroom blockedIngredients

4 pounds stew meat, cubed

4 cans (10.75 oz.) cream of mushroom soup

4 cans (4 oz.) mushrooms, drained

1 cup apple juice or red wine

2 1-oz packages dry onion soup mix

 

Directions

1. In each of 2, gallon-sized freezer bags combine 2 pounds meat, 2 cans of soup, 2 cans of mushrooms, 1/2 cup apple juice/wine and 1 package of onion soup mix. Zip closed. Store in freezer. (A tip to prevent freezer burn — zip your bag almost closed; insert a straw into the corner and suck all the air out. Pull the straw and finish the seal.)

2. When ready to eat, remove bag from freezer and thaw in refrigerator for 24 hours.

3. Pour contents of the bag into a slow cooker that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.

4. Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 10 hours (cooking on low is best).

5. If a thicker consistency if preferred, thicken with a small amount of flour or cornstarch.

6. Serve over rice, noodles or mashed potatoes.

 

Yield: 2 meals – 6 servings each.

Easy as Tamale Pie

With this recipe, you can use leftover shredded pork, beef or chicken.Recipe - Easy as Tamale Pie

Ingredients

1 cup cornmeal

3/4 cup flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 can enchilada sauce

2 cups shredded pork (or chicken, or beef)

1 tablespoon taco seasoning

2 tablespoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, optional

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

chopped cilantro, flat leafed parsley, or chives for garnish

 

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 9″x9″ pan or a 10″ cast iron skillet.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, eggs and buttermilk. Pout the milk mixture into the flour mixture and stir until combined. Your batter will be lumpy.

4. Pour the batter into your baking dish/skillet.

5. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove pan/skillet from the oven and reduce hear to 350 degrees. Using a fork, poke holes all over the top of the cornbread (it won’t be quite set in the center.) Pour the enchilada sauce over the cornbread.

6. Combine shredded meat with taco seasoning and optional chipotle peppers and spread this mixture over the top of the cornbread.

7. Top with shredded cheese.

9. Cover the dish or skillet with foil and place in the over for an additional 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted. If your cheese isn’t quite melted, removed the foil and bake for another 5 mintues.

9. Top with cilantro, parsley or chives and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

 

Yield: 6 Servings