As a senior in high school, the season of college visits, applications, scholarships and making decisions has arrived. It’s almost a daily occurrence for me to be asked, “What are you going to do after high school?” While this question causes anxiety for some of my peers, I answer it with confidence. Fortunately, I know the passion I want to pursue following graduation: agriculture. My love for agriculture began when I was old enough to say cow and only intensified by my involvement in 4-H and eventually FFA. However, as I provide my solid answer to the frequently asked question about what my major is going to be in college, my reply is often received with surprise. “You’re going to go into agriculture? Really? Don’t you want to do something else? You’re so smart, don’t you want to do more with your life?” I just smile, shake my head, and reassure them that agriculture is the field I desire to work in. Most people don’t understand why my decision to seek a career in agriculture was such an easy one to make. Here are the four biggest reasons why I choose to be the future of agriculture: Continue reading
Nebraska Farm Bureau has identified eight social media savvy student members to join our Crew. The Crew is a group of Nebraska Farm Bureau student members who enjoy agriculture communication and social media. Together, The Crew will work on reaching a larger audience with pro-ag messages and will help put a face to agriculture through social media in conjunction with Nebraska Farm Bureau. Members of The Crew have access to unique training sessions, such as exploring social media strategies on Capitol Hill.
NFBF is excited to introduce our Crew members to you! For the next year these students will help promote agriculture and rural America through their work on social media!
Hi! I’m Mekenzie Beattie! I am the sixth generation on my diversified family farm where our main focus is swine! I am an active member in 4-H and FFA and am excited to serve as the SEM FFA’s chapter president this upcoming year! I enjoy showing livestock, especially cattle! I also play volleyball and basketball and relieve my stress by playing the piano. I love to work on the farm and be involved daily in the Agriculture Industry. I have developed a thrilling passion for agriculture throughout my childhood and will continue that in my future! I am planning on attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln after my high school career! I hope to double major in Ag Business and Ag communications! I thrilled to be a part of The Crew and to share my love of agriculture with the world!
Hello everyone! My name is Halie Andreasen. I will be a senior this year at Boone Central High School in Albion, Nebraska. I live on a family farm where we have a small feedlot, cows, and raise corn and soybeans. I love spending time with my spunky corgi, Charlie, and drinking all the sweet tea I can get my hands on. My passion for agriculture started at a young age and was inspired by my love of showing cattle. From then on, I have been extremely involved in 4-H, FFA, and other extracurricular activities within my school. I have found that the best way to positively influence the future of agriculture is by developing young leaders and encouraging them to find their voice and advocate for our future. Because of this, I plan on attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln while majoring in agricultural education in hopes of inspiring youth to take a stand in their love of agriculture.
Hello all! My name is Rebel Sjeklocha and I will be a senior this fall at Maywood High School. I live on a farm and cattle operation with my family east of Hayes Center. I have one little brother, Jett, who will be entering the eighth grade and keeps me on my toes. Agriculture has played an integral role in my upbringing, and I would not change this for the world. My mom is a veterinarian and my dad owns a commercial hay grinding business. My parents are my biggest role models, and have shown me what it means to truly be passionate about what you do.
I am active in the Maywood FFA Chapter where I compete in a variety of contests, ranging from livestock judging to ag communications and ag sales. In addition, I am also a proud member of Hayes County 4-H. In 4-H, I show cattle and horses, and do a variety of other projects as well. I have served as an advocate for rodeo and agriculture as the 2016 Elwood Rodeo Queen. I also competed in the Miss Teen Rodeo Nebraska pageant in June held in conjunction with NEBRASKAland Days in North Platte.
I am looking forward to gaining new perspectives and serving as a spokesperson for ag by being part of The Crew. I cannot wait to see what this year has in store!
My name is Kelsey Phillips and I am the sixth generation in my family to ranch north of Mullen, Nebraska – a small town in the heart of the Sandhills. I am a 2016 Mullen High School graduate and am currently a sophomore studying animal science with an emphasis in beef reproduction. My family has a commercial cow-calf operation and we retain ownership of our feedlot steers. I have my own small beef herd and hope to one day return to my family operation. We raise our own corn and hay on our 240-acre pivot. I am a certified Artificial Insemination Technician and help my parents breed our own cows and with our custom A.I. business. My family has a small two-acre vineyard and as a hobby my dad makes a variety of fruit wines.
Growing up I was very active in 4-H where I did various projects, but particularly loved showing large and small animals. I spent many years showing swine at the Nebraska state fair and continue showing in FFA. I especially enjoyed my many years at the Nebraska State 4-H camp near Halsey, as both a camper and a counselor. As a high school senior, I had the privilege of attending National 4-H Congress as a youth delegate. Throughout high school I attended the Nebraska State Youth Range Camp where I learned to evaluate range conditions and identify plant species. From that experience, I was selected to give a presentation at the National Society for Range Management conference in California. During my FFA career I was involved in numerous competitions including public speaking, livestock and rangeland judging, and food sciences. I am currently an officer for my collegiate FFA chapter, a member of Nebraska Cattlemen, an Ag in the Classroom Pen Pal, and volunteer during the school year at the humane society.
Through these many experiences and opportunities, I have developed valuable life skills and found my passion for agriculture. By being a part of the Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Crew I hope to advocate for agriculture and share my love for this industry. I am looking forward to learning about new communication tools and ways that I can be a positive voice for farmers and ranchers.
My name is Kathlyn Hauxwell and I am very excited to be a part of this year’s Ag Crew!
My interest in agriculture quickly developed as a young child growing up on our 5th generation family farm and ranch in southwestern Nebraska. We primarily raise cattle and grow commodity crops such as corn, wheat, and soybeans. My passion for agriculture developed further when I reached the age to be involved in 4-H. As I started working with my show steers, and attending different clinics and camps, I definitely found myself at home being around the animals and the responsibilities that comes with them. I began to also show horses at a competitive level at the age of 13, traveling all over the country to compete. In doing so I discovered a completely new facet of agriculture that I now account some of my best qualities for today. In the seventh grade I joined my school’s FFA chapter and the rest is history. As the years progressed I discovered more and more about the agriculture industry, way more than I thought even existed. I found myself to be in love with speaking events, working with other members, and also getting in the dirt by being on the livestock judging and vet science team. This year I will continue my FFA career as a senior and FFA President at McCook High School. After I graduate I aspire to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and start the process of becoming a veterinarian with majors in animal science and biochemistry. I can’t wait to see what this year holds for the Ag Crew 2017-2018!
Hey, agriculturalists! That is, hey as in hello, not hay like the stuff you feed cattle.
My name is Amanda Most and I am a senior at Ogallala High School in western Nebraska. After graduation, I hope to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and major in Agricultural Communications. I am involved in a large variety of extracurricular activities, but there is one that easily makes the top of the list: FFA. I am currently serving as the President of my chapter and am excited to be competing in the Vet Science competition at National FFA in October.
One of my favorite songs just happens to be “Farmer’s Daughter” by Rodney Atkins, because that’s exactly what I am: a farmer’s daughter. I live on my 5th generation family farm southeast of Ogallala where we raise corn, soybeans, peas, wheat and a herd of cattle. Growing up on a farm that is rooted so deeply within my family has given me a greater appreciation for food production and all that farmers do. From a young age, I have even played a role in production agriculture. I have raised and shown livestock since I was around 6 years old and I continue to show hogs and cattle. Even though I am mainly involved at a local level, I have found my voice in agriculture by being a livestock producer. I have seen the negative effects that can occur when consumers are uninformed and I personally have been challenged about the intent of the agricultural industry. These instances have only fueled my passion for serving in an industry that is crucial to our state, but more substantially, for feeding the world. It is more important than ever that we as agriculturalists stand up and advocate for ourselves and our livelihoods.
My passion for the agricultural industry and love for public speaking and writing will be put to work as I join “The Crew.” I am excited about being a member of The Crew because it is the perfect place for me to connect with others who share my passion for agriculture. Together, we will grow as agriculturalists and use our skills to serve as voices for agriculture. Let’s agvocate!
Hello Everyone! My name is Miranda Hornung and I live in Davey, NE population 157. As my journey as a member of the Crew begins, I am extremely excited to share my passion for agriculture with a wide audience.
I will be a senior for the upcoming school year at Raymond Central High School where I participate in a variety of activities including SkillsUSA, Student Council, Spanish Club, FCA, and of course FFA. I also have a knack for music, as I enjoy singing, play the flute, and have taken classical piano lessons since I was in kindergarten. I work part-time for a local bank, crop insurance agency, and for my family’s grain truck and trailer agribusiness.
While I have always been involved in agriculture and FFA since 7th grade, my interest for ag communications has only recently been sparked. Through public speaking contests, currently serving as a two-year president for the Central FFA Chapter, and entering an ag blog competition, I have developed an undeniable passion for “agvocating.”
I hope to continue to grow this passion through the upcoming year as a member of the Crew and in my future as I plan to attend UNL in the fall of 2018 and major in agricultural education with minors in leadership, communication, and entrepreneurship.
Hi everyone! My name is Jaclyn Frey and I live on our family farm just outside of Albion, Nebraska. From an early age a passion for agriculture was instilled in me. Hard work and dedication were just a couple of the traits that I learned to value through agriculture. I grew up caring for animals around the farm and riding in the tractor with my dad. That passion quickly grew as I became involved in 4-H and FFA. These organizations offered many opportunities for me to explore the agricultural industry and to see that agriculture reaches people from all lifestyles, not just those who live on a farm. Showing cattle has allowed me to connect with people, from across the state, who share the same passion as me. By retaining show heifers and purchasing cows from local producers, my cow herd has reached around thirty head. I also rent eighteen acres of dryland and raise corn and soybeans. I am a freshman at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, majoring in Agricultural Education. Advocating for ag is something that is really important to me so I can’t wait to share my story with you all!
This little stinker was a little over a week old at the time of this picture. This is the best time to do things like notch the pigs ears for identification, give the pig some iron and penicillin to help fight against all the infections that these little guys are very susceptible to, castrate the boars, or males, so they are less aggressive in adulthood, and clip their needle teeth which also help stop the spread of infection! Theses are some things that animal rights organizations would have us skip out on. But because my conventional farm goes through these essential procedures these little piglets are given the best possible chance to thrive and live happily! About 5 months ago I named this cutie Rudy.
Fast forward about 5 months and we have some awesome perspective on the life of a show pig! This is Rudy, the baby pig from five months ago that we just got done “processing.” That means that we notched his ears, vaccinated him, docked his tail, and castrated him. All of these things serve a purpose, and if you have any questions I’d be happy to answer them!
If we fast forward Rudy’s life about 4 weeks later, we’re vaccinating him again just to keep him healthy and then moving him to a new facility on our farm called the nursery. This process is called weaning. At the point of weaning, young piglets are still drinking their mother’s milk, but their main source of food comes from a starter feed.
About three months later we bring Rudy into our show barn. Our show barn, like the majority across the state of Nebraska, is kept at a very nice and cool temperature no matter how hot it is outside. My sister and I clean all our show pigs’ pens at least once a week and feed them twice a day. At this point in time, Rudy is on a 16%-18% protein feed, which is insuring his efficiency. Our state fair hogs get walked between 3 to 4 times a week, so that when we take them to state fair they’re comfortable in the ring.
At state fair during showmanship, I was asked what was the biggest problem in the swine industry today. I thought about the Chinese pork industries growing bigger and bigger every year, I thought about the PED virus, but out of these problem I know where the real problem lies. Advocacy. Companies and organizations like Chipotle and HSUS are using their networks to ruin the reputation of all aspects of agriculture, notably the swine industry. If we don’t tell the consume what is going on on our farms, we will lose the consumer. The world that we’re living in today is desperate for information, even if it’s cheap. The cheap information that they’re buying into are the stories that HSUS and PETA are giving them. I know the relationship between the farmer and the consumer needs some help. I also know the relationship between the animals in their care and the producer is completely different than what it is perceived to be. The consumer should know what is going on in the barn or in the field, and as a youth ag advocate, it is my job tell them.
Since attending the Agricultural Issues Academy at State FFA Convention last year, I’ve started my own blog. Ag Issues Academy opened my eyes to the miscommunication that is happening not only global, but right in my town and state. The link to my blog is listed below if you’re interested in what my farm looks like and its relationship with our animals.
Read more from Cheyenne here: https://youthagricultureadvocates.wordpress.com/
Have you ever wondered what makes a Fluffy Cow Fluffy? Most fluffy cows are bred to have lots of hair but the hair isn’t so fluffy without the required work.
This is what a fluffy cow looks like before it is all clean. This is my Crossbred (he has both Chianina and Maine influence) Market Steer named Lautner. He weighs 1,300 lbs. I plan to exhibit him at the end of October at the Kansas City Royal Livestock Show, in Kansas City, MO. Follow these steps to see how Lautner transforms into a clean fluffy cow.
Step One: is to blow the dirt out of Lautner’s coat. A blower is a tool like a blow dryer it blows air to through the long hose. First picture is what a blower looks like. This takes less than five minutes.
Step Two: Grab the garden hose and start rinsing Lautner by putting water on his coat. This takes 20-25 minutes, because you want to get his entire coat really wet.
Step Three: Take the Gain Dish Soap turn it upside down and disperse it all over his coat. This is called “soaping”. This takes five minutes.
Step Four: Take the scrub brush (first picture) a plastic brush with a handle and bristles used to scrub the coat and get all the dirt out. This also helps deep condition Lauter’s coat. This takes 5-10 minutes; I am making sure I get all the soap “scrubbed in” all over Lautner’s coat.
Step Five: Rinse the calf with the garden hose, making sure all the soap bubbles come out. This takes 10-15 minutes (this step is repeated from step two)
Step Six: I use the scotch comb and brush Lautner’s hair. Lautner’s hair is still wet. This step takes 5 minutes.
Step Seven: Blow the calf out with the blower; the blower was used in the first step. This step is very important. This is how Lautner’s hair dries and becomes fluffy. This could take a while, generally takes 30-40 minutes until he is completely dry.
Step Eight: I apply conditioner out of the spray bottle and brush it in with a human hairbrush.
After all these steps Lautner looks like this. He is very clean and his hair is soft.
“A fair is a veritable smorgasbord.” At least according to the rat, Templeton, from Charlotte’s web. If you’re not familiar, it’s the scene where the rodent sings about all the wonderful food he finds after the lights of the fair go down.
In this case, I’m not talking about food but rather all the wonderful agricultural products you can find at county fairs and the Nebraska State Fair, which wraps up this weekend. From the Milking Parlor to the Avenue of Breeds to the Antique Tractor Display, the Ag exhibits are endless, and for FFA and 4-H exhibitors, the end of a year of hard work on their projects.
This year we heard reports of space running out in the sheep and goat barn because of so many producers wanting to show their product. And the hog and cattle barns are just as full. It’s exciting to see so many kids taking their projects to the next level. Now, I call on them to go even further.
For many people, the Nebraska State Fair or the local county fair is their first, and maybe only, interaction with agriculture. Hundreds of grade school students in matching T-shirts are paraded through the state fair every year.
They are excited to see and interact with the animals. But what are they really seeing? A large pet? Do they know why a farmer raises cattle or sheep? It is our job as livestock producers, farmers and Ag experts to go that extra step and explain why a heifer or steer exists. Why we shear sheep. How we bring only one or two hogs to the fair, while the rest stay home. And, ultimately, the fact that Nebraska farmers and ranchers are raising the world’s food supply.
This week was all about youth – the future.
How fitting that the theme of this year’s FFA Convention was “Ignite.” How fitting that the youth membership for Nebraska Farm Bureau has a relative theme – “Fuel Your Fire.”
The entire state is talking about agriculture being as “hot” as ever. This is contrasted by the fact that we are also watching the harsh realities of agriculture – realities such as the lack of rain, fires popping up throughout the countryside, over regulation by government agencies such as EPA and overall too much government control.
Bottom line: We all know that Nebraska Farm Bureau will be there to help farmers and ranchers young and old ride through many years of “highs and lows” – when you are in the field Nebraska Farm Bureau is at the Capitol protecting your right to farm and ranch.
So as this FFA week comes to a close we hope that these bright young students and their families saw Nebraska Farm Bureau in a new light. An organization that will continue to help promote agriculture, protect your right to farm and ranch and entice young people to unite and have their voices heard by joining Nebraska Farm Bureau, where belonging continues to make a difference.