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"Instead of pursing a career I could make a lot of money at, I pursued what I love" - Joe Leathers, 6666 Ranch.

This is my favorite quote from the I am Angus 6666 Ranch video. I think it speaks a lot about the people in agriculture. Farmers and ranchers are a group of people who have chosen to do what they love, and this is good for consumer. Because of the career path we have chosen, our families are provided with safe, nutritious and inexpensive food. American only spend about 10% of their disposable income on food, compared to 30% in other well-developed countries. Also, while others have chosen careers that have led them to skyscrapers or concrete jungles we are on the land caring for it and protecting it. Farmers and ranchers know the importance of taken care of the land so it will take care of us.

I really like Joe’s interview because he talks about how fortunate his children, myself included, are to have grown up in agriculture. We understand where our food comes from, and the effort, time and money it takes to feed a country. Something a lot of people don’t understand much about.

- to read more about Crystal telling the story of her agriculture life visit her blog www.crystalcattle.com

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Growing up my sister and I loved Barbie. We had tons of dolls, the house, a couple cars, a Barbie horse, the clothes, a popcorn machine, a swimming pool, etc. And yes our Barbie's had bank accounts; money was usually exchanged in the form of Light Bright pegs (LiteBrites were used for many things, keep reading). Our Barbie's also were very involved in agriculture. The occupation of vet was quite often played.

That was the great thing about Barbie she could be whoever we wanted her to be. So while our friends were playing Rockstar Barbie, ours were discussing treatment options or reproduction strategies for our cattle. Which leads me to my next story.

My parents didn't hide much from my sister and I as we were growing up. We knew the circle of life was a part of the farm. We also were pretty familiar with how it began. I remember we used to have this slide that looked  kind of like a chute. And we had these stuffed animal dogs and horses that their bellies would Velcro open and shut, revealing bean bag babies inside. It was always a surprise how many you would get the first time.

And this brings me back to the LiteBrites. Yup, those were the straws of semen for A.I. (artificial insemination). See where I am going - chute, stuffed animals that reproduce, semen. Yeah, that's right at the ages of six and eight my sister and I were A.I.ing our stuff animals, just like we had seen dad do it.

Guess we were destined to be farm girls.

 

To read more about Crystal telling the story of her agriculture life visit her blog www.crystalcattle.com  

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Last January I had the opportunity to meet with the delegates of the Five Nations Beef Alliance Young Ranchers Program. I discussed with them the importance of telling agriculture’s story and allowing consumers to have a better understand of our roles in food production.
 
The Alliance represents five countries USA – NCBA, Canada – Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Australia – Cattle Council of Australia, Mexico – National Cattlemen’s Organization and New Zealand – Beef and Lamb New Zealand. Seven young farmers and ranchers from these five countries set out with their video cameras to capture a little bit of their livelihoods. They also shared on camera their experiences in agriculture and why cattle, the environment and helping feed the world is their passion. 
 
During the last seven months video cameras and tapes have been rolling in from around the world, and I have been working on cutting them together into a finished project. What is interesting is that although there are many miles, landmasses, bodies of water and time zones that separate these cattlemen, they all share many of the same dreams. They want to continue to remain on the land, protect the environment and make sure that everyone ends up with a safe and nutrition product on their plate.
 
I know standing up in front of a video camera can be intimidating, but it is one of the best ways to communicate with others. It combines words and visuals, and it allows the consumer to see what a farmer or rancher really looks like.
 
So take a look, and pass it around. The Young Ranchers group wants as many consumers as possible to watch this video. That means your banker, your “city” cousins, classmates or your children’s teachers. Keep on telling agriculture’s story.

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Do Your Homework
 

Posted on March 10, 2010 13:06 by Crystal Young

Before you sharpen your pitchforks, let’s see what Mary Kay has to say.

   Yesterday, HumaneWatch.org made an announcement that the famous Mary Kay brand was supporting an HSUS fundraiser event in Dallas. Obviously, agriculture groups and people are up in arms. And it didn’t take too long before the word started to spread, just like the Yellowtail fiasco.

  But, before we clean our medicine cabinets of our Mary Kay products and stop our next orders maybe WE should ask some questions. Does Mary Kay really know how their name is being used, and what HSUS stands for, likely not. I guess I am maybe a bit too much of an optimist, but I would think there are just too many rural and agriculture women that sell and wear this brand to let their name be associated with HSUS.

 According, to several posts on HumaneWatch’s facebook page Mary Kay is already working to resolve a problem that they weren’t even aware of. It appears that Mary Kay has been involved in a case of fraud to be quite frank. I would hate to see agriculture women suffer because of lies that HSUS has spread.

  I am asking that agriculture does the same thing that we are asking corporations to do – research. Research what you see in the media, research where you are putting your dollars, and continue to research the moves that HSUS is making so we can fight against them.

  It looks like it is going to hopefully be safe to keep on supporting the pink!

   Update from Mary Kay - March 9, 2010

  Humane Society Concerns

  Some fans of Mary Kay® products and independent beauty consultants have expressed concerns over a recent sponsorship of a Dallas-area event. Thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention. We have heard you and want to clarify any confusion.

 First and foremost, Mary Kay is not a sponsor of this event. Mary Kay’s owner’s wife was approached to make a personal contribution towards a local event here in Dallas sponsored by the Dallas chapter of the Humane Society. This event specifically supports efforts to stop puppy mills and the organization’s stop puppy mills campaign. Out of caring and compassion for addressing puppy mills, our owner’s wife agreed to make a personal contribution. Mary Kay has contacted the Humane Society to clarify that we are not sponsors of this event and the company logo is being removed from the website.

  As a company, we sincerely apologize for any confusion or causing any offense to members of the Mary Kay community.

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Sometimes We Need to Take Action
 

Posted on January 26, 2010 07:07 by Crystal Young

Recently, I spoke to the Five Nations Beef Alliance at their Young Rancher’s Round Table about telling our story to the consumer. The U.S. was represented by NCBA, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and the Australian Cattle Council represented their respected countries, and delegates from Mexico and South America were also in attendance.

Jill Harvie, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, and I were talking before the event, and both agreed that is seems like at all these conferences and meetings we do a lot of talking. Great ideas are brought to the table, brainstorming happens, we feel empowered, we can change the world, and then we go home. We quickly get caught up in feeding cows, fixing fence or the office job and the ambition is lost.

This time we really wanted to prove that action could be taken. So Jill grabbed her camera, and sent me some footage and this was the result.

Now, I bet you can find a video camera laying around. And you probably know some techy kid, whether it is your son or daughter or the neighbor, that could do some editing. We need to put ourselves out in front of the public. The consumer likely has never seen a cow or a rancher for that matter, but they are curious. If we don’t answer their questions PETA or HSUS will.

So when we get home from NCBA, let’s put these ideas into motion.

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Around The Kitchen Table
 

Posted on December 31, 2009 07:13 by Crystal Young

Growing up I remember how excited my mom was when she got this big oval, Oak table for our kitchen. It kind of puzzled me - I mean why was this piece of furniture so important over others in the house. As I got older it became pretty clear what was so important about that table. 

Countless hours of 4-H record books and homework were done by my sister and I, at that table.
 
When neighbors came for coffee or potential bull buyers stopped in that is where we sat.
 
Before we had a home office cattle were registered, breeding dates entered, vaccinations recorded and countless sale catalogs and A.I. sire books were poured over so we could decide the future of our family’s cattle operation. 

We also ate at the kitchen table. Unless there was a hockey game on, or some other special event, we rarely left the kitchen table to eat supper. Steak, potatoes, peas or corn, and a salad - that was a pretty common meal.  
 
The kitchen table in our house was the communication center.
 
This Christmas I got to head back home to Alberta, and remember why the kitchen table is so important. The one night we sat at it until two in the morning trying to solve the world’s problems. My family is probably not unique. I think many of us have had these same experiences. I am grateful that kitchen table was such a big part of my farm family’s life, I think I am better because of it. 

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