Category: Lifestyle

Christmas in the Country Gift Reveal

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and is excited for the new year ahead! It always brings a sense of renewal and possibilities. A new blog series Jessie introduced Wednesday is a Year’s Worth of Beef, which we’re excited to start sharing with you. We hope you keep checking back each week to read as she’s cooking her way through a freezer of beef.

Before we get too far into the year, I wanted to recap a fun gift exchange I participated in with citc15fellow bloggers and ag enthusiasts called Christmas in the Country. I was invited to join by a new friend I made when I attended a conference last spring, Laurie Link. She and her family raise crops and cattle in Missouri, and she blogs at CountryLinked. (I love her blog name!) #CITC is set up like a Secret Santa where the hosts (who did a ton of behind-the-scenes work to get this going) match people up, participants get to know their matches “secretly,” then send them a gift. This week we’re all “linking up” to share more about our gifts and the new friends we’ve made through the secret exchange.

We were gone during the holidays, so I was excited when we returned to find the cutest red and white package waiting for me! So excited, in fact, I totally forgot to take a photo! Anyway, Heather Maude of South Dakota had my name.

She is a fellow cattle rancher, freelance writer and photographer like me, so I love that we also share that connection. She also happens to be a relative of another ag communicator I’ve known since my college days. Such a small world! Heather blogs her photography and agriculture stories at Double H Photography.

I loved the thoughtful gifts she put together for me.

Christmas in the Country Gift Exchange

As we both share a love of livestock photography, I really appreciated the notecards and calendar with her photographs. I also needed a 2016 calendar so this is my favorite treat she included.

She learned I was a coffee drinker and the travel mug is great for taking a hot cup with me on-the-go!

Heather also included an angel cookie cutter because she thought it was cute, and I couldn’t agree more. My kids love baking and decorating sugar cookies, so this was a fun treat we can all enjoy.

The lip balm and ear warmer are much appreciated to combat the cold, dry air we experience during our Idaho winters.

Another gift was a Jesus Calling devotional. Great minds think alike as a dear friend of mine gave one to me for my birthday a few months ago. It really is a wonderful devotional and I’m going to be able to bless someone else by passing it on to them!

The last treat at the bottom of the box was a bag of Christmas M&M’s. One of my favorite IMG_1853__WEBcookie recipes are these M&M Cookies, so the chocolate candies were put to good use in a sweet treat we also shared with friends. You can find the recipe below.

Thank you Heather for these thoughtful gifts!

I had a lot of fun participating this year, as I put together a gift box for Jamie Rhoades at This Uncharted Rhoade. You can learn more about those on her blog. I’ll also have an upcoming post with more details about the projects I made for her!

I’m so glad I participated this year! It is a fun way to bring some Christmas cheer to someone, as well as learn more about others in our industry. You may want to think about joining in the fun next year! You can check out all the other participants at this LinkUp!

M&M Cookies
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups flour
2 cups oatmeal
1 package M&Ms (I use colors available for each of the holidays)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spoon flour into measuring cup then level off. Sift together with  other dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add peanut butter, eggs one at a time, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients until combined. Drop by spoonfuls onto baking sheet. (I like to use parchment paper or a silicon baking sheet.) Bake for 8-10 minutes.


Categories: Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen, Lifestyle

A Year’s Worth of Beef

Hello there, and Happy New Year! I hope the first few days of 2016 have treated you well!

One of my goals for the upcoming year is to really focus on getting better at the things I’m already good at. That probably sounds a bit silly, but sometimes I think we get lost in wanting to add new things to our lives, when we really should be working to perfect the skills we already have. I’m the kind of person who likes to be the best, so why not work on bettering the things I’m already pretty decent at?! For instance, although my husband continually tells me I’m a great cook, I know I have a lot of room for improvement—and I know exactly how I can channel my inner Ree Drummond.

At the tail end of last year, our ranch had two animals butchered, which we split three ways. The great part about butchering your own animal is having a freezer full of beef. The somewhat unfortunate part of that is the daunting feeling of “What am I going to do with all of this?” This isn’t a bad thing if you know how to cook it all; but that my friends, is where I fall short. While I know I’ve eaten every traditional cut of beef, I also know that cooking them all (on my own) is something I have not accomplished in my 25 years of life. Until now!

Isn't a freezer full of beef just heavenly?!

Isn’t a freezer full of beef just heavenly?!

In an effort to keep my cooking creative (and my husband’s stomach full), each week or so for the rest of the year I plan to write about my culinary experiences with a new cut of beef. Some cuts will be repeated over the course of the year, but each cut will be guaranteed to feature a different recipe. I also plan on enlisting your help every now and then—asking for your tips, tricks, and fabulous recipes!

Join me on my quest for 2016, as I take on beef—one cut at a time!


Categories: Beef, Idaho Cattlewomen, Lifestyle, Recipes

Women in Ag: County Extension Agent, Sarah Baker

Sarah Baker grew up on the East Fork of the Salmon River and is the 6th generation on her family’s cattle ranching operation. Sarah graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Agriculture Business from the College of Southern Idaho in 1999, a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Range Livestock Management from the University of Idaho (UI) in 2002, and a Master’s of Science degree in Meat Science from UI in 2004. Following graduation, Sarah worked for the Idaho Beef Council for more than 4 years as the Program Director, before moving back to her family’s ranch. She currently works for the University of Idaho Extension and serves as the “County Agent” in Custer County. 

How are you involved in agriculture and/or beef industry today? I am very fortunate that I am able to live on the ranch and work in agriculture. Between my job at the Extension Office and helping on the ranch in my spare time, I am immersed in the beef industry every single day!

With my job in Extension, I take research based information from the University and disseminate it to the public through a variety of ways. My job focuses primarily on beef production and range management, but because I am the only one in the office, I also provide leadership and programming in 4-H youth development, forage production, horticulture and community development. I get to do something different every day and most of it is outside of the office. Many days seem like mass chaos because in a single day I can go from answering questions about a diseased tree to identifying bugs and weeds, helping a 4-H member with their record book, running rations for a winter beef feeding program, determining how much hay to buy, making fertilizer recommendations for a producer’s alfalfa field based off of soil samples and end up helping a permittee monitor their range allotment. There is never a dull moment in the Extension Office.

When I’m not working, I’m busy helping on the ranch. When I start complaining about never getting any time off, I remember what my Gramps told me, “You can sleep when you’re dead.”

How has your life been shaped by agriculture and/or beef industry? My family has been in the ranching business for more than 100 years. My Grandpa’s great grandfather arrived on the East Fork in 1888 and today the Bakers are still going strong. A lot of things have changed since 1888, but I feel very fortunate that I was born into a family that has a strong work ethic and good business sense. They have endured a lot of blood, sweat and tears, but through all of the ups and downs, they have persevered. Today, thanks to them, the East Fork valley is one of the most pristine areas in the whole state. The vast open spaces, including the green, lush fields, abundant wildlife and rivers full of fish are evidence of six generations of Bakers. I truly live in God’s country. It is no wonder those greenies wanted to make this place into a National Monument!

Hunting and fishing are some of Sarah's favorite pastimes. Here, Sarah is steelhead fishing on the Salmon River, with her Grandpa.

Hunting and fishing are some of Sarah’s favorite pastimes. Here, Sarah is steelhead fishing on the Salmon River, with her Grandpa.

During college, I was fortunate to be able to serve on the first slate of “interns” for the Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show in Denver, Colo., in 2002. I was hooked after attending my first convention. I knew I had to return and become involved! The following year, I was selected again to help at convention, this time in Nashville, Tenn. Attending those two conventions, and learning about the policy-making process, and meeting NCBA staff and cattlemen from all over the country, really got me excited to get more involved. I was involved in my state association already, having served in leadership roles of the Student Idaho Cattle Association (SICA) while at college. I was selected to serve on the Board of Directors for the Idaho Cattle Association (ICA) in 2003, which was a huge honor for a “snot-nosed college student,” and a responsibility I took very seriously. I served on the Board for 4 years and on the Executive Committee for 2 years while I was Chairman of the Idaho CattleWomen Council. These experiences afforded me the opportunity to become involved, make my voice heard, and really learn about the benefits of belonging to state and national cattle organizations.

Being raised on the East Fork helped to shape me into a strong, independent and responsible person. I appreciate the value of a dollar and what it means to put in a hard day’s work. Being active in the Student ICA, as well as the ICA and NCBA, coupled with my education, enthusiasm and enormous passion for the beef industry, all have been a huge influence on who I am today.

Who inspires you or serves as a mentor? My Grandpa always inspired me. He was my partner in crime ever since I can remember. We always had a special bond and I was with him from a very young age all the way up to his passing on June 27, 2014. When I lost Gramps, he was 92 years old. It was an extremely tough time for me and my family losing him, although we know he lived a rich and full life. He was born on the East Fork, and he passed away on the East Fork. We spread his ashes on a mountain overlooking the ranch in the sage brush and pine trees. I can look up every day from my house and see his final resting place. It brings me peace to know that he is now watching over us as we continue on his ranching legacy. When I think of him, I can’t help but smile. His hard work ethic, his can-do attitude, his appreciation for a cold beer after a long hot day in the hayfield, his love of sweets and good horses, his contagious smile and laugh….those memories continue to inspire me every single day.

How do you provide encouragement to others? I manage the 4-H program in Custer County, which gives youth hands-on, real-world experience that they need to become leaders. When I think of how I can provide encouragement to others, I think about the 4-H slogan of “Learn by Doing.” I encourage people to learn by doing. Don’t just listen to what others say—in order to make informed decisions, you have to get out there and experience it and do it yourself. When the Wilderness Society started their push to make our backyard a National Monument, the first thing we did was invite them to come to our ranch. We invited them into our homes and gave them a firsthand view of what ranching, and managed public lands grazing, does for the environment. The reason there is abundant fish and wildlife on the East Fork is because of the good stewardship by ranchers on both private and public lands.

Sarah (6), her grandma, and grandpa (behind the camera), 1, moving cows and fixing water troughs on Pistol Creek Ridge

Sarah (6), her grandma, and grandpa (behind the camera), 1, moving cows and fixing water troughs on Pistol Creek Ridge.

If given the chance, what message about agriculture or the beef industry would you share with a large group of people? I would encourage people to think about where their food comes from before they spout off misinformation about farming and ranching. When people are uneducated and base decisions on emotion rather than facts, agriculture is in a world of hurt.  The people that are making decisions in this country need a healthy dose of reality about where their food comes from—and what it takes from ranchers and farmers to make it happen.

Custer County is comprised of 97 percent public lands, thus the use of public lands for grazing is essential to the survival of the ranches here. Simply put, there is not enough private pasture available to make it economically feasible to run a cow, unless you can utilize public lands grazing permits. Through the years, it has become increasingly difficult to run cows on public lands. What happens when it is no longer feasible to utilize public lands for grazing cattle? My dad always said, “When the cows go off the mountain, the ranchers go too.” I wonder if the greenies will enjoy the sub-divisions and development more than the vast open spaces that ranchers help sustain? I know the wildlife won’t like it as much.

So I guess my message would be to quit slapping the hand that feeds you! People should be helping ranchers and farmers sustain their livelihoods, instead of trying to run them out of business!

What are you most thankful for? I am most thankful for my family. They are the reason I took this job in Extension and moved home. When I have a rough day at work, or things get stressful, I always have my family to fall back on. We were blessed with the 7th generation of Bakers when my nephew Grant was born in August of 2004. He is the pride and joy of the Baker family and he always brings a smile to my face. I am also thankful that my family provided me with the opportunity to grow up on a ranch in the middle of God’s country. Every morning when I wake up and see Castle Peak out my living room window, I am thankful.

What is you favorite meal to cook yourself or for others? Beef of course! I love to cut meat and then grill it up on the BBQ. My favorite cut is the petite tender, but you can’t find them anywhere, unless you cut up your own beef. So I would have to say my other favorite is a ribeye steak. Pair that with some Cleto macaroni (an old family recipe), and a green salad from Mom’s garden, and man oh man. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.

Sarah, in 2012, with a bull elk she harvested opening day.

Sarah, in 2012, with a bull elk she harvested opening day.

What is your favorite childhood memory? Riding with my Grandpa. Whether we were moving cows, packing salt, hunting horns, or riding into a high mountain lake to go fishing, I spent a lot of time in the saddle trying to keep up my with my Gramps (I swear he trotted everywhere we went). I miss those days a lot, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

What are some of your favorite pastimes and/or hobbies? I love to team rope, even though with my job in Extension (lots of evening and weekend meetings), I don’t ever seem to have any time to go rope! I also really like to fish. There is nothing better than fishing for steelhead in the spring in the Salmon River, or ice fishing at Jimmy Smith Lake in the winter.

What are three little known facts about you? 1) We only get mail delivered twice a week on East Fork, so Tuesdays and Fridays are big days when the mail arrives! 2) We don’t have cell phone service on East Fork and I love it that way. 3) I love to cut meat. If anyone needs help cutting up an elk, deer or a beef, call me!

We encourage you to keep up with Sarah, by following her on Facebook and Twitter!

Categories: Beef, Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen, Lifestyle, Ranch Life

Women in Ag: Idaho Cattle Association President, Laurie Lickley

Laurie Lickley is a native of Salmon, Idaho, and a tried-and-true University of Idaho Vandal, graduating in 1990. She and her husband, Bill, along with their two children (Valene and Cole) currently reside on the family’s century farm and ranch in Jerome. Aside from the daily ranching and farming operations in Idaho and Nevada, Laurie has served Idaho’s beef industry from the local to national level in various leadership positions for the Idaho Beef Council, Idaho Cattle Association, and the National Cattlemen Beef Association. In 2004, Laurie was awarded Idaho CattleWoman of the Year. In her spare time, Laurie volunteers with Jerome Rotary, and with Beef Counts, a partnership between Idaho’s Beef Industry and The Idaho Foodbank.

We would also like to mention that today is Laurie’s first day serving as the President of the Idaho Cattle Association! Having a Cattlewomen at the helm of such a prestigious organization is an honor for us all, and we can’t wait to see what great things she will accomplish in the upcoming year!

How are you involved in agriculture today? Our family farms and ranches in both Idaho and Nevada. I’m a big believer in being involved in the groups that keep our industry going; groups like ICA, the Beef Council, and NCBA.

How has your life been shaped by agriculture? I subscribe to the theory that everyone must have food, shelter and clothing. Agriculture and the natural resource industry provide those, and we are rewarded that our generational families provide us with that ability to continue making a difference every day in everyone’s life—both domestically and abroad. We all have to eat, and quite frankly, the number one source of protein is beef. It provides more bang-for-your-buck than any other protein source on the market.

Photo Credit: Carol Ryan Dumas

Photo Credit: Carol Ryan Dumas

Who inspires you or serves as a mentor? I have been fortunate to have had many mentors along my industry leadership path. First and foremost, I owe a debt of gratitude to Joe Tugaw for his mentoring in my early years. He and Gene Davis, Dave Nelson, and others whom I’ll reserve credit (still living) helped shape my leadership style. I miss them dearly. I am wholly inspired by Justice Sandra Day O’Conner who was raised on a ranch on the Arizona/Nevada border and was the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court by President Reagan. Her book Lazy B, with whom she penned with her brother Alan Day, actually portrays many of our lives today. Justice O’Connor’s approach to process and practicality motivate me.

How do you provide encouragement to others? Identifying the next generation of industry leaders is important to all organizations and especially to me. Oftentimes, we get so caught up in playing defense that we forget offense may be more important in winning the battle. We’ve got to engage the offense!

My mantra is write it down, make it happen. We set life, professional and business goals 25 years ago when we got married. My children, each year, write down their annual five, 10 and 20-year goals. Where do you want to be and how do you want to get there? Let’s make it happen; I’ll help.

If given the chance, what message about agriculture or the beef industry would you share with a large group of people? When my alarm rings at 5:30 a.m. every morning and that first cup of coffee awaits, I know the job that I have ahead of me that day and every day is a job I love. See #2.

Three generations of Lickleys, in front of their barn, which was relocated and preserved at the IFARM Museum.

Three generations of Lickleys horseback in front of their barn, which was relocated and preserved at the IFARM Museum.

What are you most thankful for? I am very blessed to have an amazing healthy family. My father-in-law is the best; we have good, sane, well-rounded children, and with an empty nest Bill and I still enjoy each other’s company (or he says he does, ha!). I am simply blessed.

What is your favorite meal to cook yourself or for others?  I am a big ribeye steak girl, medium rare on the Traeger! Prior to last month, my best steak may have been a typical Prime steak from the freezer; however, I recently had an Akaushi steak, which created an “umami” overload. I still have two steaks in the freezer….add a beautiful bottle of red wine and a veggie salad, and I’m in heaven. My family loves a good steak, although they say my meatloaf is pretty tasty too!

What’s the first thing you do when you get to the grocery store? Perimeter, perimeter, perimeter and meat case! I really like WinCo and usually check out the meat case for interesting conversation and selection (when excess beef is needed I do shop Costco), etc. FYI, they just changed up their meat case; maybe they were inspired by all the millennial consumers buying beef these days.

What are a few of your guilty pleasures? Beef—No guilt here, though—it’s delicious and nutritious, coffee, red wine, a good book, and exercise. I’m pretty easy to please!

What are three little known facts about you? 1) My grandfather rowed for Columbia University in the mid 1930s, just before the 1936 University of Washington team won the Olympics in Germany (you must read “The Boys in the Boat”). After practicing medicine in Republic, Wash., he was elected Spokane County Coroner.  2) My mother played half-court basketball at Washington State. 3) My father had an Outfitting and Guide Business in Salmon in the late 1960s and 70s with a former Fish and Game Director.

Follow Laurie along in life on Facebook and Twitter!

Categories: Beef, Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen, Lifestyle, Ranch Life

Women in Ag: Livestock Marketing Communicator, Kim Holt

Kim Holt grew up on an eastern Washington farm where her family raised wheat and Hereford cattle. After graduating from Washington State University in agricultural communications, she moved to Kansas City. There she worked for the former American Polled Hereford Association for nearly six years then a veterinary publishing group for four years. Kim and her husband, Scott, met because of cattle, and were married while working in Kansas. In 2000, Scott took a position with Allflex USA, which brought them back to Idaho. Kim and Scott have two kids, Emilee and Ben.

How are you involved in agriculture and/or beef industry today? In Idaho, I established a home-based writing business that focused around the beef industry. I did this for 16 years; it has been a great way to stay involved with work while raising our family. My writing has also been a great background for my current job with MWI Animal Health, where I work in livestock marketing communications. I am a big proponent of youth and livestock projects, including Emilee and Ben’s Hereford herd that has been 11 years in the making. I volunteer with 4-H, our state’s junior and senior Hereford associations, and our family enjoys its time helping promote beef with the Idaho Beef Council. Ben also started a Boer goat herd, and I enjoy that aspect of ag too.

How has your life been shaped by agriculture and/or beef industry? I was born into agriculture, the third generation on both sides of our family. Growing up on a farm, that was our life and Herefords were always a part of it, being a great love of my dad’s. The love of cattle and livestock production, along with the knowledge of being a contributor to food production, is a passion of mine and our family’s.

In 2013, the Holt's gained a purple banner from the Western Nugget National Junior Hereford Show.

In 2013, the Holts gained a purple banner from the Western Nugget National Junior Hereford Show.

Who inspires you or serves as a mentor? My husband Scott. He rises early, always works hard and is determined to make a difference. I am also inspired by the faith held by both of my grandmothers.

How do you provide encouragement to others? I try to look at the bright side—the glass is half full, not half empty. And prayer is powerful.

If given the chance, what message about agriculture or the beef industry would you share with a large group of people? People who produce food for a living do so with great passion, caring about their land, animals and the safety of the food products they produce. Our family is no different with the livestock we raise.

“Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.” – Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, philosopher

What are you most thankful for? My faith, family, friends, freedom, health, the spirit of community and that we have a warm place to call home. Our family is very lucky to have some of the best friends ever. And I’m also really thankful that we’ve been able to raise Em and Ben up as ag kids, appreciative of the circle of life, self-sufficiency, hard work and integrity.

What is your favorite meal to cook yourself or for others? Hereford ribeye steak with 5-Star spinach salad, buttery baby red potatoes, French bread with in-season raspberries over Tillamook French vanilla ice cream and warm, from-scratch brownies.

What is your favorite childhood memory? Being raised on a farm there are many, but one of my favorite is taking bulls with my dad to the Lewiston Hereford Week Bull Sale each year. Also going with my dad in the cattle truck—yes, that had cattle racks—to move cattle to and from Connell. Each time, on the way home, we’d stop for Pepsi and Cheetos.

For the Holt's, showing livestock is a family affair.

For the Holts, showing livestock is a family affair.

Favorite place to visit? Lake Louise and the Canadian Rockies

What are three little known facts about you? 1) I’m from eastern Washington. 2) I worked on an Australian feedlot for seven months. 3) I’m a lover of tadpoles (a favorite childhood memory with my two sisters).

Categories: Beef, Blogging, Cattle, Lifestyle, Ranch Life