Tag: agriculture

Giving Tuesday

Your inbox and mailbox may have already been flooded with coupons for great deals and shopping on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday or Cyber Monday, but today we wanted to highlight #GivingTuesday, a one-day global event for charitable giving. After all this is the season of giving and we just celebrated giving thanks for all our many blessings.

The beef community came together in 2010 to create a rancher-led initiative to provide a more consistent supply of protein to those in need through The Idaho Foodbank. Partners include the Idaho Cattle Association, Idaho CattleWomen Council, Agri Beef Co., and the Idaho Beef Council. Through the program, ranchers can donate an animal to be auctioned off at participating auction yards around the state and the proceeds are used to purchase ground beef or roasts for the Foodbank. In addition, anyone can make a cash donation to the program, which will be used to purchase beef. Agri Beef Co., matches every donation, so every dollar donated goes farther. Since it started, Beef Counts has distributed more than 650,000 servings of beef—a complete, nutrient-dense source of protein, iron, zinc and B vitamins.

To learn more about the program, visit Beef Counts or The Idaho Foodbank.

You can Donate securely online today. Please indicate you want your donation to go to Beef Counts in the comment section of the online donation form.

You can also fill out and mail in this form. Click image to link to printable pdf.

Categories: Beef, Idaho Cattlewomen

Women in Ag: Rancher and Everyday Agvocate, Linda Rider

Linda Rider and her husband, Robert, live on a ranch 10 miles east of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and have been married 42 years. They have three grown daughters, two graduated from the University of Idaho with degrees in Ag Science and one graduated from Boise State University, and they are married. The oldest, Sharla, lives in the area and is the 4-H Program Coordinator for Kootenai County. She has a son, Jay who is 13 years old. Middle daughter, Cece, lives on the ranch with her two little boys and firefighter husband. She is often her Dad’s helper while Linda enjoys “Grandma duties.” Their youngest daughter, Cassy, lives in Boise and is a graphic designer. Linda is serving as a board member of the Idaho Cattle Association, representing North Idaho.

Linda shares her love of ag and her ranching lifestyle with visitors to her ranch.

Linda shares her love of ag and her ranching lifestyle with visitors to her ranch.

How are you involved in agriculture and/or beef industry today? My husband operates the family ranch where we run a small herd of Red Angus cattle, manage the timber grounds, and put up some grass hay. In 1986, we also started a trail ride business, taking tourists and others on horseback rides through our “horse pasture” and sharing our lifestyle with them for a brief time. This business has grown during the years to include multiple activities such as rides during the day, evening dinner rides, children’s birthday parties, activities for young and/or multiple generational families, interactive farm tours for children, bus tours, family reunions and weddings. The best part of the business is getting to visit with the folks while they are here. Helping them enjoy themselves and taking the opportunities to share about agriculture and the food and products that farmers and ranchers produce. Hopefully they take away an agriculture knowledge base that they will use when they read/hear about issues and perhaps filter out some of the biased flavorings against agriculture and users of the natural resources. “Agritourism” is now a buzzword within our industry, but it is what we have been doing for 30 years.

How has your life been shaped by agriculture and/or beef industry? I grew up in the area close to where I still live. As I grew up we had many folks with 40-80 acre type farms who ran small herds of cattle as part of their livelihoods. My father was the local cow trader who visited up and down the area, buying a cow or two here, perhaps trading it to someone else up the valley, putting it into our herd or taking it to the sale yard. I was an only child and my Dad’s boy, so I traveled a lot with him, chased cows, sorted cows, hayed, etc., from the time I was very small. I married Rob, who’s family lived about 15 miles away, and had land and some cattle as well. Soon afterwards Rob and I began running a combined herd of his family’s cattle and some out of my Dad’s herd. We still run on his family’s place and an adjoining Forest Service allotment. We have raised three daughters who are good “hands.”   When I help chase cows now, I usually have “Grandma” duties and help our grandkids participate.

Who inspires you or serves as a mentor? Those folks that I know who are willing to give

Winter trail rides through timber and pasture for ranch guests.

Winter trail rides through timber and pasture for ranch guests.

time and energy to serve on boards, committees and/or speak up for agriculture.

How do you provide encouragement to others?
I’d like to think that by setting a good example others will follow.

If given the chance, what message about agriculture or the beef industry would you share with a large group of people? I would like to tell them that ranchers produce a quality, healthy food product while being good stewards of the natural resources. I would like them to put the romantic image of the cowboy to the side and understand that we are family businesses run by educated people who use computers, science and common sense as tools to meet each day’s challenges. We deal with lots of rules and regulations, often established by non-ag interests, and are challenged by the weather, but keep on going. I would want people to see we are real and sincere, and provide a valuable service to our land and country.

What are you most thankful for? Freedom. The freedom to pick a lifestyle and occupation that enables us to work as a family unit and work on our own timeline. To live a lifestyle where we can enjoy a grand view of nature every day, whether it is from our kitchen window or the back of a horse. While some days are hard, sad or miserable, they are balanced by the richness of an eagle soaring, elk on the hillside or baby calves playing in the meadow and sharing it with the next generations.

What is you favorite meal to cook yourself or for others? It is always hard to beat a good steak, baked potato, homemade bread, salad and a Dutch oven dessert—a meal we cook for our many dinner ride guests all summer long. As a standby I often cook a “5-hour Beef Stew” that was an Idaho Beef cook-off recipe from the 1980s.

A beautiful view from this North Idaho cattle ranch.

A beautiful view from this North Idaho cattle ranch.

What is the first thing you do when you walk into a grocery store? Marvel at all the junk that people are willing to buy instead of buying basic, healthy ingredients and actually cooking.

What is your favorite childhood memory? All the time I got to spend with my Dad chasing cows, riding in the truck hauling cows, and just being his helper. He always saw the good side of people and the bright side of a bad situation.

Favorite store to shop in? My checkbook book would say that most of my “shopping” is done at Costco and the locally owned Super 1 grocery store. Otherwise I like to shop at thrift stores to look for “treasures.”

You can contact Linda at info@riderranch.com!

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

Women in Ag: Rural-Loving Ranch Wife, Tay Brackett

Today’s Women in Ag feature, Tay Brackett, is a born and raised southern Idahoan! After graduating from the University of Idaho, Tay became somewhat of a Jack of All Trades—working as a firefighter, veterinary assistant, horse trainer, horse trader, and at one point, even sold insurance. Tay and her husband, Jared, recently welcomed their first child, Tap, earlier this year.

How are you involved in agriculture and/or beef industry today? I help out on my husband’s ranch, wherever I’m needed. I spend most of my time moving cows from one allotment to the next, administering vaccines at branding, or sorting yearlings, which happens to be my favorite.

How has your life been shaped by agriculture and/or beef industry? I have always loved animals! Like most girls, I was horse crazy as soon as I could say the word. When my sister and I were growing up, our aunt had cows; so that gave us the chance to ride, rope, swim horses across the Snake River, and even feed cows with a team of Belgians in the winter. All of that gave me a different perspective than other kids my age. I was always one to measure my success on how well I could move cows or train my horse, not by having the coolest clothes or the shiniest gadget. It gave me an independent spirit—I’m still never someone who is satisfied with the status quo or by staying indoors!

Who inspires you or serves as a mentor? I know it sounds corny, but my husband is my biggest mentor. He has worked cows his entire life, but continues to look for ways to accomplish a safer, more efficient, and less stressful way to manage cattle. He volunteers his time and resources to cattle industry supporters like the Idaho Cattle Association and Cattlemen’s Beef Board, organizations that shape the policies that will impact the future of how my family, and my son’s family, will continue to grow food for this nation.

How do you provide encouragement to others? Encouraging by example! When you’re happy, others will ask where that joy comes from! I also love making people feel better by making fun of or laughing at myself. And nothing can cheer up someone’s day like bringing them out to the ranch during branding season

Tay's husband, Jared, is a graduate of Texas A&M University, so the couple try to make it back as often as possible to catch a football game. Go Aggies!

Tay’s husband, Jared, is a graduate of Texas A&M University, so the couple try to make it back as often as possible to catch a football game. Go Aggies!

If given the chance, what message about agriculture or the beef industry would you share with a large group of people? I would want to remind people that agriculturalists were the first conservationists! We utilize a renewable resource, that would otherwise be wasted, to efficiently make thousands of products that are used by millions of people! If that isn’t good for the world, then I don’t know what is!

What are you most thankful for? I love that we get to live 40 miles from town, and are surrounded by cows and God’s Country! I see beautiful sunsets, harvest moons and countless bird’s right outside by front door. I’m thankful for getting to raise my son next door to his Nana, and that I get the chance to spend every day with my husband, doing what we both love.

What is your favorite meal to cook yourself or for others? Take-Out! Whenever we get the chance we usually grab pizza or good Thai food.

What is the first thing you do when you walk into a grocery store? Look for the exit.

What is your favorite childhood memory? Riding horses with my sister.

What are your guilty pleasures in life? Buying dog beds and eating Swiss rolls.

This gorgeous girl loves the fact that she and her husband live over 40 minutes from town!

This gorgeous girl loves the fact that she and her husband live over 40 minutes from town!

Favorite store to shop in? Brass Monkey! It’s downtown Twin Falls.

Favorite place to visit? McCall! I love the mountains and the smell of the forest.

What are three little known facts about you? 1) My nick name growing up was Tater Tot. 2) My first horse was named Nevada. 3) I flunked my 9th grade Astrology class, thinking I would never use it. Now, I look at the stars and wonder what their names are.

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

Women in Ag: Ag Communications Professional, Maggie Malson

Maggie Malson grew up a Kansas farmer’s daughter, but after meeting her husband, Josh, at Kansas State University, the couple returned to his home in Idaho and she easily found herself loving the Gem State. The couple raises Angus and Hereford cattle and their four children on his family’s southwest Idaho ranch. Maggie has been an ag communications professional for the past 14 years. When not writing stories or photographing clients, watching kid activities, or helping with the cattle, Maggie enjoys getting creative in the kitchen. She also volunteers her time as a 4-H club leader, a contributor to the Idaho CattleWomen blog and is involved with Beef Counts.

How are you involved in agriculture and/or beef industry today? My husband and I live and work on his family’s registered cattle ranch. While I don’t work outside with cattle every day, I am always on call to help as needed—whether moving cows, making a run to the vet clinic, or in the case this fall when I awoke to cows in our yard, helping get them back in and fixing the fence. With my communications experience, I manage our website, and help with the marketing and advertising of our purebred cattle. Our children are active in junior beef association activities and 4-H, showing cattle and sheep. We also have a couple feeder pigs each year. Professionally, I spent 13 years publishing the magazine for the Idaho Cattle Association, but recently stepped away from it to be more available to my family. After graduating from college, I started my communications business to provide writing, photography and design services, mainly to agriculture publications and clients, which I continue to do today.

MAHbullsale2013DSC_0111_web

Checking out the bulls during the family’s annual bull sale. Maggie and Josh are thankful to raise their children in the cattle business.

How has your life been shaped by agriculture and/or the beef industry? My love of agriculture is a part of who I am. I was raised in a small farming community in Kansas where my dad and granddad were farmers. I remember helping my dad change water, which for us was big gated pipe. Moving cows was also a favorite family activity. I was a 10-year 4-H member, and that program, along with my parents, helped teach me responsibility, hard work, dedication, goal-setting and leadership skills. I had many interests in high school including art, photography and writing, but my love for agriculture, horses and cattle led me to pursue a degree in animal science. During my sophomore year I attended my first Ag Media Summit, where I met writers and editors of publications I had grown up seeing my dad read. I realized telling the story of agriculture was my life’s passion. I added ag communications as a second major. I was fortunate to have college internships to gain experience in both the horse and beef industries, and being on the KSU horse judging team also gave me opportunities for travel and meeting people through agriculture—many of them are still close friends today.

Who inspires you or serves as a mentor? Certainly both of my parents and my grandparents have been great mentors for me. I look up to them for their faith, hard work, and kindness to others. They offered so much love and support to me through the years. My 4-H leader and county agent, Frank Swan, was also an influential force in my formative years and gave me many opportunities for growth and learning. In my communications career, I have numerous colleagues I admire and look up to. In the last 13 years, the cattlewomen and men of Idaho have provided daily inspiration for their dedication to raising beef and feeding people. There have been a few in particular who have been especially encouraging to me and are great leaders in our industry. I always appreciate opportunities to “pick their brains,” and gain insight from their experiences when we spend time together.

How do you provide encouragement to others? In my role as a wife and mom, I find lots of opportunities to encourage my family. Josh and I enjoy working together, albeit not always easy, but working alongside your spouse doing something you both love is a great way to spend the days. And I admire him so much for his love of cattle and doing the best job he can. I also love to laugh, so if I can infuse a little humor into a situation I will try because laughter really is great medicine. With our kids, I want to find the right balance of letting them learn from life experiences, but loving and guiding them along the way. I am a firm believer that everyone has something to contribute in life. I want to empower and encourage women to realize their worth and to be proud of the role they play—whether it’s at home or working outside the home. There is enough negativity in the world that we need to build each other up and not shame each other for parenting, food or other choices. In this day and age of modern technology and instant messages, I still find power in a face to face conversation and the handwritten note, so I try to visit in person or send cards and letters to others when I can.

If given the chance, what message about agriculture or the beef industry would you share with a large group of people? We tend to fear what we don’t know, so I would encourage the general public to get to know farmers and ranchers, learn more about what we do to care for land and animals, and to trust we are doing our very best. Agriculture impacts all of us, and a thriving agriculture industry and rural economies are the backbone of our country. Agriculture should still be considered a noble profession. It’s simple; we have to eat, have clothing and shelter. I want the rest of the population to know that farmers and ranchers care more about the land and animals than anyone in Washington, D.C., who is making policy without first-hand knowledge of how small or large farms and ranches are run. Food choice is important, and all production systems are needed. Science and technology are valuable tools that producers use to help be more efficient and sustainable.

PCF2015-6825web

Maggie has fond memories of showing horses and cattle at her county fair. Now she gets to watch her own kids show animals and learn valuable life lessons through 4-H.

What are you most thankful for? My faith, freedom, family, friends and health! I am thankful for agriculture and the people who have positively influenced my life. Life isn’t always easy and we all have our own share of trials and challenges, but my grandma’s advice was that you could always find someone else worse off than you. She had a positive, grateful attitude and didn’t complain. Even in the midst of an uncomfortable circumstance or challenge, I can always find something to be thankful for! If I ever start to think of what I don’t have, it’s my internal cue to look around and see how I can help or bless someone else. Reaching out to others in their time of need always puts my blessings in perspective.

What is you favorite meal to cook yourself or for others? I really love a good steak and roasted broccoli. I could probably eat that every day! One of my family’s favorites I make is a Steak Alfredo Pasta. I cut the steak into bite-size pieces, season, then brown them. I make a homemade sauce, starting with a roux of butter and flour, adding milk and cooking until it thickens. I season with garlic salt, pepper, Italian spices and Parmesan cheese. I add diced fresh tomatoes, red onion and bell peppers if I have them around. (I change it up a little each time.) I mix the steak back in after the sauce is finished and serve over fetticine noodles.

What are your guilty pleasures in life? I don’t have much time to watch TV, but I have three shows I DVR—Madam Secretary, Castle and The Mysteries of Laura. I love the strong, female lead characters, and each show has some drama, along with laughter too—a great combination.

What are some of your favorite pastimes and/or hobbies? I love to read and usually have several books on my nightstand. I enjoy art, DIY projects and scrapbooking, although I haven’t had as much time to do this as I used to. I really enjoy watching my kids show their animals or participate in sports.

Favorite place to visit? Kansas (or anywhere my family is) and McCall, Idaho, where we have a family cabin. Because Josh and I both work from home, getting away from the ranch doesn’t happen often, but being up in the mountains and on the lake gives us both time to relax, enjoy downtime with our kids, and take in the beautiful scenery.

little girl showing horse

Maggie and her first horse, Dandy, who taught her about perseverance and hard work.

What are three little known facts about you? 1) I won my first horse in an essay contest when I was 8 years old. She was only a yearling and I had no experience; I was just a horse-crazy girl. I learned so much about perseverance and not giving up from that horse. We had to learn everything by trial and error, but by the time I was finished showing her, I had reached all my goals. 2) I took an Introvert/Extrovert test once and my answers were evenly divided down the middle. I enjoy being around people, but also crave alone time. 3) I play the piano. I grew up taking lessons and playing in church. I don’t play nearly as often I would like to, but sometimes when I’m stressed, I’ll sit down and play through a hymn or Christmas song.

Keep up with Maggie on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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

Women in Ag: Trade Specialist, Leah Clark

Leah Clark is a Trade Specialist for the Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA), and is also the Manager of the Idaho Preferred® Program. She has been with ISDA since 2004. Leah serves on the Idaho Agriculture in the Classroom Advisory Board and the Leadership Idaho Agriculture Board of Trustees. Prior to joining the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, Leah served as the Executive Director of the Idaho Beef Council for 15 years. Leah has two daughters, Alyssa and Lauren.

How are you involved in agriculture and/or the beef industry today? I currently manage the Idaho Preferred program at the Idaho State Department of Agriculture. Idaho Preferred® is a program to identify and promote Idaho food and agriculture products in Idaho. I also manage my daughter’s small registered Angus herd while she is away attending Oklahoma State University.

IdahoPreferredProgram

Leah promotes food grown and produced in Idaho through the Idaho Preferred® program.

How has your life been shaped by agriculture? My entire career has been devoted to agriculture. My first job at age 13 was cooking for wheat harvest crew before being promoted to truck and then combine driver. I was the first female to serve as president of my FFA chapter and I went on to get a Bachelors and a Master’s Degree in Agriculture. My first professional career was as an Extension 4-H Agent in a rural county in Arizona. After completing my Master’s Degree at Oklahoma State University, I was hired by the Idaho Beef Council as Executive Director where I served for 15 years before moving to the Idaho State Department of Agriculture to manage the Idaho Preferred® program. The highlight of my career was receiving the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Agriculture for Marketing Innovation in 2012.

Who inspires you or serves as a mentor? Inez Jaca, a cattle producer from Reynolds Creek has always inspired me. Her commitment to the beef industry is unparalleled.

How do you provide encouragement to others? Currently several young women work within the Marketing Division of the Idaho State Department of Agriculture. I encourage them by listening to their ideas and concerns, and providing a sounding board when they are frustrated. I provide suggestions when asked and applaud their efforts with positive verbal recognition directly to them and to their supervisor.

Anguscows

Leah and daughter, Lauren, share a love of Angus cattle. Lauren’s herd grazes on the family’s front pasture.

If given the chance, what message about agriculture or the beef industry would you share with a large group of people? Farmers and ranchers are committed to providing safe and affordable food—not only for Americans but for consumers around the world. U.S. consumers must realize that American farmers are crucial to feeding the world and we need to make sure that they (farmers) are able to use all of the current and future technologies available to feed a fast growing world population.

What are you most thankful for? My two daughters, who were very patient with my full time work schedule and frequent travel, and who have grown up to be very successful young women in their chosen fields.

What is your favorite meal to cook yourself or for others?My favorite meal to prepare for myself is a Caprese Salad featuring fresh tomatoes and basil from my garden and fresh Idaho mozzarella. For guests I love preparing the perfect prime rib at the holidays.

What are your guilty pleasures in life? Wine and dark chocolate

What are some of your favorite pastimes and/or hobbies? Hobbies include gardening, reading, pie baking and skiing (both water and snow).

Favorite place to visit? Wherever my girls reside—currently Seattle and Stillwater, Okla.

Find out more at Idaho Preferred!

Categories: Beef, Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen