Posts Tagged With: agvocate

Ag Leaders take on Washington D.C.!

And we’re back!  The trip to D.C. was amazing, exhausting, educational, memorable… and germ-y.  My plane touched down a week ago, but I’m just now recovering from all of it!

ALOT Trip to Washington D.C.

Me standing at the Lincoln Memorial looking over the mall.

I’ve got a million photos (okay, 324) of our trip, but I’ll try to just share the highlights.  There were only two or three each day. 😉

ALOT Trip to Washington D.C.

We started with a night tour of the Monuments; Jefferson Memorial

ALOT Trip to Washington D.C.

FDR Memorial- this is actually one of my favorite memorials because of all the quotes.

ALOT Trip to Washington D.C.

World War II Memorial, which was also beautiful but hard to photograph as most of the lights were out.

ALOT Trip to Washington D.C.

The Korean Memorial which reflects your image in the etching of the faces of the soldiers.

ALOT Trip to Washington D.C.

ALOT Trip to Washington D.C.

And the Lincoln Memorial.   Our tour guide said one of the “myths” is that Lincoln is using American Sign Language to finger spell his initials because Lincoln signed the charter for the deaf college, Gallaudet.  This annoyed me to no end because that would be some of the worst signing ever, and the letters would be backwards, and just no.  It’s not.

But moving on…

ALOT Trip to Washington D.C.

It wasn’t all play and no work!  This is us meeting with a staffer in the House Committee on Agriculture.  We met with our state reps and their staff, and spent time with one of our Senators.

We also met Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society of the United States.  If you don’t know about their scams, check out  (Hint, they aren’t taking care of puppies.)  Wayne was a little late to our meeting because he was busy lying to Congress, but let me tell you, the guy could sell snow to an Eskimo.  It was an enlightening experience!

The guy on the far right is Congressman Jason Smith.  He took us on a night tour of the capitol (as in we finished a little before midnight!).  We couldn’t take our cameras in, but we got to go onto the Senate floor and see the signature in the desk of former President Harry Truman.

ALOT trip to Washington D.C.

We also saw Mount Vernon, and thanks to a favor from an ALOT alum we got to visit Washington’s Gristmill and Distillery during the off season.

ALOT trip to Washington D.C.

Usually we learn about Washington the General or President, but he referred to himself as a farmer, and he was a good one.  He used every resource he had, sold every by-product made, and had a farm bigger than most in the US today- 8,000 acres.  For comparison Marshall Farms rents, owns, and sharecrops a little more than half that amount and it supports two families.

ALOT trip to Washington D.C.

This is the round barn Washington invented to thresh wheat.

ALOT trip to Washington D.C.

ALOT trip to Washington D.C.

ALOT trip to Washington D.C.

And the cleanest manure compost I’ve ever seen.

ALOT trip to Washington D.C.

The trip ended with dinner in a tavern frequented by Washington and other founding fathers.

As fun as it was, I’m glad to be back– missed ya’ll! 😉

Categories: Agvocacy | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

I’m a Farmer and I’m Voting Yes on Amendment 1 Part 2

Follow the Butterflies.  Um, no, that’s not it.  Follow the… paper trail?  I’ve got it!  Follow the money!  If you really want to know what’s going on, follow the money.

In my last post I told you why I’m voting Yes for Missouri Constitutional Amendment 1.  And before I continue I should probably tell you where the money comes from on the “Yes” side.  Here ya go:

Missouri Farmers Care, Missouri Soybeans, Missouri Corn Growers, Missouri Farm Bureau, MFA Incorporated, Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, Missouri Pork Association,  Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Columbia Chamber of Commerce, FCS Financial, Missouri Grocers Association, Missouri Veterinary Medical Association, Missouri Dairy Association, MFA Oil, Missouri Egg Council, Missouri Equine Council, HUNTE, Missouri Family Network, MoFed, Missouri Sheep Producers, Southwestern Association, United Producers Inc., Missouri Electric Cooperation, Missouri Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association, Mo Ag, The Poultry Federation, American Soybean Association, St.Louis Agribusiness Club, Missouri Levee and Drainage District Association, Missouri Association of Meat Producers, United All Breed Registry  

Plus a whole host of private individuals I will not be typing out.

Family Farmers are voting Yes on Missouri Constitutional Amendment 1

The Gerkes own a vineyard and winery and they will be voting Yes on Amendment 1!

Want to know who is supporting the “No” side?  I like this graphic.

Vote Yes on Missouri Constitutional Amendment 1

But HSUS? Aren’t they the Human Society of the United States?  Don’t they help puppies or something?

According to their own financial report HSUS took in $169,900,291 in 2013.  Again, according to their own report they helped118,328 animals.  Sound odd yet?

Family Farmers are voting Yes on Missouri Constitutional Amendment 1

This Future Farmer of America will be voting Yes (or at least her parents will!).

Almost 6 million went to “management and general,” and 25 million went to more fundraising.  Just under 55 million went to advocacy and public policy!  That’s one third of their budget, in case you forgot your calculator.  And what are they advocating for?

The end of puppy mills, they say.  The end of factory farming.

But if you follow the work they’ve done you’ll see it’s much more than that.  They want to be rid of farming all together.

Don’t believe me?  Then take it from the horse’s mouth.  In a speech in 2006 the vice president of farm animal issues said “We don’t want any of these animals to be raised and killed… unfortunately we don’t have the luxury of waiting until we have the opportunity to get rid of the entire [animal agriculture] industry.”

The director of Animal Cruelty Policy (that thing they spend 55 million a year on) once said “My goal is the abolition of animal agriculture.”

HSUS isn’t a human society that takes care of abandoned kittens.  Last year they sent about 1 million dollars to local animal shelters.  Out of nearly 170 million.  They are a lobbying organization with millions to spend– against farmers.

So that’s where the money leads you.  And maybe, if you thought the wording was too open ended or the proposed amendment was too extreme, maybe you’ll understand where we as family farmers are coming from.

Maybe you’ll support us.

Family Farmers are voting Yes on Missouri Constitutional Amendment 1

The Kelleys raise cattle on their family farm. They are voting Yes!

Family Farmers are voting Yes on Missouri Constitutional Amendment 1

The Hursts are a muli-generational farm family whose grandkids love helping in the greenhouses. They are all voting Yes!

Family Farmers are voting Yes on Missouri Constitutional Amendment 1

Help make sure this little guy can come back to 8 Story Farms someday, join his family in voting Yes!

Family Farmers are voting Yes on Missouri Constitutional Amendment 1

The Gregorys are voting Yes on August 5th as well!

Family Farmers are voting Yes on Missouri Constitutional Amendment 1

This little guy is already planning to come back to the Whitt family farm, so his parents will be voting Yes!


Categories: Animals | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

I’m a Farmer and I’m voting Yes on Amendment 1

I stand to benefit from Missouri’s constitutional amendment 1.  I know that.  What you might not know is that you will benefit too.

I just finished reading dozens of articles saying that we don’t need excess legislation, farmers are fine, agriculture shouldn’t be afforded special rights, and by the way, if you farm with your brother or father and have an LLC you’re probably a bad guy anyway.

My favorite so far was a comment on Facebook by a lady telling me I should take some time and learn how food in our state is produced.

My farm family is voting Yes on Missouri's Constitutional Amendment 1

My farm family is voting Yes on Missouri’s Constitutional Amendment 1


But in all seriousness, why has agriculture suddenly lit up your Facebook feed?

The ballot amendment itself is short and sweet.  It reads: Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure that the right of Missouri citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices shall not be infringed?

So what are people worked up about?

This farm family is voting Yes on Missouri's Constitutional Amendment 1

This is the Chinn family, hog farmers in Missouri who will be voting Yes!

Well, some say its about Chinese ownership of farms in Missouri.  I think many of us would prefer Missouri businesses to stay in the hands of Missourians, but unfortunately this is an entirely separate ballot issue.  But the Chinese are already here and in this regard, Right to Farm will change nothing that isn’t already happening.  Make no mistake.  This really isn’t about China.

This farm family is voting Yes on Missouri's Constitutional Amendment 1

The Brays farm row crops and cattle in Missouri. They are voting Yes!

Others are really concerned about “big ag.”  Huge corporations who care nothing about the environment could run amuck with this free license to earn a profit however they like.  So consider this.  Ever since the Civil War federal law has superseded state law.  Farmers, organic and conventional, small and large, moral and unethical, still abide by The Clean Air and Water Acts.  Plus the actual constitutional language states that farmers and ranchers are “subject to duly authorized powers.”  It’s not about the environment.

My farm family is voting Yes on Missouri's Constitutional Amendment 1

This girl’s family knows the importance of ag. The Browns will be voting Yes!

On the other hand many are worried about the “little guy.”  They say this will do nothing to protect the small farmer.  On the contrary.  The language was specifically chosen so that anyone earning more than $1000 annually is covered.  That’s a pretty small “little guy.”

My farm family is voting Yes on Missouri's Constitutional Amendment 1

The Cope family is voting yes! They are ranchers in MO.

And then there is the issue of being vague.  To clarify, here is the constitutional language.

That agriculture which provides food, energy, health benefits, and security is the foundation and stabilizing force of Missouri’s economy.  To protect this vital sector of Missouri’s economy, the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in the is sate, subject to duly authorized powers, if any, conferred by article VI of the Constitution of Missouri.”

A few years ago a county in Missouri tried to stop farmers from running equipment after 10:00 PM because it was “noisy.”  The case went through several layers of litigation before being resolved.

My farm family is voting Yes on Missouri's Constitutional Amendment 1

The Durhams are row crop farmers and they are voting Yes on August 5!

But what next?  Can you predict what crazy will look like?  I’m grateful for the protection and you should be too.  Here’s why.

Remember how I said you would benefit from Amendment 1 too?  Lots of people don’t get that.  They see this as unnecssary.  They wonder why farming deserves the same rights as speech or bearing arms.

I guess I believe eating is a fundamental right.

This farm family is voting Yes on Missouri Constitutional Amendment 1!

The Riekhofs are voting Yes!

I don’t remember it but I’ve heard healthcare was a different world before doctors worried about being sued constantly.  Before malpractice insurance hit the roof and prices sky rocketed.  Before everything a doctor did was measured against what a lawyer could do with it.

That day and age is coming for agriculture.  Actually it’s here.

This farm family is voting Yes on the Missouri Constitutional Amendment 1!

Her parents are voting Yes to give her the chance to stay on the Hackmann family farm if she wants to.

What will a world full of red-tape and insurance premiums look like for you?  Money.  Scarcity.  Sort of what health care looks like today.

Yes, I want my kids to come back to the family farm in 20 years if they like.  I want my husband to do the work he is passionate for.  I want to look out my window at the amber waves of grain and the fresh cut corn stalks.  But mostly I want to feed those kids, my husband, even the world.

This isn’t about China, or big ag, or little guys.  It’s about food security.  And I’m voting Yes.

Categories: Science | Tags: , , , | 16 Comments

A Quick and Easy Way to Link Your Kids to Agriculture

I only recently learned about this quick and easy way to link you kiddos to agriculture.  And when I say quick and easy, I mean really easy, which is my favorite kind. 🙂

All you need is a milk jug and Internet access.

Simple way to see where your milk is processed!

I’ve got Hiland and the Target brand in my fridge right now.

The website, provides a space to enter the number printed on the milk jug, and viola! up pops the exact location your milk was processed!  This will work with other dairy products too, like sour cream or yogurt.  Anyone in your family picky about milk brands?  Try entering numbers from different brands.   You might be surprised at the results!  In my area milk from Hy-Vee, Walk-Mart, Cameron Mart and Target all come from the same place!

How to find out where your milk came from!

You’ll need the 4-5 digit number printed near the expiration date.

If your kids really get into this project try some less common milk products, like canned milk.  These can travel farther and fewer processors package them, so the results can pull up some fun, far off places– like Iowa! 🙂

Leave me a comment, where does your milk come from?


*For teachers: Common Core Standards Language Arts, CCS.ELA.RI.4.3: RI.4.4: RI4.5: RF.4.3 and Next Generation Science Standards: Earth Systems: 5-ESS3-1

Categories: Homeschool, Science | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

What Happens in ALOT

Gets published on the Internet!  Sorry guys!  Usually the happenings at the meetings of this hand-picked, higher education class are for the privileged members only, but when you invite a blogger to talk about blogging, well, you have now become public information! 🙂

ALOT (pronounced with a long A, not like the phrase “a lot.”) stands for Agricultural Leaders of Tomorrow, and is a two-year class designed to introduce members to a wide variety of ag related topics, businesses, and ideas.  Brian was selected for this latest class and has been across the state visiting an amazing variety of people and places, listening and learning about more topics than I ever dreamed our state could boast.

The group has met Presidents, CEOs, and leaders of some really amazing organizations, so I didn’t know if I should be honored or intimated when the coordinator of the program called Brian and wanted the group to visit Marshall Farms!

ALOT group visits Marshall Farms

The 25 members of the group visited Marshall Farms, providing some incentive to finish multiple projects on this shed!

Brian gave a talking-tour of the farm (since it was 27 degrees when we started– what happened to spring?!), sharing lots of information about the technology we use.  Being in the shed meant we could get a good look at the sprayer and planter.

ALOT visits Marshall Farms

Since members hail from across the state Brian shared practices used in our area to deal with our specific soil and land types.

Then Dennis, Brian’s dad and “Grandpa” here on the blog, went into some detail about the soil conservation practices we follow.  Dennis has been an early adaptor of conservation for the last 35 years he has been in business as a farmer and he is still trying new ideas.  The most recent practice has been the addition of cover crops (read about that here), including some brand new cover crop mixtures we’ve just tried for the first time.

ALOT class visits Marshall Farms

If you’ve ever wondered what a farm “nerd” sounds like you should have heard the conversation between Dennis and the class as they discussed the chemical make-up of soil-LOL!

Then those poor class members had to listen to me tell about my experiences blogging and how I try to share agriculture with those interested in where their food comes from.

ALOT visits Marshall Farms

Trivia, I’ve been blogging at Daddy’s Tractor for two years, but before that I blogged at

The best part was the box of chocolates ALOT gives to each of their presenters.  So as far as I’m concerned ALOT is welcomed back anytime!  As long as you’re okay with being published on the Internet that is!!

Categories: Technology | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Brian Testifies to Congress

Not all farm work happens in the field.  On Tuesday Brian did some critical chores, not in the shop, but in Congress.

Thank a Farmer, Brian testifies before Congress on behalf of Farmers and small business owners.

Thank you to American Farm Bureau for the photos!

He presented information to the House Small Business Committee about new technologies in farming; mostly about the data we now create.  Brian (usually known on this blog as Daddy!) explained how we use GPS and programs like Field View on our tractors, combine, and sprayer.  Each of those pieces of equipment records the location and what was planted, harvested, or applied in the field.  As a business owner we can then pull all of that data together and get a very detailed look at what’s going on with our farm.  We can see if a certain brand of seed grew better than other brands.  We can tell where more fertilizer might be needed.  We can watch for patterns of problems over the course of years.

That’s pretty cool technology, and its something our lawmakers know little about.

But who cares if they know about it, you ask?

Well, Congress tends to like nothing better than to create rules and regulations.  Job security and all.  Naturally no one person can be an expert on everything the United States Congress does, so “expert witnesses, ” like Brian, bring real-life information and personal stories to our elected officials.

Thank a Farmer, Brian testifies before Congress on behalf of Farmers and small business owners.

Brian visited with some of our elected officials while he was in DC.

Did you know some farmers are using drones to check their fields during the growing season to watch for pests that can damage entire fields?  Some people want to regulate these drones the same way we regulate planes.  The cost of this kind of equipment is already high; adding that kind of regulation would make the technology pretty much unusable.  You’d spend more time on paper work than the drone would save you.  You might as well check the field yourself.

All the data I mentioned before is also of legal concern to farmers.  Brian can pull information from the cloud right from the seat of his combine, but who else can see his data?  Can the company that made the program sell that data?  Can the government take it?  Could the Chicago Board of Trade have access to exactly how much corn is being harvested in the US right now?  Can seed companies look at the yield of their seeds and their competitors?

Thank a Farmer, Brian testifies before Congress on behalf of Farmers and small business owners.

Thanks to Missouri Farm Bureau’s press release, the story hit the papers about the time Brian’s plane touched down in Kansas City!

Both of these issues, along with many others, may be visited by Congress.  Some issues we hope they’ll stay away from, allowing owners to control their own small businesses.  On other issues we hope they will choose to help instead of hinder America’s farmers.

So in its own way, this work is as important as any we do here on the farm.

Categories: Science | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Farm to Store

Celebrating Thank a Farmer week is done like most American holidays– it lasts a whole week and has a lot to do with food!  Saturday was the pancake breakfast, then raffling off a grocery store gift certificate, and, new this year, we parked a tractor at the local store!

Thank a Farmer

Thank a Farmer and Thank Early’s Tractor Dealership!

Thanks to the tractor dealership in town for letting us use one of theirs since it was already clean and only a few blocks from the store!  Tractors generally go less than 25/mph, so that’s pretty helpful!  Thanks to the county Farm Bureau board members who volunteer their time to set up these functions.  Thanks to the grocery stores that work with and support the farming community.  And of course, thanks to the farmers who are responsible from everything in those stores from the bananas to the macaroni and cheese to the plastic used to package it all!

Check in tomorrow for the next Thank a Farmer post.  We’re thanking Daddy for something pretty exciting!

Categories: Food | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

The one and only, Cheerios

Its only 8:00 AM and I’ve already fought two battles today.  The first I fought with extension cords, bales of straw, and more Carhartt than any person not employed by the company should decently wear at any one time.  The second I’m fighting with a laptop, cell phone, and Instagram account.  It is the battle of public opinion.

Some days you win.  Some days you loose.

IMHO, the one and only Cheerios.

We buy the bulk “2 Box” kind from Sam’s Club.

Modern agriculture recently lost a battle with General Mills, the company behind the one and only, Cheerios.  On January 2nd the company announced we will be seeing new cereal boxes in our grocery story aisles stating that the original Cheerios are now GMO free. This frustrates me on several levels.

First because, as General Mills points out, there are no GMO oats.  The switch involves a small amount of corn starch used in the cooking process and the gram per serving of sugar.  Its a relatively small change on their part that will generate a massive amount of negative opinion on ours.  Definitely frustrating.

Secondly, General Mills themselves states over and over that GMOs are safe.  They link to, The World Health Organization, The European Food Safety Authority, and the USDA.  But they won’t stand behind this science they apparently believe in.

Third, this Q&A statement from Cheerios mentions “investments” in the new process– places to store the corn starch and sugar etc., and I can’ help but infer that General Mills didn’t do any of this out of the goodness of their hearts, but rather to make a profit.  This leads me to believe that I, as the consumer, will be paying for the “investment” each time I load up my cart at Sam’s Club.  Perhaps my family budget can afford this, but surely you will allow me to stretch my imagination and guess that others cannot.

And this is, perhaps, my greatest frustration.  This is such a first world problem.

IMHO, the one and only Cheerios.

I let my kids pour honey on the original type. Its less sugar than Honey Nut and I used to feel good about letting them eat it.

Only people will full stomachs can be picky about what they put into them.

Mind you, I’m grateful I can be this choosy myself.  I want my kids to have good nutrition, safe food, even adventurous diets.  But what about the mom who just wants her kid to have enough to eat.  Or the mom who wants her kid to have anything to eat.  Because to me, that’s what GMOs are about.  Once they’ve been proven safe, and I’ve done my research and feel they are (Read here and here), GMOs are the ONLY route I can see that leads to full stomachs for a population of some 9 billion people.  Its safe.  Its affordable.  And its possible.  The technology of our past won’t get us there.

IMHO, the one and only Cheerios.

Brett will pick Cheerios over pancakes some days. Whose crazy kid does that?!

So will I keep buying Cheerios?  Dunno.  But I may look around at some different brands and see what my family will eat, because today I feel that General Mills isn’t supporting me and my farm.  They aren’t supporting ag’s efforts to feed the world.  And somehow I think that could have been profitable for them too.

We lost this battle.  The world can’t afford for us to loose the war.

Categories: Food, Technology | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Thanks Lexington FFA

I’m not even going to do it.  I won’t say a word.  You will now hear nothing from me apologizing for missing last week and I refuse to make excuses about how we were directing a church camp and volunteering our time and how I was too crazy to write a blog post.  Not gonna happen. 😉

However, I am planning to tell you about a request I received (while at said church camp) from the advisor of the Lexington, MO FFA chapter.  The request relates to the theme of the Missouri State Fair– “Chicks Dig It.”

Chicks Dig It

The members of this FFA Chapter were a bit put off by the theme and felt it was not respectful of women.  So they decided to do something about it.  They used their display space at the fair to honor women in agriculture.

And they asked me to be part of their display.

Lexington FFA


I am indeed honored.

I’ve not been privileged to meet all of the women represented here, but I know several of them well, and I am also amazed to be included in this group.  Diane Olson is the Missouri Farm Bureau director of Promotion and Education and the creator of the Who Grew My Soup lesson plan which holds a top spot here on my blog. Chris Chinn is fellow blogger, board member of Missouri Farm Bureau, has testified before Congress on behalf of farmers and ranchers, and currently serves as one of four select farmers in a program to share food information with the public.  Kristin Perry is the director of ALOT (Agriculture Leaders of Tomorrow), the program my husband is currently participating in and the reason for our trip to Monsanto in June.   She is also a lawyer who represents farmers and has handled some pretty amazing cases!  I’m blessed to call each of these three friends, and way out-classed to be placed among them!

And kudos to the members of the Lexington FFA chapter for productively righting wrongs.  You didn’t whine or complain, or even march in protest.  You fixed a problem.

Love that.

And love what you are all doing for agriculture.

Categories: Science | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Taking Care of the Land, Another Approach

These pictures aren’t of our fields.  You’ve seen photos of Daddy and Anna repairing soil on terraces.  I’ve shared our rye grass project.  But this isn’t something we do on our farm; these pics are of a neighbor’s field.

Another way farmers are taking care of the land.  {}

You likely know that terraces are mounds of dirt shaped like the hill designed to stop soil from washing down a field and into streams.  You can see in the photographs how this farmer is actually growing hay in strips where the terraces are– right in the middle of his corn field!

Another way farmers are taking care of the land.  {}

The hay is actually bromegrass, which means our friend had to buy the seed and plant it where he wanted it to grow.  Bromegrass grows well in drought–making this farmer look smart at the moment!  It also has a strong root system that makes it a good choice to hold the soil in place for erosion control.

Another way farmers are taking care of the land.  {}

By doing this, the farmer gets hay for his cattle to eat in the winter and protects the land at the same time!

Categories: Science, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at