Why FFA and agriculture are the Best Things Ever

By: Talisa Smith

A recent article by PETA described FFA as “lame AF.” Now, I see more and more posts from people who used to be in FFA agreeing with PETA. You folks that changed your mind, I’m betting you only did it because other people did. That means you are not, and never were, a proud FFA member.

Let me start off by introducing myself. My name is Talisa Smith. I’m 16 years old, and from Fort Pierre, South Dakota. Right now I’m a sophomore at Stanley County High School. I have been a FFA member for three years now, and I can say I would never go back in time and change my mind about becoming one

I am my chapter’s reporter and am stationed by the flag when we hold meetings. Much as the flag covers the United States of America, I strive to inform every man, woman and child I can that FFA is a national organization. It reaches from the state of Alaska to Puerto Rico, and Maine to Hawaii. I am there to let everyone know what goes on in the chapter. So I’m going to tell you what FFA is to me and what my side of the story is.

Many people have read this article about how we are a lame organization. One thing that most people probably don’t realize is that those pictures they have are entirely out of context. What they said is wrong and they clearly don’t know what they are talking about.

In one point that they made, it states FFA teaches kids to raise animals and send them to the slaughterhouse to have them cut apart while they are still living. Well yes, these animals do die so that people don’t starve. However, the methods that they say they use to put the animals down are wrong.

In a slaughterhouse the animals are put down with a stun gun to the head because it’s painless to the animal and quick. The other way is they are put down is by a gas. To make sure that they are dead, workers will drain the rest of the blood so the animals don’t suffer. Then they are butchered for the meat so that the world can have food.

They had also mentioned that sheep tails are cut off and ears are pierced without using painkillers. Cutting the tails off is a process is called docking and it is for the sheep’s benefit. If we don’t do this, the tails would end up getting dirty and infection is a good possibility. We dock the tails so the sheep can stay healthy and not get sick. They don’t feel anything but a little pinch when they do this.  When we pierce their ears, it’s basically a small hole, just as cows get tags in their ear to tell them apart.

The next allegation is we steal calves away from their mothers. We bottle feed those calves instead of giving them milk from the cow. The milk we get from the cows is not just used for drinking. That is used for all sorts of thing like, cottage cheese, cheese, and ice cream. So if we take away that milk, you are going to take away ice cream. Do that, and you have to tell your kids that you are the reason that they can’t have any more ice cream. Now, to me, that just doesn’t sound right.

FFA and agriculture

Stanley County FFA chapter members volunteer to clean up local emergency vehicles as part of summer camp activities. (Contributed photo)

Another point in the article says that the skills needed to stand up and talk in front of a group are lame, uncool, and have no purpose in the world anymore. The article says people should just stick to their phones. What happens when you want a job and you can’t talk to someone in person? You can’t talk only through texting. I can tell you this: you will not get hired and you will not find a job if you can’t have a decent face-to-face conversation.

The article said it’s cooler to judge people instead of knowing different kinds of livestock and other animals. Well you are now saying that it is ok to belittle people and lower their self-confidence. FFA is trying to stop that in the first place.

FFA and agriculture

Talisa Smith of the Stanley County FFA chapter poses with the Peterson brothers, farmers who are nationally known Ag advocates. They made an appearance at a recent South Dakota State FFA convention. (contributed photo)

They had stated that it is better to be a follower than it is be different and stand up to be a leader. You are going to tell people that it’s better to act and follow someone than to stand up and be yourself? I am proud of who I am and I’m not afraid to stand up and be a leader that may change the world for the better.

Many FFA members take care of animals and know how to feed them and give them the right medicine so they don’t get sick. We want our animals to be the healthiest they can be. We take pride in this because we are feeding the world while doing something that we love to do. Some people are saying that’s dumb. You shouldn’t do that. Instead, be more like PETA and just talk about caring for animals, and not actually doing it. Well if nobody raises livestock, then what happens? We have no food if farmers just stop working. Great: We got everyone to stop like you wanted, but guess what? We have no food for anyone. Now what do you want us to do? We’ll see FFA members and the farmers they might grow up to be as where you’ll get your food from, so we need them.  Did you know that 1 farmer feeds at least 100 people, if not more?

 

FFA and agriculture

National FFA officers often take over local classes to teach life skills all FFA members can use. (contributed photo)

FFA doesn’t just teach you about agriculture. It teaches you life skills that you can use everywhere. You will meet great people along the way that you never would have met in the first place. There are 692,327 members right now, and 7757 chapters in the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Those numbers are growing each year and I am so glad for that. Our mission is FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. And our motto is Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve. As an FFA member I am proud to live by this with everything I’m doing. I don’t think that most people realize is that agriculture is everywhere and is in almost all the jobs that we have.

So the next time someone wants to say that FFA is lame AF and belittle FFA and agriculture, make sure you do some research on it so you know what you’re talking about. You are also offending everyone involved because you information is wrong and hurtful.

 

 

Silver Bay teacher wins Ag in the Classroom top award

Minnesota Ag in the Classroom

Minnesota Ag in the Classroom’s top teacher award went to Tom Frericks, a 5th grade teacher from Silver Bay.

 

Tom Frericks, a 5th grade teacher at William Kelley Elementary School in Silver Bay, MN, has been awarded the Minnesota Ag in the Classroom (MAITC) 2016 Outstanding Teacher Award. The award is given annually to a Minnesota K-12 teacher who exemplifies excellence in the classroom and a passion for teaching agriculture.

Frericks will receive a $500 stipend and up to $1,500 in expenses to attend the 2016 National Ag in the Classroom Conference at Phoenix, AZ, in June. This annual award is sponsored by the MAITC Foundation.

As the school garden coordinator at William Kelley Elementary, Frericks effectively incorporates food and agriculture concepts into core subjects such as science, social studies, nutrition and environmental education. He uses the 40-bed terraced garden, garage garden, strawberry and raspberry patches, apple and plum orchards located on school grounds.  He also uses the nearby Bird Hill School Forest to provide his students firsthand experience in growing food.

Frericks believes outdoor learning opportunities, cultural connections, and the science of growing and harvesting local foods are important because students are better able to understand new concepts when they are taught in a real world setting.

“Tom’s efforts to include agriculture into his 5th grade curriculum are amazing!” says MAITC Education Specialist Sue Knott. “The opportunities he is giving his students to apply core curricular concepts in the school garden is not only building agricultural literacy, but he is also empowering these students to be positive and active members of society.”

The MAITC vision is for agriculture to be valued by all. The program is a 30 year established public/private partnership based at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Visit www.mda.state.mn.us/maitc for more information and free educational resources.

Minnesota will host national FFA officers in January

Minnesota FFA chapters will host the national FFA officers  Jan. 7-13.  They will travel over 1,000 miles across the state to meet hundreds of FFA members and supporters.

The national FFA Leadership Team will make several stops in Minnesota this January as a part of State Experience Week.

The national FFA Leadership Team will make several stops in Minnesota this January as a part of State Experience Week.

Each year, only one state is selected to serve as the training ground for the national FFA officers. During their training, the six national officers will perfect keynote addresses and workshops before using them during their travels as national officers.

The national officers will visit the following locations:

Thursday, Jan. 7 Eden Valley-Watkins, Melrose

Friday, Jan. 8 Perham, Staples-Motley, Upsala

Saturday, Jan. 9 Upsala

Sunday, Jan. 10 Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg

Monday, Jan. 11 Sleepy Eye, Fairmont, Randolph

Tuesday, Jan. 12 Rockford, Dassel-Cokato, University of Minnesota

Wednesday, Jan. 13 Academy for Sciences & Agriculture

Minnesota FFA

The Sleepy Eye FFA chapter, pictured here in January of 2015, will be one of the hosts to the National FFA leadership team on Monday, January 11th, as a part of State Experience Week. (photo from sleepyeyeonline.com)

Each national officer will deliver their keynote address based on their own personal life experiences. The officers will also present workshops, which include the following topics:

Sarah Draper (Utah): Look Up and Look Out – Having gratitude and serving others.

Sydney Snider (Ohio): Destination Awesome – How can our strengths help others?

Nick Baker (Tennessee): Grit: Passion and Persistence help us accomplish our goals

Taylor McNeel (Arkansas): Live the Journey – Being present in our journey

Abbey Gretsch (Georgia): #Struggle is Real – Overcoming hardships

Abrah Meyer (Iowa): The Price is Right – Valuing others

 

The national officer team was elected at the annual National FFA Convention on Saturday, Oct. 31 in Louisville, Kentucky. Throughout their year of service, they will travel nearly 100,000 miles and influence thousands of FFA members and supporters.

Here’s the 2015-16 theme for this year’s state FFA chapters: Together we..  Anyone you know in here?

 

About the Minnesota FFA Association

FFA is a national organization developing students’ potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.  It has more than 600,000 members in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The Minnesota FFA Association represents nearly 11,000 members and almost 200 high school chapters across the state.

Agricultural education engages students through hands-on learning in the classroom, work-based learning opportunities known as Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) projects and FFA activities.

 

You can learn more about the experiences of FFA members and supporters by visiting www.mnffa.org and www.ffa.org.

WOTUS campaign declared unlawful

BIG NEWS TODAY —

Statement by Bob Stallman, President, American Farm Bureau Federation,
Regarding GAO Legal Opinion Finding EPA Violated Law Regarding WOTUS

WOTUS campaign ruled illegal

American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman issued a statement applauding the Government Accountability Office findings of EPA impropriety when it came to the controversial Waters of the US Rule, or WOTUS (Photo from agri-pulse.com)

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 14, 2015 – “A legal opinion today by the U.S. Government Accountability Office finds that the Environmental Protection Agency broke the law with its social media and grassroots lobbying campaign advocating for its own Waters of the U.S. rule.

“It’s clear from this report that EPA orchestrated this matter in a biased fashion.

“Now it’s up to Congress to clean up this mess by including a corrective measure in the omnibus bill now taking shape on Capitol Hill.

“Courts already have declared serious doubts about the legal authority for the rule. Now, it has become clear that the agency used illegal tactics to manufacture ill-informed support for the rule. Congress should act immediately to prohibit implementation of this rule, which is the product of an unlawful and misguided process.

WOTUS campaign declared illegal

Farm Bureau has campaigned against the Waters of the US Rule put forth by the EPA since the idea was first put out to the public. (Photo from michfb.com)

“We applaud U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman Jim Inhofe for asking GAO to conduct this investigation.

“The GAO findings vindicate those, like the American Farm Bureau Federation, who have claimed all along that EPA’s tactics advocating for this rule stepped past the bounds of proper agency rule making.

“EPA was focused only on promoting the rule rather than hearing good-faith concerns from a wide cross-section of Americans. The public deserves better when important matters of public policy are at stake.”

 

American politics and compromise: what happened?

American politics.  Guaranteed to raise the stress level in any conversation by at least tenfold.

Political polarization and the resulting inability of people with differing ideologies to compromise have brought progress in the United States to a screeching halt.

The public is bombarded with news stories every day that detail immigration concerns, gun control questions, ISIS, and so many other problems it gets overwhelming at times. So many problems to solve, and so little time. So, why can’t we climb these mountains?

American Politics

Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., where the political divide has never been larger, and the need for compromise and the lost art of the deal has never been more needed. (Photo from the Huffington Post)

Politics and philosophical ideologies have divided this country like never before. Republicans, Democrats, Tea Partiers, Libertarians, and more all have ideas on how to get things done. What they aren’t recognizing is their way might not be the right way. That fact doesn’t seem to matter. It’s “my way or the highway.” My ideology is completely right, and yours is completely wrong because it disagrees with mine.

 

American politics and social media

Facebook, and other forms of social media, offer a platform for sharing political views, but the resulting comments underneath the post offer a whole lot of people you may or may not know a chance for serious rebuttal, if not downright arguments.

Social media may bear part of the blame. Have you read some of the discussion threads on Facebook regarding immigration? How about the threads on ISIS and how to deal with that very real threat? You see behavior on these threads that would put children in daycare timeout immediately. Arguing, name-calling, cursing, lying, and other general misbehavior abound. While we sit and argue in a virtual world, problems don’t get solved in the real one.

What happened to compromise? What happened to “if everyone gives a little bit, we all can gain a lot?” Aren’t we all on the same team here?

Leadership and the art of compromise are compatible terms, aren’t they? You really can’t have one without the other.

Maybe businessmen and women might be the right ones to send to Washington to lead this country? After all, you don’t succeed in business and make deals if you don’t know how to compromise, right? Giving up a little something to the customer can often close a deal, right?

I am in no way endorsing Donald Trump as the next President. Let’s get that out of the way. But I did find something he said more than a little interesting.

The dailybeast.com website detailed a meeting hosted by a group called No Labels, a central-leaning political group that brought together a handful of presidential hopefuls, who each gave a speech before the members.

The website points out, correctly, that divisions in Washington are bigger than ever. Trump was quoted as saying, “Compromise is not a dirty word.” As stubborn as Trump is known to be, that might be a surprise to you, because it was to me.

As an example, Trump offered a story in which he brokered a deal between politicians and unions in New York City to help finish an ice skating rink in Central Park. The project had suffered from mismanagement for years.

Trump said, “It’s (compromise) in all the business schools. They study it. I didn’t learn it – I did it.”

The dailybeast.com writer called Trump “someone who wouldn’t simply untie the Gordian knot, but one who would cut right through it.”

What would life be like if we would just talk to each other. What if we relearned how to compromise?

Does the voting public deserve some blame for the gridlock in Washington? Probably.

Craig Chamberlain made a good point in an article on the University of Illinois website.   He said, for the most part, Americans tell pollsters that they are moderate on most of the important issues and they want the people they send to Washington to compromise and get things done.

Voting and American politics

Are Americans perpetuating the polarization in Washington by sending ideologically extreme candidates to D.C. every two years? (photo from huffingtonpost.com)

But, in the same breath, Chamberlain said American voters help perpetuate polarization in D.C. by continuing to elect ideologically extreme representatives. We don’t seem to learn from our mistakes. How many times have we seen extreme polarization make it difficult, or even impossible, to get things done for the good of our country?

I really thought Jim Totcke hit the nail on the head in a letter to the Editor on the havasunews.com website. He said, “Contrary to what the political parties in Washington might believe, compromise is what reasonable, civil people must do in a civil society.” When did we forget that?

Here is an even better point: Totcke said, “No single political party has a monopoly on good ideas. Why not utilize the best and brightest of both parties?”

Given the current polarization of politics, and the actual dislike that members of one party have for the other, it may be hard to believe we’ve seen genuine efforts to reach across the divide in the past. Believe it nor not, we have.

Dave Spencer is the founder of a group called Practically Republican, and he wrote a piece on the huffingtonpost.com website. He offered up Ronald Reagan, who many in the Republican Party consider a standard bearer for all that’s right in the Party, as an example of just how different things have become.

You’ve heard the term RINO, or Republicans In Name Only, in today’s political vernacular? Spencer said Reagan wouldn’t even qualify as a “real Republican” by today’s standards. He did lower taxes his first year in the Oval Office, but raised them four times during the rest of his tenure. He backed gun control. He was the first President to host an openly gay couple for an overnight stay at the White House.

Most notably, Reagan was noted for talking to the other side of the political aisle on the regular basis. Even though he may not have done precisely what the Democrats wanted, he genuinely listened, and that gave him a lot of credibility.

In a piece titled “Death of Horse-Trading on the Hill,” CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash pointed out that the 2015 Congress contained more than 40 Senators had served 4 years or less. Bash called it a, “Lack of experience in the art of legislating – knowing what it means to give a little to get a little.”

It’s time to act like adults, and not bickering children who have to have everything their way. It’s not too late, yet.

 

 

Military veteran transitions to farming with Prairie Pride Poultry

A simple thing like a childhood visit to the grandparent’s farm can lead to a future in agriculture as an adult.

That’s the case for Grand Island, Nebraska’s Dan Hromas, who now owns a farm he calls Prairie Pride Poultry. However, the farm didn’t happen right away as he spent several years in the military, serving his country before returning home to farm.

Military veteran opens Prairie Pride Poultry

Military veteran Dan Hromas is embarking on a new mission in civilian life by taking on agriculture as owner of Prairie Pride Poultry in Grand Island, Nebraska. (photo from iptv.org)

“I enlisted in the Marine Corps when I was 17,” said Hromas. “I served four years on active duty. Then, I joined the Army, and the Army sent me to college on an ROTC scholarship. I graduated from North Dakota State University with a Bachelor’s in Microbiology. I got my commission as a Second Lieutenant and was assessed in the Nebraska Army National Guard.”

He added, “I retired from the service last year in July.”

Why make the switch from one branch of the service to another?

“I was a heavy machine gunner in the Marines,” Hromas said. “There aren’t a lot of civilian jobs you can move into from that, so I decided to go a different route.”

Military veteran on the farm

Dan Hromas is pictured here as a heavy machine gunner during his time in the Marines. He switched to the Army before coming home to start Prairie Pride Poultry in Nebraska. (photo from midwestproducer.com)

Hromas did a lot of tours overseas.

“I’m like Johnny Cash, I’ve been everywhere, man,” Hromas said. “For example, when I was in the Marines, my first overseas stop was at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during the Cuban refugee crisis in 1995.

“I also did a deployment to Okinawa, Japan in 1996” he said. “I was part of a Marine Expeditionary Force in ’98, so we took part in operations in the Mediterranean area. We had missions sitting off the coast of Croatia, and in Albania.”

Hromas added, “My last overseas trip was during the troop surge in Iraq during 2006 and ’07.”

He credits the people he served with as the most positive memory of his time in the military.

Hromas said his transition from military life to agriculture wasn’t necessarily a case of returning to the farm.

“I was never on one to begin with,” he said. “I started Prairie Pride Poultry from scratch. May of 2013 was when I first incorporated it. Later that year I got my first buildings, my first livestock, so really, the journey for me began in 2012.

“I went to Nebraska Farm Beginnings class,” Hromas said, “which was really a series of seminars. With the help of Nebraska Vocational Rehabilitation, I was able to put my ideas to paper and draft a solid business plan, which I then took to the Farm Service Agency to get a microloan. I also used the plan to get some grants from different organizations.”

The farm began in York, Nebraska, until he moved to Grand Island to expand his business to 15 acres of land.

The visits to his grandparent’s farm started his interest in agriculture.

“I’m originally from North Dakota,” Hromas said. “My family has a farm there, and every other summer my folks would take my younger siblings and I to visit. We’d make the trip from Lincoln, Nebraska, where I grew up.”

He added, “I always enjoyed being around the livestock.”

Hromas, a disabled military veteran, started Prairie Pride Poultry in 2013 with a simple mission.

“To provide healthy, farm-fresh eggs to consumers,” Hromas said. “Since that time, I’ve expanded the farm to include pasture-raised broilers, and pigs.”

He takes a holistic approach to raising livestock.

“It boils down to humane treatment of animals,” Hromas said, “and good stewardship of the land. I’m a member of the Nebraska Sustainable Ag Society, which encourages consumers to ‘buy fresh, and buy local.’”

The message appears to be getting out about buying locally.

“Business has been very good,” Hromas said, “almost too good, because I often sell out. There are days I don’t have enough product, and I don’t have the infrastructure yet to expand further like I want to do.”

Demand for his eggs has reached into Lincoln.

“I market my eggs through one of the Hy-Vee Stores in Lincoln,” said Hromas. “I have people that headhunt for my eggs, and if they aren’t there, they leave their phone numbers with the dairy manager to let them know when more come in.”

He goes out of his way to keep customers informed on what he does.

“People come in and ask questions,” said Hromas, “and I answer all of them, so they buy with confidence.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minnesota Farm Bureau Announces YF&R Contest Winners

Minnesota_Farm_Bureau_Logo_345x143Young farmers in Olmsted and Washington-Ramsey County captured top honors in the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) competitions.

Ben Storm of Dover in Olmsted County won the Achievement Award contest. Katie Miron of Hugo in Washington-Ramsey County took home first in the Discussion Meet contest. Mike Miron of Hugo in Washington-Ramsey County won the Excellence in Agriculture contest. The competitions were held during the MFBF 97th Annual Meeting at the DoubleTree in Bloomington.

These county Farm Bureau YF&R members will advance next to national competition. They will represent Minnesota at the national competition at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) Annual Meeting in Orlando, January 8-13.

Minnesota Farm Bureau YF&R

The Minnesota Farm Bureau Annual Meeting recently concluded after announcing several contest winners, one of which came from the local Olmsted County Farm Bureau. (Photo from fbmn.org)

The winners received a recognition plaque from MFBF, $500 prize, a trip to the MFBF YF&R Conference in Bloomington, January 22–23, 2016.  They also will participate in a leadership development trip to Washington D.C.

Achievement Award

The Achievement Award contestants are selected on their exceptional efforts in agriculture through farm management and leadership achievements, as well as effective use of capital in their farming operation.

Ben Storm is the third generation on their family farm where he works in partnership with his dad and brother raising market hogs. He also farms on his own, growing corn and soybeans and raising and selling show pigs. Ben has a bachelor’s degree in industries and marketing with an emphasis on crops and soils.

The Achievement Award runner-up was Matt Feldmeier from Rushford in Houston County. The runner-up picked up a $250 cash prize.

 Discussion Meet

The Discussion Meet finalists competed in two semi-final rounds on Saturday morning followed by the final four competition. Contestants were judged on their basic knowledge of critical farm issues and their ability to exchange ideas and information in a setting aimed at cooperative problem solving.

Katie Miron is an agricultural educator at the Academy for Sciences and Agriculture in Vadnais Heights. She lives on her family’s fifth generation dairy farm in Hugo.

Other top finalists in the Discussion Meet were Joe Sullivan of Renville County, Katie Winslow of Fillmore County and Amanda Durow of Washington-Ramsey County.

 Excellence in Agriculture

The Excellence in Agriculture contest is designed as an opportunity for young farmers and ranchers who may not derive 100 percent of their income from farming to earn recognition while actively contributing to the agriculture industry.  They also spend time building their leadership skills through their involvement in Farm Bureau and their community. Participants were judged on their involvement in agriculture, leadership ability, and participation in Farm Bureau and other organizations. 

Winning this year’s Excellence in Agriculture competition was Mike Miron. Mike is the fifth generation to live and work on the family’s dairy and crop farm near Hugo. He is a high school teacher and FFA advisor at Forest Lake.

Excellence in Agriculture runner-ups were Scott and Samantha Runge from St. James in Watonwan County. The runner-up will receive a $250 cash prize sponsored by Gislason & Hunter.

The MFBF 97th Annual Meeting concluded November 21.

The 2016 AFBF YF&R contests will each have four award winners. The winner will receive their choice of either a 2016 Chevrolet Silverado or a 2016 GMC Sierra. Three finalists will each receive $2,500 cash and $500 in STIHL merchandise and a Case IH Farmall tractor. Special thanks to our sponsors, General Motors, Case IH and STIHL, for their continued support of the American Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Discussion Meet.

For more information on Minnesota Farm Bureau go to fbmn.org. For pictures of the Annual Meeting log onto www.flicker.com/photos/minnesotafarmbureau.

Farm Bureau Voting Delegates Re-Elect Paap President

County voting delegates at the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation’s (MFBF) 97thMinnesota_Farm_Bureau_Logo_345x143 Annual Meeting re-elected Kevin Paap to his sixth two-year term as President of the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation.

He first elected in November of 2005.The election took place during the delegate session on November 20.

Kevin and Julie Paap own and operate a fourth-generation family farm in Blue Earth County.

Minnesota Farm Bureau

Kevin Paap, pictured here with wife Julie, was reelected as Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation President at the Farm Bureau’s annual meeting. Paap was elected to his sixth two-year term as President. (Photo from northcountryfoodbank.org)

“I am humbled and honored to continue to do something that I truly love to do and am passionate about doing,” said Paap. “While agriculture faces many challenges, with every challenge there are opportunities. Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation will continue to be at the table in the public policy arena, build agriculture’s positive image and develop leaders at all levels.”

Keith Allen of Kenyon in Goodhue County representing District I, and Miles Kuschel of Sebeka in Cass County representing District VI were both elected to three-year terms on the Board of Directors.

Pete Henslin of Dodge Center in Dodge County is the Young Farmers and Ranchers committee chair and will serve a one-year term on the board of directors. Mark Maiers of Stewart in Sibley County will serve a one-year term as the Promotion and Education committee chair.

The MFBF 97th Annual Meeting concludes Saturday, November 21 with the announcement of the Young Farmers & Ranchers awards.

Minnesota Farm Bureau is the largest general farm organization in the state with nearly 30,000 family members. The main areas of focus are Farmers • Families • Food. Members determine policy through a grassroots process involving the Farm Bureau members in 78 county and regional units in a democratic process. As a result, members make their views heard to political leaders, state government officials, special interest groups and the general public.

Programs for Young Farmers & Ranchers help develop leadership abilities and improve farm management. Promotion & Education committee members work with programs such as Ag in the Classroom, and safety education for farm children.

Jon Guentzel from Mankato, MN, tells us why he is a Farm Bureau member.

For more information, contact your county Farm Bureau office.

For more information on the Minnesota Farm Bureau log onto www.fbmn.org.

Winter weather predictions at NAFB

I spent some time in Kansas City at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting’s2015-NAFB-Convention-Logo-FINAL 72nd annual convention.  During the second day of the event, a trade show brings people in from far and wide to talk about all things agriculture, a topic more complex than most outside the business would believe.  By the way, the show is called Trade Talk.

Of course, weather is one of the premium topics in any agriculture discussion, and one gentleman who’s been talking weather and ag for a long time is Bryce Anderson.    I’ve talked many times with Bryce during my years in radio, and finally had the chance to reconnect.  One of the hot topics right now is above normal temperatures in the fall with not much precipitation.  The question is:  How long does it last, and what does this foretell for the winter?

 

Weather forecasting

Bryce Anderson, the Chief Meteorologist for DTN. (Photo from hoffmanag.com)

Bryce Anderson has been DTN’s ag meteorologist and fill-in market analyst since 1991. He combines his expertise in weather forecasting with a south-central Nebraska farm background to bring in-depth, focused commentary on the top weather developments affecting agriculture each day.

His comments in the DTN Ag Weather Brief and the DTN Market Impact Weather articles are read by persons involved in all aspects of the agricultural industry and in all major crop and livestock production areas of the U.S. and Canada.

Bryce also delivers forecast commentary on regional and national farm broadcast programs and hosts DTN audio and video productions.

Prior to joining DTN, Bryce was in radio and television farm broadcasting and agricultural meteorology at stations in Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska. He holds a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Nebraska, and a certificate of broadcast meteorology from Mississippi State University.

Pork industry educates Subway on antibiotics

The Subway restaurant chain recently brought antibiotics in animal agriculture back into the national food discussion with an announcement about changes in how they source proteins.

In late October, Subway announced policy changes on it’s website, saying that the chain will only serve proteins that have never been treated with antibiotics. The transition is set to begin in it’s over 27,000 restaurants as early as 2016.

The animal agriculture industry recently met with Subway to ask questions about the new policy, as well as to educate the company about the necessary use of antibiotics to keep animals healthy.

Pork production

The pork industry, along with representatives from poultry and beef, are educating Subway as well as the public on the necessity of using antibiotics in animal agriculture to ensure the animals are healthy and safe. (photo from pork network.com)

The Kearny, Nebraska, newspaper (KearneyHub.com) recently wrote an article describing Subway’s policy change as “running into a brick wall in Nebraska.” Livestock producers rely on antibiotics to keep their animals healthy, and Subway changed its policy, stating that they would “accept meat from animals that had been treated with antibiotics to control illness, but not given antibiotics to aid in animal growth.”

National associations that represent the pork industry had a lot to say on the topic. The website meatpoultry.com restated the National Pork Producer’s Council’s position that antibiotics must be available to producers to maintain animal health. The US Food and Drug Administration regulations on antibiotics in animal agriculture are increasingly strict, and they provide safeguards against resistance.

All pork organizations agree they need to educate the public on the necessity of pork production, as you’ll hear in this audio wrap:

 

 

For help in answering questions from the public, the National Pork Producers put together a video to help you educate people who have questions about why farmers use antibiotics: