An Open Letter to PETA

In response to the blog that needs to stop being shared because it's so stupid.  

PETA,

First off, thank you for getting me out of writing my research paper and going to the grocery store.  I try not to be a procrastinator, but you’ve made me think that this is better worth my time. 

It’s better worth my time because you are attacking my lifestyle, and I’m not ok with it. 

You attack my lifestyle on a daily basis.  You attack what great people do every day, and they do it to care for others.  I cannot imagine having a job that put someone else down every day, how depressing!  If you can do that, I question your morals.    

I am ok with you choosing what you eat.  In return, I want to choose what I eat.  And I like steak.  And I’m not apologizing for that, because I believe that steer was put here for a reason just like I am put on this earth for a reason, and my reason to be here is to tell you that you are terribly rude.  (I wish I could type worse words but I try not to cuss on my blog.)

What you don’t understand is that you made a huge mistake, you infuriated the largest youth organization in the country.  That’s just dumb. 

FFA is all about premier leadership, personal growth, and career success.  The organization develops students into great people each and every day.  Clearly it didn’t work for the person who wrote the blog, but not every great thing is perfect, right?

The things I learned from FFA include: how to meet friends, how to prepare a speech, how life and school go hand in hand, what great agriculture is around me, what successful people do after FFA, the parts of the animal, how animals make a difference if people’s lives around the world, how to do an interview, how to cause a traffic jam using tractors during FFA week, how to talk to professionals in my community who support the program, how to set goals and achieve them, even how to rip a good pair of panty hose and what a tallywacker is.  The list goes on and on.

What I am most proud of, as an alumnus of the FFA, is the way students have stood up for themselves.  Because of you, they took a stand.  Have you searched #FFAproud? It’s pretty remarkable what each student has gained from his or her experience in FFA, and they shared that because of you.

PETA, you win this one.  You win because you caused uproar, which is exactly what you wanted to do.  But you won’t win again, because I also learned through FFA that the agriculture industry is the most powerful and amazing group of people you’ll ever meet.  We solve problems, we work together, and we care for each other.  Something you will never be able to achieve.  Therefore the FFA wins in the long run. 

I don’t believe in PETA, instead I believe in the future of agriculture and what FFA does for young people.  You should try it.  Or at least stop writing false blogs that have very little truth. 

Sincerely,

An alum of the greatest organization in existence.  

Iowa FFA Officers at the 2015 State Convention.

Iowa FFA Officers at the 2015 State Convention.

Back and Back in Action

I’ve been a little MIA from my blog.  (When I say a little, I think it’s been 6 months since I’ve shared anything.)  It’s not because I up and decided to stop blogging, it’s because I have since become a part of something that I absolutely love, and it has taken a lot of time. 

On November 13, 250 women came together in the state of Iowa to inform and inspire each other about opportunities in agriculture.  The day consisted of brilliant speakers, including Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey; FSA Chief of Staff, Lesly Weber-McNitt; Dean of the ISU College of Agriculture, Wendy Wintersteen; Iowa FFA Leadership Development Manager, Rachel Kagay; and Iowa’s Lieutenant Governor, Kim Reynolds.  The breakout sessions and professional luncheon were filled with knowledgeable and strong women that shared their passion with others.  It was amazing to see this many people come together and truly be excited about something: the future. 

This all happened because of my time with FarmHer.  FarmHer is a business that focuses on imagery, community, and merchandise.  FarmHer was started after the famous Super Bowl commercial “God Made a Farmer” when almost 60 men are shown and less than 6 women.  Women do not come to mind when most people picture farming, and that’s now changing.  My boss Marji has been to over 100 farms photographing women working on the farm.   

I learned a lot at this conference, and one thing that I was reminded is to not let negative comments bother you.  If it’s someone saying that you can’t do something or if it’s one comment on social media that is pointed towards your beliefs, just let it go. Then why, after the event had so many positive posts, did I let one comment bother me?

Because I realized people thought I was putting men down.  Because people don’t understand the meaning of FarmHer and why I poured my heart and soul into a one day event. 

Here is a public service announcement: I don’t hate men.  FarmHers don’t hate men. I don’t hate men farming and I think men farming are important.  (My boyfriend and dad and both grandpa’s are full time farmers, and I love them.) Everyone being allowed to farm is important.

Here’s another one for you: FarmHer isn’t against men.  I have had the opportunity to spend time with the founder of FarmHer and I have never heard the words “men do not belong” come out of her mouth.  In fact, she photographs men!  To her, it’s important to show what isn’t commonly shown, and that’s the women.    

To all the men that think FarmHer is a joke, has someone ever told you that you shouldn’t be a part of something?  It amazed me how many people, young and more mature, sat in the room during #Grow15 and could remember when someone once told them they couldn’t be in agriculture because they are a girl.  I feel very fortunate that those men in my life do nothing but support me and my sisters in our endeavors in the agriculture industry.  But even in this day and age when glass ceilings are being broken, not everyone has that support. 

That’s why Grow by Future FarmHer happened!  Nothing is more powerful than a lot of voices.  Nothing happens without action, so we took action!  The attendees networked, met amazing and inspiring people, and will hopefully do something to better the world. 

To me, FarmHer isn’t about putting anyone down; it’s about lifting everyone up.  We are all stronger when we work together.  I ask that FarmHer’s are supported and in return, everyone in agriculture will be supported.  

Animal Day | Elementary Style

Growing up on a diversified livestock and grain farm in Southeast Iowa, I quickly developed a passion for agriculture.  I’m very excited to be working as FarmHer’s communications intern to continue my passion for agriculture while empowering and promoting women! 

One of my first days working for FarmHer, I had the opportunity to attend an Animal Learning Day hosted by the local FFA chapter at the elementary school.   Six kindergarten classes at Stewart Elementary in Washington, Iowa, had the opportunity to meet farm animals, including: pigs, goats, kittens, puppies, a chicken, a duck, and a lamb. 

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As I photographed about 120 six-year-olds, I watched them smile when they saw the animals.  I was reminded how important agriculture is to everyone, not just people who are directly involved in the industry.  Most of these students had never seen a farm animal, and this may be one of the few opportunities they have to hold a farm animal, especially a chicken. 

A special FarmHer in my life, my sister, showed me how the simple action of setting up an event in a local community can give the opportunity to share the passion of agriculture.  My sister contacted a kindergarten teacher and impacted 120 students while sharing her passion with agriculture.  She organized FFA members who shared the animals they have on their farm.  The FFA members may not have been in the classroom at the time, but they learned how to interact with young students and how to communicate about their animals.  They also gained great stories about the kindergarteners, which lead to a few laughs.  One little boy was petting the puppy, and then decided he would rather pet my sister instead. 

Animal Day with Stewart Elementary was a great experience for everyone involved, from the kindergarteners to the FFA members who shared their interest in agriculture.  I encourage you to do something to share your passion and to share the values of a FarmHer.  

Click here to view the photo gallery

Walk Through the Doors- NJSA

“Life will give you tests, always walk through the open door,” Nancy Irlbeck, Associate Dean at Colorado State University, told the National Junior Swine Association members during the National Youth Leadership Conference.  

Those members took opportunities and walked through doors when they made the choice to attend the leadership conference, held in Ft. Collins, Co. on April 10-12.  While at the conference, attendees were able to meet peers and learn about the swine industry by listening to knowledgeable professionals and mentors.  

The attendees at the National Junior Swine Association National Youth Leadership Conference.

The attendees at the National Junior Swine Association National Youth Leadership Conference.

Communication skills were strengthened through practicing possible conversations with people wanting to learn more about the pork industry.  Interests were broadened when the group toured a feed lot that held over 75,000 head of cattle and stomachs were filled as the students tasted delicious pork ribs after they learned about various stations of food processing at JBS headquarters.  Advice was given as panel discussions were held, allowing the members to ask questions and learn from others experiences.  The biggest take away was the inspiration that was given to the members, to go out and change the world.  

Each time you go beyond your comfort zone, you gain something.  These students walked through a door of opportunity and gained new friends, a wealth of knowledge, and a great experience.  Everyone was reminded that the next time a door opens for you, don’t just walk- run.  

Sometimes our leadership roles allow us to have fun and step even further outside our comfort zones, who doesn't love a little karaoke?

Sometimes our leadership roles allow us to have fun and step even further outside our comfort zones, who doesn't love a little karaoke?

#CCBeautySwap

After a few weeks of traveling for various events, I arrived home to find a box filled with beauty products just waiting for me to try out.  I want to wish Crystal from Crystal Cattle a happy 30th birthday and thank her for hosting this swap.  This was my first time participating in the swap and it was great!  Katelin really spoiled me, thank you very much!  Below is what I received and a few of my favorite things.  I'm excited for the next swap! 

1) Heathy Skin- Neutrogena Bronzer

2) Better Than Sex- Two Faced Mascara

3) Eye Shadow Primer- Urban Decay

4) Bump Up the Pumps- Essie Nail Polish

5) Tweezers and Clippers- Vintage Collection

6) Good Hair Day- Turquoise Comb

7) Starry Sky- Sephora Waterproof Eyeliner

8) Drybar Shampoo- Detox

9) Vanilla Bean Chapstick- EOS

10) Berry Blossom Hand Lotion- EOS

11) Eye Shadow- ELF

12) Beauty Blender Sponge

13) Hairties

14) Turquoise Feather Bracelet

15) Candle

Each one of these things were great and useful!  I'm addicted to beauty products, and below are my favorites of the bunch.  I have to rave about the dry shampoo- it's awesome! 

Study Abroad; Argentina

It's been a few weeks since I returned home from my first adventure abroad but the memories have not faded. 

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 I learned so much from my trip to Argentina.  It's hard to share everything I've learned after 9 days of tours and visits to various places and businesses.  Below is a break down of each day, follow the links and enjoy!

Day 1/2) Arrive in Buenos Aires

Day 1) US Embassy; Buenos Aires

Day 1) Cargill Headquarters Presentation; Buenos Aires

Day 2) Buenos Aires City Tour

Day 2) Tango Show; Buenos Aires

Day 3) Gaucho Ranch

Day 4) Liniers Cattle Market; Buenos Aires

Day 4) Cargill Inc; Villa Governador Galvez

Day 4) Dinner at Rizobacter Test Plots; Pergamino

Day 5) Rizobacter Business Tour; Pergamino

Day 5) National Institute of Agriculture Technology (INTA); Pergamino 

Day 6) Pagano South America Business Tour; Carlos Casares

Day 6) Zubeldia Manufacturer; Carlos Casares

Day 6) Roberto Lence Dairy Farm; Carlos Casares

Day 6) Orazi Feedlot and Pork Producer; Carlos Casares

Day 6) Dinner at Lence Farm; Carlos Casares

Day 7) Los Grobos Agribusiness Cooperation; Carlos Casares

Day 7) Raul Cardaci Farm Tour; Carlos Casares

Day 7) Duckas SRL Hay and Silage Producation; Carlos Casares

Day 8) Arrive at Iguazu Falls

Day 9) Tour Iguazu Falls National Park

Day 10) Start Towards Home; Conclusion

If you read even one blog, you'll see that I went to learn about agriculture but I learned so much more.  By talking with people who live in Argentina, the group was able to learn about the culture and lifestyle.  I really enjoyed my trip abroad and I am looking forward to future trips.