Shew y’all, I have had an AMAZING week of learning this past week. When the folks at Indiana Soybean Alliance asked me and Stacey at Southern Bite to come up and talk to their group of women in agriculture (who also blog!), I was thrilled to learn that I would also get to tour their farms. I did not grow up at all around agriculture or farming. I was a Navy brat in the city surrounded by other military families and servicemen and women. My extent of knowledge as a kid was that all my milk, meat and veggies were grown and sold at the grocery store. Ha!
As I have gotten older, I have become more interested in learning about these hardworking folks who keep our nation fed. It is fascinating to me and I learned SO much just by talking to them and asking questions. If you follow me on Instagram, you can see all my photos and all the farms we visited. Special thank you to Liz at Kelsay Farms, Jent at Campbell Grain & Livestock and Keegan at Poe’s Quality Meats for giving me such great hands-on tours (and for providing boot covers LOL.)
For those of us who aren’t involved in farming day in and day out, it is easy to fall into the social media traps of thinking we know all about farming because of a few things we read on Facebook (raises my hand, guilty as charged.) Things as simple as the “grass-fed beef” movement. It’s a trend right now, right? But did you know there isn’t always enough grass for cattle to feed on to sustain them for the entire year? Because, ya know, winter. It’s different depending on where you live. But there isn’t always enough nutrition in just plain ole grass for nursing Mommas and their calves. This HERE is a great article about feeding beef cattle from Marybeth, one of the farmers I meet and she is also a practicing large animal veterinarian. Dairy cows eat 100 pounds of feed a day. A DAY! For each cow! So even that grass fed cow needs additional feed to satisfy their appetites, keep their tummies happy and keep them healthy. Dairy farmers want their Momma cows to be happy because they make more milk that way! This is another article from Marybeth at AGRICULTURED about feeding those dairy cows.
So it’s important to farmers that their cows get lots of yummy food that they love but also that it has enough nutrition to keep Momma and her unborn babies healthy. Just like we do for our children, right? And plus, we benefit from all that yummy, nutritional dairy. Seriously, at Kelsay Farms, those cows have water beds to sleep on. Talk about keeping cows spoiled and happy. I’m jealous! LOL. Want to know more about the differences between grain fed and grass fed beef, read this article HERE. It was written by another friend of mine in agriculture, Leah at Beyer Beware. While you’re there, check out her recipe for Crock Pot Cubed Steak. Hee Hee. You know I had to throw a recipe in there somewhere!
If you are trying to feed a nation of over 300 million people, you have to have healthy, well-fed, well cared for animals. These farmers take so much pride in what they do. They are Mommas, Dads, Grandmas and Grandpas. They care about the health of their animals. They care about the nutrition in their crops. They care about what their consumers think. This is their livelihood, and let me tell you, I honestly don’t think these people get paid enough for all that they do and all that they have to deal with. They are heavily regulated and heavily monitored not only by the FDA and USDA but also by the EPA and animal rights groups as well as the companies they sell their product to. I spent just a couple of hours on each of their farms and I just couldn’t believe they continue to do what they do. Seriously. It’s important to them to keep their food supply safe and healthy, because again – this is their livelihood.
On another post I’ll have to talk about the pig farm I visited and what I learned about GMO’s (genetically modified organisms.) It was eye opening and so informative for sure! And not at all as freaky as I had once thought. Remember all that hubbub about pink slime too? I learned I need to remember that scare sells. Sensationalism sells. Facts don’t always sell even though they are the truth. Anyhow, the reason why I mention all of this is because my opinion was changed about a lot of things after visiting and talking with these down-to-earth, homegrown folks. They provide dairy for companies like Dean’s and their hogs to Tyson and they provide beef to their local community. These aren’t big corporations. They are well-educated people who continually educate themselves about what they do. Most of the farmers I meet had a degree in agriculture as well as continuing education that they have provided to themselves. They keep updated on all the newest science. They hire veterinarians and nutritionists to regularly monitor their animals and farms. They are passionate. I mean, really, why else would you go into such a difficult profession if you didn’t truly love it? I learned that not all farmers do everything exactly the same way. There are lots of ways to do this but they were all passionate about what they do. Their pride was evident and they were more than happy to answer my millions of questions.
Got a question? Ask these folks right here! They are not only farmers and veterinarians but they are all bloggers. So all you have to do is go to their blog and ask away. The one thing they all kept saying to me is that they welcome the questions. They welcome the comments. They want to educate our nation about what they do! So, I thought I would show off some of their most popular recipes from their blogs so you could get to know them and their blogs. Make sure you follow them on social media. And next time you see something on Facebook that scares you or you are unsure about, reach out to your farmer and ask. Now, let’s get to these amazing recipes from these amazing women…and Stacey. Ha!
**JUST CLICK ON ANY OF THE PHOTOS BELOW TO TAKE YOU TO THE RECIPE**
Crock Pot Italian Beef Sandwiches from Chasing Saturdays
Crock Pot Beef Taco Soup from Farmwife Feeds
Sweet & Spicy Pork BBQ Ribs from Kimmi’s Dairyland
Taco Bake Casserole from Farmwife Cooks
Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Dip from Farmwife Crafts
Crock Pot Italian Meatball Soup from Recipes that Crock
Chicken Tortilla Soup from 3 Kids and Lots of Pigs
Buffalo Chicken Tacos from Hoosier Farm Babe
Garlic-Parmesan Macaroni and Cheese from Alarm Clock Wars
Crock Pot Whisky and Apricot Glazed Ham from Farmwife Drinks
Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Thighs from Walking the Off-Beaten Path
Refrigerator Pickles from The Backroad Life