Euthanasia and Slaughter

http://www.griggsdakota.com/2011/12/for-love-of-horses.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+griggsdakota%2FdtCX+%28Griggs+Dakota%29

and

http://networkedblogs.com/rNGVY

The above are a couple of informative articles related to horse slaughter.

And let us become fully informed about the drugs used in euthanasia:

http://www.avma.org/issues/animal_welfare/euthanasia.pdf

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Humane Society

http://www.hpj.com/archives/2011/dec11/dec12/1207LoosTalesMRsr.cfm

HSUS does not benefit your local humane society.  A tiny part of their budget supports animal rescue; the great majority of the money that people give when they see those terribly heart-rending ads showing those poor animals, is directed at either domestic terror tactics against your food producers, or generating more money to keep the pockets full of the huge management organization.

If you want to donate to shelters, do so directly, in your own backyard as it were, local shelters are always needing donations.  In a similar vein, choose the Salvation Army to donate for human benefits.  Everyone always forgets the Salvation Army and it’s budget greatly returns to your local community members.  Take care of your family and neighbors FIRST.

OMG OMG OMG

I had started this as a draft and saved the above several days ago.  Today, I find this current news story:

http://www.ussportsmen.org/page.aspx?pid=2954&erid=10592436&trid=fdfddf70-e02d-495f-8dda-549b7e5b492d

Wow, the heat is really on! 

In the wake of the President signing the recent bill in November than opened doors for horse slaughter to rear its head again in this whole mix of animal rights issues, we need to thoroughly examine what is of real value for the majority!  But for now, please read the information at these links!

PS:  So, I recently dropped the website I had where there was a lengthy page that discussed the history of HSUS and why so many of its recent actions were just wrong.  Do people want to read that?  It included info on the original recorded goals of HSUS to include elimination of all animal husbandry.

Here’s an interesting little story:

http://www.agweek.com/event/article/id/224358/publisher_ID/40/

HAY! again

I’m not getting along with wordpress very well it seems.  We are not resolving very well incorporating pictures and text.  But we’ll try again.
The previous hay pictures shared show so-called “Big Round Bales” which are mixed alfalfa/grass usually, and mostly in this area of the country are from the first cutting of the field.  First cutting in the midwest is the most growthy, and becomes stemmy and coarse when it cannot be harvested in May, as has been the case in the last two springs, when most people could not get into the fields between rain showers until late June.  I plan to talk about the process of hay making and variations of baling next season.  I know that the process and quality of hay varies quite a bit around this big country.

We carry our round bales on the rear fork attachment of our little tractor, down the lane to one of our two groups of ponies (separated by size to make competition for feed more equal).   The round bales are stored outside by most people, and are wrapped by the hay equipment during the baling process, with plastic netting that helps shed rain/moisture as well as maintain the strength and shape of the bale for transport.  The bottom of the bale setting on the ground does get a layer of decay, but the animals simply avoid eating that part.  Some people “serve” the bale as it sits stored, so that the decayed part stays on the ground, but that can also cause concern depending on the group of animals and how they eat at the bale, because the core of the bale is the sweetest and best preserved, and some groups tend to eat the core first which can leave a shell that will collapse.  So we tip the bales up on end and get all the plastic off at the onset and this seems to work well for us.  It actually helps with the mini horse group to have a taller pony in the 13 hand range, to eat away from the top part and tear it apart for them.  But with about ten ponies chewing on a round bale, it lasts only about a week.  If you had only a couple horses it might not be very efficient to feed a big round bale because the weather could make much of it deteriorate once it was opened, before they could consume it.  With our group of bigger horses/ponies, also about 10 head, they finish off these round bales in just 3-4 days.

In the previous “HAY!” post the pictures showed our stallion, The Executive, in riding training.  I believe this was his 3rd ride, and we were very pleased that he accepted the scarey tractor and big bale monster going by without much fuss, heading on out to ride in the pasture.

Thirsty Thursday

The theme for today will probably through time encompass lots of concepts, related to hunger and thirst.  Food and agriculture should be my focus after my recent AgChat conference experience where I got lots of good advice and training about social media opportunities, as well as met so many great people; but people also thirst for other things….many people think of thirst for power, for example.  But  today I focus on my personal recognition of my thirst for success (financial).  I have always tried to be a really good person.  But sometimes it seems like being a good person does not help you be successful in life, which has always puzzled me greatly.  So I continue to ponder.  But at this point in my life I am devoting tons of energy and focus towards making my dream of the miniature gypsy horse come into being.  I am amazed when I run into opposition to the idea.  But that is a really long term effort on my and my family’s part.  And I have to be thankful for the successes (non-financial)  in life which I have had, including being blessed to have a supportive family.

Short term goals for being successful right now include being involved with a business family I am really impressed with:  Visalus.

This company, Visalus, has amazing people as leaders.  The primary product of the company is a protein (soy) based powder meal replacement that is of the highest quality available within the competitive market.  This recent few months have seen a bunch of athletes and body builders get involved, because of the opportunities the product and the company offer.   Personally, I and my family use the protein Vi-shake to help limit calories since we are “easy keepers” like our cob ponies….but it is a product that is a nutritional supplement not only for those who want to build muscle mass, but those who need to maintain muscle mass without the extra calories, those with health problems like diabetes, high cholesterol or digestive issues such as post gastric surgery.  But the most magical thing about the Vi-shake product is that is tastes SO GOOD!  and of course, you can use it as the basis for a multitude of fruity or frozen shakes to build variety in your diet (as well as adding it into other food dishes to add nutritional value!).

To find out a little bit more about Visalus, please visit my website:

http://minigypsy.bodybyvi.com/

And to see one of the three founders of Visalus at work, watch this:  (I guess making flip videos and driving is not against the law in California!)

http://youtu.be/qGrADRIGEZk

I am also currently involved in a CEO course offered by another of the three founders of Visalus (Ryan Blair), and at the beginning I am being reminded of the things that make people successful:  unwavering commitment to success.  I will likely be sharing some of these Youtube videos quite often because they really do contain information that cannot be disputed contain great advice for anyone.  But it reinforces why I believe Visalus is a great company and I agree with Blake Mallen in his video above; this company is going far.  I invite you to join with me on the ride!

http://youtu.be/qGrADRIGEZk

Monday Labor Day

Well, I’m working on trying to learn to manipulate my way around this new blogging experience; trying to figure out connections to other social media….I joined Twitter and Facebook both about a year and a half ago and for some reason couldn’t get really comfortable with Twitter yet but have learned my way around Facebook for the most part.   I just know that you can’t learn something new without jumping in there and DOING it, so I’ve made the commitment to devote time to this new tool for communication.

I had a great experience in August that I want to talk with you about–I attended the second annual AgChat Foundation conference held in Nashville, TN.  There was a fascinating group of presenters of information about using social media, including leaders from the Farm Bureau organization, as well as a new organization called US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRAonline.org).  But many people involved were like me, inspired from some previous experience in life that prompted them to feel compelled to connect with some of the millions of Americans who have no links whatsoever to agriculture except that they eat food.

People involved with AgChat Foundation feel it is VITAL to the health and well-being of everyone on this plant to be more connected to the process of how food makes it to their tables.  From eons, centuries of the process people have travelled from being hunters/gatherers to farmers–in just the last couple generations suddenly a fraction of the population are becoming responsible for feeding the masses.  And the masses need to become “grounded” again, to know the value of the people who produce their food.  We are certainly in this process together, and need to know who the other person is.

I was struck by a scene in an old movie the other day, where the characters were sitting and eating a meal at table.  One popped up and said something like, “Gramps old sow ate all 12 of her piglets last week”.  In today’s society that might be viewed as horrendous and call up the troops from the animal rights crowd to go and shut down the farm business.  But it is actually a risk that any farmer lives with in producing the meat that goes on your table.  Back in the 1940’s when this movie was made, people commonly accepted that this was something that farmers dealt with.  Today’s society wants to place blame somehow for the way nature works, and how we live with it.  Why are farmers at risk of being put out of business in today’s world for what is a natural occurance?  That is what I ponder and want to try to convey to people; that farmers are doing the best that they can with the resources that they have.  Otherwise they are soon out of business and that is a real loss, because it becomes harder and harder to find another person to take up the slack.

Local farm agriculture in public
Farming neighbor Bennett Kuster

This is Bennie, a local successful farmer entering his retirement years.  I will likely interview him in future to get his feedback about coming to a point in life where he will apparently have no one in his family to go on with the farm business.  Like so many people in my area, his land or estate will either get divided and sold off eventually or may be rented out by another farmer as income for the family.  But it is the passing of an era and one of the many stories of how agriculture and farming has developed through the years.

 
So I guess the above information sets up the reasons why I appreciate being able to attend the recent AgChat Fdtn conference.  I’d like to share some highlights of the many things I learned, or was pointed toward learning, for using social media as a means of connecting with people who are interested in where their food comes from and want to learn why it is still important to support your local farmer.   Agriculture comes in many sizes these days and it is a long and complex story as to why government supported the success of large farmers vs. the old fashioned mom and pop small acreage farmers of yesteryear.  But it all comes down to feeding the world.
 
I know this is getting long already, but the main points conveyed at the conference were all about using many various tools available on the internet to inform the general public about agriculture in an entertaining way.  So we got tips about taking pictures and videos, and pointed in the right direction about how to try to involve new people in conversations thru social media.  And the tools are so numerous, I got kind of cross-eyed thinking about interconnecting sites like Twitter, Facebook, and some new and upn’coming sites like Google-Plus.  Pandora offers music; the weather channel is always important to farmers of course!  There was information about a drop box in the cloud….are you getting the picture, I’m still trying to grasp what I took notes about!
 
Ray  Prock was an interesting character, he is a California dairy farmer (raylindairy.wordpress.com) who uses mostly his Android phone for social media connections.  Of course when you start talking about what phones can do these days….and people had a variety of phones at the conference and used them all successfully, from old fashioned texting, to iphones, Blackberries, you name it.  Where there is a will, there is a way.
 
Blogging was probably the biggest focus of information for me, as well as using “Linked In” for a business platform.  Privacy and security issues were discussed.  We were reminded that being “real” is probably the most important thing, and encouraged to develop a credible reputation.  In the world of Google, searchers learn to look for certain credible media connections.  Of course it is of utmost value to develop trust among peers and base information on research and science.  It is also important to create great Headlines on your blog. (I’m open to ideas!)
 
Valuable advice was given about how to respond to personal attacks on social media.  Mostly we learned to “consider the source”…just like momma used to say, sometimes it’s better to just turn and walk away.  Certainly don’t become overly defensive; always look at a negative feedback as an opportunity to open a conversation, not come out swinging ready for a fight.
 
The closing statements of the AgChat Foundation conference came from Jeff Fowle of California (commonsenseagriculture.com) who also is one who converses thru social media from horseback using his phone.  Jeff is outgoing President of AgChat Fdtn.  He reminded us that our passion can be an asset or a liability, but let it be an incentive to reach out, build bridges, grow new communities.  Jeff wants us to encourage curiosity, and show that we care so that we can empower others to put the “culture” back in agriculture.  The strongest relationships that we have should always be person to person, but we also need more “backyard” people, those neighbors who come drop by our porch for a chat of a pleasant evening.  Online social media is a wonderful tool for us to reach out to new people, but Jeff reminds us that we need to be that REAL neighbor and family member first!

Hello and welcome

Wow, I’ve finally taken the plunge and started a real blog!  It has seemed to be so intimidating for me to take this on even tho I have admired others who have had their blogs going on for a few years now.

But when I attended the recent AgChat seminar I made the commitment to become a blogger as a means to communicate with others who might be interested in agriculture issues or my family’s life on our farm; so here goes!

By the way, I want to give thanks to some people involved with the recent AgChat seminar.  There are so many but of course I need to start out with Jan Hoadley (SlowMoneyFarm.com), who made sure I got there;  Mike Haley, Ray Prock (raylindairy.wordpress.com), Jeff Howle (commonsenseagriculture.com), Drew Bender, Darin Grimm (AgChat.org), JohnLindsey Blue (Trufflemedia.com),  Michele Payn Knoper, Katie Pinkie (pinkepost.blogspot.com), Amy Sipes (www.johnscustommeats.com), Janic e Person (feedstuffsfoodlink.com), Ryan Goodman (agricultureproud.com) and Kathy McComb Swift.  I apologize to those whom I did not find your link information quickly…hopefully I can become more smooth and thorough as I work thru learning blogging!

I did want to thank Katie Pinke especially for a wonderful jar of honey from her area of the country!  Go check out her blog!

and a couple others who shared in their blogs after the Agchat 2011 event:

http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Foregongreen.wordpress.com%2F2011%2F08%2F29%2Fusing-north-dakota-honey-in-portlandia%2F&h=dAQCLwkO2AQDtOqFBQpABr4umlPbyReT3kOUO1TUVwM6thw

This is a great blog piece about conference as well:

http://sustainablewoodmark.com/2011/08/agchat-conference/