Minorities in agriculture, while small, still hold a high spot in agriculture no matter the discipline. According to the USDA Blog, “Women Farmers: One Million Strong“, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan stated that, “When all women involved with farming are added up – including primary and secondary operators – they are nearly one million strong and account for 30% of U.S. farmers.” This is exciting news for agriculture, but even more so the individuals who you and I would never think of become interested in agriculture.

In this instance, it would be safe to say that Jason Brown and his wife are one in a million. Jason Brown, once a center in the NFL for the St. Louis Rams, left his $37 million dollar contract to farm with his family. Maybe one of the only NFL players to own a farm and run the operation, we in the agricultural community are excited he and his wife joined us.

Welcome, Jason!

- See more at: http://blogs.usda.gov/2013/04/29/women-farmers-one-million-strong/#sthash.VDdV7Unp.dpuf


LOUISBURG, N.C. - At one point number 60, Jason Brown, was one of the best centers in the NFL.

At one point he had a five-year, $37 million contract with the St. Louis Rams.

And at one point he decided it was all meaningless – and just walked away from football.

“My agent told me, ‘You’re making the biggest mistake of your life,’” said Brown. “And I looked right back at him and I said, ‘No I’m not. No I’m not.’”

So what could possibly trump the NFL?

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Jason Brown gets ready for a play against the New England Patriots in 2010.
Elsa, Getty Images

You wouldn’t believe.

Jason Brown quit football to be a plain, old farmer — even though he’d never farmed a day a in his life.

Asked how he learned to even know what to do, Brown said:

“Get on the Internet. Watch Youtube videos.”

He learned how to farm from Youtube.

Thanks to Youtube and some good advice from other farmers here in Louisburg, N.C., this week Jason finished harvesting his first, a five-acre plot of sweet potatoes.

“When you see them pop up out of the ground, man, it’s the most beautiful thing you could ever see,” said Brown. He said he has never felt more successful.

“Not in man’s standards,” said Brown. “But in God’s eyes.”

But God cares about the NFL, right? There are people praying to him on the field all the time.

“Yeah, there’s a lot of people praying out there,” said Brown. “But, when I think about a life of greatness, I think about a life of service.”

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Jason Brown tends to his fields in Louisburg, N.C.
CBS News

See, his plan for this farm, which he calls “First Fruits Farm,” is to donate the first fruits of every harvest to food pantries. Today it’s all five acres–100,000 pounds–of sweet potatoes.

“It’s unusual for a grower to grow a crop just to give away,” said Rebecca Page, who organizes food collection for the needy. “And that’s what Jason has done. And he’s planning to do more next year.”

Brown has 1,000 acres here, which could go a long way toward eliminating hunger in this neck of North Carolina.

“Love is the most wonderful currency that you can give anyone,” said Brown.

“Are you sure you played in the NFL?” I asked.

“Yes.”

“Because I feel like cuddling you right now.”

“Don’t do that!” he said.

Brown may have left the NFL, but apparently holding is still a penalty.

Story from: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/former-nfl-player-farms-for-good/

Thank you to Donita Graves, Laramie Peak CattleWomen for your contribution!
It was recognized years ago that generations of young people were moving further away from their roots in agriculture. No longer was their awareness of where the basic components of daily life had their origin. As a result, the Wyoming CattleWomen organized an outreach program, called Ag Expos, that teamed up with various local businesses and agencies to offer a fun, hands-on day for third and fourth graders across the state. The Laramie Peak CattleWomen (LPCW) got involved in hosting their own each fall.

The 2014 Laramie Peak CattleWomen Ag Expo was hosted by Top Hat Arena in Wheatland. About 175 elementary students attended the event.

The 2014 Laramie Peak CattleWomen Ag Expo was hosted by Top Hat Arena in Wheatland. About 175 elementary students attended the event.

Dozens of individual farmers and ranchers, as well as local agricultural businesses willingly commit themselves to take part on alternate years. Liz Lauck, this year’s chairman, coordinated 10 “stations” with each business responsible for a display and demonstration that connects their livelihood directly to agriculture.
Hatten’s Top Hat Arena generously offered their facility as the staging ground on Oct. 2 for this year’s LPCW Ag Expo. Buses came loaded with students from Chugwater, Glendo and Wheatland. A number of homeschoolers also took advantage of this learning experience. Glendo’s entire FFA Chapter, as well as several from Wheatland FFA, volunteered their services to act as guides for each break-off group as they circled to each station.

The Glendo FFA Chapter and members of the Wheatland FFA volunteered their day to help with the 2014 Laramie Peak CattleWomen Ag

The Glendo FFA Chapter and members of the Wheatland FFA volunteered their day to help with the 2014 Laramie Peak CattleWomen Ag

The Wyoming Game & Fish display of animals pelts native to Wyoming was very popular. Stroking a wolf hide and seeing its actual size isn’t something most kids get to do. Dr. Dan Harnish came from Harnish Veterinary Services with a presentation on large animal health practices. The Platte County Resource District gave lessons on tree rings and how to determine the age of the trees and in what kind of conditions the tree grew.
A gentle cow, provided by Sherri Cullen, was content to show off her calf as a trade-off for being hand fed by the students. Hatten’s penned a standard-sized horse along with a pony for comparison. A donkey was generous with his braying to greet the kids as Cynthia Pedersen discussed the equine species. Austin Pedersen brought several of his well-behaved chickens to be introduced to the students.

Sherri Cullen talks about cattle production at the 2014 Laramie Peak CattleWomen Ag Expo.

Sherri Cullen talks about cattle production at the 2014 Laramie Peak CattleWomen Ag Expo.

Austin Pedersen teaches students about chickens at the 2014 Laramie Peak CattleWomen Ag Expo.

Austin Pedersen teaches students about chickens at the 2014 Laramie Peak CattleWomen Ag Expo.

Huey Nickle parked an empty cattle transport trailer for all to explore the interior. A tractor, provided by Brown Co., was available for inspection as Derek Barton answered questions and emphasized farm safety.

Brown Co.’s Derek Barton talks about the role of tractors on farms and ranches and the importance of farm safety at the 2014 Laramie Peak CattleWomen Ag Expo.

Brown Co.’s Derek Barton talks about the role of tractors on farms and ranches and the importance of farm safety at the 2014 Laramie Peak CattleWomen Ag Expo.

LPCW members, Lindy Schroeder, Jan Hyche and Judy West, represented the BEEF industry in explaining the stages of cattle production and the wide variety of products, besides food, that beef supplies to the American public.
As the students viewed the various stations, Brook Brockman, Program Coordinator for the Wyo. Department of Agriculture, offered an educational opportunity for their teachers. A wide variety of helpful materials were displayed and available for use in the classroom.
During the noon break, following a delicious beef lunch provided by Cindy Schanaman and Jeri Currier, The Platte County Resource District and Natural Resources Conservation Service demonstrated its rainfall simulator. Using several different samples of soil, the device simulates how soil structure, tillage practices and other factors affect precipitation runoff.
As students returned to the buses, they were each given a packet of surprises for home use. Hopefully, memories of their day and what they learned will stay with them in the future.

Mary Evans and Sydney Burek from the Platte County Resource District teach students what can be learned by studying tree rings at the 2014 Laramie Peak CattleWomen Ag Expo

Mary Evans and Sydney Burek from the Platte County Resource District teach students what can be learned by studying tree rings at the 2014 Laramie Peak CattleWomen Ag Expo

Rachel Purdy had the opportunity of a lifetime and took that chance to create a new chapter in her advocating career for the beef industry. Rachel spent time in local grocery stores like the Cheyenne Sam’s Club to educate and answer questions for consumers. According to the Wyoming Livestock Roundup (WyLR), Rachel states the she is, “…excited to represent the Cowboy State as a member of the national team, there’s still work to be done at home, too.” She has worked hard to educate consumers about various aspects of the livestock industry including the shock of an electric fence.  The purpose of the video was to show that an electric fence would not hurt you or a large animal, but instead,  just give a warning not to go farther. She jokes that her Dad enjoyed the making of the video a little too much as Rachel touched the fence. While to some of us, we would think she is crazy, but in reality it turned out to be a great way to reach out to people who are disconnected to agriculture.

sams demo

Consumer education is key to the Wyoming Beef Ambassadors as they reached out to consumers at the Cheyenne Sam’s Club.

Currently, Rachel is serving as the Secretary for the University of Wyoming Collegiate Cattle Association, is a Wyoming Stock Growers Association Youth Joint Member and is majoring in Agricultural Business at the University of Wyoming. We are proud that Rachel is representing our state and the ranchers who don’t have the time to advocate like Rachel. During her time as a Wyoming Beef Ambassador she states again in the WyLR that, “What really inspired me about this program is I’ve had producers come up to me at consumer demos and say, ‘Thank you – I don’t have time to do this’. I have to make sure I’m at home to feed in the morning…”

The competition for the National Beef Ambassador team was a process that Rachel has prepared for since she was fifteen. Rachel shares her experience with Real Ranchers and looks forward to the upcoming year – Congratulations, Rachel!

“The last weekend in September the National Beef Ambassador competition was held in Denver, Colorado. In case you have not heard of the beef ambassador program, it is a program that provides the opportunity for youth to share their beef story, and promote beef. It is funded in part by the Beef Checkoff and managed by the American National CattleWomen, Inc, I was honored to represent the state of Wyoming at this level. There were 20 senior contestants in total and 10 junior contestants from around the country.”
“This competition consists of four areas; consumer promotion, education and outreach strategy, media interview technique, and issues response. The lucky five individuals that receive the highest scores have the opportunity to travel around the country and promote beef. At the awards banquet, I was ecstatic when my name was called as a member of the 2015 National Beef Ambassador team. I will be working alongside Will Pohlman (Arkansas), Alicia Smith (Texas), Kalyn McKibben (Oklahoma), and Demi Snider (Ohio) were also chosen to represent the beef industry in the coming year. I feel very blessed to have received this opportunity, and am looking forward to what this year will bring!”

NBAP2014_new team

Rachel - ChecksPictured L to R: Kalyn McKibben, Rachel Purdy, Will Pohlman, Alicia Smith and Demi Snider.)

For more information about the program, please visit: http://www.wyocattlewomen.org/ambassador.htm
or: http://www.nationalbeefambassador.org/

Look for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup article from Laura Nelson about Rachel’s experience in the October 4th edition or visit www.wylr.net.

Tyson joined our internship late this summer, but we are glad he did! The Red Canyon Ranch has been a great place to learn about Wyoming ranching and resource management. Enjoy learning about Tyson and what he has learned.

Hauling Hay

The first  few months of this internship have been very eye-opening to me. I have been fortunate enough to be included in a range of activities that have helped me to understand what goes into running a functioning cattle ranch. By being able to work for a large-scale cattle operation, I will be better prepared when trying to run my own operation.

In June One of my main duties was irrigating. The first month I have been trying to irrigate every pasture at least once. Although this activity doesn’t have much benefit toward my education, it definitely gives me much-needed real-world experience that will come in useful while trying to efficiently run my own operation. My favorite activity that I have been fortunate enough to participate in is the range riding. Before this internship I had very little experience moving cows on horseback, but the more I ride the more comfortable I feel. Moving cows on horseback is a skill that will be very useful to me in my desired future line of work

 

In July, along with irrigating, I had a few other mixed duties that I was asked to complete. I was asked to do routine maintenance on a wind rower during the time we were haying at the ranch. This maintenance Included cleaning air filters, greasing all moving parts, replacing sickle guards and sickles, and fueling on a daily basis. In my mind proper machinery maintenance is one of the most important duties on a working ranch. If you don’t take care of your machines, they aren’t going to take care of you. After all the hay was cut, I was then assigned to help stack hay. This was the first time that I have ever stacked round hay bales before, and it was a totally new experience to me. All of these experiences that I have been fortunate enough to have this summer have taught me that although I have learned so much this summer, I still have a long ways to go before I am ready to start out on my own.

Irrigating

Contributed By:
Rachel Purdy- Wyoming Beef Ambassador

sams demoOne of my favorite parts of being a beef ambassador is having the ability to correct the misinformation surrounding the beef community. On July 11-12 Garrett Irene and I helped at the Cheyenne Sam’s Club beef tenderloin demo. The American National Cattle Women and the beef checkoff helped fund this event. The recipe we featured was a Beef It’s What’s For Dinner recipe called Succulent Filet In A Field of Greens. If you want to make this recipe yourself, the link can be found here: http://www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com/recipe.aspx?id=3320

We had the opportunity to interact with a variety of consumers. Some were big fans of beef and were excited to try out this recipe. One consumer told me they loved beef, but only felt they could eat it once or twice a week due to health reasons. I was able to talk to this consumer about the health benefits of beef. She was very surprised to learn that one 3-ounce serving of beef provides almost half of a day’s protein, B12, and selenium for only about eight percent of your daily calories. For me, the most rewarding part of this event was seeing people come to us with concerns, and after a conversation with them, seeing them go over to the meat case and buy beef. The Wyoming Beef Ambassadors will be doing another beef promotion event at the Cheyenne Sam’s Club on September 6-7. We look forward to seeing you there!

To like the Wyoming Beef Ambassadors on Facebook, go to: https://www.facebook.com/WyBeefAmbassador.

Here is another update from Jackalyn!

This past week, I continued to cut hay.0729140823 (2) There are sickles that move back and forth on a bar that extends from the back end of the tractor. These sickles need to be changed about every 6-8 hours of use. I learned how to change these on my tractor by removing a bolt and sliding the sickles out. It sounds easier than it turned out but I was able to get them changed. After cutting hay all day, I had to maintenance my tractor by greasing components, filling 0729140821awith diesel fuel, and sharpening the old sickles at the end of the day. Sharpening sickles was pretty fun with the electric sanding tool. A few days it was raining pretty hard and I was unable to cut hay and fixed fences instead.
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Thank you,
Jackalyn

Here is on update from Jackalyn on her past week at the Brokaw Ranch!

This past Monday, I fixed fences and learned how to cut hay. There are sickles that move back and forth on this bar that extends out from the tractor. I learned how to grease components on the tractor, sharpen the sickles, and float to cut hay. Sharpening the sickles was pretty fun with the electric sanding tool I used.

0725141028a (2)

On Tuesday, I moved cows out of a neighbor’s pasture, cleaned the house, and mowed the lawn.

On Wednesday, we had to fix the gasket on one of the tractors, as well as fix a crack…this did not go well and needed to be redone on Friday.

Thursday and Friday I cut hay and soon I will learn how to rake if the rain holds this next week.

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