Monday, March 28, 2016

Meat-filled Monday with beef

It was never difficult to find beef for meal options growing up. Not only did my family raise our own beef cattle [and still do], but we would often use our own cuts of meat to create home-cooked recipes for my mom, dad, sister and me. Beef was a staple item in my diet growing up. I was a cute little 9 year old with my first beef feeder calf named "Buddy". Raising my own calf with the intent of harvesting him for my nourishment taught me a lot growing up. It gave me a strong appreciation for food and lifestyle.

Caroline's Cues | Meat-filled Monday with beef

Like many, changes in finances, location and life situations can alter our diets. In college, I suffered beef deprivation. I was not consuming as much beef while studying at the university. Part of that was finances and other part proximity and meal frequency. I also had no clue how to cook steaks.

I'm still working on that. Dad always grilled them for the family growing up. It kept things simple. Mom and I would prepare the side dishes inside while he got the steaks ready. Now that I am a college graduate, you would think I knew a bit more about beef preparations.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

3 reasons you must have fun to win

Friday afternoon, the sun was beaming down on the dirt track and green infield. Hooves stomped the ground in anticipation. The crisp March air blew through the nostrils of eager horses, ready to race.

Above the barns, people gathered with family and friends, food, drinks and track schedules in hand. The track was ready. Jockies were assembling their gear and horse owners chatted their predictions with loved ones about the anticipated results. Race day at Fonner Park would start at 3:30 p.m. and the excitement was about to begin.

Caroline's Cues | 3 reasons you must have fun to winI attended Fonner Park races three times in 2015. For my first race of 2016, one of my customers sponsored the winning blanket and reserved the executive suite for about 30 customers and friends to join. Not only was this a new experience for me, but my seed advisor Roger had also never experienced the suite. He is a part owner of a few mares with some of his customers, so he has attended many races. This race was one for the books.

Roger's horse would race in the 9th and final race that day. Odds were decent for her to place. But she was not necessarily expected to win. Nonetheless, the rounds went on, beverages and food were flowing and conversation was plentiful. There were still many reasons to have fun and make a win out of the day.

Reason #1

When odds are against you, you must face adversity to have the chance to succeed.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Today's food, tomorrow's future -- National Ag Day 2016

Just a few years ago, I spent my first National Ag Day in Washington, D.C., talking to legislative assistants and congressional representatives about agricultural policy. I have returned two times during this week to not only share my ag story from my family farm in Ohio, but also to network and learn from those whose careers have been shared by food.

Today's food conversations are developing tomorrow's future. Guess what? It won't be stopping anytime soon. However, we have a duty. We must ensure the conversations are happening.

Caroline's Cues | National Ag Day 2016
Me and Congressman Latta, who is the representative for the Ohio district I grew up in.

Challenges or excuses

When I look back on old photographs, I know I have learned a lot about today's food policy and production. It is not all easy. It is not all the perfectly pruned barnyards and immaculate fields. There are many challenges in agriculture, besides what farmers are trying to overcome.

Monday night, I started typing this blog post to share on National Ag Day. What happened? My computer crashed. I use a MacBook Pro from college, so it is a little aged. That moment the screens began blinking and would not stop, I panicked. Many photos, files and experiences are on the hard drive of this computer. Guess what? That is just a little challenge. It is nothing compared to what others face on a daily basis.

Monday, March 14, 2016

My week, your week, National Ag Week!

Believe it or not, we have reached the middle of March! Spring is in the air and the seasons are shifting to much more tolerable weather... I know for me, anyway! Not only is weather changing, but outside activities and priorities are also.

This upcoming week, it is time to celebrate the integral industry for you, for me, and all humans. 
National Agriculture Week is from March 13-19, 2016. 

Caroline's Cues | Let's celebrate National Ag Week 2016

Here is an opportunity to thank a farmer, communication with your legislatures about the future of agriculture and learn more about the food, fibers and fuel produced from ag producers and products. As mentioned before, I grew up on a farm and in agriculture. However, there are still many new facts and information I learn each day! You can too.

This week is for all of us to come together as a community and open the conversation! I plan to share some fun agriculture facts this week and hope you will do the same. 
Please ask questions and share in the excitement. Without ag, where would we be?

What do you hope to learn or share during National Ag Week? Check out more at the official website for National Ag Day, on Tuesday, March 15th.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Marketing is a first-world issue. Let's change that.

The plethora of my college experience was in marketing and communications. Just a few years ago, I was in love with strategizing and developing campaigns to drive markets, meet consumer demand and ultimately, make more sales and impact the economy.

Now, I despise it.

Our world has become one of extraordinary misinformation. Superficial needs raise above those of fact. It is a first world issue.

You may disagree. However, as I analyze what I grew up with and what I desire now, the two do not align.

In rural northwest Ohio, I did not grow up with much. I did not need to. Growing up, my family was content on our little row crop and livestock farm. My mom, dad, sister and I stuck to our agricultural roots and spent a majority of our time in the great outdoors, working during the day (or after school was out) and coming back inside for dinner together in the evenings. At some point during my youth, that all changed. I cannot pinpoint the exact year, societal pressures or cultural shift. However, the shift has accelerated tremendously to now.

It is saddening to see how much disconnect stands between families, friends, communities and the world. You might disagree. You might think social media has made us more "social" and more "connected" than ever. I beg to differ.

Caroline's Cues | Perspective in marketing

The quote "perception is reality" is the unfortunate view of today's world. For example, the above photo I captured while in New Zealand in 2013. Fun farm fact (on Friday), there are more total sheep in New Zealand than people!

Is the sheep helpless or being helped? 

Caroline's Cues | Sheep Shearing in Agrondome, NZ
Sheep is propped on her haunches in preparation for shearing. 

Caroline's Cues | Sheep Shearing in Agrondome, NZ
The farmer began by shearing her belly, and proceeded to shear the rest of her
wool to be cleaned and made into clothing goods.

Caroline's Cues | Sheep Shearing in Agrondome, NZ
This shearing not only lifted some weight off the sheep's body, but allows
her to grow new, healthy hair -- just like when we get hair cuts!

If you did not have these additional photos of the sheep, would you have been inclined to think she was helpless?