When the rain finally fell.

rain

 


And the heavens opened up and the rain fell.

The fires roared, the land was charred or left barren, animals were lost, livelihoods were shattered, yet that small glimmer of tomorrow being a new day helped many press on.

Numerous people have been begging, praying, screaming, trying to make deals in order for the rain to fall. The same moment that Christ had, while hanging on the cross, of, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” has been on the lips of many and on the hearts of all. While donations of hay, feed, water, and fencing supplies are coming in; the rebuilding time has officially began, and also the threat of more fires. Fires restarted again, in the Texas Panhandle, Oklahoma, and Kansas, and, first responders were able to extinguish those. But that threat is still ever present, lingering within the land and the people.

But, a new sound is being heard… not the rage of a fire and the cackling of grasslands being taken over, but the soft pitter-patter that refreshes the soul and the mind. Rain is falling. The land is still damaged, hearts are still weary, but the promise of a new day and new tomorrow is felt in every drop and heard in every patter.

The land, the livestock, the livelihoods, and the people have needed this refreshing moment, and now it finally has arrived. Some would say too late, but others would say, right on time.

The reminder that all is well, all will be well, and all will continue to be well. As the rain falls, you can’t help but sit still for a moment and thank God, thank all who has been a part of this journey. Both near and far, young and old, able hands and bodies, have come together and united to provide some form of hope. The rising out of the ashes is being followed by the downpour of love and courage, strength and motivation.

Ranch rodeos in honor of the ones who lost their lives during the fires have been held and are underway, giving many the opportunity to laugh, cry, and get rowdy; a time to repair their weary and worn hearts. To let the ashes of the pain extinguish out and the dust settle. New births of calves are being seen and the bottle calves who may not have had a fighting chance on their own, are now happy and healthy, surely thankful for the patient hands that helped them to press on.

This rain is a reminder that we are not the ones who hold tomorrow, we are the ones that care for the land and the livestock and are blessed each day by that wonderful job. We are all a part of a greater plan, more glorious than any could comprehend. The joys of tomorrow are being heard across the Texas panhandle, Oklahoma, and Kansas, today, because as our hearts are being rejuvenated by the refreshing noise of rain is being heard.

So, we will press on and always remember what it felt like when the rain finally fell.

 

                                                                                                            -Hope Sorrells

 

 

out of the ashes, We Rise.

sunset


“I have lost everything.”

“Out of the 812 head of cows, they had to put down 725 of them.”

“Calves are burned up on one side, and just fine on the other.”

“I have already found 15 more animals to put down this morning. I am tired of killing.”

“As I was fighting the fire, I knew the direction it had turned to. My house, my property.”

“My family runs 6 generations deep on this land.”

“Only 6 steers and a few heifers were spared.”

The reality of the fires that hit Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado. Ranchers finally, finding time and energy to assess the damage that had been done. Within minutes and hours, ranches were scorched, livestock, pets, and wildlife had no where to go, and the dynamics of the ranching communities were forever changed.

But, within a matter of minutes and hours, communities, neighbors, friends, regions, areas, states, and even a nation began to come together; to unite. Drop off points in the Texas Panhandle are overflowing with mountains of bottles of water, and loads after loads of hay. Donations that were selflessly given, time and effort spent, humbly, to provide care for livestock and ranchers, alike.

“A drop of 80 squares bales of alfalfa just came.”

“If we get anymore bottles of water, we are going to be able to fill water trucks to water livestock!”

“Every bit of these donations are going to be used.”

“I have a semi and a load of hay, where do I need to take it?”

“Hi, I am from Vermont, and want to help! Where and what do people need the most?”

Thousands of people and dollars coming together to help to rebuild the foundation that America is built off of. A delicate culture that will need more cultivation, now, than ever before. 

The ranching lifestyle is a more romantic profession. Not the love kind of romance. But more of, an ebb and flow of give and takes, life and death, good and bad days, the promise of tomorrow, but living in today because tomorrow is not always promised. It is the memories on the walls of the first homestead of a ranch, the whispers off of sorting pens that your great-great granddad built. It is the the first stand of a newborn calf, the bawl of a momma who has lost her baby, the creek of a saddle room door. The thought of “if these walls could talk”, the cultivation of the land so that it continues to provide for the animals that the Lord has chosen you to take care of. And, it is the moments of major destruction and devastation that the ranching lifestyle becomes the most romantic.

There is no day off to mourn, except for the ones who lost their lives during the fires, there  is no day off to be down on the fact that land and livestock and lives were taken. No. These men and women, woke up, prepped their hearts and minds and set off to rescue the ones that made it through the blaze. The ones, surrounded by ash, that were able to make it through. They went on scavenging their property for animals, and save-able pieces of fencing, barns, maybe even a halter or two. Calves that were orphaned are now being bottle fed, cows without their calves are having to be milked to release the pressure off their bags. Horses are being doctored, wildlife is being fed off of people’s back porches. Life and death, the good and bad, come with tired eyes, giving hearts, and strong, calloused hands.

“This is a pretty harsh world we live in. And Mother Nature can sure be relentless more times than not. And that’s why I would say I’m drawn to our culture. Our lifestyle. No matter what this old world puts on us or tries to take from us we overcome it time and time again. This is proved throughout our history. From the livestock lost to lives of loved ones, before and in my time, that have been cut short. I know these times will come to pass and we will dust off and keep going. Never forgetting these times.”

The heritage that was lost during the fires will continue to live on through the men and women. The generation of cattle blood line that were taken, the thousands of acres of pastures that were consumed, the homesteads that had been on the property long before cars and cell phones, now just a past piece of history that stays in the minds of the ranchers, cowboys, and cowgirls. The rebuilding process will be long and hard, days of bad will intercept some of the days of good. But the hope and faith that has and will continue to be provided will give the strength to look forward to the days to come because…

Out of the ashes, we rise.

–Hope Sorrells

The Stock Show Look.

stockshow


For many of us, stock show was a part of our lives for many years. The road trips, the long hours in line, and finally show day. This process is long, starting with the day you decide what animal species you are going to show to, finally, the long walk back to the truck after your final show and animal. Since the process is long: Ag Teachers, County Agents, parents, and stock show-ers all go through certain stock show “looks” that fluctuate as often as the seconds, minutes, and hours devoted to stock shows. The BEST looks you get are during the actual stock show. They go something like this…

Number One. Early Morning Sleepies: This look consist of girls with no make-up, and guys with messed up hair. They have a weird lost look that appears around 15 seconds after exiting the truck to begin the long walk to the grounds. They appear lost, with mouths gapping open, just a tad bit. Yawns come in frequent spurts and they are constantly rubbing their eyes while trying to feed, walk in steers, or un-muzzle their lambs. Amid this look, the stock show-er cannot hear what their Ag teacher/Agent/parent are saying. Their ears have yet to wake up, and the noises that they hear range from Charlie Brown’s teacher to being underwater. The look is accessorized with an array of bagging shirts, wash pants, and most likely comfy shoes. The hair is messy and fluffy and there is still early morning sleepies in the corner of the eye.

Number Two. Getting Ready Action: This look is one that you will never miss. There is a frantic, panicky look plastered to the face of the show-er and adult. They are quickly changing shirts, wiping down pigs, pulling steers away from the stalls. There is last minute water sprays, clip movements, and the smell of every show product because your perfume. Eyes are wide, mouth is in a straight line, and focus creeps up. Eyebrows set in, and stock show mode has started. Ag teachers and County agents have this same look, but they are on the side lines. They watched, arms crossed, eyes like laser beams between the judge and their student. Nothing can usually break their concentration.

Number Three. Awkward Sleepy Judgement: This look comes after the show-er has made their way through the first two looks. It is the third look that occurs during stock show. This happens while sitting at their pens or sitting in the stands. It comes with furrowed eyebrows and an intense side gaze with a crinkled lip or nose. They are judging anything from the color of someone’s shoes, to the corn dog being eaten next to them to the pigs getting to eat before they do. They usually follow the item or person they are judging and make it so noticeable that everyone around them can pretty much read their mind… but they have no idea they are doing it. It is an awkward sleepy motion that is out of sheer reflex. There is no back thoughts, rhyme or reason. It just kind of shows up and stays plastered to their faces.

Number Four. Walking Dead: This look. Oh this look, is the best to spot. It begins with the person slowly zoning out, and there is no warning. The zoning has no bias and can occur mid bite of a burger, mid-conversation, mid-life talk with the ag teacher or parent, mid-butt chewing from an angry momma. The eyes begin to glaze over, the mouth open, full concentration is on the nothingness that is currently going on in their brain. You can hardly snap them out of this; there is no way too. You must leave them be, let them be taken into the walking dead zombie look. Sugar, coffee, a corn dog, or a good slap to the back of the head may help, however, may the odds be ever in your favor.

Number Five. Victory Is Ours: Lastly, this look is a mixture of the previous four. You are rubbing sleepies out of your eyes, while a frantic, panic look is in the eyes, with the crinkle of the judgement nose, and an odd stare. All of that is followed by a grin that creeps up from the inner being of the soul. It starts small and then spreads across the face and lights up the whole body. This occurs when the show-er has won its class, or even breed. It gets even crazier if a Champion or Reserve Champion title is won. The is accompanied by jumping, screaming, shrieking like a dying witch, intense high fives, aggressive grunts and fist pumps, and then some petty, sleepy tears.

All of this happens, multiple times, over multiple shows, and it is a vicious cycle, over and over again. Sad thing is, it is like crack to anyone who loves the livestock industry. After the end of every stock show season, there is multiple conversations that all end in the same answer, “I will not do this next year,” and every year, an animal is bought, a truck is packed, and the saying “We are stock show bound” is posted on social media.

The vicious, yet glorious cycle of stock show, the ones that love it, and the looks that are always around.

Ya know, the stock show looks.

A Woman Not of This World.

quote

“If you belong to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” John 15:19.

Growing up in a Christian home, you always hear about being “not of this world” or the persecution that Christians will one day face. As a young child you think, “This is not true. All my friends care about me! No one is out to get me or hurt me. Doesn’t everyone love Jesus like I do?” But as you grow older, you face much more reality. Not everyone is kind and compassionate. Not everyone loves Jesus like you do.

In very recent events, a march that was for Women has began to turn heads, and frustrate and infuriate everyone, including women of God. There are signs that discuss feministic sayings, while sporting female reproductive organs as costumes, discussing the right of abortion, and even slandering the God Almighty that we all love and adore… but let me rewind and back track. What is all this commotion about? What does all of this boil down to? Is it really that we are second to men or have we completely forgotten why women were even created?

Just today, a post was on Facebook, and it was a photograph of two women, holding a hand made sign, at this march, that read:

“If Mary had had an abortion, we wouldn’t be in this mess.”


After seeing that, every Christian woman went through multiple emotions: anger, resentment, fury, unexplained hurt. My Lord and Savior, once again has been stripped down to nothing more than a man with a humanly mother. And apparently, that mother should have aborted him. What is this world that we are living in today?


As I watch and read everything going on, and as I try and control my own emotions, I can’t help but think that, “God still loves them.”

And then, I see another post and my emotions go wild, I hear a small voice that silences my worldly thoughts and views. That voice says, “My Child, I still love them, even if tears are falling. I still love them.”

Then, stopping dead in my emotions and thoughts, I think, “I have to be Christ-like. I must be Christ-like. I need to remember what our plan and purpose is on this earth.”

We have enough women who are tough, rude, course, full of fame and fortune, greed, vanity, and popularity. Why not, Women of Christ, Women Not of This World, why not be meek and mild, tender, soft-hearted, compassionate, ordinary, humble, and have virtue. We need more women to have a compassionate side, to embrace ones that are hurting. If we really want to make a change, love has to be the foundation. We are called to love everyone, just as Christ did. We are all the sinners, the soiled, so why are we passing blame and judgement on each other?

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

{Let that verse be your anthem, let it be your battle cry, and if you have to walk into battle, and least be clothed in as much love as you can possibly contain.}

Dear Women Not of this world,

Instead of slandering the march and the ones in the march. How about sending prayers their way. Instead of bashing abortion, why not send out a loving hand to a woman or girl who is having one or who had one. Instead of running in fear of women who are of other religions, why not invite them over for lunch. Instead of saying “well she deserved to be raped,” how about raise awareness amongst boys and girls alike on how to identify serious situations and how to remove yourself or someone else. How about just love. Love others with your whole heart so that Christ shines through constantly and so that satan cannot put out your light. And bless as many people as possible.

Bless the woman who had an abortion. Bless the Muslim woman. Bless the woman who loves another woman. Bless the woman with an outwardly opinion. Bless them all.

“A kind hearted woman gains respect…” Proverbs 11:16

Forgotten Classes.

books

Now, before there is a freak out from educators saying that every class in the school system is needed to succeed, I would have to agree. Math, Science, Social Studies, and English are all important. The thought process of algebra or being able to dissect a sentence have important use for every student, across the nation. But with a simple google search of “things I wish I had been taught in high school,” those lessons were not pulled up. The things that most wish they would have learned are things not written in a textbook or even taught on a projector. They are life lessons. Real life things.

These were some of the repeated items that were pulled from multiple blogs/websites when the line “things I wished I had been taught in high school”:

-How to deal with stress-How to change a tire-How to balance a checkbook-How to write a resume- Handy skills-Time Management-How to think for yourself-

Now, to the title of “Forgotten Classes,” slightly dramatic, yes, but not near as off the wall as many would think.

There is an eleven letter word that sums up all of the “I wish I had been taught” moments, this word is slightly deceiving based on the connotation that many have placed on it.

Agriculture.

Whaaaaaaaat? Agriculture. No way. That is where you learn about cows and farming, not checkbook or time management or dealing with stress…. Oh but it is.

Agriculture classes and the extra-curriculum that comes along with it FFA events and SAE projects all teach those moments. And here is how:

  1. Agriculture classes are based on real life experiences and have multiple teaching moments, both inside and outside of the classroom.

These teaching moments happen, even when the teachers were not meaning too. Road tripping to a stock show, a tire blows on the trailer, truck full of students, time to teach. Get them out and show them, in the moment, how to quickly and safely change a tire. Quick lessons. Along with that, agriculture classes teach that not everyone needs to go to college. WHAT. Pump the brakes. Rewind… what!? Yes. Not everyone is cut out for college, many learn, that they need to head to a trade school (which is nothing short of a remarkable education). They learn with their hands. These are the guys and girls that go on to become amazing horse trainers, welders of all trades, the plumbers, the electricians, the dog groomers. The jobs that many look down on as insignificant, but without them, life would become a mess… and pretty quickly.

2. There is more professional development involved than many would assume.

Those blue and gold jackets that FFA students wear every day not only symbolize the organization that the members are apart of, but they also teach how to be poised and polished in rain, snow, or extreme heat. Ask any member of the Texas FFA if corduroy is hot in the summer and cold in the winter, they will tell you a list of stories, but they always laugh and smile. They wear that because they know it is required of them, and it is a part of their job. Also, there are multiple times when, standing at a cattle show, you could strike up a conversation with the owner of a large breeding operation. Networking happens in the least likely places, but happens so quickly you never saw it coming. Resume building? No problem. There is a contest that is called, Job Interview. Yes you read that correctly. Job Interview. Students write a resume and cover letter, and also go through a mock phone and in person interview. They are then critiqued and judged based on that. HOW COULD YOU NOT WANT TO IMPROVE YOUR JOB INTERVIEWING SKILLS?!

3. Lastly, how to deal with stress and time management skills.

I know, every day there is a small part of stress that we all like to refer to as life. It happens. But in the agricultural classrooms around the country, stress is shown in different ways and ideas are found. These “stresses” are short lived because, usually there are many others involved. The stresses that happen are followed with quick reaction times and solutions to the problem. Along with time management skills. Most in agriculture programs have at least one or two projects whether those projects are animal or mechanics or something entirely different. They must balance core curriculum classes, then head to ag classes where they keep up to date on record books (pretty much a check book… holy heck they learn how to keep balances of that), then are handed a list of dates that they will be gone for contest or show or all of the above, oh wait, did I mention that most are highly involved other parts of the school! These can include but not limited to one act play, FCCLA, Student Council, Athletics, but then throw in outside activities like church youth group or rodeo and these students have a full list of items on their plate, constantly! But they learn time management, but they also learn a valuable lesson, when to say “Yes” to a task and when to know your limit and say “No, I am full, but I know someone who would be incredible at that job.”

 

So, for all of you saying that you missed out on those opportunities, hopefully you can share some light for future high school students. Agriculture classes are not just about cows, sows, and plows. These classes development your leadership skills, time management, learning the quality of life, friendships that last lifetimes, and most of all, your willingness to succeed in life… not just high school.

When curious about what classes develop you into an adult that can survive and strive in performance in the real world, remember those forgotten classes.

 

Bless the Ag Teacher’s Husband.

ffablog


Yes, You read that title correctly.

Bless the Ag Teacher’s Husband. 

Everyone knows the Ag Teacher’s wife. The lady who is practically perfect in the eyes of the students. The one who’s hair is always perfectly done, make-up is just right, and always sporting the latest fashion, but incorporates National Blue and Corn Gold into their fashion collection. The lady who is at almost every event. They show up to help decorate for banquet; they constantly lend a helping hand; they try to make it to every stock show or state convention that they can. They even show up for events not directly incorporated with the Ag program or the FFA, such as football games, PTA meetings, school board meetings, decorating for homecoming or prom. And every Ag/FFA member knows that the Ag Teacher’s wife, inevitably, becomes your second mom, and they dang sure will discipline like you are one of their own.

But, in this day and age, there are women Ag teacher’s, so… What about their Husbands? Where do they fit in? Do they truly understand what they are getting into…? Is it different for the Ag teacher husband as compared to an Ag teacher wife?

Like:

Do they volunteer with the booster club? Will they help on clip day? Are they going to get mad if my shoes smell like crap? Will they decorate for banquet? What about helping get the boys collars straight in official dress? And snacks?! Will they make snacks for trips? Will he be upset when we say we will be home in 5 minutes, but in reality, we haven’t even left the school? What about when we send pictures that we think are SO cool? Will he be just as stoked? Will they listen to judgers practice? Or watch, over and over, the Ag issues team? Can they possibly begin to understand the excitement of getting hotels at a discount during stock show season? Will they get annoyed when we begin to recite the creed without even thinking? Will they be able to understand the spreadsheets we put together for everything in life? Do they understand that the children will grow up in the back of an Ag truck because FFA kids provide free babysitting?! Will they understand!?

The answer, to every question I feel is… yes. They will gladly take on any role that they volunteer or, are volun-told to do. However, there will always be a slight difference between how they perform the duties that they will be assigned.

-They will show up for booster club meetings, because there is usually free food. Which is a BONUS, because that means leftovers get to stay in the fridge just a little longer.

-Making snacks.. probably not, however, they will make a midnight run to walmart to be sure that you have at least something to snack on while waiting in line to unload at stock show. Beef jerky, Pringles, and Gatorade anyone!?

-Even with FFA contests and official dress! He will grin and bear it when he hears, for the 12 millionth time, the Ag issues team script or the creed. He, will not, voluntarily, listen to these speeches… that one of those volun-told moments that tend to happen. Oh, and FFA colors, he definitely will be wearing, as long as you make sure he has that shirt on before he leaves for the day.

-And decorating for banquet, of course! They can toss some table cloths and pretty emblem center pieces along with the best of them. Always remember, there will be an FFA momma coming right behind him, to “tweak” on the decor that he so graciously put up!

Those Ag Teacher Husband’s will be some of the most patient men you will ever meet. They will  be able to jump in and deal with a stressing hog, or listen to the tears of a teenage girl who just broke up with the love of her life. He will know and love those kids, just like you do. He will stay caught up on all the gossip and will have his own opinion on disciplining the problem child in 3rd period. Keep in mind, they will put aside their masculinity for a minute or two to help purchase extra sets of panty hose for official dress, carry a purse or bag, and cut flower steams to help prepare you for the next’s days lesson in floral design.

So thank you to the Ag Teacher’s Wife who help so much,

but bless those Ag Teacher’s Husband’s.

The Glass Barn.


Often, Agriculture has rocks thrown at, what many perceive, as a solid structure. But in reality, the rocks being thrown are through a glass… barn.


The Good, the Bad, and {even} the Emotional. 

Agriculture is one of the most emotionally based industry that is constantly cut down by groups, such as PETA. PETA is able to grab consumers by the heart strings, and begin to pluck out cords. They pluck cords of sorrow and sympathy for the plants and animals that agriculturalists deal with, but then, they begin to pluck out cords of anger, bitterness, and even hatred towards agriculture producers and anyone closely related to agriculture.

Consumers want to know the “story” behind their food, but when agriculture begins to tell their story, PETA (or groups like them) jump in and play their little heart string songs, and end up swaying those consumers.

So here we go, to all the consumers out there, sitting on the fence, trying to decide who to believe. To the consumers who believe everything that PETA says or posts on social media. To the producers who are tired of fighting against these groups, so you continue to farm, ranch, provide food and clothing to the population but take the negative hits in stride. Well, here you all go, the glass barn, the good, the bad, and the emotional side of agriculture. The facts, the figures, the human side.

The question is now, should agriculture begin telling their story with the emotional side, to grab your heart strings and begin playing a tune, or should they begin with the facts and figures?

How about we do both, side-by-side.

Let’s begin by calling PETA’s bluff on two posts that have been floating around the internet the past few months. 1. That you must kill sheep in order to obtain wool. 2. That Artificial Insemination or A.I. is actually rape.

  1. If you walked up to any 8 year old, 4-Her, who has a sheep project, you will be educated more, in 30 seconds, about sheep projects and sheep production than PETA will give you in 15 years.

The good: Sheep are not killed for wool. Wool is grown, just like hair on our head, constantly. Sheep are then sheared… as in shaved, like a buzz cut for men, and that wool comes off, they go on living their life. Death does not come for sheep EVERY TIME THEY NEED TO BE SHEARED. It is, essentially, a hair cut.

The bad: Sheep are used for food production. Often, referring back to the 4-Her, the lambs are sheared before stock show. After the stock show, they are put on a truck and sent to the processing plants, in order to provide meat for people to eat.

The emotional: I have seen 8 year olds to 50 year old moms cry at stock shows as they are loading their animal. They cry because of the fact that the show is over, or that they didn’t do as well as they were hoping, but some cry because they will, in fact miss that animal a great deal! They also know, that is their job. As an agriculturalists, no matter how attached you get to those animals, those animals serve a greater purpose, and that is feeding the human race. Tears are shed, and then dried and then they prepare next year for the choosing, raising, and showing of these animals in order to be a provider. This is what every producer will go through, every year.

2. Artificial Insemination or A.I. is this: the injection of semen into the vagina or uterus other than by sexual intercourse. There is a “straw”, that contains semen, that is slipped into the vagina or uterus and then the semen is injected. Any woman who has every been to the gynecologists has experienced something of the sort, especially if that woman is pregnant or has been pregnant. Cattle are not A.I. unless they are in heat (or during their time of the month) because the semen will not take. Just like any human woman. There are ideal times, locations, and even temperatures that effect how that animal will take to being bred, even if it isn’t naturally.

The good: Breeding through A.I. is usually safer for the females than natural breeding. Often, in horses and cattle, the studs (or stallions) and the bulls can become extremely aggressive and often hurt the females. With A.I.ing in place, the producer will still be able to utilize the prized bull or stud on their property without hurting the females in the process. Producers can also get outstanding genetic lines but using A.I. because they can buy semen from around the world, have it shipped to them and then use it on their females in their herd.

The bad: A.I.ing is not cheap. It has some expensive costs associated with it, not only for equipment but having the proper man power to provide the service. Producers are not going to put money into a management practice if it isn’t going to positively effect their production and their animals production.

The emotional: Sometimes the mares or cows or sows, do not take. They simply, for some reason, the semen does not take when they try, that time, to A.I. Which means, those producers are out that money, time and effort and have to go back to square one. It can also mean that that particular animal isn’t feeling right or performing to her best abilities. That can cause red flags. Along with that, if they do take, babies will be born! Everyone likes babies. To the rancher wives, they are cute little things that they can take pictures of and “ooh” and “ahh” over. Even the ranchers can’t help but show emotion. It means new life, and new opportunities.

Next, let’s move on to the dreaded GMO, Hormone, and Antibiotic in food talk. Oh my!

  1. Every thing you consume that was once living (plants and animals) contain hormones. 2. GMO’s are not chemicals 3. Antibiotics are not in the food you eat.
  1. Everything you consume that was once living (plants and animals) contain hormones. Hormones in plants are not the hormones that people often associate that world with. When we think hormones, we think Testosterone and Estrogen. Two main hormones in the human body. Plants do not carry those particular hormones. They have their own, that help in their growing abilities, as well as utilizing the process of photosynthesis. In animals, they have hormones that we have.

The good: Hormones help to grow the bodies or stems of the beings that we, as people need. Without hormones, corn wouldn’t grow, fish wouldn’t swim correctly, and cattle wouldn’t reach sexual maturity at the rate that they currently do. Hormones are vital for all living beings to grow and mature properly. There are growth hormones put into cattle to help promote faster growth and performance will be better. Those hormones can be closely related to steroids in humans, and for many athletes, injecting themselves with unnatural steroids and people think it is okay! But for plants/animals who NATURALLY produce these in order to, live, it is absurd.

The bad: The word hormone has a very negative connotation that effects things drastically. We know that, as agriculturalists. We continue to try to educate and explain that hormones are vital for all living beings, but sometimes, people do not want to hear it.

The emotional: Go sit in on any Geneticist lecture and listen to them. They love this stuff. This is where the science side of agriculture comes in. You can hear there passion in how those hormones are present in order to provide the growth and even the feeding that they need. They nerd out! That is the emotion, they have a passion for what they have learned, what they teach, and what they work with every single day.

2. GMO’s are not chemicals. GMO’s are not chemicals. GMO’s are not chemicals. Hopefully that has been burned into your mind. Definition of GMO or Genetically Modified Organisms: the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination. From that definition, how is that considered a chemical. The basics of GMO’s are this: taking a characteristic of, like a cactus, a plant that can survive on little water, and then put that characteristic, or gene, into a plant that needs a lot of water, like alfalfa. The goal is that you can produce that particular crop with less water. So it is production efficiency.

The good: GMO’s have revolutionized the agricultural production industry. Farmers are able to produce more food on less land and with less resources. That means, that the less water that is used on crops, can go into your homes for faucet water, toilet water, and to shower with. This also means that farmers are able to produce crops and use less pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers because the crops have been modified against bugs or grow in soil that has less nutrients than what they actually need to survive.

The bad: Let’s real talk for a minute. We do not know the long run effects of GMO’s, but at this moment, the technology is revolutionized enough that there is no proof of any long standing effects from GMO’s. The problem is, we aren’t sure how many times genetically modifying plants will soon effect them to a point of no return. But again, there is science backing it.

The emotional: Why would producers produce food that they know is harmful to people, when they will be feeding that same food to their family…? I have seen a cotton farmer, in Lubbock, Texas, crying, screaming, stomping and staring at the sky, begging for rain, because he is a dry-land farmer (meaning he depends solely on natural rainfall), and none was coming. He needed the rain, for the cotton to grow, to get an income, to feed his family.

3. Antibiotics are not in the food you eat. This is a hot topic for many right now, because even parents are questioning vaccinating their own children, so why would livestock be anything different to them. Antibiotics, all antibiotics, have a withdrawal date. This means that if the animal will be going into food production, you MUST go by those withdrawal dates. If the date on an antibiotic is 30 days out from processing (or slaughter), then the producer is not supposed to give that medication to the animal any less than 30 days.

The good: The withdrawal dates are set in place, in order, to provide safe food for ALL. With the withdrawal period, that gives the animal enough time to completely flush out the antibiotic in order for the meat to be safe for consumption.

The bad: There is always “a few bad apples” that ruin it for the rest. Antibiotics are often used after the withdrawal date, for reasons that they should not be used, or just after the date causing residue left over in the meat. Not good.


All of this information has been said to say, do your research. Correct research. Research that is backed by professionals. Contact Agriculture Universities, call the industry professionals, get the facts!

Agriculture is complex, there are no black and white answers. It is a culture, along with a science.

Remember, PETA is good at tugging at the heart strings initially, but then skew the facts. Agriculture gives the facts, but sometimes forgets to give the emotional side.

So here it is, a viewing into the Glass Barn, and this barely scratches the surface of agriculture. Agriculture isn’t shady or private or closed-up in dark barns. It is everywhere, all around you, and if you truly want to learn more, open your ears and eyes and let the producers do the talking before you jump to conclusions.

-From,

An Agriculturalist