“What do you do?” Sometimes I identify myself with a lengthy description of my career in Ag finance, but often I just leave it at, “We farm!”
I also find myself using “We farm” as an explanation as to why I am alone so often at gatherings. But the more people I talk to, the more I realize that not everyone knows what I mean when I say, “We farm”. So I am going to explain exactly what “farming” means to my family.
Our farm consists of our cows, our sheep, and our row crops. I will cover each of these over the next few posts, but will start with our cows.
One of my favorite parts of our farm is our cattle herd. We have what is commonly called a “Cow/Calf operation” – meaning we maintain a group of cows who will raise a baby calf each year, and then sell the baby at weaning time.
When Matt decided he wanted to come back to farm with his dad that meant he was going to have to find additional sources of income. For most farm families it simply isn’t feasible to take a farming operation that supported one family and suddenly expect the same income to support two families.
So for us, the decision was pretty easy to purchase cows! We both love livestock, we actually met at a sheep show! A cow is a fully mature female who has already had babies. We started with 20 older cows, which was considered a little safer investment because of their experience delivering and raising calves, or babies.
Once we became more experienced with our cows, we started adding heifers. A heifer is a young female who has never calved before. We like to purchase heifers because a younger animal can stay with us on our farm for a longer time and we will know more of her complete health history. But the risk is higher and labor greater, because heifers need more assistance in the beginning.
When we first started, we did not own any of our land so we had to rent the land our cows used. We have since been able to purchase a farm, but still have to rent some pasture to make sure we have enough for all of our cows.
The first step is to breed the cows and heifers. On our farm we live breed – meaning we use live bulls, or intact male cattle, that naturally breed the cows. Many farmers are taking advantage of other breeding methods like artificial insemination.
You might hear people refer to “spring calvers” and “fall calvers”. These terms describe the time of year the cow will have her baby. We actually have some of each, so we are typically having babies, or “calving”, in September and October and then again in February and March.
Our cows, like nearly all beef cattle in the United States, have their calves on pasture. They rarely need any help, but we do have to watch the heifers much more closely – remember heifers are the ones who have never had babies before. Usually after one or two calving seasons they have it figured out and will no longer need any help from us!
Once the calves are born, they graze and roam pastures right alongside their mamma for about 8 months. After the group reaches the point they no longer need milk as source of nutrition, they are ready to wean. Because we are a cow/calf operation, this is the time we sell our baby calves, who now weight about 550 pounds!
When our calves are ready, we sell them for the current market price. Prices fluctuate daily on cattle and it’s something we have no control over. Price changes is one of the greatest challenges for any farmer!
Our calves are purchased by other farm families that will “background” them. They will keep the calves, most often on pasture, until they reach 12-16 months of age. We typically separate our calves and sell the heifers (females) to a local farmer who will background them until they are ready to breed, and then sell them as bred heifers to other cow/calf farmers.
The steers (neutered males) then go onto yet another farm family who will finish them at a feedlot. A majority of feedlots are considered small feedlots, with 95% of them having less than 1000 head.
Regardless of size, the families that run feedlots are extremely dedicated to finishing out a high quality and safe product! Once the cattle reach market weight, they will be harvested with their beef sold in stores across the country.
Nearly all beef cattle in the US start on farms just like mine and spend a majority of their lives grazing pastures. The next time you purchase beef from the supermarket, know that you are supporting family farmers just like us!
The next time you purchase beef from the supermarket, know that you are supporting family farmers just like us!
We are finally getting around to hanging some of my new palette shelves above the staircase, which is a space I have designated for our stock show photos and hardware!
I started to unpack some of the NAILE cups and needed a quick way to clean them up and I found it!
Grab a soft rag and a bottle of hand sanitizer. Squirt a few drops of sanitizer onto the rag and polish into your silver to give it a "fresh from the shavings" shine!
How do you clean your silver?
From the mouths of some of the top judges in the nation.....
1. Accept your place – getting mad and giving me the dirty look doesn’t do much for you.
2. Sour looks will only get you rolled sooner next time.
3. Acting like you didn’t see me pull you will not stop you from getting pulled. Just move into position please.
4. After you are pulled out don’t make a scene of looking back to make sure I got it right – don’t worry, I got it right.
5. Know how to show your animal BEFORE you get in there. The frantic look on your face when you can’t find your coach outside the ring is distracting.
6. If you are going to try being trendy with new fitting techniques – do it right. Otherwise you look like a fool and I feel like one if I have to use you.
7. If your animal is small, telling me his birth date or life history isn’t going to help your outcome. I am perfectly capable of recognizing young animals.
8. Little kids in the ring is good, but be reasonable.
9. Dress appropriately. My days of chasing high school girls with fat calves are long over and you only make it awkward for me and everyone outside the ring looking at you from behind.
10. It might be easy to judge from the sidelines but in the middle of the ring it gets intense. Be respectful – your kids will learn more from that.
11. If you are going to promote an animal that won under me, for the love of God please use a good picture. Don’t take a bad photo and make me look like an idiot.
12. Check your animals before the SHOW. You know, the basics. Make sure they have both testicles, both eyes, they aren’t prolapsing in the middle of the show.
13. Texting me before a show to tell me about your “great ones” makes me uncomfortable. So please, just don’t.
14. Suddenly adding me on Facebook two weeks before a show is annoying. Especially if I have no idea who you are.
15. STOP tagging me in your Facebook photos. Even if your animal should win, everyone on the internet now knows you have been advertising to me and it makes me nervous to even consider you.
16. If you are going to paint animals PLEASE make sure it’s dry when you come in the ring.
17. If you are going to come shake my hand at the end of the day, do it because you mean it. Don’t come up just because your parents made you and act like a jerk.
18. I don’t care what other fairs your animal won. On the same note, I don't care how much you paid for him or who said he was good.
19. I can hear you on the sidelines. Half the time I am accused of using a kid because of who she is, I don't even know her. If she'e been winning all day its probably because her animals are better than yours.
20. If you feel like smiling – smile. If you are concentrating and don’t smile that is OK too. Don’t plaster a fake smile on your face – it’s distracting and this isn’t a beauty contest (for you). And it’s OK to be serious about it – I am too.
5/28/2015 11 Comments
Last night I realized I’ve been had. The deadline, the arbitrary third deadline, had come and gone and you suddenly quit answering your phone. The bank informed us that no wire had come through.
A friend told me last week, “As long as he is talking to you don’t get nervous. But when he quits answering the phone you’re screwed.”
On April 18 you decided to be somebody. You decided to play the big shot. You said you were a cattle guy, claimed you just sold a $53,000 heifer, and needed to put that money somewhere.
Lucky me – you were putting it at sheep. And you bid. You bid and bid and bid. You were loud and proud – you cussed out my customers who outbid you (ones who would later actually pay). You laughed when you outbid other customers (one’s who would have actually paid).
After the sale wrapped up, and you had purchased nearly $20,000 in sheep, you wanted to talk about how everyone would be asking who you were. You thought everyone would be calling to get your business. Everyone is definitely asking who you are now – and they definitely will not be calling for your business.
You were going to mail a check. But then you ended up in the hospital. You were going to overnight it, but then you mom died (according to a Google search she actually died back in the winter). You were headed down to get them, money in hand but you were waiting on your brand new trailer to come in. Then you were back in the hospital.
Then a few weeks ago my phone rang. It was a fellow sheep breeder who asked if you had bought sheep from me. My heart sank. I knew it was bad news. You had told me you’d never had sheep before.
Turns out you have quite the history in this business. Several lawsuits, thousands of dollars of unpaid sheep, judgements totaling nearly $100,000. Looks like I was last in line on a long, long list.
Now I know, after some quick research and a trip to the lawyer, that you have nothing. You have no way to pay for the animals; it doesn’t even appear you actually have anywhere to keep the animals.
I can take you to court for the difference, and they will grant me a judgement pretty easily. And I think, for the principle of it, I will. I realize there is nothing to collect, but I also don’t think you should just walk away.
For a few days I sulked. I was embarrassed I let you participate. I was even more embarrassed I had bought your story. I said a prayer for you when you were “in the hospital”.
I was scared to notify the other buyers and bidders. The entire sale that we had celebrated so openly, that was such a monumental success for us, was now going to be defined by you.
Instead of talking about the success, the story line would be about the guy who didn’t pay.
Matt told me I had to notify everyone, because we had to sell the sheep. I refused to ship them. You had “bought” some of the best, including my yearling ram that was the animal I hoped would pass on our legacy.
So I sent out an email and I prayed.
My heart is OK with what happened now. I have mixed emotions towards you. One minute I feel a rush of anger, the next I feel deep sorrow. Matt thinks something is terribly wrong with you, to need that kind of attention or amusement.
Either way, I have decided I will not let you define my sale. I will not let you define the industry. The fact that we have sold sheep for so many years, to so many people and never had this occur on this level speaks more about the industry than you do.
The fact that the buyers and bidders instantly reached out to tell us how sorry they were this happened (instead of the anger I had feared), speaks more about the industry.
So on June 14 I will once again sell some Tunis. And I will have faith that each of our bidders is acting with honest intentions. Because I will not allow you to define the way I do business or to define the faith I have in humanity.
I will also not shy away from being public about what has happened. You have done this entirely too many times and my attorney has assured me I have no concerns when sticking to the facts.
Full sale report available here.
List of animals selling June 14 can be seen here.
A friend asked me to respond to this article, written by a PETA volunteer.
At first, I wanted to paint a picture of my boys playing with a newborn baby lamb, or a girl sleeping in the pen with her steer after a hard day in the show ring in an attempt to prove her wrong.
But the problem is, on her main point, she is not wrong.
She claims FFA and 4H are not teaching the romanticized version of raising animals to our kids.
Organizations like PETA love for us to tell the romantic stories of livestock. Because the more we do, the more they can profit from spinning our stories.
But the reality is, raising animals isn't romantic. She talks about a mother pig singing to her piglets while she nurses them. I wonder, has she ever witnessed the same mother pig eat one of her piglets for reasons unknown to us? Has she ever watched that 500 pound sow roll over on half her litter, killing them instantly and then push their little dead bodies out of the way to get to her food?
Has she ever watched a ewe relentlessly paw a newborn lamb until she kills him?
Has she ever dried off, warmed and comforted a baby calf whose mother delivered him on the back side of the pasture and then left, not looking back once?
No. She hasn’t, because she doesn’t raise livestock. In fact, her organization doesn’t even run a single animal shelter.
Kids in 4H and FFA have seen this. And they develop compassion for their animals in spite of the reality of animal nature (which often is very cruel). Raising animals is beautiful most days. But sometimes it's the exact opposite and our kids know that.
She is also right that most animals will end up in the food chain. And as she laid out so well, there is nothing kind about eating animals.
There is nothing mean about it either. The bear is not considered mean when he invades a rabbit den and consumes an entire litter of week old rabbits. A tiger is not considered cruel when he starts eating his prey before she has even died.
I take pride in the fact that humans show more compassion in our protein consumption than animals do (another thing that serves to remind us animals and humans are not equal, not the same).
We work very hard to raise animals in a clean, healthy and safe environment. We bond with them while they are here, we provide everything they need. And when the time comes, we kill them in as humane a way possible and consume them (after they are dead of course).
Is that kind? No, not really. Is it cruel? No. It's a fact of life.
As long as God keeps giving us two rows of teeth, I will take that as a sign we are supposed to consume our protein as a steak (or preferably a lamb chop).
So yes. Our kids are probably hardened from raising livestock. When my boy has to say goodbye to the lamb he showed all summer, his heart will toughen a bit. In the same way it will when he has to bury his first dog, when he suffers through his first breakup, and when he gets his first paycheck and realizes how many dollars are taken for taxes.
Life isn't romantic and neither is raising livestock. Which is exactly why kids leaving 4H and FFA are more prepared to succeed on the road ahead of them than their counterparts, who are often spoon fed a fairy tale version of reality.
How many times have you been asked to donate to a junior show this year? How did you respond?
People respond to these requests in a few different ways.
1. The Avoider – the person who goes out of their way to avoid being asked, deletes any emails that are sent out, and hits ignore on the phone when they see someone like me is calling. If you corner one of these people they will pledge money and then never actually pay.
2. The Minimalist – the person who begrudgingly says they will donate, and then sends $10 in two days after the deadline. These people will likely become avoiders in the future.
3. The Supporter – the person who thanks you for requesting and sends in a nice donation, in a timely manner and assures you they will donate again next year. These people are reliable year after year if you contact them and remind them.
4. The Opportunist – the person who recognizes the benefit these events give to their program and takes full advantage. These people actually contact us about donating, get their money in almost immediately and promote the heck out of the event to their customers. You don’t have to keep a list of these people because they will hunt you down to give you money again next year.
The number of opportunists is minimal – but these breeders are easily recognizable. They have built highly successful programs with high volume sales, high per head averages, and have loyal customers across the county who seek out their stock online, at sales, and off the farm.
What do the opportunists see in these events the rest of the breeders are missing? Below are a few key things about national junior shows that may make you rethink your support strategy.
1. We create a lifelong customer for you. 4-H and FFA bring in the clients. The typical customer will raise animals for a few years and then move on. Your customers that regularly attend national level events are significantly more likely to stay in the business long term.
Why? Because they create the relationships with other people that keep them coming back year after year. With the increase in online sales these events are more important than ever for creating the friendships that make people want to keep doing this well past their junior years.
“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos (Founder and CEO of Amazon)
2. We help you develop your brand. If you want to sell stock, and be successful at it, you have to develop a brand. Brands create loyalty (think Ford versus Chevy) and loyal customers are willing to pay a premium for your product year after year. They need to SEE your name and HEAR your name repeatedly and nothing puts your name in front of your TARGET AUDIENCE more effectively than supporting these events.
“If your business is not a brand, it is a commodity.” – Donald Trump
3. We align your values with your customer’s values. When your customers see that you value the event their entire family looks forward to each year, this puts your values in line with their own. This helps to further develop your brand (see number 2 above) and customer loyalty.
“If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.” --Howard Schultz (CEO of Starbucks)
4. We put money back into your customers’ pockets. Do a little research on where your money goes when you donate to these events. Many events now are structured with a high payout. (Ask what percentage of your donation is paid back out or given as awards instead of used for overhead to make your donation the most effective).
At the Midwest Junior Preview Show, we pay back 100% of donated funds! Nearly 80% of the kids indicate they use this money to fund more stock purchases!
5. We expose kids to a higher quality of animal. Often, junior exhibitors simply are not exposed to a higher quality of animal. Once we get them in the door to these national events, they can see the differences in high quality animals. By motivating them with better competition (see below) and exposing them to better animals, we are creating a better demand for your product. Additionally, we are sending them out the door with some additional resources (see number 4 above) to purchase those better quality animals. And the first breeder they will go to is the breeder who has the best developed brand!
6. We motivate kids by surrounding them with a higher level of competition. Local events are vital for getting kids started. To further push their motivation to succeed, we need to get them excited about the national level shows.
Their competitive drive kicks in, the desire to compete and do better goes into overdrive when they surrounded by other exhibitors who excel at showing stock. And once the kids get serious about it – the parents are much more willing to support the projects. And a serious show family is your best customer!
“Be grateful for your competitors for they force you to become the person you are capable of being.” – Stacey Alcorn
It is probably time to re-think your support strategy to national junior shows. Instead of avoiding us, look at the opportunity that we are providing for your program, your customers and your industry.
Across the country these shows are struggling each year to continue operating. They all need more volunteers and more funding. So whatever you have been doing – rethink it – and do double!
Note - Several of you are now thinking, “This doesn't apply to me because I don’t sell animals to kids. I sell animals to other breeders.” If you are at a level of breeding and price point that your main customers consists of other breeders you should double down on your support to the junior shows. Why? Because YOUR CUSTOMERS are selling their animals to juniors and the better funded your customers are the better funded you will be.
I don't know you, although now I wish I had met you before my husband. Kidding (well sort of)!
I am Facebook friends with many people who know you. They apparently know you well enough to publicly judge your morals, integrity and breeding program on their Facebook walls. They know you well enough to "know" if the money was "real" or "fake".
But like I said above, I don't know you so I'm not sure about any of that. I am sure of this though.
You deserve a huge “Congratulations”!
I cannot imagine the excitement you and your family felt that night. I cannot imagine the pure exhilaration at having your work rewarded in such an unbelievably awesome way! You deserve a party and I hope you throw one!
You deserve a huge “Thanks”!
Thank you for putting your ram lamb out there. It takes guts to publicly sell an animal, and even more guts to publicly sell a good one. People who don’t sell animals in such highly watched (and criticized) forums under estimate that fact. Some days it seems there are more people out there who would rather see their fellow breeders fail than have such an awesome success.
Your buyer (and bidders) deserves a huge “Thanks”!
Thanks for believing in the business (not just one program, but the entire industry) enough to put that kind of investment in. And thank you for being willing to do it in a public forum where more of us can share in the excitement and energy it brings!
People have said it’s crazy. If you analyze the numbers, it's really not insane. A top breeder utilizing current breeding technology and marketing, using new sale methods with lower costs and higher returns can cash flow the purchase well. Most of us wouldn't be able to, but the elite breeders in the profitable sectors of the industry can.
And finally, you deserve an apology.
As long as we all run in this competitive business with winners and losers there will be jealously. But I am always a little crushed by the way that jealousy manifests itself into personal attacks and rumors, at a time when the industry should be rallied around a breeder in support of a huge milestone and accomplishment.
I hope through all the negativity you can hear the shouts of excitement from those of us who don’t even know you but were celebrating with you!
I hope above all else you can enjoy the moment and celebrate the success with your friends, family and customers! Because it was one awesome success! A success that I cannot imagine, but can at least dream about now…
P.S. In case you do ever see this, I wouldn't be good at my job as show manager if I didn't mention the Midwest Junior Preview Show is seeking support for the commercial breeding division of the show and we pay back 100% of any donations received to the kids! More information on the show can be found at www.midwestjuniorpreviewshow.com.
3/7/2015 31 Comments
I asked several of my non-farming friends what their main concerns are when grocery shopping. Most of them rattled off a few things about health and safety and then nearly all of them, almost quietly, mentioned cost.
I am here to tell you it’s a GOOD thing to be considerate of cost at the grocery store and I am going to tell you why you can feel good about, or dare I say PROUD, about buying conventionally grown products!
1. Conventionally grown is equally as nutritious and safe as its organic counterparts!!
All foods are rigorously tested for food safety in the USA which is why in the rare case when someone does get sick from food, it still makes headlines. In many countries, a person getting sick from food is not even considered news worthy!
Hundreds of tests have been done and there are no nutritional differences in the two. Organic is a method of producing food, not a label that indicates anything about the safety or nutrition of the product.
(Review one of the studies completed for nutritional differences here: http://www.ilsi.org/FoodBioTech/Publications/10_ILSI2008_CaseStudies_CRFSFS.pdf)
Most all produce can be found with extreme trace amounts of pesticide (yes organic production does allow for the use of over 50 pesticides). There is no notable differences in these trace amounts from organic and conventionally grown making both options SAFE options!
2. Being financially smart is GOOD and IMPORTANT for your family!
I would guess most families are just like mine – living on a budget that most often is pretty tight. When you refuse to pay twice the price for a gallon of milk labeled “antibiotic free” because you know ALL dairy and meat are antibiotic free at the time of consumption, you are telling your family that their financial security is important to you!
I am giving you permission to be financially smart –without guilt – about your buying decisions at the grocery store! Moms especially tend to stress about doing the absolute best for their children. Don't let this be one of the things that adds stress -- because fresh food is always a good choice regardless of how it was produced!
3. You are supporting family farmers, whose livelihood depends on their farms!
People have a tendency to confuse the “organic” label with “local”, “small” or “family”. Yes, a lot of organic is produced that way (some is not). But guess what – nearly all conventionally grown foods are also grown BY FAMILY FARMERS!!
My husband raises conventional grown (yes that means GMO) corn, soybeans, alfalfa hay and of course cattle and sheep. We also eat what we consume. We also feed it to our livestock and children.
When you purchase products that are conventionally grown you are not supporting some scary “agribusiness giant” – you are supporting him. And hundreds of farmers just like him. A majority of which are also small farmers like our family.
4. You are supporting technology that allows a safe, affordable food source worldwide!
GMO technology is the most thoroughly tested product on the market today. In fact, there are over 2000 independent and peer reviewed studies that show the safeness of GMOs for both human and livestock consumption!
(See a discussion on those studies here: http://geneticliteracyproject.org/2013/10/08/with-2000-global-studies-confirming-safety-gm-foods-among-most-analyzed-subject-in-science/)
When you say “Yes!” to conventionally grown products you are supporting further development of this technology that has allowed us to produce more food on fewer resources than ever before!
GMO technology allows us to better care for our land and water. GMO technology allows us to use less chemical and to better negate the risks involved in farming such as drought, flood, pests and disease. GMO technology is keeping food at affordable prices.
5. You are teaching your children to base decisions on logic and fact, not fads and marketing.
Many labels were developed as a means of fetching a premium for a product. Many of these practices have higher costs and higher waste, so marketing the product for a premium is vital to the industry. This marketing is often done by ill means – misleading information, scare tactics and food guilt targeted at food produced by other, more modern means.
Organics is a $35 billion dollar per year business – so do not be fooled. It is a business – one that is not anymore concerned about your wellbeing and health than any other business is.
Trust in fact and science to take comfort in your purchase decisions. Trillions of meals containing GMOs have been consumed and not one case causing human harm has been found.
The World Health Organization, AMA, FDA, European Commission, National Research Center and even the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation all support the safety of GMOs.
(Someone will argue that some other countries do not allow GMOs, which is true. The reason however has nothing to do with science, evidence or any ill effects of GMOs. It is simply because their governments caved to public pressure when the public was scared by the same tactics being used here now).
Not all of us have the luxury of being able to spend limitless dollars on food. Not of all of us think it’s necessary even if we did have the money.
Many of us know that it’s OK, even something we can feel good about, to feed our families with scientifically proven products, that are safe and nutritious and grown by family farmers!
So say no to #FoodGuilt and yes to #FoodFacts!
For more information about all types of farming, please visit some of the following links:
Genetic Literacy Project
Missouri Farmers Care
For information regarding the requirements of organic production please visit here:
The below piece is written as follow up to a post that was titled "Stock Shows: How whining about cheaters is worse than the cheaters" that was published on this blog on 01/14/15. The post can be read by clicking HERE.
There are so many issues I would like to address stemming from the comments that many of you were kind enough to share -- the definition of cheating; the reality of politics; the idea that publicly accusing a CHILD of illegal practices just because you suspect, heard, or assume is NOT OK.
But I won’t address those at this time (I promise to in the future if you promise to come back for the discussion!). I won’t address them because it will distract from the point.
If you read my original post titled “Stock Shows: How whining about cheaters is worse than the cheaters” and thought I was condoning cheating – you need to read it again.
If you read the post and thought I was claiming cheating does not exist – you need to read it again.
If you read the post and thought you needed to send me a list of examples in how the champion animal from you county was exhibited by a cheating kid – you need to read it again.
The post has NOTHING to do with kids who are actually cheating. The post has to do with a choice. A choice every parent of an honest exhibitor will make, whether they realize it or not.
When you child walks out of the show ring having placed anywhere lower than anticipated, as a parent you will address that. You will have two options in which to frame your reaction:
1. Congratulate and find the positive
"Great work Freddy, that was a tough class! I am so impressed you and Fluffy were able to do that well with so many experienced kids and awesome animals!! I could tell you were getting a little tired, we will have to practice with Fluffy some more to make it easier for both of you!
The judge really struggled on what to do with so many nice animals to sort! Now run over there and tell Kate she did an awesome job and see if they want to go to lunch afterwards to celebrate her win, I’ll buy!"
2. Excuse and find the negative
"What a joke! Don’t sweat it, the only reason you were stuck in 5th hole was because that kid in second bought his animal from the judge’s nephew (didn’t you see the nephew tail him into the ring?), and that animal that won is at least 60 days older. Jack told me that family overages everything.
Joe told me that the kid who was in third got caught somewhere a few years ago using illegal feed and someone saw them in the barn late last night. The girl in fourth, her dad spends a lot of money on everything so you'll never get around her anyway.
You really should have won that class hands down but when you have all these parents spending all this money and every one of these kids cheating, you’re never going to get around them. Heck that one kid even uses a cooler to grow hair on his animal and him and his parents spend hours a week just grooming the dang thing. We don’t have time for that.
But we aren't like THOSE people. We are honest, GOOD people so don’t you feel bad about losing because we are BETTER than those people in front of you. We aren't here for the ribbons anyways. They will do ANYTHING to win a class."
Who do you sound most like? Should the conversation between you and your friend or you and your spouse possibly be different than the conversation between you and your child?
The original post deals with all of the reasons option 2 is so damaging to our kids and the industry and encourages us all to try and utilize option 1 more frequently.
(I realize that many of you will still feel the need to inform me of all the ways that people cheat and I am simply wrong on my assumption that most people are good and honest. Even if your family is the only family in the entire state that is following the rules, consider if constantly pointing that fact out to your child is beneficial.)
Kate Lambert grew up in northern Illinois, not on a farm but active in FFA and showing livestock.
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