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Tag Archives: Brandi Buzzard

Things to Confuse You

Screen Shot 2013-01-10 at 8.55.09 AMTweet, tweet, tweet! Hello from the YPC Twitter birds, Brandi and Lauren!

We want to remind everyone attending the 2013 Cattle Industry Convention in Tampa that you can interact with us in a variety of ways…not to make things complicated!

1. Tweet to the Young Producers’ Council: @YPCBeef

2. Tweet to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association: @BeefUSA

3. Tweet your lovely Cattle Call editors: @BrandiBuzzard & @LaurenMSea

In all of your convention related tweets, please use the hashtag #CIC13…so we can spy on you. No, just kidding. But it’s a nice way to organize information, see what everyone is experiencing during the convention and have those who cannot attend follow along from their computers.

(For those who are not attending, follow the stream here)

If none of this is making sense to you…don’t worry! We have a free guide that will help you understand Twitter and better yet, help you set up your very own account! Yeah, we got you covered! Click here and download the ever-so-awesome PDF.

#ThanksforReading,

@BrandiBuzzard and @LaurenMSea

 

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Happy 2013 from YPC

Cattle Call editors, Brandi Buzzard and Lauren Chase wanted to start the year off right and thank all of our followers and contributors. The blog, the Young Producers’ Council, and the beef industry benefit so much from dedicated young beef producers and advocates to tell our story and make sure we have a successful industry. 423835_10150648422345572_981089258_n

Please help us develop a better blog for you! Comment below with topic suggestions, questions or just a nice note with what you would like to see featured this year. The possibilities are endless and we have a lot of great contributors ready to answer your questions…from life to cattle markets to breeds.

Do you want to be a part of the YPC this year? Please get in touch with us or chairman, Lance Zimmerman, for more information. We would love to have you on this great team!

Happy 2013 to everyone! We look forward to sharing our beef story with you!

Brandi and Lauren

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Women Need Beef!

Beef has made a spotlight appearance in an article on Yahoo.com titled, “Top 10 Superfoods for Women” as Skinny Steak is promoted for its heart healthy attributes. Below is the actual wording,

“The “Skinny” Steak
Red meat has a bad rap. The thing is, it really is good for you. Ideally, go for a cut that is both lean and grass-fed. A recent report from the Union of Concerned Scientists shows that meat from grass-fed cows usually has more conjugated linoleic acid (which has been shown in animal studies to combat cancer) and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids than the grain-fed variety. Plus, meat from grass-fed cows is lower in total fat and calories. As long as your serving is a lean cut, such as tenderloin, feel free to make this smart choice two or three times a week, says Bowden.
Bonus benefits: Beef is a great source of protein, iron (a mineral that one in five women are deficient in), and heart-healthy B vitamins.”

While I take issue that grass-finished is being promoted over grain-finished (dieticians have stated that the differences in linoleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids between grass and grain finished beef aren’t enough to affect human health) this is a home-run for beef.

As it states, lean beef is where it’s at. This includes most cuts from the loin (top sirloin steak, tenderloin), 95% lean ground beef, round steak. I had some amazing sirloin steak at a wedding this past week and can’t wait to try a similar recipe.
And guys, don’t feel left out. Just because the article doesn’t talk about male diet plans, you can rest assured that lean beef is just as good for you as it is the ladies.
Go BEEF!

 

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Meet Brandi Buzzard, YPC’s new PR representative

BY BRANDI BUZZARD

A very big ‘hello!’ from Wildcat Land in Manhattan, KS. My name is Brandi Buzzard and I’m the newly-appointed Social Media Coordinator for the Young Producer’s Council. If you’d like to read a little bit more about my background, you can read my introductory Cattle Call post here. If not, I’ll quickly summarize the important points:

  • I’m finishing up my M.S. in Animal Science from Kansas State University – defending this semester!
  • I grew up rodeoing and showing livestock in southeastern Kansas.
  • I’m extremely passionate about agriculture, livestock and advocacy. I wish there was a word that was stronger than passionate, because I would use it in this situation.
  • I am also more than passionate about Kansas and K-State.
  • I cannot wait to start raising cattle and farming with my husband.
  •  I’m addicted to Twitter.

Although I’ve been a YPC member for about two years now, I found myself wanting to get more involved and am very excited to be doing that through one of my favorite activities – utilizing social media! I’ll be coming to you live and promoting the Cattle Call blog through Twitter (@YPCBeef and @brandibuzzard) and the Facebook groups NCBA Young Producer’s Council  and NCBA Young Producer Council Blog.  Be sure to check out these groups often for exciting information about YPC and the most recent news in the cattle industry. You can also check out my personal blog, Buzzard’s Beat, for more agriculture commentary or read other posts I’ve written on Cattle Call.

To give you a little more information about myself, these are some of the things that have me worried about the beef industry in 2012:

  • Decreased cow herd size
  • Animal rights extremist pressures/attacks
  • Estate tax changes
  • The upcoming Farm Bill
  • Department of Labor proposed regulations on child labor

These are all issues that drastically effect our industry and as the year progresses I’m sure there will be plenty of opportunities to discuss them. Please feel free to contact me if you have any comments.

Until next time,

~ Buzzard ~

 

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Agriculture Around the Globe: The Live Export Ban in Australia

by Brandi Buzzard

In light of the recent Four Corners exposé, the Australian Government in Canberra has officially banned all live exports destined to Indonesia for six months. If you haven’t yet seen the video you can view it here but, please, proceed with caution. It’s very graphic and one of the most horrific sights I’ve ever seen. The plants operate under halal standards, however there are ways to submit to the standards and still operate humanely. There is no need to sacrifice humaneness for religious standards when they can coexist.

The ban comes as bad news for northern Australian cattle producers who rely on their Indonesian neighbors to purchase live cattle year-round. The ban has been placed on all live exports to Indonesia for up to six months but industry insiders say the devastating effects could last for up to one year. The live export market to Indonesia, Australia’s largest export buyer, is responsible for approximately $320 million dollars per year. For some producers, this is their lone source of income and currently, northern feedlots are filled to the brim with cattle that can’t, and won’t, be destined for Indonesia for the time being. No exports = no income.

Head bureaucrat of the Indonesia agriculture department, Bayu Krisnamurthi, has stated that the live export ban is discriminatory and plans to take the issue to the World Trade Organization. Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has countered that the ban is not in violation of any WTO regulations because Australia is entitled under WTO rules to ensure cattle are treated in line with international standards. Gillard has also said that a compensation package to producers is not out of the question.

Another hot button issue is that apparently Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) knew about the cruel acts in Indonesia but in order to keep markets going, did nothing to stop the abuse. A senior MLA official (name not given) said the organization had always known there were issues but had no idea of the ‘grotesque brutality’ until the Four Corners piece aired. MLA export manager Michael Finucan stated that, “We’ve got eight guys supplementing our team of our animal welfare people here in Indonesia. They’re out in the markets every night at the abattoirs, they’re delivering a program that can help us ensure the welfare of cattle right through the chain.” Obviously, MLA knew there were issues but I don’t think it’s fair to point fingers and blame it all on their organization. They were, and are, continuing their animal handling training and I believe they shouldn’t be condemned for their efforts.

My question is, ‘Why isn’t the Indonesian government disciplining any of the slaughter plants or their managers?’ Unfortunately, there are no regulations in Indonesian law that could be used to sanction abattoirs found to be abusing animals. It’s outrageous that a country that slaughters so many livestock for halal consumption has no regulatory measures in place against animal cruelty, an issue that is just as important as food safety.

Ranchers and beef industry representatives have stated that banning live exports will stop the abuse of Australian cattle but not all cattle that Indonesia imports. I agree with this thought process, as I see banning exports is more of a quick and easy action to satisfy public outcry than a real solution to the problem. Indonesia will continue to source cattle from other countries and the abuse and cruel acts will continue until proper training and enforcement are put in place. In the big picture, plants should be shut down (regardless of how much $$ would be lost to the Indonesian meat industry), a rigorous training program set in place and stringent consequences laid out and then enforced. When all employees have a working knowledge of basic animal handling then, and only then, should the plants be re-opened. I know this is a stretch and the plants will not be shut down, but this problem has got to be remedied.

There is definitely a solution to this problem that is mutually beneficial to all parties: cattle producers, feedlot owners, Australian consumers and the governments of Australia and Indonesia. But it’s not going to be found until the involved leaders stop trying to save their own butts and work together for the good of the industry.

For more information on the Australian live export debacle check this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this. Or, you could just google “Australian live export ban” and return over a million results.

Until next time,

~ Buzzard ~

YPC member, Brandi Buzzard is currently a research assistant at the University of Melbourne in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

 

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Can You Spot the Feedlot Beef Producer?

BY BRANDI BUZZARD

I am in the midst of compiling a master list of agricultural information and agvocacy videos to be posted on this blog [http://buzzardsbeat.blogspot.com/] as a separate page so that they’re easy to find for anyone who may be looking. This undertaking has entailed many hours of asking fellow agvocates for their favorite videos and conducting a lot of YouTube research on my own.

Today, I saw one titled “Inhumane Feed Lot Beef vs Humane Grass Fed Beef”. Sorry, I refuse to provide a link to this video because I think it’s a crock of manure- not because I don’t believe in grass fed beef (I’ve been eating a lot of that over here in Australia) but because this is a prime example of what NOT to do to your fellow producer. Last I checked, feedlot beef producers treated their animals humanely and provide the utmost care to the cattle, just like every other cattle producer. Cowboys ride pens every day to check for sick animals, ranch hands practice low stress production methods to avoid alarming and hurting cattle, sick cattle are cared for on an individual basis and feedlot nutritionists formulate rations specifically for the cattle herd’s nutritional requirements. All of these feedlot employees treat cattle humanely because it’s the right thing to do.

Do me a favor. Look at the photos below and pick out the producer providing the best care.

Did you pick the right one? I sure as heck didn’t because I couldn’t tell which was which – because it doesn’t matter whether the rancher is a grass-fed or grain-fed advocate, as long as the animals are treated well and the end product is safe, wholesome and healthy.

Beef producers are constantly trying to navigate through a gauntlet of challenges: environmental conservation, high commodity prices and animal activist scrutiny add stress to a producer who is always striving to produce a safe, wholesome product for the American consumer. They don’t need their colleagues and peers nagging at them also. The beef industry, as with all agriculture entities, needs to stick together for better or worse- grass fed, grain fed, organic, natural and conventional CAN coexist in harmony. Throwing each other under the train isn’t going to feed the 6.3 billion people that are currently populating planet Earth.

As is said in the Bible, “Love one another, as I have loved you.”

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

 

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Is Three a Party…or A Crowd?

BY BRANDI BUZZARD

Somewhere in a restaurant party room, a group of niche market beef producers sit silently. They are listening intently to industry news from their organization leaders and wonder what obstacle or opportunity will present itself next. The past few years have been tough on beef producers; the scrutiny of the EPA and the possible introduction of the GIPSA rules have taken a heavy toll on producers’ minds. Presently, the ‘obstunity’ on the horizon is the third party audit.

Third party auditing presents challenges and opportunities to today’s beef producer. As we all know, consumers want to trust that farmers are doing the right thing in terms of animal well-being. A welfare audit affirms that trust in the form a certification that ‘all is well’ on the farm. Additionally, adhering to a welfare audit protocol may open new doors to niche markets for producers.

For example, Ohio Signature Beef producers’ farms undergo annual welfare audits, which enable them to market their natural beef to Whole Foods grocery stores. If OSB producers don’t meet the audit standards, their product is not accepted into the Whole Foods market. However, if they meet the audit requirements, their beef draws a significant premium.

On the other hand, conforming to some audit standards can mean an increase in manager time and overhead costs, neither of which is in surplus. In some cases, new vehicles for transportation must be purchased, housing changes must be implemented and health care protocols improved. All of these changes take time and money to put into practice. Some producers may weigh the costs vs. benefits and decide that the additional hurdles just aren’t worth the additional stress of management.

A typical welfare audit evaluates the following critical components of a farm:

-        Records and Documentation

-        Breeding Programs

-        Animal Health

-        Animal Handling

-        Animal Management

-        Feed and Water

An audit may involve different steps or levels. According to the specifics of any audit organization’s standards, the higher the achieved step or level, the better the well-being of the animals. Meeting the various requirements may be as simple as continuing current on-farm practices or may be difficult and lengthy, such as revising the way animals are handled to adopt low-stress handling methods.

Regardless of your opinion on animal welfare and third party auditing, it’s time to accept that these types of programs are not going to fizzle out over time; they’re here to stay. However, it’s the producer’s individual choice whether they want to capitalize upon an opportunity or avoid an obstacle.

Brandi Buzzard is a Graduate Research Assistant in the Department of Animal Sciences and Industry at Kansas State University.

 

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