Beef Chat


Kansas Agriculture is something to celebrate!

Published by Kiley De Donder at 5:56 AM under Agriculture | Coffee Shop Talk | General

Kansas has an exciting story to tell when it comes to agriculture. Throughout the month of March, Kansans are celebrating and sharing with neighbors the importance farming, ranching and agribusiness plays in this great state many of us call home.

With more than 21 million acres of land dedicated to harvesting crops and 16 million acres of pastureland, farmland makes up 88.9% of Kansas land. A great place for more than 6 million head of cattle to call home!

Did you know the average Kansas farm is 747 acres?

There’s a lot of exciting activities that happen on all those acres of family farms and ranches across the state. Many ranchers continue to care for new baby calves that are being born and farmers are making final inspections of their planting equipment and deciding what type of seeds to plant in their fields this spring. That’s just to name a few. However, the crazy thing is, spring weather experienced this time of year has a big impact on the timing of many decisions farmers and ranchers make. Being at the mercy of Mother Nature is not always easy. This week was a wild one, all in one day, many farmers and ranchers experienced anything from a massive wild fire in South Central Kansas, tornado risk in two Northeast counties, a blizzard in Northwest Kansas shutting down I-70 west of Goodland and on our farm temperatures were near 80 degrees most of the day. Farms and ranches were in harm’s way this week as the wildfire ripped through more than 70 thousand acres in Kansas, leaving behind the destruction of feed resources, damaging properties and disrupting the livelihood of many rural families. Luckily, fellow members of the farming community around the state quickly lent a helping hand.


Something to celebrate is the fun fact that in 2015 Kansas farmers produced 5.98 million tons of hay!

 Even though the devastating fire temporarily stripped the nutritious grass cattle graze as food, fellow members of the farming community from all around the state quickly lent a helping hand and worked quickly to donate hay to cattle producers in need!

Agriculture is an integral part of the success of our state. I hope you’ll join me in celebrating the dedicated farmers and ranchers who work around the clock to provide the safest, most nutritious and sustainable food, fuel and fiber resources for families across the World!

Cheers to Kansas Farming and Ranching!

Kiley DeDonder

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Morning Protein

Published by Katie Sawyer at 3:37 AM under Beef Team | General | Nutrition | Recipe

I am a morning runner. There are few other things I look forward to like welcoming the sun, seeing our cows and jogging beside our two farm dogs down our dusty dirt roads. My runs help me clear my head, make my mental to-do list for the day and have a little “me time” before the hustle and bustle of kids, work and life.


But my pre-breakfast calorie burn means I am usually starving by 8 a.m. and often a bowl of cereal just doesn’t do the trick. We all know that protein is an important part of lunch and supper but a protein-packed breakfast can help set your morning on the right path and give you the energy to tackle whatever your day may bring. After my runs, I attempt to eat a protein-based breakfast to keep me full and active through the morning.


Many nutritional experts recommend you get 25 to 30 grams of protein at breakfast. That may sound like a lot, but there are great beef recipes that can help you pack that protein punch and reach the recommended 46 grams of protein for women and 53 grams of protein for men each day.


Here is a great recipe for Easy Beef Breakfast Rolls. Make these ahead and you can grab one as you walk out the door.





  1. Country-Style Beef Breakfast Sausage (recipe follows)
  2. 2 large eggs, scrambled
  3. 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  4. 1 tablespoon water
  5. Fillings (optional): Chopped onions, salsa, chopped cooked vegetables
  6. 12 balls of frozen bread dough, thawed



  1. Prepare Basic Country Beef Breakfast Sausage. Remove from skillet.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray 12 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray.  Combine beef crumbles, scrambled eggs, cheese and water. Stir in optional filling ingredients, if desired. Roll out one dough ball at a time on unfloured surface to 4 to 5-inch diameter circle. Place approximately 1/4 cup of beef sausage filling into the center of the circle.  Gather edges of dough and pinch together. With hands roll dough back into ball. Place seam-side down into a muffin cup. 
  3. Bake 24 to 27 minutes or until rolls are golden brown. 

    Country-Style Beef Breakfast Sausage: Combine 1 pound Ground Beef (93% or leaner), 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage or 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage, 1 teaspoon garlic power, 1 teaspoon onion power, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper in large bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly.  Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot.  Add beef mixture; cook 8 to 10 minutes, breaking into 1/2-inch crumbles, stirring occasionally.



Nutrition information per serving: 409 calories; 16 g fat (5 g saturated fat; 4 g monounsaturated fat); 138 mg cholesterol; 617 mg sodium; 35 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 32 g protein; 6.2 mg niacin; 0.4 mg vitamin B6; 2.2 mcg vitamin B12; 4.9 mg iron; 22.2 mcg selenium; 5.7 mg zinc; 119.2 mg choline.

This recipe is an excellent source of protein, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, iron, selenium, zinc and choline.


Total Recipe Time: 40 to 45 minutes

Makes 12 servings

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I’ve Got My Eyes On MOO This Valentine’s Day

Published by Kiley De Donder at 8:46 AM under Agriculture | Coffee Shop Talk | General | Nutrition | Recipe

Earlier this week our local radio station was talking about Valentine’s Day and whether or not the talk show hosts’ had plans for surprising their “Valentines”.  Neither of the two had really narrowed down their ideas, which led into a few interesting facts shared about how many people in America actually procrastinate until the last minute to think of a special treat or adventure for their loved ones. In our house, we don’t typically go-all-out for Valentine’s Day. We might not shower eachother with flowers, stuffed bears and loads of chocolate hearts…but, we do enjoy celebrating our love of BEEF together. I wouldn’t be surprised if every Valentine’s Day my husband and I have celebrated together was commemorated with a nice steak dinner of some sort


In the spirit of Valentines Day I just had to share this sweet surprise our ranch received via email this week. Now, isnt that just the cutest photo ! Clearly this gal did not procrastinate!  For several years now, our farm/ranch has helped sponsor a youth program at the American Royal called the Calf Scramble. So to tell the story behind the photo, this younglady is a participant in this year’s calf scramble program, and lives in Montana! The program gives the opportunity for students 7-12th grades to compete for a heifer to take home and raise for a year and return to the American Royal Calf Scramble Show in the fall. It’s a great agrarian based educational experience for kids across the country and helps them get started raising beef cattle! And that, is something close to our heart. Not only do we love our friends and family, but as ranchers we love to care for and raise our animals too.


If you’re still looking for a few last minute dinner ideas for that special someone, I recommend browsing a number of the awesome Valentine’s Day dinner ideas at http://www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com/recipecollection.aspx?id=10023

Much love,


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What Keeps You Going?

Published by Kassie Curran at 9:40 AM under Agriculture | General

I’m sure we can all agree that the start of 2016 has flown by – it’s hard to believe we are already in the last week of January! As February quickly approaches I was thinking about some of my goals for the New Year and realized I needed to refocus on those goals. Whether you like setting New Year’s Resolutions or just want tomorrow to be better than today, it takes focus and dedication to stick to those goals you set for the New Year.

We are sure to be discouraged at times and may consider giving up on those goals, but I believe it’s more important to continue making an effort towards your goals even if you slip up every once in a while. I’m going to keep this great quote by Voltaire in mind when thinking about my goals this year, “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.” This reminds me that progress is better than perfection and although we may not always reach our goals, doing something is better than doing nothing.

While 2015 brought interesting challenges to the beef industry, beef producers can expect 2016 to have its own set of ups and down. Whether it’s the cattle markets, grain prices, or weather, cattle producers must be diligent in making good production decisions and not be too discouraged when things don’t go as planned. It’s also important to identify what keeps  you going - what motivates you to push through the difficult times and continue to work towards your goals and dreams.

One of those things that keeps me going are new calves – it’s encouraging to see new life and they bring promise for a good year. I hope you identify what keeps you going towards your goals this year and remember not to let perfection be the enemy of good.


Eat Beef!



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Energy for Busy Families

Published by Katie Sawyer at 9:12 AM under Agriculture | General | Nutrition | Recipe

It’s 2016 and our farm suddenly became a little more crowded. We welcomed our second son, Owen, on Jan. 5. That means I have more than a few baby pounds to drop and hope to get back into a running regimen by the spring.  That goal should be made easier by our two-year-old son, Evan, who always seems to be running on all cylinders and keeps us on our toes.


Meanwhile, my farmer hubby is working around the clock to help our 300-some mother cows safely and successfully deliver their new calves. That means 12-15 hour workdays and the occasional all-nighters.


One my new year’s goals is to prepare more meals, not only to save a few bucks, but to provide healthy and hearty meals that my family can enjoy together. Eating healthy is essential to maintaining energy levels and right now, the hubs and I need all of the energy we can get!


Thankfully we always have a great supply of beef cuts on hand that I can turn to for an excellent source of protein. Beef can be part of quick, healthy, family-friendly meals – from pizza to stews to casseroles to pot roasts. This winter, I hope to put my cooking skills to the test and find lots of new recipes to satisfy my family’s nutritional and energy needs.


Here is an example of a great recipe for a family meal that will satisfy appetites of all ages and keep everyone running on all cylinders. For more recipes and meal ideas check out www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com.




(Found on www.BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com)


  1. 1 pound Ground Beef
  2. 1 small green bell pepper, chopped
  3. 1/2 cup chopped onion
  4. 1 can (13-3/4 to 14-1/2 ounces) ready-to-serve beef broth
  5. 1-1/2 cups uncooked wagon wheel pasta
  6. 1 cup prepared hickory-flavored barbecue sauce
  7. 1/2 cup finely shredded Cheddar or Colby cheese



  1. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add Ground Beef, bell pepper and onion; cook 8 to 10 minutes, breaking into 3/4-inch crumbles and stirring occasionally. Pour off drippings.
  2. Stir in broth, pasta, barbecue sauce and 1/4 cup water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until pasta is almost tender. Uncover; cook 5 to 7 minutes or until pasta is tender and sauce is thickened, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with cheese.



Nutrition information per serving: 445 calories; 10 g fat (4 g saturated fat; 4 g monounsaturated fat); 79 mg cholesterol; 1307 mg sodium; 54 g carbohydrate; 1.6 g fiber; 36 g protein; 9.3 mg niacin; 0.5 mg vitamin B6; 2.4 mcg vitamin B12; 6.1 mg iron; 20.9 mcg selenium; 6.6 mg zinc; 86.24 mg choline.

This recipe is an excellent source of protein, iron, zinc, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and selenium; and a good source of choline.

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Feed Time

Published by Kiley De Donder at 3:19 AM under Agriculture | Coffee Shop Talk | Nutrition | Recipe

Over the weekend our family wrapped up the final Christmas gathering for the season. It was truly a joyous occasion! Along with the out of town siblings and cousins, came a solid storm of rain and sleet. Precipitation is welcomed 9 times out of 10 on the farm, but lately it’s turning into a nuisance. With the abundance of moisture we’ve received it makes for tougher conditions for the cattle and with shorter days, cold temps and hardly any sun it takes forever for the ground to dry up. We spend extra time feeding and providing shelter to minimize the stress of the conditions. Here’s an inside look at chore time from this weekend.


Cattle lined up at the bunks                         Big round bales of hay are rolled out for      pastured cattle to eat.


 It’s a fun change of pace to have everyone home on the farm during the holidays. There are always tons of fun and never a shortage of food. Another perk of big family gatherings, there tends to be a few leftovers. Not all families love leftovers, but ours seems to eat them just fine. So, I thought I’d share an extremely quick beef and sweet potato hash recipe that uses several common ingredients you’re likely to have on hand following a traditional family gathering on a Kansas farm… Hashes are a great way to use leftovers. The combination of ingredients is limitless and work great morning, noon or night. And at less than 350 calories per serving, you can enjoy it without the guilt of a big dish and all the “fixings”


For additional leftover recipe ideas visit beefitswhatsfordinner.com


Have a happy and prosperous New Year!




12 ounces cooked beef (such as steak, roast or pot roast), cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2-1/2 cups)

1 large sweet potato, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 tablespoon taco seasoning mix

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 tablespoons reduced-fat or regular dairy sour cream

1 teaspoon hot sauce

Chopped fresh cilantro


Combine sweet potatoes, onion and taco seasoning in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add water. Cover and cook 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp-tender and water has almost evaporated, stirring once. Stir in oil; continue cooking, uncovered, 4 to 6 minutes or until potatoes are tender and begin to brown, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, combine sour cream and hot sauce in small bowl. Set aside.

Add beef to potato mixture. Continue to cook 5 minutes or until beef is heated through, stirring occasionally, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons water, if needed to avoid sticking.

Garnish with cilantro, as desired. Serve with sour cream mixture.

Nutrition information per serving: 329 calories; 10 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 4 g monounsaturated fat); 63 mg cholesterol; 387 mg sodium; 33 g carbohydrate; 5.4 g fiber; 26 g protein; 3.0 mg niacin; 0.3 mg vitamin B6; 2.6 mcg vitamin B12; 3.7 mg iron; 26.1 mcg selenium; 5.6 mg zinc; 4.7 mg choline.

This recipe is an excellent source of fiber, protein, vitamin B12, iron, selenium and zinc; and a good source of niacin and vitamin B6.

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Giving The Gift of Beef

Published by Katie Sawyer at 1:31 PM under Agriculture | General

The old adage goes: “Farmers are asset-rich but cash poor.” Sadly, it still rings true for most in the agriculture industry today. We own land, cattle and equipment but only get paid at harvest so devote our paychecks to planting the next crop and purchasing the next group of calves. Sadly, my family is often no different.


So when it comes to helping charitable organizations and supporting our local community, we look to our assets to help us make a difference.


Like many communities, the city of McPherson, Kan., distributes hundreds of food baskets each year to needy families during the Christmas season. We could send a check or donate canned food items but we choose to make our own, unique contribution – fresh, locally raised beef.


We sell our beef locally to friends and family and each year, set aside hamburger to donate to various organizations, including those responsible for the Christmas food baskets. I love that we can donate a product we raised ourselves and provide families with a few pounds of nutritious and hearty ground beef. For some of these families, this may be one of the few times each year they can enjoy a meal with fresh, ground hamburger.


Donating beef is one of the many ways farmers and ranchers give back to their communities each year. Many grain cooperatives allow farmers to donate grain to non-profit organizations, which can then sell the grain and use the profits. Some families opt to allow the community to utilize acres of their farm for gardens or community planting projects. And yet others choose to give their time and talents, helping with local events, building projects or other community-wide efforts.


It always feels good to give back and help a family – especially during the holiday season. And doing so with fresh, locally raised beef is a tradition my family cherishes and will continue for years to come.

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Preparing for the Storm: 5 Ways

Published by Robin Kleine at 4:44 AM under Agriculture | Coffee Shop Talk | General

You may have noticed the slick, icy weather outside. Even if all of your activities were cancelled or postponed, we couldn’t delay feeding and watering our cows or checking over the herd.


Even if we don’t want to get out of our pajamas and leave our mugs of hot chocolate, the animals must be fed.


Taking care of our stock takes lots of planning, careful timing and a little bit of luck – no matter what the season. But in the next few months, lots of extra care will be given to our cattle to make sure they are fed, watered and as comfortable as possible in the harsh Kansas winter conditions … here’s how –


  1. MAKE HAY WHILE THE SUN IS SHINING. Back in the summer, we worked around the clock to make sure we enough hay to feed throughout the winter months. This stock pile will be fed through the winter when the grass is dormant and doesn’t grow.

  2. WATCH THE WEATHER. Any farmer or rancher will tell you that they read, watch or listen to the long term forecast multiple times per day. If bad weather is predicted we make any and all efforts to bed down the cattle, put out extra hay as well as check that every single water source not frozen and working properly.

  3. CREATE WIND BREAKS & CLEAR ROADS. Here in Kansas, the wind always blows. Especially on the open prairie, so ranchers will build wind breaks or plant rows of trees. The cattle can stand behind these structures and group together to get out of the wind. We often clear the roads and driveways on our farms and ranches, but first we tend to those that lead to our pastures and feed bunks.

  4. DO A HEAD COUNT. When feeding and watering, we do our best to go through and count each pasture and make sure all the cattle are where they belong. If not, we will walk, ride or drive through the pastures until we find them all.

  5. NO MATTER WHAT .. MAKE SURE THE STOCK HAS PLENTY TO EAT, ACCESS TO WATER & A PLACE TO BED DOWN. Even in white out conditions or ice slicked roads, the cattle have to eat, and then we can warm up and come inside and maybe have some breakfast ourselves.


If you don’t have cattle or other animals outside to take care of, you probably curl up on the couch with a good book and some coffee. Farmers and ranchers come inside and worry about how their herd is faring in the elements and how soon they can head back out to check on them.


May your herd be warm & safe this winter,


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Published by Heath Larson at 8:15 AM under Agriculture | Coffee Shop Talk | General

I clearly remember feeling completely out of my element when working my first non-farm job.  Each day began and ended at the time clock, punching my card so my hours could be tracked. 

Conversely, in a farm family, "work" is woven into every single fiber of family life.  Vacations happen when rain forces you out of the field.  Summers revolve around wheat harvest, while winters revolve around twice-daily cattle feeding, periodic cattle drives, and late-winter calving.  Fortunately, during the limited amount of down time, the rewards of farm life can't be topped.  Were it not for family farm ground, I probably never would have had the opportunity to bond with my close friends over duck and pheasant hunts.  I grew up picking and eating sweet corn all summer long, the perfect complement to a fresh grilled, home-raised T-bone steak shared in the company of family after a day of hard work.

Today, I still carry these lessons with me.  I don't have to punch a time clock anymore, but, consistent with what I grew up with, I know I will be at work until the job is done, however long it takes.  Meal time is truly a sacred time for our growing family to relax, re-connect, and enjoy a cut of lean beef that supports the farm culture for which we are so thankful.  Perhaps the greatest rewards come when we take the time to return with our children to the farm to help with day-to-day tasks.

Last week, I took my son Andrew with me to help my father out with hauling heifers out of their summer pastures and cutting milo.  While waiting for "Grandpa Craig" to dump another load of milo on the grain cart, I asked Andrew why he liked coming to the farm so much.  His response?  "I just like being with you, Dad."  Now that is a family work culture worthy of much thanksgiving.

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Take the WHO Report with a Grain of Salt

Published by Kassie Curran at 8:35 AM under

You’ve likely heard at least one headline about the recent World Health Organization (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) report claiming that red meat is probably carcinogenic to humans. It hit the newsstands like wildfire, but the flames seem to have settled down a bit over the past week. I believe this is because consumers are smart enough to know that everything in moderation is a diet approach that has served us well for many years.

An important thing to consider when reviewing any report is how and what has been evaluated. According to the WHO website, the IARC evaluates cancer hazards, but not the risks associated with exposure. This is an important distinction as an agent is considered a cancer hazard if it is capable of causing cancer under some circumstances. Meanwhile, risk measures the probability that cancer will occur, taking into account the level of exposure to the agent. Ultimately, agents classified in the same group should not be compared as this can be misleading. “The types of exposure, extent of risk, people who may be at risk, and the cancer types linked with the agent can be very different across agent.”

The U.S. population, and the global population for that matter, is made up of all kinds of people with all kinds of dietary and health needs – there isn’t one solution to any problem, especially when it comes to diet and health. There are many factors that influence our health and we each need to determine what diet suits us best. Following the IARC report, the WHO has since suggested, “Meat provides a number of essential nutrients and, when consumed in moderation, has a place in a healthy diet.”

Ultimately, we have to decide for ourselves if we want to enjoy meat as part of a healthy, balanced diet. We can use recommendations from scientific bodies to guide us in these decisions, but they must be taken with a grain of salt as there is not one answer to the question of what is the right diet.

Remember that beef can be part of a healthy, balanced diet and we each get to decide what that looks like for us – for lots of great healthy beef recipes, check out the “Beef, It’s What’s For Dinner” website. < http://www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com/recipecollection.aspx?id=10013 >

Eat Beef!


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