Kansas

Beef Chat

Apr162014

Preparing for Grilling Season

Published by Robin Kleine at 6:16 AM under Coffee Shop Talk | General

One of these days, the weather is going to break and spring will be here to stay! [I’m crossing my fingers over here at least.]


When spring hits, I am ready to cook my meals on the grill. I like nearly anything cooked that way – vegetables, pizzas and you guessed it BEEF!


After all those months of sitting idle, there are some things you’ll want to check for before firing up your grill.


The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) shares a few tips here (http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/outdoors/grilling/grilling-safety-tips).

  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
  • The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill area.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.

 

When using a charcoal grill, you can start the fire with a charcoal chimney starter that uses newspaper as a fuel. If you choose to use a starter fluid, use one specifically for charcoal grills. Other flammable substances can flare up uncontrollably or leave an aftertaste on your food. After you have finished grilling, be sure to let the coals cool completely before disposing in a metal container. Picture courtesy of Safety Training Services.

 

If you choose to use a propane grill, be sure to check the gas tank hose for leaks when starting your grill for the first time this spring. Here’s how, according to the NFPA –

 

Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles. If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off the gas tank and grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department. If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.

 

Just by taking a few moments to properly assess your grill, you could save your family’s lives. Once your grill passes these quick tests, you’re ready to grill up a delicious meal.

 

What’s your favorite thing to cook on the grill? I like burgers, mixed with onion soup mix on a toasted bun (on the grill too) and topped with provolone cheese.

 

Until next time,

Robin



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Jan232014

Chicken Or Beef?

Published by Robin Kleine at 10:02 AM under

For the first time, chicken outsold beef in the United States in 2013. Fifty years ago, Americans only ate about 20 lbs. of chicken per year. Today, we eat nearly 58 lbs./year.

What has changed in our economy that families everywhere are choosing poultry over a hearty, delicious roast, hamburger or steak?

BEEF Magazine blogger, Amanda Radke, asks, “Americans now eat less beef then they did in 1955, but is the change a result of a healthier diet or because people are choosing the cheaper option?”

  

According to a recent survey from the national beef checkoff, Millenials (born between 1980 and 2000) cited 10 reasons for choosing chicken over beef when preparing food for their children. To read the entire article, click here - http://beefmagazine.com/beef-demand/industry-glance-millennial-parents-chicken-vs-beef

 

 

 

Additionally, the poultry industry in the United States has grown tremendously in recent years. A report from the USDA Economic Research Service (http://www.ers.usda.gov/amber-waves/2012-september/us-consumption-of-chicken.aspx#.UuAFrPbnbjA) states, “Chicken's relatively lower price may, in part, reflect efficiencies in chicken production that have led to lower bird mortality rates and a higher average live weight per broiler--5.8 pounds today versus 3.4 pounds in 1960.”

 

With these improvements and others, poultry producers can now have meat readily available more quickly and with lower input costs thanks to technological advancements.

 

As beef producers, we have some of the highest input costs. And although we are producing more pounds of beef with fewer cattle and less land than before, the cost of our protein source is still high, when compared to chicken.

 

So what advantages does beef have over chicken?

These are my favorite talking points -

 

  • There are 29 lean cuts of beef to choose from, and many of them are nutritionally similar to a boneless, skinless chicken breast. Three ounces of beef is a great source of protein, zinc, Vitamin B12, selenium, phosphorus, choline, niacin, vitamin B6, iron and riboflavin. It’s also less than 10% of your calories in a 2,000-calorie diet. 

  • It’s a great way to “cook once, dine twice.” Buy a chuck roast (also a lean cut) at your local grocery store, and make a tasty pot roast using a slow cooker. Then, with the leftovers have sandwiches the next night. You can also serve on top of your favorite greens for a quick salad option. Sometimes, you can buy a roast for as low as $2.99/lb. 

  • Some cuts, like ground beef or a thinly sliced sandwich steak can be cooked just as quickly as their chicken counterparts. 

  • Taste! When choosing between a chicken breast and a strip steak prepared the same way, I’d rather have the steak!

Photo courtesy of oklahomafarmreport.com

 

So, when you’re visiting with family members or perhaps a stranger in the grocery store, remember these talking points. You might even want to carry this handy card (http://www.idbeef.org/CMDocs/IdahoBC/29%20lean%20cuts%20wallet%20card_low.pdf)  in your wallet to share with anyone on the fence about the benefits of beef.

 

Until next time,
Robin



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Nov272013

A Reason to be Thankful

Published by Robin Kleine at 7:21 AM under Agriculture | Coffee Shop Talk | General

You may remember a post, back in early October about a “freak snowstorm” that hit South Dakota and left ranchers across the western part of the state in desperate need.

 

The snowstorm, “Atlas,” killed more than 15,000 head of cattle, sheep, horses and bison in the western part of the state. The first shipments of donated cattle began arriving in South Dakota last week and continue. Stories like this remind me of why I love agriculture and the people involved.

 

One report this week from FoxNews.com included the headline – “Holy cow! Farmers donate cattle after South Dakota blizzard kills livestock”

 

The opening line of the story says, “Hope on hooves is arriving in South Dakota, one heifer at a time.”

 

Also quoted in the story, “The support from other states has been phenomenal,” Silvia Christen, executive director of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, told FoxNews.com early Monday. “We have volunteers from in the state who have helped with cleanup, we have people from surrounding states who shipped heifers and about $1.5 million has been donated to the Rancher Relief Fund.”

 

To read the entire story, visit http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/11/25/donated-cattle-sent-to-south-dakota-following-freak-blizzard-that-killed/.

 

People from across the nation have come together to support the ranchers in this area, donating to various charities to help out the victims – like the South Dakota Rancher Relief Fund and Heifers for S. Dakota.

 

The Heifers for S. Dakota organization has been documenting their success and donations through their Facebook account. To view and “like” their page, visit https://www.facebook.com/pledgeheifer.

 

One post from Nov. 19th said, Over 600 head of quality animals will be delivered within this next week. Over 300 donor's giving livestock. Untold hundreds donating monetarily. More than a dozen truckers giving of their time and equipment with several of them donating all of their fuel as well. More than a dozen veterinarians donating their services. More than a dozen brand inspectors donating their services. Local businesses covering the expenses where they are needed. Numerous individuals volunteering their time and giving of themselves to extraordinary lengths. All of this without a penny being taken out for compensation by the organizations. And one storm having wreaked it's havoc which made this necessary.

This is Heifers for South Dakota. We are merely a group of like-minded individuals trying to love our neighbor as ourselves. And folks we will make a difference to the more than 40 recipients chosen.”
 

 

Additionally, many Kansas ranch families have donated animals to the relief efforts. While, not all of us can physically be in South Dakota to assist in the clean-up efforts, we are trying to make the devastating loss a little better for the families’ affected by the storm.

 

As we gather for Thanksgiving, let’s take time to be thankful for all that we have, as well as take the time to say a prayer for the people elsewhere who will need strength to get through the upcoming days, weeks and years after “Atlas.”

 

Until Next Time,
Robin



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Sep062013

100 Years of the Kansas State Fair

Published by Robin Kleine at 7:08 AM under Agriculture | Coffee Shop Talk | General

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, head to the Kansas State Fair (http://www.kansasstatefair.com/) in Hutchinson. This is the event’s 100th anniversary, and the fine folks at KSF have put together a great list of attractions, vendors and show to keep you entertained! What’s even better is that KSF runs Sept. 6 – 15th.

 

To see a full list, visit http://www.kansasstatefair.com/pagedescription.php?id=2&pages=sf

 

Agriculture is at the forefront of this year’s attractions, including the livestock shows.

 

Kansas has a great program, The Grand Drive, which takes place the first Saturday of the fair. Sponsors from across the state come together to support Kansas youth and their livestock projects, awarding a number of scholarships, awards and more to the winners.

 

 

Photo courtesy of The Grand Drive

 

Check out the all-new Facebook page here - https://www.facebook.com/thegranddriveKSF.

 

While at the KSF, be sure to check out Agriland, a hands on exhibit at the KSF. According to a recent press release from the KDA, “Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Dale Rodman said Agriland provides the setting for young and old alike to learn more about agriculture firsthand and interact with those who raise crops and livestock.” (To read the full press release, visit http://agriculture.ks.gov/news-events/news-releases/2013/08/30/agriculture-education-is-hands-on-at-agriland-during-the-kansas-state-fair)

 

Agriland is sponsored by the Kansas Beef Council, the Kansas Corn Commission, Kansas Cotton, the Kansas Dairy Association, the Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom, the Kansas Grain Sorghum Commission, the Kansas Soybean Commission, the Kansas Sunflower Commission, Kansas Wheat, the Soil Tunnel Trailer, Kansas Agri-Women and the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

 

Here’s a picture from last year’s Agriland exhibit –

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of Kansas Agiriland

 

Don’t forget there’s also delicious fried fair foods and carnival rides. There’s something for everyone at the Kansas State Fair!

 

Until next time,

Robin



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Jul262013

Fair Season

Published by Robin Kleine at 3:17 AM under

For many of us who were raised on farms and ranches, exhibiting livestock at our county fair, state fair and national shows is how we spent our childhoods. I know I’ve visited before about my family’s operation, RJ Show Cattle.

Not all animals are used to pint-sized kiddos being around.

But sometimes it’s hard for us, the livestock producers, to realize that not everyone has grown up the way we have. Those that come through the fair may have never seen a cow before, touched a pig or fed a sheep. Personally, I’ve done all of those things countless times, so some of the novelty is lost.

Don’t get me wrong, being at a fair excites me too! But I don’t want anyone or any animal to get hurt during the process.

Occasionally, I’ve been annoyed with the “city people” who come to the fair. You know whom I’m talking about … the ones running down the aisles, asking to pet the horses and feeding cotton candy to the goats.

Then I realized that every once in a while, we (livestock producers) needed to take a step back and put ourselves in their shoes.

Celeste Laurent Harned, an agricultural communicator from Kentucky wrote a blog last summer to fair-goers, asking for their patience and consideration when attending events with livestock present. Her blog, “A Letter to Fairgoers from a Livestock Exhibitor,” (http://celestelaurent.com/?p=4354) hits the nail on the head.

Harned gives a few guidelines –

• Don’t touch the animals without the owners’ permission. They can bite, kick or worse!
• Don’t feed the animals. They are fed a highly specialized diet, and you don’t want them to get sick.
• Don’t take your strollers up and down the aisles of the barn. The noise/sight could scare the animals.
• Wash your and your children’s hands often.

Harned says, “I’ve been showing pigs at the Kentucky State Fair since I was a child and over the years I’ve noticed a thing or two about you. In some ways, you and I have a lot in common. We’re both excited to take in the sights, do a little shopping and eat an ice cream cone the size of our head. There is one key difference between you and I, however… I am here to show my livestock. My family has been working all year to get our animals ready for this moment.”

While our animals are used to be around humans, loud noises, sudden movements and getting in behind or in front of a livestock project can be dangerous for you and them.

After reading Harned’s post, how can you make your fair experience better?

Until next time,
Robin



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Jun142013

Fluffy Cows – A Realistic Depiction of the Beef Industry?

Published by Robin Kleine at 3:45 AM under Agriculture | Coffee Shop Talk | General

Maybe you haven’t heard of the “fluffy cow” phenomenon that hit mainstream news last week. But, I have been reading about it for almost two weeks now.

As the social media manager for a livestock marketing agency, I have seen the #fluffycows headline blowing up every newsfeed I have – Twitter, Facebook, blogs, Yahoo! News, The Today Show, you name it.

The craze started here with one post like this - http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2013/06/fluffy-cows-set-internet-hearts-aflutter/.


Part of me is annoyed, because I know that the beef industry and cattle in general offer so much more than fluff. Yes, show cattle have glossy coats, but they are a relatively small part of our industry. Yes, I grew up showing cattle. Yes, my paycheck comes from the producers of these “teddy bear-esque” animals. But, even I know that a steer doesn’t have to have 6 inches of hair to make a good steak or a delicious hamburger.

The other part of me thinks it is AWESOME, because finally the industry and hobby that I have enjoyed for years is being recognized. Some others in the beef industry have similar feelings. Read Amanda Radke’s opinion from BEEF Magazine here, http://beefmagazine.com/blog/fluffycow-trend-good-industry.

I think that Matt Lautner, whose bulls were featured in the posts as the “poster children” for fluffy cows deserves some credit as well. They have also been featuring producers of fluffy cows on their blog (http://www.mattlautnercattle.com/). They created this infographic to inform the consumers about cattle showing, telling them that it’s about more than growing hair and sculpting it into these idyllic cow forms. It’s about responsibility and dedication and stewardship … and AND and – I could go on and on, because I know from experience!

So tell me, beef connoisseurs, do you think the fluffy cow craze has impacted our industry’s image? Do you think fluffy cows are the cutest things under the sun? But, most importantly, are you still going to have steak fajitas for supper tonight? Or maybe an all beef hotdog?

 


Check out this depiction of the beef cuts over Texas Tornado, whose picture gathered lots of Fluffy Cow attention. Courtesy of Matt Lautner Cattle (http://www.mattlautnercattle.com/?p=59752).

My love and adoration for fluffy cows certainly isn’t going to affect my decision to eat beef.

Until next time,
Robin



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May022013

Beef and Horse Racing

Published by Robin Kleine at 3:50 AM under

May is Beef Month! This is exciting for me as a cattle producer, but then again I don’t really need a holiday to eat beef.

  

I thought today we would visit about a great May “holiday” – the Kentucky Derby! I love the idea of Southern proper ladies in fancy dresses, wearing large hats and sipping on mint juleps, as well as gentlemen in seersucker suits drinking bourbon and water and smoking cigars.

 

Photo Courtesy of www.heartofahorse.org

 

If you’ve never been to Churchhill Downs, the grounds themselves are beautiful, and watching the horses race is truly exhilarating. This is an American tradition, and in my opinion a great excuse to invite over your friends, put on a big hat and grill some beef!

The race is set for Saturday, May 4th at approximately 6:24 pm EST.

 

Here’s a healthy way to incorporate beef into your party – kabobs! Krissy at The Dainty Chef shares a great recipe for pineapple beef kabobs on her blog here, http://dainty-chef.com/2011/05/pineapple-beef-kabobs.html

 

Pineapple Beef Kabobs

Ingredients:
For the marinade:
1 cup teriyaki
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 6 oz. can pineapple juice
6 cloves garlic
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. worchestire sauce
beef tenderloin or your favorite type of steak (how much depends on how many kabobs you want)

 

For the kabobs:
Cut the red onion, red pepper and pineapple into chunks.

Instructions:
Combine all your marinade ingredients into a bowl and whisk together. Cut your choice of meat into chunks and drop into marinade. Cover & refrigerate for 1-4 hours. When ready to cook, preheat grill to medium high. Drain and discard marinade. On 12 metal or soaked wooden skewers, alternately thread the beef, pineapple, peppers and onion. Grill, covered, over medium-hot heat for 8-10 minutes or until meat reaches desired doneness, turning occasionally.

 

Photo courtesy of dainty-chef.com

 

Remember May is Beef Month. How else can you celebrate? It’s easy to incorporate beef into your diet, especially with warmer temperatures and grilling season officially here to stay.

 

Cheers,

Robin



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Mar202013

March is National Nutrition Month

Published by Robin Kleine at 10:52 AM under Beef Team | General | Nutrition | Recipe

This article from Runner’s World (http://www.runnersworld.com/nutrition-runners/meaty-issues?cm_mmc=NL-Nutrition-_-1229288-_-03142013-_-Healthy-Meats-For-Runners) is a great reminder about how beef can add to any healthy diet.
 
The author, Jessica Girdwain, gives alternatives to the “classic” lean kitchen favorite – chicken breasts. “Just choose lean cuts and give it a role as a side dish. Here are five types of meat that can send the chicken across the road,” Girdwain says.
 
The article also outlines the benefits of beef, including the zinc, iron, omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin E and B Vitamins in a 3.5-ounce serving. Dark meat chicken, lamb, pork and turkey pastrami are the other suggested meats in the article.
 
Of course, I LOVE Girdwain’s suggestion of a post-race steak. But then again, I think a steak is a perfect end (or beginning) to any day.
 
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (http://www.eatright.org/) gives us a few ways to celebrate National Nutrition Month -
·         Invite the author of a nutrition book to speak at a local bookstore or in front of your club or organization
·         Organize a "healthy recipe" cook-off at work
·         Ask your child's teacher to have the class bring in empty food packages, then hold a lesson on reading the nutritional labels.
 
Here’s a recipe to start your planning (from Fitness Magazine) -
 
 
Chipotle Beef Wrap
 
Ingredients
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 6- to 8-ounce lean steak (like the flat iron, tenderloin, etc.)
1 tablespoon canned chipotle in adobe, chopped
4 tablespoons fresh cilantro
2 large whole wheat tortillas
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
Lettuce and tomato
 
Make It
Rub olive oil in a heavy skillet. Saute steak over high heat until medium rare to medium, turning once (7 to 10 minutes). Set aside until cool; slice thinly. Stir together chipotle in adobe and mayonnaise; spread on tortillas. Add 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro to each; top with beef and lettuce and tomato. Roll up.
 
Until next time,
Robin


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Feb062013

So God Made a Farmer

Published by Robin Kleine at 10:33 AM under Agriculture | Coffee Shop Talk | General

 By now, I’m sure most of you have seen the Superbowl commercial put out by Dodge. In the advertisement, Dodge uses the great Paul Harvey’s speech from the 1978 National FFA Convention.  Visit here to watch the commercial, and hear the speech that has been continually been running through my head all day: http://www.mediaite.com/tv/so-god-made-a-farmer-listen-to-the-full-paul-harvey-speech-that-inspired-dodges-super-bowl-ad/
 
This commercial hit me hard, and I’m certainly not one to be influenced by commercials on during a sporting event. But, Paul Harvey holds a special place in my heart, as my family listened to him on the radio every morning and every lunch hour. During these lunches we weren’t allowed to speak, as my dad needed to know what was happening in agriculture (the markets, the weather, the bean crop in Argentina, etc.) But, I was probably too busy eating my peanut butter and jelly sandwich with the crusts cut off to even notice then.
 
Now, I watch my dad work hard everyday - finishing his 40-hour week during planting and harvest on Tuesday.
 
I am applauding Dodge, and I am mostly applauding the American public for welcoming this message – without anything degrading, vulgar or sarcastic in the dialogue. We, the American farmers are very hard working, and thank you Dodge for acknowledging that with a $4 million dollar commercial.
 
On top of it, the imagery used in the commercial is beautiful.
 
This blog from NPR encourages conversation on the commercial, and I have read some of the comments. http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/02/04/171056911/-god-made-a-farmer-and-the-super-bowl-made-him-a-star Here is your chance to stand up to agriculture, again.
 
Until next time,
Robin


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Dec192012

What Child is This?

Published by Robin Kleine at 11:02 AM under Agriculture | Coffee Shop Talk | General

There are six days until Christmas, and while I am frantically wrapping, baking, cleaning and preparing for company – our cows are eagerly awaiting the birth of a new baby of their own! That’s right folks, calving season is upon us!
 

We have five cows right now up close to the barn with access to a calving pen, which has lots of warm fluffy straw for the little babies to lie down on. There are also lights, and a barn camera

http://www.valleyvet.com/ct_detail.html?pgguid=8b0831d3-099f-4f0a-8aa3-2ebe9334eebc&itemGUID=dde096f5-4eb0-4d4c-b47a-885b7f5ea7da&ccd=ISH003&utm_source=shopping.com&utm_medium=cpc&utm_content=26119) so we can see if any of the cows are having issues giving birth in the middle of the night. (Difficulty giving birth is called dystocia in the science world, and we do anything we can to make sure our cows and calves survive the birthing process.)  We turn on this camera at 10 p.m., midnight and 3 a.m. – and are back in the barn at 6 a.m. to check them in person.
 
Our cows are extremely important to our family, and if one of them has problems, we will stop whatever we’re doing to make sure the calving process goes as smoothly as possible. Sometimes we even stop at the barn after church or another formal event and jump right in the calving pen to help our little mamas and babies out!
 
While this picture was clearly taken in the summer months, we hope to have more happy, healthy calves like this born this winter!
 
Snow is on its way to Kansas, so please say a little prayer that all the farmers, ranchers and livestock survive the holiday season, as well as you on your travels to places near and far.
 
Cheers,
Robin


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