Kansas

Beef Chat

Jul102014

Summer Slowdown?

Published by Robin Kleine at 3:59 AM under Agriculture | Coffee Shop Talk | General

For some people, summer is a slower time. They might get to sleep in and stay up late, enjoy a few hours in the pool every day, eat tremendous amounts of cotton candy and watermelon and relax. 

 

At our house, we do a little bit of those things --- but not very often.  

 

Here’s 3 reasons why farmers and ranchers are so busy during the summer –

 

  1. We’ve got to make hay. Because cows are ruminants (their stomachs have four parts), they need to eat forage (like hay) to keep it functioning properly. Hay also provides valuable nutrients and protein to their diet. But, hay is finicky and depends on the weather. We have to have a few day window from when you mow it, to when you bale it without any rain to ensure that the hay is dry and won’t mold easily.

    IMG_1341.JPG
    Image courtesy of www.freerepublic.com

  2. Cows and calves need our attention. After all the cows are done calving in the spring, we take the cows and their babies to a different pasture for the summer along with a few bulls to breed the cows. Every day, we visit the pasture to make sure everything is in place – all the fences are still in tact, do a quick head count, and check over the herd for sickness or injuries. Also, we will run all the cows in to give them a de-wormer and treat for flies – two major problems in the summer – as well as do a pregnancy check to make sure the bulls are doing their job.

    IMG_7416.jpg
    Cow and calf on pasture. Picture taken at my farm.

  3. We’re celebrating our hard work at fairs and cattle shows. For some of us, we show our cattle and other livestock at our county fair or other shows on a state or national level. We work all year for this moment, when we get to present our animals to the judge and spend some time socializing with all our friends too.

    RKK_2896.JPG
    This picture was taken at the National Junior Shorthorn Show in Louisville, KY.

 

While, the summer might not be slow moving on our farm. We still enjoy the time we get to spend together, working as a family and preparing our farm for the winter, when we can’t grow feed for the cows and get to start calving season again! Farming is a cycle, and we’re happy to keep it going!

 

Until next time,
Robin



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Jun052014

Grass-fed vs Grain-fed

Published by Katie Sawyer at 10:18 AM under Agriculture | Coffee Shop Talk | Nutrition

It’s officially grilling season which means Americans are on the hunt for quality beef cuts and possibly a fact or two about where their meat came from. During a recent interaction with consumers, I found myself explaining to more than one person grass-fed versus grain-fed beef.

 

We fed our cattle both grass and grain. About eight months of the year, our cows grazing in pastures, enjoying green grasses in the Kansas Flint Hills. The other four months – during the winter – our animals are on our farm and enjoy a diet of corn silage, dry distillers grain and hay. This is also the time they are calving so nutrition is vital for both mother and baby. By industry standards, this makes our cattle grain fed.

 

To be classified as grass-fed, cattle must only consume grasses. That means no grains, ever. Many people assume that grass-fed cattle produce healthier beef. This has been proven untrue.

 

A recent article outlines two studies comparing the nutritional component of grass-fed beef to grain-fed beef. The results showed a slight different in fats but no significant nutritional difference.

 

Ground beef from grass-fed cattle naturally contains more omega-3 fatty acids than from grain-fed cattle (three times as much), but is higher in saturated and transfat. At the other end of the spectrum is premium ground beef, such as from conventionally produced Certified Angus Beef or cattle with Japanese genetics (available as Wagyu or Akaushi ground beef). Ground beef from these cattle is very high in oleic acid, and also much lower in saturated and transfat, than ground beef from grass-fed cattle.” - Grass-Fed Vs. Grain-Fed Ground Beef -- No Difference In Healthfulness by Stephen B. Smith, Texas A&M University

 

Read the entire article at http://beefmagazine.com/beef-quality/grass-fed-vs-grain-fed-ground-beef-no-difference-healthfulness

 

Consumers must also be aware that grass-fed does not mean anti-biotic-free or hormone-free. Producers of both types of cattle can use both resources to help treat sick cattle.

 

Some consumers believe there is a noticeable taste and texture difference between grass and grain-fed beef and therefore chose one over the other. For those that don’t have a previous bias or favorite, selecting a type of beef based on nutritional components means both are great options. And with both grass and grain fed, you will find 29 lean cuts to enjoy this summer grilling season.



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May282014

2 Ways we “Came Together” for May Beef Month

Published by Robin Kleine at 6:49 AM under Agriculture | Coffee Shop Talk | Recipe

I recently came across this quote from Helen Keller –

 

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

 

Immediately I thought about our tight knit agricultural community. Every day, we work on our farm or ranch, working to produce the best beef possible … ultimately something that betters the entire industry. But, in just this past month, we’ve come together to celebrate National Beef Month and promote this awesome protein in two additional ways.

 

1. Sharing beef facts or recipes via social media.

 

My newsfeed as been filled with awesome beef infographics, recipes and factoids about beef … there’s nothing I like more!

 

Today, May 28th in National Hamburger Day! Here’s a collection of 25 gourmet recipes to help you concoct the best burger for your family tonight from Examiner.com - http://www.examiner.com/article/celebrate-national-hamburger-day-free-burgers-and-25-gourmet-burger-recipes

 

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Picture courtesy of Robbie Owen Wahl.

 

2. Educating adults about beef and those that raise it

 

On May 1st, foodies and chefs gathered in Kansas City for “Zest and Zing: A Foodie & Farmer Event” hosted by the Kansas Farm Bureau. The event was a competition for chefs with delicious appetizers drinks and a bag of kitchen goods for all attendees.

 

10313598_654148721300145_4513386929977603976_n.jpg

 Picture courtesy of the Drovers CattleNetwork Facebook page.

 

Singularly, the Kansas Beef Council will continue to promote beef. However, events and celebrations like National Beef Month are a great way to join forces and invite news outlets, schools, consumers and other organizations to learn from ranchers about how beef is raised and the innumerable benefits of beef.

 

Don’t worry, there’s still a few days left in May … go grab a pound of hamburger, a pack of buns and light the grill!

 

Until next time,
Robin



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May072014

Celebrate Beef Month!

Published by Kassie Curran at 7:58 AM under Coffee Shop Talk | General | Recipe

We all have our own traditions for celebrating special times of the year – many of these celebrations include great food! There are lots of weddings, graduations, birthdays, and anniversaries this month that provide opportunities to try a fun new beef recipe or share one of your grandma’s old recipes. This month, celebrate Beef Month by incorporating beef into all your special celebrations. If you are feeding a large crowd, meatballs are a great way to serve beef. Check out my family’s meatball recipe below and give it a try this month to celebrate Beef Month. And don’t forget to share all of your favorite beef recipes on social media to spread the word about Beef Month!

 

Mom’s Meatballs

3 lbs. hamburger

½ tsp garlic powder

1 can evaporated milk

2 tsp salt

2 cups oatmeal

½ tsp pepper

2 eggs

2 tsp chili powder

1 cup chopped onion

 

Mix and shape into balls.

Sauce:

2 cups ketchup

½ tsp garlic powder

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup chopped onion

1 Tbsp liquid smoke

 

Mix and pour over one layer of meatballs.

Bake for 1 hour at 350 °F.

 

Enjoy all your celebrations this month with beef to celebrate Beef Month!

Kassie



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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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Mar252014

Kansas Ag Week!

Published by Kassie Curran at 10:05 AM under Agriculture | Coffee Shop Talk | General

This week is a very special celebration – its Kansas Ag Week! Kansas Governor Brownback signed a proclamation declaring March 23-29 as Kansas Agriculture Week and March 25, Kansas Agriculture Day. Not only are we celebrating agriculture in Kansas, but Tuesday, March 25, 2014 is also National Agriculture Day! Check it out at http://www.agday.org/.

 

This is a week devoted to celebrating the strong tradition of agriculture in Kansas and throughout the nation by bringing awareness to the importance of agriculture in our everyday lives. As the state’s largest economic driver, agriculture provides us with so much to be grateful for. There are farmers and ranchers in communities across the state and nation that work hard to grow the food, fiber, and fuel that we use each day. But agriculture is more than farming and ranching! In order for us to enjoy the many products that come from agriculture, we must remember the agribusinesses that support farmers and ranchers, as well as those that add value to what’s grown on the farm.

 

While we may recognize that it is important for today’s farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses grow enough food for our families, it is also important to recognize that we have more people on earth each day that also need food. With the population projected to reach 9 billion by the year 2050, there is a serious challenge ahead of us – all of us!

 

Agriculture is a team – a team that needs all hands on deck, including you, to work towards overcoming the challenge of feeding 9 billion people by 2050 with fewer resources. We must consider how we can be innovative, collaborative, and diligent in working with everyone in the food chain to meet the nutritional needs and consumer preferences in today’s society, as well as tomorrow.

 

I encourage you to get involved in Kansas Ag Week. Whether you want to learn more about where your food comes from, how you can contribute to the team, or how you can teach others about the importance of agriculture – we need you on the agriculture team!

 

At Kansas State University, Kansas Ag Week is being celebrated with Ag Fest events all week long. These include a “Give Thanks to Agriculture” booth in the student union, agriculture awareness workshops at the public library, a social media challenge, agriculture demonstrations for elementary school students, informational session about careers in agriculture for high school students, an agriculture competition event for college students, plus much more. There are also several fundraiser events being held all week to raise money for the Harvester’s Community Food Network for food banks in Kansas. Check out http://www.ag.k-state.edu/current-students/clubs-and-activities/ag-fest.html.

 

You can also “Like” K-State College of Agriculture Student Council on Facebook to learn more about Ag Fest, and use the hashtags #agfest and #ksagday on social media! 

 

Join the agriculture team and celebrate Kansas Agriculture this week!

Kassie



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Mar202014

National Nutrition Month

Published by Amber Groeling RD LD at 3:48 AM under Coffee Shop Talk | General | Nutrition | Recipe

March is National Nutrition Month. The theme for 2014 is “Enjoy the taste of eating right.” The key to eating right is to combine both taste and nutrition to create healthy meals.  During busy weeknights, meals need to combine great taste and nutrition, along with convenience.  Lean beef is a tasty solution to this dinnertime dilemma.  With 29 cuts meeting the requirements for lean, beef is a tasty and nutritious addition to any meal.  Plus, lean beef is an excellent source of high quality protein, zinc and iron; and can be simple and easy to prepare.  Portion size is key, the recommended serving for beef is 3-4 ounces of cooked lean beef.  To complete your meal, aim to fill half of your plate with veggies and fruits, ¼ whole grain and one serving of low-fat dairy.  Try these winning recipes during your busy weeknights.

 

Buffalo-Style Beef Tacos - Combine cooked ground beef crumbles with buffalo wing hot sauce, as desired. Cook until heated through; spoon into hard or soft corn tortillas. Top with shredded lettuce, chopped carrots and celery. Drizzle with low-fat ranch or blue cheese dressing. Serve with Healthy Choice frozen yogurt and fresh or frozen berries.

 

Rock and Roll Beef Wraps

 

Rock and Roll Beef Wraps - Consumer -- A colorful way to introduce quinoa to your kids with ranch-seasoned Ground Beef and slaw.

A colorful way to introduce quinoa to your kids with ranch-seasoned Ground Beef and slaw.

Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

1 pound Ground Beef (93% lean or leaner)

1 cup water

1/3 cup uncooked quinoa

2 tablespoons dry ranch dressing mix

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups packaged broccoli or coleslaw mix

4 medium whole grain or spinach tortillas (7 to 8-inch diameter)

Toppings (optional):

Apple slices, red bell pepper strips, cucumber slices, carrot slices, sliced almonds or chow mein noodles

INSTRUCTIONS FOR ROCK AND ROLL BEEF WRAPS

1.       Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add Ground Beef; cook 8 to 10 minutes, breaking into 1/2-inch crumbles and stirring occasionally. Remove drippings.

2.       Stir in water, quinoa, ranch dressing mix and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender. Stir in slaw; cook, uncovered, 3 to 5 minutes or until slaw is crisp-tender, stirring occasionally.

3.       Divide beef mixture evenly among tortillas; garnish with toppings, as desired. Fold over sides of tortillas and rolling up to enclose filling.

·         Cooking times are for fresh or thoroughly thawed Ground Beef. Ground Beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F. Color is not a reliable indicator of Ground Beef doneness.

Nutrition information per serving: 418 calories; 12 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 3 g monounsaturated fat); 76 mg cholesterol; 695 mg sodium; 41 g carbohydrate; 6.8 g fiber; 31 g protein; 6.4 mg niacin; 0.5 mg vitamin B6; 2.3 mcg vitamin B12; 5.6 mg iron; 19.6 mcg selenium; 6.6 mg zinc; 84.2 mg choline.

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

 

Asian Beef & Vegetable Stir-Fry  -- Beef & Vegetable Stir-Fry

Complete meal in minutes! 

Serves: 4

Ingredients:


1 ½ lbs. chuck tender fillet, cut across the grain into thin strips

1 tsp. sesame oil

1 tbsp. canola oil

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups assorted precut Asian veggies (if frozen, cook a few minutes longer)

3 tbsp. water

½ cup prepared stir-fry sauce, House of Tsang classic stir-fry is a good one

2 cups cooked hot brown rice

2 tbsp. dry-roasted peanuts, optional

Directions:

  1. Place the water and veggies in a large nonstick skillet.  Cover and cook over medium-high heat four minutes, or until crisp-tender.  Remove and drain.

  2. Heat the same pan over medium-high heat with both oils and garlic.  Add beef in batches; stir-fry 1-2 minutes until outside is browned.

  3. Return all beef and veggies to pan.  Add stir-fry sauce and heat through.  Spoon over rice.  Sprinkle with peanuts if desired.

    Nutrition Facts per serving (with ½ cup rice): 390 calories, 5 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 1100 mg sodium, 35 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 35 g protein *Recipe provided by The Beef Council



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Mar142014

Lifecycle of a Cow

Published by Katie Sawyer at 2:23 AM under Agriculture | Coffee Shop Talk | General



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Feb282014

Not Exactly What I Call A Snow Day

Published by Kiley Stinson at 3:03 AM under Agriculture | Coffee Shop Talk | General

Saturday marks the 1st of March and most of you are thinking, ‘yay spring is right around the corner’ …but not so fast, the latest weather forecast is predicting another nice sized snow storm for our area this weekend. I won’t say too many things about old man winter, because we really did need some serious moisture this winter out on the prairie.  But, heavy snow and extended periods of below freezing temperatures can sure take a toll on life on a cattle ranch.

Winter on the ranch is a beautiful sight, but it also means a lot of work for those caring for the animals. Ranchers feed them, break ice for them so they can drink from water tanks and ponds, build windbreaks and lay down straw and hay in the pastures to provide a warmer place for them to lie.  Cattle can handle below freezing temperatures if they are kept dry, adequately fed, and have plenty of water. Here are a few pictures that have been taken this winter in the northern parts of Lyon County, Kansas on the ranch of Keith Cattle Company.

Soon to be mommas being called in for dinner time.

One last drink for the cows before they head back to shelter from the snow.

Sick calves still need to be cared for when the weather isn’t so kind to the cowboys.

And then God gives you this moment. Complete peace surrounds you and you’re reminded why we’re caretakers of this land and caregivers for these wonderful cows.

Until next time,
Kiley



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Feb192014

What It Takes

Published by Heath Larson at 10:15 AM under Agriculture | Beef Team | Coffee Shop Talk | General

It's Time for the Winter Olympics!  And whether you're a curling fanatic or a downhill skiing fan, chances are strong that you heard about the Jamaican bobsled team's improbable run to this year's Olympic Games.  They qualified for the games for the first time since 2002, only to realize they had one week to raise $80,000 for team costs in order to compete at the games.  But nothing is impossible when you're a Jamaican bobsledder.  They raised the cash, and managed to compete in Sochi, against obstacles most would find insurmountable. 

 

The first ever Olympic Jamaican bobsled team was of course immortalized in the 1993 Disney Classic "Cool Runnings."  One of my favorite parts of the film occurs between the coach (Irv) and Sanka, who thinks he should be the driver, instead of his more dedicated friend, Derice: 

Irv: You see Sanka, the driver has to work harder than anyone. He's the first to show up, and the last to leave. When his buddies are all out drinking beer, he's up in his room studying pictures of turns. You see, a driver must remain focused one hundred percent at all times. Not only is he responsible for knowing every inch of every course he races, he's also responsible for the lives of the other men in the sled. Now do you want that responsibility?

Sanka: I say we make Derice the driver. 

Irv: So do I, Sanka. So do I.

 

This spring, I will be running the Boston Marathon, which is essentially a combination of a world class 3 hour foot race and a parade.  The weather will be nice (hopefully), and the crowd of 500,000 spectators will be incredibly supportive.  What few people realize is how much sacrifice, how much time "studying pictures of turns" each runner has put into that one single race.  Without a treadmill at home and no gym membership, I am often out running for 2-3 hours in very unfriendly late winter weather in preparation for Boston.  Two days ago, the wind was so strong on my 15 miler that I wasn't even sure I'd be able to finish.    However, that's the price that must be paid for a strong race in Boston.

 

In a similar vein, it's calving season on most ranches across the state.  While everyone loves seeing new baby calves take their first steps, few understand the sacrifice it takes on behalf of the rancher to keep each calf alive.  New calves must be protected from brutal late winter snowstorms and "rookie" heifers that don't know how to take care of them.  It's often the case that the rancher has to help pull the calf out by hand during labor.  And during calving season, there are no hours or schedules.  Ranchers are up at all hours of the night and day, sacrificing sleep and sanity, ensuring that the newest members of their herd (and their mothers) are safe and sound.

 

So whether you're sitting inside watching the luge, or out playing with your kids in the next winter storm, don't forget to say a prayer for the ranchers working overtime to protect their cattle from the elements.  And while our task isn't remotely as important, don't forget about the crazy spring marathoners trying to grind out another long training run in the cold!



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