Sunday, May 1, 2011

Learning from the kids: Where do they get this stuff?

NC A&T University provided animals from the college's farm.
On Friday I set up a booth on behalf of the company I work for at an "FFA Day" sponsored by the FFA chapter at Southern Guilford High School near Greensboro, NC.  FFA Day was held for the entire student body (approximately 1,200 students), and I have to give the chapter members and advisers credit for their efforts to help educate non-ag students about agriculture. 

Since my daughter, Kaylyn, was out of school for Spring Break, and since she is the NC Jr. Beef Ambassador, I told her she should come along to help educate the students about beef.  So, she grabbed her box of educational materials, and I packed the truck with what I needed, and off we went. 

A real eye-opener
Kaylyn with beef educational materials.
Let's just say it was a real eye-opener for Kaylyn to participate in a school event in a fairly urban area.  It was very opposite of the rural-based high school she attends.  When students came by the booth, they asked us both questions.  I got a lot of the typical "What does your company do?" questions and Kaylyn got a few unanticipated "I don't eat meat!" comments.  One boy asked Kaylyn with all seriousness:  "Doesn't beef get stuck in your stomach easily?"  I guess you could say we were stunned at some of myths that have been thrown at these young people.  Stuck in your stomach?  Seriously!?

I have to give credit to Kaylyn for her ability to think quick on her feet.  She asked the boy who thought beef would get stuck in his stomach where he got the information from.  He said, "The t.v.!"

NC Department of Agriculture food shopping cart...always a hit!
Ah yes, the television.  Let me guess.  I would bet they've been listening to some well-known talk show hosts who tend to never have farmers on their programs, but rather only self-proclaimed food experts who spend very little time on a farm or who aren't involved in the production aspect at all.

Something to Crow about...
I had to laugh recently when a popular national morning news show featured Sheryl Crow and her personal chef Chuck White to promote Crow's new recipe book.  They were actually making a beef recipe from the book.  As a beef producer, this was an encouraging sign.  The chef went on to say that he prefers grass-fed beef because of its leanness and flavor.  Okay.  No problem there.  The beauty of the beef industry is that it provides different options to consumers.  But then Crow piped in and said that she likes to buy her meat locally and looks for organic.  I raised an eyebrow a bit wondering where this was about to go.  Okay, again not a big deal if she is looking for organically grown meat; HOWEVER, did she mean that just because the beef being used in the recipe was grass fed beef that is was organic?  If she did, then she may be a bit misinformed and is doing what a lot of people do by taking current food "buzz words" and confuse them with the true meanings.  Just because a cut of beef is grass fed doesn't mean it is organic.  This is a common misconception.  My advice to Crow and other consumers who like to buy locally is to make sure they ask local beef producers how they actually grow their beef.  This way they know exactly what they are getting and they'll be more educated about their food production.     

Folks, the bottom line is this.  If you don't understand something regarding how your food is produced or raised, ask a farmer or call your local cooperative extension representative.  Like your teachers always said, "There are no stupid questions!"   It is better to be informed with the facts.   


  1. Great post. That shopping cart is really cool. I think as much of our job it is to talk to consumer, it is also important to understand what the consumer doesn't understand. Don't google where your food comes from, ask a farmer! Good job to the FFA Chapter for putting on this event.

  2. As a New Englander I enjoy reading about other parts of our country and I've been enjoying reading through some of your posts. I especially like what you said about asking questions, so true - I'm a teacher!

    As I read your other posts you mentioned that you're an alum from The Ohio State University, so is my husband! How funny is that.

    I particularly liked the photo of your grandfather in his overalls, my dad was a milkman and lived in them! Now my brother wears them. Such sweet memories. I hope everything works out with your pup, he sounds like he just needs time, a good home and lots of love.

    I'm your newest Follower and I had a nice time reading your posts. Please stop by when you have a moment, I love company and new friends are always welcome. I've enjoyed my visit today!

  3. Thanks for the review...and Go Bucks! ;o) I haven't had a chance to post a new blog entry in recent days. I've been on the go. The pup is doing great! He ran away the day I posted the blog entry BUT a nice family found him and brought him back to us (thankfully we put a collar on him). My husband is spoiling him rotten and is loving every minute of it. I think Brutus realizes he made a foolish mistake leaving the first time around. Life is pretty good on the farm! He is eating good and growing like a weed! We took him to the vet this week to get all the necessary vaccinations. And even though he won't appreciate what is coming at the end of the month (neutering), it is our job to be responsible pet owners. He sure is a cutie. I'll have to post an update on Brutus soon with new pictures! There is something about his basset hound/Lab body that is so fun and funny! Those little short legs don't hold him back when it comes to chasing squirrels! ha!