Blogging Experience

In my PR in Ag class this fall semester at Missouri State University we were assigned to create a blog and to blog once a week. I did not have any previous experience with creating a blog before this class, so it was all new to me. When first coming up with a title and tag line it was a bit challenging as my creative streak comes and goes. I wanted something that would relate to the country, the farm, and the way I live my life. This is why it became titled “Kickin it in the Sticks”. It was been an interesting road and I have somewhat enjoyed it. I like being able to write things that other people may enjoy as well. However, coming up with some topics to write about every week was somewhat challenging to me. I believe blogging is a very special tool to be utilized. It does hold a great purpose for those interested in the social media outlet. It is any easy way to get your personal story out to millions of people in a very easy way. Through this assignment I have gained knowledge in how to become a blogger and how to appeal to the readers. Although to be more appealing it is important to just remain yourself and write from the heart. I also learned if you say anything in a way that may be taking wrong or negatively and could potentially get out of control. It is important for you to keep up with the blog and to be sure the story goes across clearly. According to Dairy Carrie snarky blogs are not necessarily a bad thing either. The have meaning and may reach the people that need to read them. They may also draw in attention from the higher people you are talking to and get a message back. It is a great feeling to get a comment or even a like on the blog. It gives a feeling of satisfaction, that someone else thinks the way you do and enjoys hearing what you say. I hope all that that have kept up with this blog and have read my stories has enjoyed it. That is the true meaning of blogging. I have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge about blogging through this assignment and I greatly enjoyed the opportunity to be able to write stories that mean something to me and hopefully tell my story for others to hear and enjoy as well. It was also interesting to learn about other social media outlets such as Twitter, Linkedin, and the use of wikis. Thank you to all who have read this blog!

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Do You Have Your Turkey Recipe Yet?

Thanksgiving is coming up and it’s time to do some last minute shopping and pick up groceries to prepare the menu items. This time of year many like to enjoy a turkey the way the Pilgrims and Native Americans enjoyed it. Today however there are a variety of ways to prepare this heavenly feast. Here is just one way to enjoy your Thanksgiving bird.

Orange and Maple Glazed Turkey

Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Cook Time: 3 Hours 10 Minutes

Ready In: 3 Hours 40 Minutes

Servings: 25


1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 cup butter, softened

3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

1 (20 pound) whole turkey, neck and giblets removed

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup orange juice

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 cup chicken broth, divided

1/2 cup dry vermouth


1. Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Grease a roasting pan. Mix the salt and pepper together in a small bowl, and set aside.

2. Stir together the butter, thyme, and sage in a small bowl. Place the turkey into the prepared roasting pan, and separate the skin from the breast through the neck cavity. Spread the butter mixture evenly over the breast, then press the skin back down on top of the butter. Brush the outside of the turkey with the olive oil, then sprinkle with the salt and pepper mixture. Whisk together the orange juice, maple syrup, and half of the chicken broth, and set aside.

3. Bake the turkey in the preheated oven until no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, about 3 hours. Baste every 30 minutes with the maple syrup mixture. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone should read 180 degrees F (82 degrees C). Remove the turkey from the oven, cover with a doubled sheet of aluminum foil, and allow to rest in a warm area 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.

4. Once the turkey has rested, remove it from the roasting pan, and place it onto a serving platter. Place the roasting pan onto the stove, and stir in the remaining chicken broth along with the vermouth. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Scrape the bottom of the roasting pan well to dissolve the browned bits, then simmer over medium-low heat until the gravy thickens, about 10 minutes total. Strain before serving with the turkey.

And Enjoy!

Recipe also found on

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A Visit with Dairy Carrie

Carrie Mess also known as Dairy Carrie talked to our PR in Ag class. She is a Wisconsin dairy farmer and writes the Dairy Carrie blog, facebook, and twitter. She got started blogging two years ago. Carrie didn’t originally grow up on a farm. She grew up in Madison, Wisconsin. When she went to high school they didn’t have FFA and were just starting a few animal science classes. She took those and viewed herself as more of a horse chick. She married into a dairy farm family. They have about 100 cows on 300 acres, which is the average size of a Wisconsin dairy. She first started her writing with facebook. She then jumped into twitter, because when they moved to the farm she had another business and wanted to be able to promote it through the twitter social media outlet. While on twitter she found a lot of other farmers. She saw it as a great resource for learning and was also new to the farm and dairy way of life. About that same time there was a group forming the Ag Chat Foundation. Carrie has been a part of it since it started. It is a place for farmers to tell their stories as well as a tool to teach people how to use social media tools to tell their own story. After the first ag chat is when she decided to launch her blog. After about two years once launching her blog she has had around two thousand views.

One of her first blogs was done over a hay drive she was trying to help get started to help get semi loads of hay south. They got hay and money donated and ended up shipping seven loads from all over the country to send south to states like Texas. They also got donations from bands such as Randy Rogers and Cross Canadian Ragweed. One of her next blogs that got a big hit was a letter that she wrote to Ryan Gosling about dehorning and PETA. She said polled was a great option, although the gene pool can be small and you don’t want cousin to cousin marriage. Her “snarky” side came out as she called it.

Another hit blog was that about Panera Bread and their marketing campaign about serving antibiotic free chicken. She is not for this nor how they displayed a pill shaped chicken named lazy. They used this form of advertisement to try and say that farmers who use antibiotics are lazy. Needless to say she wrote another snarky letter. About twenty minutes later her phone started ringing and her post was going viral. Forty eight hours later and Panera virally stated an apology for their ad as well as to her personally. She was amazed and never though that would happen.

Her latest blog has been about the North Dakota blizzard. The UK newspaper picked up that post and had about half a million views. Her blog also had over one thousand views. Carrie will tell you that she is not a polished writer and the blog turned into a thing all on its own. She says that it is neat and she likes it. She also has an advantage in understanding how “city” people think as she was once one herself. She says that they aren’t uneducated and do not need people to educate them. They do however need to hear our stories and let them speak for the industry.

When she focused on PR she said for it to be right you don’t want to send out a message that can be taken several different ways. You need to be able to control your messages. However, with social media it isn’t about controlling the message but about being a part of the conversation. It is a more relaxed area to talk and needs to be more human like, not too stuffy. Some of her final advice was to write from your heart and in your own style.

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Burning an FFA Steer, Creating many a Tear

If you haven’t heard the story visit this link to hear what happened:

It brings tears to my eyes to see that animals are being burned for no reason, but to make some sort of a point of which I cannot make sense. It hurts to know that some kid worked hard with their animal so that they might have a chance to show and then someone has to go and burn it. It is not only that, but pure animal cruelty. Farmers and FFA and 4-H members typically take care of their animals to the point they are considered family. These kinds of people are consistently tending to their livestock and making sure that they are in the best health and environment every day. Many of these kids who have livestock projects, such as this steer, become not only a project but a friend. It hurts to know that a young steer had to suffer this kind of cruelty and pain. It also hurts to know that some kid now has to feel the hurt of not being able to work with their project and possibly not be able to show. I feel for the steer and the trauma he had to endure. There is going to be a long road to recovery.

I don’t believe that setting a steer on fire is a good way to release a message or get revenge. This kind of cruelty is just uncalled for. I have been in the livestock industry since a very young age and so I know how cut throat some people can get when it comes to show time. However, I never believed any of that or drama was worth it. Nobody is perfect we all make our mistakes. Although going about the show industry in a honest manner will get you further along than cheating. Harming someone or someone’s animal is always to an extreme that is simply not needed. There is no since to put anybody through that sort of pain and misery.

I pray that the FFA member and his steer have a safe recovery and they are able to look ahead at brighter things to come down the road.

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What better way to warm up than with some Potato Soup

It’s that time of year again! The weather is turning off cooler and what better way to take off the chill than a nice bowl of potato soup. I had a bowl this past weekend and sure was delicious and definitely hit the spot. It is also an excellent way to support our farmers!

If you would like to enjoy a nice bowl of potato soup the recipe is as follows:

Potato Soup

Time: around 40 minutes


1 large potato, per person

1/4 cup chopped onion, per person

1/4-1/2 cup milk or 1/4-1/2 cup half-and-half or 1/4-1/2 cup cream

salt and pepper, to taste

cubbed Velveeta cheese

bacon, fried and diced


Peel and cube potatoes.

Put in a saucepan along with the onions.

Add water, but don’t quite cover the potatoes.

Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for 25 minutes, or until all of the potatoes are very tender.

Add enough milk or cream to thin to desired thickness.

Add cheese, bacon, salt and pepper to taste.

It also goes well with a few crackers and garlic cheese biscuits.

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The American Royal

It is that time of year again. You know what I’m talking about? The American Royal! This is the first year for several years I have not drove to Kansas City to participate or even observe. It feels different I must say to not be taking part in this wonderful livestock show and expo, but I enjoy hearing the feedback. I have many friends in the show industry, so I have been keeping my tabs through them as to how it is going. I love how livestock showers come from all around the nation and show against and with one other. I remember when I use to show there how awesome of a feeling it was to meet showers with the drive like me from across the United States.

The American Royal is a great opportunity for people with a passion for livestock to exhibit them and see how they stand up against the livestock from other states. It is not only to compete, but a way to make contacts and new friends. The rush you get is unlike any other. Like I said before it is a great opportunity. I wish anyone who is able and enjoys livestock to go and check it out!

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Farm Life Blessings

As fall settles into Midwest Missouri many things come to an end as the warmer weather moves out. However, the farmer carries on with his and her duties. There are still chores to be done and plans for the coming winter to be made. Therefore, I find that this is a good time for me to reflect on some of the things I love most about life on the farm. Some of the top five things include the following:

Calving and kidding season: I love to see what several months of waiting has finally brought into the world. I thoroughly enjoy watching all the little ones run and play with each other. I also like to watch them grow and see how they turn out. There are always surprises in the way they can turn out/ look and so there is never a dull moment.


Hay season: This on may come as a shock since there is a lot of work and labor that goes into putting up hay, but you can’t beat the smell of fresh cut hay. Bucking bales (square bales) also helps keep a person in shape, so there is more than one benefit.

Nature: This one plays a big role in my life. I love to sit on the front porch and listen to the nature. You can hear the crickets, frogs, coyotes, owls, and many more. I also enjoy walking through the fields and woods and seeing the wildlife that it contains. I can stand in one spot for several moments at time just simply admiring them.

Summer: I love going to stock shows and farm shows. I greatly enjoy showing livestock as well observing. I like to keep up on what consumers in the livestock industry are currently looking for and the qualities that are want in their livestock. It is also interesting to follow the different blood lines. Another fun time is riding horses, fishing, and playing in the creeks and ponds.

Sunrises, sunsets, and stars: I like living in the country where you can look up at the sky at night and see the stars. I also like to see the sunrises and sunsets. There isn’t much to block out the beautiful colors. You can sun rise and fall over the land. It is a beautiful image like a painting across the sky.

These are just a few of the many blessings I have while living on a farm in the country. My heart feels at home and there is nowhere else I would rather be. It sure is a peaceful place and one that I hold most dear.

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Bucket List Item Complete

I have recently marked off one of my bucket list items. This past week I passed my hunters safety class and will be getting my card shortly. I know I’m a little older than most to get it, but age is not a factor when it comes to completing something you want. So this next month during deer season I hope to go hunting. Mixed emotions of both excitement and nervousness fill me inside when I think about it. However, I cannot wait to get my first deer. Some people may not fully understand the concept of why hunting takes place. Well besides it being an ancestral tradition, it also provides food and keeps the wildlife populations under control.

These days money runs tight. It may even be hard to buy groceries at some points. Hunting is a helpful alternative to help put food on the table for your family. This was the original purpose in hunting; however, today there is also the important factor has having population control. Like anything when a species grow with leaps and bounds they require more area and more food. With this they also tend to consume more of farmers crops. Having the right to hunt helps control the overpopulation issue and therefore allows the animals to life a more healthful life.

I do not necessarily look forward to finding a trophy buck, but more for the experience. Yes, it would be nice to have some bragging rights, but I really just want the experience and to live a small step in the life of my ancestors and how they lived off the land.

I am happy to have had the opportunity to take the class and pass. I enjoyed getting to learn about hunting and the safety points. I hope that others interested in hunting and conservation takes the class. It is a learning experience that I greatly appreciate. Pretty soon camo and hunter orange will be the colors of the season. This then makes the next item on my bucket list is to get a deer when the season does roll around.

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2013 Ozarks Fall Farm Fest

The Ozarks Fall Farm Fest was held this past weekend on October 4-6, 2013. FarmFest is an annual event that is held at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds in Springfield, Missouri. This event offers a variety of farm related objects from livestock and trailers to tractors and balers. There are many outdoor and indoor exhibits there to view as well.

One of the main exhibits is the livestock that breeders bring in to be sold or are just on display to be used as advertisement. There were many livestock species there including horses, cattle, goats, sheep, rabbits, dogs, and swine. Another main focus point for many was the variety of tractors and farm equipment. There were many brands available to view from John Deere to Kubota. Along with this there were automatic waterers, tools, trucks, truck beds, trailers, chutes, gates and panels. Indoors there were also many venders that were advertising anything from animal health products, fencing products, western wear, feed, and much more. If it is related to agriculture more than likely it was there.

I personally had a booth set up trying to sell some goats, western tack, and swine feed additives. It was nice to meet with people and get to know other breeders in the industry. However, it was a cold two days there was a good turn out each day. If you have never been to FarmFest and are interested in agriculture I highly suggest you check it out next year. I enjoy going each year. It helps me keep up with the latest trends and find out what may be new in the agriculture sector. There is a great variety of agriculture items and it is a lot of fun to see.

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Ozarks Farm and Neighbor utilizes Social Media

During last week’s PR in Ag class at Missouri State University, Lynzee Glass, the editor of Ozarks Farm and Neighbor, came to speak. She informed us about some of the social media techniques that Ozarks Farm and Neighbor. The Ozarks Farm and Neighbor is a livestock and farm oriented paper that has an estimated 58,000 readers. The papers are distributed throughout southwest Missouri, northwest Arkansas, and eastern Oklahoma. Some of the social media techniques they use include: Facebook, Twitter, and the Ozarks Farm and Neighbor website. They use these as a way to reach a younger audience as well as to keep their name out in front of the public and get instant feedback.

The steps towards these social media outlets took a while to get underway. The Ozarks Farm and Neighbor started with their website as they realized that many people today get on the internet to look at stories to find out more information over a variety of issues. Therefore, they put small snippets from their paper on their website to encourage readers to buy a subscription to their paper to be able to read the full story. They also have an online paper that their customers are able to access with a code on their paper or if new readers want to subscribe and read it online. In 2009 Ozarks Farm and Neighbor decided to join Facebook as there are a number of businesses that receive recognition through this social media outlet. It has been slow to get followers due to not being updated as much as it should have been when they first started it, but since then they have been posting more regularly. This too can contain snippets from their paper so that people might be intrigued by a story and want to go read the rest in the paper whether. This has also allowed them to gain more followers. Then in summer of 2013 they joined Twitter. Twitter was a great way for Ozarks Farm and Neighbor to be seen as well as be able to connect with other organizations. Many times the paper helps promote some organizations, for example breed associations, through their stories. Therefore, Twitter allows them the opportunity to be able to connect with the organizations so that they can see some of their work.

Social Media has changed their business by allowing them to connect to a younger audience since many of their paper readers range from the age of 35 to 64. It also allows them to stay out in front of the audience more and be seen more often. It has not changed their business too much as a majority of their readers still receive and read the actual paper, but it has helped them branch out. It has changed the way they share information as they can post some things on the social media sites that they may not put in their paper. Being online also allows them to get more timely feedback of any changes or additions that some people may want to see in the paper. It also helps the Ozarks Farm and Neighbor get news out more effectively as it can be posted about as the event is taking place rather than waiting three weeks to read about it. Overall it has helped draw in a younger crowd and gives them another outlet to get word about their paper to the general public.

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