5 Things I learned on a bloggers' #FarmFoodTour

Okay, okay, yes I know I'm a rancher, so before you ask why I was on the tour with a group of bloggers, I want to remind you that I am a cattle rancher--not a vegetable farmer, or a dairy farmer or a hog farmer. I do NOT know all there is to know about agriculture and I admit, before the tour, I had never been to most of the places we visited.

And, even though I haven't been the most regular of bloggers recently, I am a blogger!!! Hello! I knew one of the gals who was on the trip through a #140Smalltown conference a few years ago. I have followed her for a few years and was really excited to get to know her a bit better--and this trip didn't disappoint me!

I truly learned a lot about other farmers and ranchers and it was really fun to experience this tour with a group of gals who were unfamiliar with agriculture! They asked pointed questions and I was so proud that the people we visited were not afraid to tackle some tough issues. Here is my countdown to the Top 5 things I learned on the #FarmFoodTour from my own perspective.

The Art of Nature in the Flinthills in Autumn

I love the Flinthills in the fall. The colors of the mature grasses, combined with the golden sun of early morning or late afternoon are truly spectacular.  Kansas is often thought of as flat and treeless, but in eastern Kansas, the hills are rolling and grass-covered and cattle still dot the countryside as we get closer and closer to winter.

We are bringing cattle home from the pastures this month. Even though there is grass there, the quality is greatly diminished. We have been supplementing the cattle with other sources of protein. Because of their miraculous four stomachs, cows can digest the fiber in grass but they still need more protein to stay healthy.

I love walking through the pastures this time of year--watching for wildlife, including deer and game birds as they prepare for winter. I am a glass half-full kind of gal, and I enjoy the beauty of nature in all the seasons, but I have to admit, I am not a big fan of winter.

So I will rejoice in the beauty and depth of color during Autumn, even as I dread the greys of winter. I do realize that winter is an important season for the native grasses to achieve dormancy, kill the insects and allow nature a rest period. But I will mourn the end of autumn and rejoice with the onset of spring. 

Rustic Beef Stew and #Thankful4Ag

The following is a guest post from my friend Chef Alli of Chef Alli's Farm Fresh Kitchen. She is a fellow farm mom who has a deep love for her family and their farm, and she shows it through her delicious homemade recipes.  I have used a number of her recipes for my family and they are definitely big hits! This one will be the next recipe I try.

A few weeks ago, Alli asked if I could come to Topeka to shoot a Thankful4Ag segment for WIBW-TV. Of course, when a trusted friend asks, I say yes! The focus is two-fold. First they are thanking the farmers for growing healthy, safe food. But, more importantly, they are focused on the fact that in America 1 in 7 people are food insecure. Yes, Seriously! In AMERICA! So if you go to the site Thankful4Ag.com and fill out the quiz, you will find out what kind of a farmer you were meant to be and if you share that information online, Bayer CropScience will donate 11 meals to Feeding America! So go take the quiz now and share the information online!

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