Do ranchers care about animal welfare?

Guest post by Paige Pratt, a friend of mine from my hometown and lifetime family rancher in Kansas. I recently saw Paige and she said she had attended a meeting that Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society of the US was one of the main speakers! Mr. Pacelle is often considered an enemy of animal agriculture and many people are afraid to confront him in person...but not Paige! She even asked a question during the Q&A and clearly showed him that as a farmer and rancher, she is involved in animal welfare every single day.  Below are her thoughts from the meeting...

Paige Pratt, a lifelong farmer and her son take a break
from feeding cattle to pose for the camera.
Earlier this week I went to the Bob Dole Institute for Politics and attended a session entitled Animal Welfare in America.  The speakers were Wayne Pacelle, President of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Nancy Perry, Senior VP of Government Relations, ASPCA.  The topics of the evening ranged from puppy mills to horse slaughter to food animal production.

Being a farmer and rancher, I was very intrigued by the discussion regarding food animal production, especially when Mr. Pacelle indicated one of their top priorities is to shut down all intensive confinement operations.

Happy Birthday Hamburger! #Recipe post! #giveaway

Burger Recipes via
On July 28, 1900, Louis Lassen served a hamburg steak between two slices of bread--and voila! The Hamburger was born! So, today in celebration of Louis and the first hamburger, let me share a recipe or two, and a link or three and just see if you can't get excited about hamburgers!

Prairie Wildflower of the Day: Butterfly Milkweed

Butterfly Milkweed is definitely my favorite prairie wildflower of the tallgrass prairie! It blooms near the end of May and early June and usually only for a short time, providing pops of bright orange in the lush green of the growing prairie.

Of course, it attracts large numbers of butterflies. Cattle do not eat it, but it doesn't bother them, either.

I had always been told that you could not transplant butterfly milkweed to domesticated landscape, but I tried it anyway! I dug up about half of a bush from our pasture, digging deep to get as much of the deep root as possible. I planted it immediately in my yard and watered it daily throughout May and early June. Despite all the water, it died. But...I soon noticed new shoots poking through the soil and after removing the dead stems, I realized it hadn't really died! It regrew into a lovely shrub and even bloomed again. Since then, I have divided and transplanted lots of this native plant in my yard. Once established, it needs little watering and it blooms every year!

A note of not try to dig it up from roadsides. That is actually illegal. If you own some native grassland and can dig it there, that is fine. But if you don't, I have seen it available to purchase at greenhouses! It is a perfect late spring/early summer pop of color and it is drought resistant. Perfect for my yard.

Watch for more Prairie Wildflower of the Day posts!

Prairie Wildflower of the day: Catclaw Sensitive Briar

Catclaw Sensitive Briar is one of my favorite wildflowers in the Kansas prairie! This plant has briars on the stem and leaf that are shaped like a cat's claw. And the fern-like leaf is sensitive to motion and will curl up when brushed or touched.

Catclaw Sensitive Briar is also an indicator of a healthy rangeland, as when a pasture is overgrazed or overused, this plant will not grow. But best of all, the puffy pink flowers make it easy to find in the deep grasses of the tallgrass prairie.

Watch for more Prairie Wildflower of the Day posts!!

Aftermath of the Wildfires

Wildfires recently devastated the area around a town in Kansas called Medicine Lodge. My friend Sandra Levering lives there and is involved in the recovery efforts with her family. Now that pressing needs have been met and farmers and ranchers have been able to assess the full situation, Sandra has had time to record a few of her thoughts. Below is her heart wrenching, yet hopeful guest blog post.

As I listen to the wind blow relentlessly outside tonight, my thoughts and prayers go out to those fighting another grass fire in our area and to those that have been undoubtedly affected once again by nature’s wrath. Almost 2 weeks ago, lives and perspectives were forever changed by the Anderson Creek Wildfire that consumed grass, trees, fences, livestock, but stopped short of the human spirit because those of us in agriculture take care of each other and find a way to get up and go again and renew our spirit by taking care of our fellow man in times of need. Countless tragedies, whether local or national, unite the agriculture community and we pay it forward in helping others in need. This experience was no exception.

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