Friday, January 29, 2010
As I mentioned on a previous blog, I recently had a law review article published about Right to Farm statutes. I realize that most of you are not going to sit down and read my entire article, so I figured I'd sum up the issue for today's blog.
You've heard the song, "Daddy Won't Sell the Farm" right? The story told by that song is the reason we have right to farm statutes. Here are the important lyrics......“His cows get loose and run right through the fast food parking lots, and Daddy gets calls from the mini-malls when they're downwind from his hogs. When his tractor backs up traffic, the reception ain’t too warm. The citys growing around him, but Daddy won't sell the farm.”
This problem is becoming more and more prevalent in the US. Our population is growing and people are moving from cities to the open spaces in the country. A problem develops, however, when the people who move to the country looking for peace and quiet don't know anything about agricultlure and the practices that we use. And you know what? Most people don't know! Did you know that the average American is 3 genertions removed from the farm? That means these people have never lived on a farm, and have never even gone to visit their grandparents on the farm! And did you know that less than 2% of Americans are directly invovled in production agriculture? This lack of understanding can spell disaster for producers if we are not careful.
The new neighbors don't understand why tractors are driving slowly down the highway, why you are bailing hay before the sun comes up, why the steers that were just weaned are keeping the up all night, why there is dust from the corrals when you work cattle, why you are spreading manure on the corn field and making it stink....and the list goes on and on.
My favorite stories that I came across on this issue involves complaints made to a dairy and a feedlot. The neighbor called up the dairy farmer next door becuase he was concerned the farmer was abusing his cattle. When the farmer asked how they were being abused, the caller explained that he could see their udders were all swollen, and that must have been the cause. The feedlot situation arose when the neighbor demanded that the feedlot should wash all of their cattle daily to prevent the smell.
These are the types of things that people from the city honestly just don't know. When they don't understand, sometimes they file nuisance lawsuits seeking monetary fines (which are bad enough!) but even more serious, injunctions to keep you from using the essential practice that they find bothersome.
At the most basic level, nuisance law says that you can't use your property in a way that interferes with another person's enjoyment of his property. You can see where the problem comes in for farmers! Luckily, all states enacted Right to Farm laws. These laws say (mind you they are all different and contain different provisions so I'm just giving the basics here) that if the farm was there first, and the neighbor moved to the area, then the neighbor can't keep the farmer from farming, so long as the farmer is not being grossly negligent. These laws, while critically important, are not that well publicized or known about. Those of us involved in production agriculture need to be aware of the law in our state......one day, we may need to use it!
Obviously, communication with and education for these neighbors are our first line of defense....if we talk to them and explain what we are doing, a lot of this mess may be avoided. One dairy farm I read about sent out monthly newletters to neighbors telling them about what was going on at the farm and giving then a chance to voice concerns and express any opinions. They even included a scratch and sniff patch that smelled like manure in one of these letters to help people understand what they were smelling!
However, sometimes you run into those people who talking doesn't work for. If that ever happens, knowledge of your state's right to farm law is a little weapon you might need to pull out of the arsenal one day.
If anyone is interested, I will be happy to mail or email you a copy of my article, which focuses on the specific provisions incuded in laws across the US that are important in order to protect family farmers.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
I am happy to report my technical difficulties have been solved and Throwback Thursday is back in business! Now, as you will recall from two weeks ago, I survived the scariest taxi ride of my life, and we were on to day two in Roma, Italia! This was our day to be spent at the Vatican.
As you know from my prior bucket list blog, I was extremely excited to see the Vatican. Although I loved Switzerland, and if I could only go back to one I would choose the Alps for sure.....the Vatican was one of those places you've seen a thousand times on tv.....so when you walked up and were actually standing there, it was just amazing.
First, we headed to the Vatican Museums. These are rooms and rooms and rooms filled with beautiful art---frescas, statues, paintings, tapestries......it would take you two weeks to see everything in there. I mean they are everywhere---the walls, ceilings, floors, it was amazing! I only have these few pictures, because most of the rooms prohibit picture taking and I, unlike a lot of the other people, tried to follow the rule.
The Vatican Museums also house the Sistine Chapel. It was really cool to see it---it is such a beautiful place with the amazing painting of Michaelangelo on the ceiling. Again, no pictures due to me being a rule follower in a house of God. Crazy, I know. Surprisingly, I didn't find this to be the most beautiful, or most spiritual chapel we saw on the trip.....but that's a blog soon to come.
The square is surrounded by these statues of saints.
Once we got inside the actual Bascilica, it was huge and beautiful. The artwork and detail was just breathtaking. This picture below is the alter above the spot where the bones of St. Peter are buried. Again, it was amazing to know that you were standing right above where the bones of one of Jesus' Apostles are laying.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Nine years ago today, January 17, 2001, at 5:37 pm, these men lost their lives in a plane crash. The Oklahoma State Cowboy basketball team was flying home from a game against Colorado. One of the planes went down, killing everyone on board. There were two basketball players, a student trainer, radio announcers, student assistants, basketball opertion officers, pilots, and media directors. They were all Cowboys, and the entire OSU family still mourns their loss. In doing so, we Remember the Ten.
At 5:37 pm tonight, the library bells on the OSU campus will toll ten times. The OSU President will lay a wreath at the memorial in Stillwater, located in Gallagher-Iba Arena. The memorial is of Pistol Pete, hat off, knelt down, weeping. Pictures of the men are also included.
Wreaths will also be laid in Colorado, at the crash site memorial. This memorial contains photos of each of the men, and messages from their families. There are also two arrows, one pointing to the actual crash site less than a quarter of a mile away. The other, points to Stillwater. Click here to see the memorial photos and read the inscriptions.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I read once about the different types of friends everyone needs to have in their lives.....you know, the opposite sex friend, the realistic friend, the sympathetic friend.....and the list goes on.
Two weekends ago, in addition to the surprise baby shower, I got to hang out and go out with two more of my best friends, my Oklahoma Girls. You've read about them before.
Our night out got me thinking....these two are the friends who ALWAYS make me laugh. I can check that required friend off the list. Twice.
There's something to be said for having those friends who you can get together with and have so much fun you laugh until some falls out of their chair, or until someone else can't feel her stomach. When we're together, we're totally "those people" who usually the entire restaurant ends up staring at. I think it's because they are sad they don't get to join all the fun.
However, this leads me to my second point---we usually do include random people in our mix of fun. For example, last weekend, we were having dinner at restaurant and a nice guy named David sat down next to us. He wasn't there for 10 minutes before we all knew each other's first names, the ages of his kids, what he did for a living, about his cheating wife who he divorced after 26 years of marriage, and he told us he was there meeting someone. Turns out, he had just joined Match.com two days earlier and this was his first date. We had a blast witing for his date to show up. He probably had no idea he'd be in the middle of a laughter crazed night....but he was and seemed to enjoy every minute of it!
Same story with the bartender, Alfredo. He taught my OSU girls how to speak Spanish (which was no easy task---I had to repeat the three phrases they learned about 900 times that night so they'd remember!) and ended up right in the middle of all our fun. I doubt that he laughed so much or took so many pictures with anyone else that night. Or any other night, for that matter.
Everyone needs those people in their life who are just fun.....you can go out anywhere, do anything, talk to anyone, and know that you're going to have a blast. My OSU girls do this for me.....and I am so grateful to have them both in my life!
Monday, January 25, 2010
We all have things that we wish for in our lives; things that we want to happen. I sort of had an epiphany moment two weekends ago. Nothing pivotal happened to cause it, but it was a big deal for me. I realized that as much as I have said there were certain things I wanted to have in my life, I don't really think I felt like I deserved these things. In fact, if I'm being honest, I probably felt like I didn't deserve them.
Without going into detail here--no, I don't blog about everything in my life--I just sort of came to the conclusion that I deserve to have the things I want. Funny that I hadn't really realized that this feeling undeserving or unworthy as a problem before. Maybe consciously deciding that you deserve something is an important part to getting what you want.It doesn't matter what it is....think about things you want in your life, but you don't feel like you deserve. The better job, more friends, someone who treats you right....whatever it is, I think it's an important step to decide that you DO deserve that thing!
And maybe we need someone to tell us we deserve the things we want. So if you need that push, I'm telling you now.....you deserve to be happy and to have all the things that you want in your life. So, now that we know we deserve it, let's see what happens!
Saturday, January 23, 2010
A while back I posted instructions on how to become a follower of the blog. I got several new followers after that post.....so I'm hoping that some more of you will become followers if I post it again! Just follow the instructions from the prior blog (click right above here where it says "how to become a follower").
Friday, January 22, 2010
The agriculture industry frequently comes up with some pretty catchy slogans. "Beef, It's What's For Dinner." "Where's the Beef?" "Got Milk?"
I think my all-time favorite was one by the New Mexico Beef Council. It came out way back in the day.....I remember being about 15 at the State Fair and they were handing out stickers and t-shirts with the slogan on it. I remember this, becuase that year one of my friends stuck one of these bumper stickers on the animal rights people's booth and chaos insued. This is probably another blog for another day.....the one State Fair blog I've written is clearly not enough!
Anyway, my favorite slogan is simple, but I think it incorporates promoting both our product and our way of life.
New Mexico Beef: From Our Families Ranches To Your Families Tables.
That sort of tells the story, doesn't it? One family works the land and raises the cattle in order to feed the other family. This is a great marketing point that our industry needs to remember. Instead of just selling beef, we need to sell the way of life. People care about other people and enjoy hearing their stories. Obviously it is critical that we promote our products, but in doing so, if we can find ways to promote and bring awareness and understanding to our way of life, we'll be better off in the long run.
Here are a couple of great examples of this idea at work.
People Behind The Product (Midwest Dairy Association)
Faces of Rural South Dakota (Ag United for South Dakota)
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
This quote was written by a woman who I used to attend church with in Stillwater. Her blog chronicals her family's story, which began with a missions trip to Ethiopia, where her heart was broken for the children there, and has recently culminated in them bringing home a beautiful baby boy who they adopted from an orphanage. She's talked both on her blog and in church about how God broke her heart for Ethiopia.
I really feel like praying for God to break our hearts for the things that break his is a beautiful idea. There are so many heartbreaking things in the world, but if each of us would open our hearts to just one thing, and work to make a difference, maybe we could aleviate some of this heartbreak.
The recent earthquake in Haiti has broken the hearts of millions of people, who have given millions of dollars to countless charities. It doesn't matter what charity you donate to, if you can let your heart be broken and help in some way, that's what's important. Here's a bipartisan charity helping Haiti if you are interested.
At home, we have plenty of opportunities to donate or volunteer for causes that break our hearts as well. Homelessness, cancer, hunger, abused children, hospice, children's hospitals, research for cures for diseases, church missions.....the list can go on and on. If you don't know where to start, just google the topic you are interested in and the name of your city. You'll find options easily.
I hope that you will join in Rande's prayer and that you will seek out something that you can do in your community to try and stop the heartbreak for you and for God. I realize that not all of us are prepared or able to adopt a baby from an orphanage in a third world country. But all of us can do something. Even if you aren't able to give financially, these organiztions can always use people's time, their thoughts, and their prayers.
Praying for a broken heart was never something I had thought of before, but it's something I certainly include in my prayers now. Hopefully by my heart being broken, I can do something to help the heartbreak suffered by others.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
(photo courtesy of Forbes.com)
Cell Phone Use: Now I realize that cell phone use has gotten rather out of control everywhere in the world, but I hadn't ever noticed how much it's out of control in an airport! People seem to be on their phones more in airports than anywhere else. I mean it, everyone in there is yapping away. Why, I wonder? Maybe because you know that when you get on the plane you have to turn your phone off for the flight? Maybe people are scared of flying and want to talk to their friends or family before they leave? I don't know, but I do think that cell phone companies must love airports! (Just in case you might have missed it, this reminded me of a past guest blog by Connie J!)
Food: Airport food costs double, and tastes half as good. I think this is great example of supply and demand at work. Everyone there is stuck in the airport....so the demand for food his high. There are not that many options, so the supply is low. They can serve bad food in there, because you have to buy it....wheras if they served bad food out in the world, you wouldn't go back. I ordered my usual pretzel sticks from Auntie Anne's.....they were not good. Like not good at all. What a disappointment that was.
Football: (And you thought you'd have a blog without football in it! Ha!) Sunday the NFL playoffs were on tv. Everyone was gathered around every tv in the airport watching. It was funny---either everyone loves football (which is possible in my happy little mind) or people were bored with no other options, or they just enjoyed being part of the group. It was so funny to walk through the airport and see the big groups of people congregated in a little area. Made it really easy to find the tvs!
Arrival Gate: I think watching people at the arrival gate at an airport is good for your soul. Seriously--it's really fun to watch people anxiously waiting and getting all excited to see someone walk up. This doesn't seem to happen too much in the world in other places.....it's cool. I'm sure it would be cooler if I was one of the people waiting all excited or getting mobbed by someone as I came through the door.....but watching was still pretty good.
Random Bonding: People talk on planes. People who would never talk in real life just strike up a conversation. You get sat next to a random person and there you go...instant bonding. Example? On one flight, there was a total stereotypical redneck......like picture Cledus T. Judd on an airplane. His name was Jimmy. Next to him was Alejandro. He was from central Mexico going to visit relatives. I have no doubt that these guys never would have been in the same circles or chatted in life. But on the flight, they discussed everything from the drug wars in Mexico, to taxes in Oklahoma. It was amazing. Too bad there are not more opportunites for people to talk with other people who are really different than they are in every day life. Seems like that might be something that could make the world a better place.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Well this weekend I got to fly to surprise my best friend Soul Mate Friend at her baby shower! It was so awesome---she had no idea she was coming (although everyone else in her family did) so it was a total shock when I came in the door! It was such a blessing for me to be able to be at the shower and experience that with her. I was there from the beginning (okay, not THAT beginning....) when she took the pregnancy test, so I didn't want to miss this part either!
One of the things I'm working on for this year (I don't call them resolutions....that's setting yourself up to fail) is to really try to have a "Why not?" attitude. When I heard Soul Mate Friend talk about her baby showers, I decided you know what.....she's my best friend, she's having her first baby.....I think I'll go surprise her! Why not?
It was so worth it---the look on her face was priceless! She was so adorable.....and I had the best time. It's a moment I don't think I'll ever forget! So my year of "Why nots" has started out with a bang!
Think about this type of attitude in your life.....it's fun and pretty freeing!
Friday, January 15, 2010
Until I saw the decal on their helmets this week while watching the Orange Bowl. The decal simply said "ANF" and was on every helmet. Turns out, this stands for "America Needs Farmers."
In 1985, Iowa coach Hayden Fry started this tradition. The team wears the decal to draw attention to the dwindling number of American food and fiber producers. Coach Fry knew that the team would be playing in a number of nationally televised games, and he explained that the players understand the importance of agriculture in the region and the constant threat to the farming way of life. He used the opportunity to remind the nation how important agriculture iis not only to the midwest, but to the entire country. Thanks to him, all Iowa football players understand, and hopefully, so do some other football fans across America.
We must have farmers and ranchers in order to maintin our food supply and America's ability to produce enough food to sustain herself. We simply cannot rely on other countries to provide us with food, rather than growing our own. Producing our own food allows food prices to be reasonable in the US. The average American spends about 9% of income on food. Compare that to 17% for Japanese consumers. American farmers and ranchers provide us with a safe, healthy, affordable food supply. We've seen the type of issues we get into with dependance on foreign oil, can you imagine what it would be like if we were dependant on foreign food? Let's hope we never have to. Further, agriculture is a vital part of our national economy, as it contributes one TRILLION dollars to our national economy, and equals 13% of the United States' gross domestic product.
So, hats (or helmets) off to Iowa football and their ANF stickers. This is the type of thing that those of us in the industry must to.....we have to go on the offensive and start telling our stories. If lawyers wore helmets to work, I'd have one of those stickers for sure!
Thursday, January 14, 2010
I know I promised the Vatican today.....but I was reading through my Throwback Thursday blogs, and realized I missed one of the coolest things from the whole trip......our tour of a castle! Somehow, I missed this whole day! So, we're backtracking to Switzerland and will return to Rome next Thursday.
The day between the chocolate/cheese train and the Olympic Museum, we went to Montreux to walk around and explore. Montreux (pronounced Mont row) is a great little city also on the shore of Lake Geneva, nestled right at the base of the Alps. It's where we caught the train to go up into the Alps the day before. Anyway, it's home to the world famous Montreux Jazz Festival, which was sadly not going on while we were there.
Anyway.... the city was beautiful, and I took some of my favorite pictures of the entire trip there. Here are a few.Just outside of Montreux is Chillon, home of this awesome castle. We didn't know anyting about it, but figured, we'd never been to a castle, so why not? It didn't look that far, so we decided to walk from Montreux. It was actually quite a little treck, but we rewarded ourselves with ice cream on the way back. You probably saw those pictures on the prior "Eating my way across Europe" blog. :)
We decided we had to go into the Castle, and it was awesome! It was built back in (I think!) the 14th Century or something. It was really cool. Still standing, super sturdy, even had a moat! Here are just a few pictures of inside.
I finally discovered where the knight in shining armour I've been looking for is hiding.....ah ha!
Okay, next week I really do promise I'll blog about the Vatican. I have double checked and have now covered everything we did in Switzerland! Stay tuned.....
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
I do realize this is the fourth college football post in a week. I promise, I do know there are other things in life.....but it seems like there were just a lot of things that gave me ideas for the blog in the bowl games!
(Photo courtesy of Art.com)I don't know how many of you watched the National Championship, or read my blog last weekend about Colt McCoy. Long story short, he was one of the best players in the nation. He was the backbone of the Texas Longhorns, and he goet knocked out 5 minutes into the game. He was done for the night.
Their back up quarterback was a freshman who basically hadn't played at all this year. I'm sure he came to Pasadena thinking he'd chill on the sidelines, have a good view of the game, and maybe wink at some cheerleaders. Instead, he got thrown into the biggest football game of his life and had to try to fill McCoy's shoes. A lot of people thought that Texas was through--no chance to win, couldn't happen, no way. Apparently, those people didn't include the Texas players.
At the post-game press conference, Jordan Shipley talked about how the Texas players felt playing without McCoy. He said that he really believed they would win the game. When they were down 24-6 at half, and the coaches told them McCoy was out for the game, he believed they could win. When they went three and out and the backup couldn't get anything going, he believed they could win. And when they were down by only 3 with 3 minutes left on their 10 yardline, he believed they could win. The coach, Mack Brown, said the same thing. He told reporters that when they had the ball down by three, he really thought they were going to win the game.
The odds weren't in their favor. In fact, the deck was stacked way against them. But Texas believed they could win. I think this is something that is really important for people, not just in football, but in life. I think that in order for us to be successful in anything, we have to believe we can win. We don't always win (Shipley and Coach Brown turned out to be wrong). But if we start out believing that we can win, then we always have a chance.
These kids believed they could win, because they learned to be winners. McCoy, for example, had never lost a game at Texas. Most of the other players hadn't either. Coach Brown taught them to be winners. It's something that you really do have to learn. I think once you learn you learn to be a winner, you always believe you can win. You give me a choice between a person who knows how to win versus someone with more talent who hasn't learned that.....I'll take the winner everytime.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
.....the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.
There were so many story lines. An undefeated season. David v. Goliath. Trick plays. Overtime. Romance. Now that was a bowl game! Oh yea....and OU got beat. (Sorry....as an OSU fan, it's hard not to mention it!)
The bowl pitted OU, a football powerhouse, against Boise State, from the no-name WAC conference. No one expected the upset, except maybe the Boise state players. But the upset was exactly what happened, in dramatic style. I remember running around my parents house freaking out screaming on several occasions.....to the point my mother screamed at me to sit down before I gave myself a heart attack.
7 seconds left, and OU scores a touchdown, putting them up by 7. Everyone thought the game was over. On their final play of the game, Boise State had the ball on the 50yard line. They had one last chance. They draw up a hook and ladder. That means the quarterback passes the ball to about the 35 yard line. That player, about to be tackled, pitches the ball to another player coming around the end, and he runs it in for the touchdown. The trick play leads to overtime!
In OT, OU scores a touchdown on its first possession, Adrian Peterson to the rescue. But then Boise State answered right back. Instead of going for the tie, Boise State went for two and the win. What did they have to lose? They ran another trick play, the Statue of Liberty. Here, the quarterback fakes a pass to the right, and actually hands the ball to the running back who is running left. It worked like a dream and the Bronchos scored and won the game.
Here's a video if you want to see this instead of reading my play by play:
As if this wasn't enough drama, then in the post game interview of Ian Johnson, the back who scored the winning two-point conversion, he proposed to his girlfriend on national tv. Who was she, but the head cheerleader. Hollywood cannot write this stuff.
Here's a video of that:
What a great explanation of why I love college football. The games are always exciting, the kids play for pride, and you never know what's going to happen. I'm bummed that the season ended, but I look forward to next year. Maybe we'll have a bowl game that will top this one. Hard to imagine how....
Monday, January 11, 2010
We had our yearly ski trip a little over a week ago and, as usual, had a blast! There was lots of talking, eating, some football, some dancing....oh yea, and some skiing. Here are just a few picture highlights of our trip! Our number keeps growing every year, so hopefully the 5th Annual trip next year will be even bigger. Maybe we need shirts.....with like a theme! :)