Dirt Road Charm

Motherhood, Agriculture, and everything in between

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Seperation of School and Parenting? My take on the school lunch debacle

Yesterday the USDA held a twitter chat for people to ask questions and voice concerns about the changes to the school lunch programs.  At the time I was unsure of my thoughts on the situation and from what every one was posting children were going to starve and not get any protein because of the changes.  Of course one would be concerned.  Well.....after reading the transcript from the discussion and doing my own little research I have picked a side.....unlike most I am in favor of these changes.

I think back to my days in elementary and high school.  We all ate the same foods 1st grade through high school.   School menu was the same for both.  Mind you this was a solid 12+ years ago since I started high school.  Our lunch was far from nutritious.  We had pizza and fries every Friday.  We had some form of french fry or tator tot 3-4 times a week whether it was french fry, curly fry, smiley fries, potato wedge, tator tots, waffle fries.  I'm fairy certain there was a potato every day of the week sometimes.  Why was this not an issue then but now that they want to add more fruits and vegetables and whole grains we are throwing a fit?  I don't get it!

I did a little investigating and the new requirements for protein are min 10 oz to max 12 oz.  Well with the research I found here and here the weekly intake requirements for a healthy growing young adult are slightly over 9 oz.  So why are we so concerned they won't get enough protein and will be tired and hungry?

I would like to share some of the questions asked during the discussion and share my thoughts....
  • aren't school lunches to help the poor? What abt those kids whose moms aren't able to provide that healthy food after school?
When did schools become responsible for children's home life?  Are schools supposed to supply supper for children as well for those that may not get the best options at home?  And yes school lunches do help the poor....its called free and reduced lunches
  • What do you think about all the food that is getting thrown away because kids refuse to eat it?
Here again.  The school is in charge of providing a balanced meal for children.  Not in charge of making sure children clean their plate.  If you go to any restaurant there is going to be a ton of waste as well.  Should we step in and help decide the menu so everyone eats everything on the plate?
  • Protein is shown to curb hunger and keep people full longer. Skimpy protein portions will contribute to hunger and poor focus.
Like stated before.  I don't know where people are getting the skimping on protein.  The are required to get atleast  10 oz of protein a week.  A growing male age 14-18 is required to have slightly over 9 oz of protein in a 5 day week (school week) to maintain a healthy diet.....
This one if my favorite....you have an athlete and you are outraged that the USDA said you may provide a snack for your student for before practice and you don't think you should have to supply that?  Are you not the parent here?  Should you not support and supply for YOUR child?  I was a very active student athlete.  We were not given extra food or snacks just because we were athletes.  We brought snacks to have before practice if we were hungry.   How is that the schools responsibility?
  • A9 I know a flier of a vegetable wasn't going to get me to eat more vegetables. #ASkUSDA
Here is where the parent needs to again take responsibility.  If you raise a child eating a healthy diet having to eat fruits and vegetables in school should not be an issue.  If you raise your child eating junk food like pizza and Cheetos everyday then no vegetables and fruits will not be appealing now will they?
  •  And the list goes on....you can find the transcript here to see all the questions and answers
I feel the government was trying to be proactive in the fight against childhood obesity and instead of embracing it we are fighting it.  I can almost guarantee that the reason for childhood obesity doesn't come from school lunch.  Growing up we were outside 90% of the time playing in the woods, the creek, sports, riding bikes with friends.  I look at my friends children and they are Nintendo superstars.  I just think that children are not nearly as active as they used to be.
I called my sister who is an Ag teacher at a local public school and she shared with me the meal for the day
Now explain to me how that is skimping and won't fill you up....baked beans, peaches, celery, pickle, rib eye sandwich, and milk.  Looks good to me.  She said that the meals this year are by far way better than last year.  She said their was a potato at every meal and the portions were much less last year.  With the new program they get better foods which means larger portions.  She said the meals are much less carb loaded. 
I just think that if you are that concerned of a parent you have the option to pack your kids lunch.  We had a one size fits all model my whole time through school.  You can't expect to offer 10 different meals in hopes everyone was happy.  My mom made one meal for supper.  If we didn't like it we went to bed hungry because she wasn't about to make 5 different dishes just so everyone got what they wanted.
Many people also make the comment about many of the children in their communities that are low income and the school lunch is the only good meal they get and we are leaving them hungry.  This again I don't understand.  How is it the schools responsibility to control the lifestyle that a family provides for a child.  Many schools now provide breakfast.  We were never offered breakfast at school.  So now schools are providing 2 of the 3 meals for the day......why don't we just have them make supper as well.  We have to make parents take responsibility which I find in society these days is getting harder and harder....it is much easier to pass the blame.  The school is not responsible for raising and providing for your child....you the parent are. 
So those are my thoughts and I could be way off here and if I am please feel free to share your comments.  Good Day!!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

AgChat....the Best Conference Yet!!

I had the amazing opportunity to attend the AgChat Foundation 2.0 Conference this past week in Kansas City.  There is not enough I can say about this conference.  It was literally the first conference I have ever been to that captured my attention the whole time.  Not once did I ever lose interest or want to close my eyes in boredom and take a nap!  It was so very inspiring and literally gets you excited!

The conference really helped show you how to better share your story of agriculture through all the social media tools.  Also the presentations by some of the industry leaders were very informational and eye opening as to what consumers are thinking and seeing when it comes to the agriculture industry.

One of the greatest things I love about the agriculture industry as a whole is that the people are so welcoming and friendly. I headed off to this conference not knowing a single person.  Many of the people I knew through social media but had never met in person.  I happened to get connected with another person to share a room and save on hotel costs which was exciting because then I figured I would be able to meet someone and maybe "piggy back" them throughout the conference since I didn't know anyone....that was definitely not needed!

My view on the way out there.....love fly over states!
When I landed in Kansas City I was waiting down at baggage claim and this female looks at me and goes...are you here for the AgChat conf?  I'm guessing you are because of your cowboy boots.  I always knew my cowboy boots would come in handy in more ways than just keeping my feet fashionable and dry!  Another great thing is that one of the couples rented a vehicle while down there and were offering to pick people up from the airport and shuttle them back to the hotel.  What big hearts people have to just offer to pick up complete strangers and shuttle them back and forth.  I clearly took them up on this offer!
The first night we had a "tweet up".  This is such a great idea.  Most of us at the conf had already communicated via twitter and really only knew each other by our twitter handles.  We all got together in downtown KC and actually got to meet everyone in person!  It was a great success and so fun putting faces to names!  I finally got to meet my roomie Janeal.  She has her Ph.D. in meat science and was an awesome person to connect with!  If any of you have any questions/concerns about your meat definitely look her up!!!
The next day was full of presentations and break out sessions to better understand all the social media tools and show how to use these tools to their fullest potential. That evening after dinner we had a swap meet.  Everyone brought items that represented agriculture from their area and swapped with people from all across the country to learn a little about the agriculture in other areas.  On the last day they surprised us with a special guest.....none other than The Peterson Farm Brothers.  These guys made the "I'm Farming and I grow it" parody that went viral!
The Peterson Bros and myself.....I was slightly excited to meet them.....Don't judge
The conference only lasted 2 days but it was such an experience.  I would suggest to everyone that is out there sharing their story and agvocating to apply to attend this conference for next year.  You will absolutely love it and not be disappointed!  I had the time of my life and connecting with all the other people in the industry was priceless!

All the attendees of the conference...photo courtesy of Chuck Zimmerman
How do you share your story or engage conversations about the agriculture industry with others?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Temple Grandin knows best

Recently a California slaughterhouse was shut down by the USDA due to a video reported by a group called Compassion over Killing.  This group got one of their members hired into the slaughterhouse and collected video over a two week period.  The video was narrated in a way to make you believe only the worst was happening.  While not all the accusations are correct some sadly are. 

Not all parts of the industry are perfect and you do have bad seeds that give the industry a bad name.  This happens in all industries...not just agriculture.  I was excited to see that Dr. Temple Grandin issued a statement about the video because she is probably the most knowledgeable about the issue.  For those of you who don't know who Temple Grandin is let me give you a little insight...Dr. Grandin is a designer of livestock handling facilities and a Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. She is passionate about animal handling, facility design, and animal welfare.  She is the most accomplished and well-known autistic person in the world.  She has written many books and they even made a movie about her!  She is just an all around incredible lady that I had the amazing opportunity to meet while attending Michigan State University.  You can learn more about her here.

I wanted to share her statement with you because she doesn't attempt to cover up or sugar coat the incidents that were portrayed in the video.  She calls out what is false and admits to what is wrong and needs to stop.  Take a look....98248-temple-grandin-issues-statement-over-central-valley-meats-undercover-video

Monday, August 20, 2012

Exhaust, dirt, sunburn, dehydration......my weekend wrap up!!

Over the weekend I spent my time smelling exhaust, getting covered in dirt and dust, and getting a "slight" sunburn as well at the National Tractor Pulling Championship in Bowling Green, Ohio.  Now if you have never heard of this you definitely need to check it out.  People take trucks, tractors, and semis and soup them up with huge motors even jet engines and pull a weight sled down a track in hopes of getting a FULL PULL.  A full pull is when you pull the weight sled 300 feet.  It may sound lame to some but believe me it is a good time. 

Growing up in Northwest Ohio we were fortunate enough to live close to this event and my father took us girls all the time growing up.  The tradition has continued and a group of us went down and camped the whole weekend.  While it is only and hour and a half drive for us people drive from all over the country to get there.   It is crazy what you take for granted when things are so close to you. 

One of the greatest aspects for me about going to the tractor pull is it is like going to an Owens Community College class reunion.  I went to Owens and got my associates in Agri-business management and spent 2 years with the same 15 people and you become pretty close friends.  Since we all apparently have the same interest I got to see most of the friends I graduated with which is always a good time.

Now to show you some of the action that I witnessed over the weekend and maybe get some of you to gain a little interest :)

Here is one of the pulling tractors

One of the pulling trucks....not quite like what you see driving down the road

Here is one of the pulls in action

And here is another...

When you sit in the sun from noon until the sun goes down you will more than likely have a sunburn....epic fail on my part.  Thankfully Walgreen's has this amazing spray on aloe that takes away the pain......kind of.  Well I hope you enjoy me weekend update and go out and check out some pulls!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wise words from a dairy farmer

Being a 26 year old female with no children yet is a hard concept for many of my cattle customers to wrap their heads around. I am asked weekly "so when are you having kids?". I never understood why everyone gets so concerned. Do my ovaries shrivel up and die at age 27?

While sitting and talking to a customer yesterday the conversation quickly went from discussing his new nutritionist to the predictable question of children. Mind you he has asked this question multiple times with my answer usually being maybe when I'm 30. Well this time I really gave him my thoughts. It went a little like this.....

Children? I can't think of children right now! If my husband doesn't stop buying land maybe I could have children! It's expensive. I don't know how people own 1000's of acres. It clearly must be handed down generations because it's expensive! Plus I have a school loan I'm paying on! It's also I long commitment. 18 YEARS!! Plus I enjoy my freedom and vacationing. Then you have the issue of what if they grow up hating you. Don't you watch the news? They will probably just grow up and kill me for my prescription meds when I'm old. Those were my thoughts.

He looked at me for a couple seconds and said......Taysha stop being selfish. If you want to farm you will farm. It doesn't matter if you have 5 acres or 5000. If you enjoy it you will do it whether you own or have to rent land. Just enjoy it. Also if you wait to "have" money to have children you will never have any. It always works itself out. Trust me. Lastly if you raise your children around Christ I can almost guarantee they won't kill you for your meds.

Well that shut me up pretty quick. I had no rebuttal. We went back to talking cattle. Now don't get me wrong I'm not gonna run home and start having children but I may not be as freaked out in a couple years when I decide it's time to bring a little junior into the world.

You never know where you may learn your next life lesson. In my case it came from a veteran dairy farmer standing in a barn full of cattle.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Label say WHAT?!

I just love America and how we reach everywhere and anywhere to place blame.  One of my most recent encounters would be of the big debate of high fructose corn syrup.  As I'm doing some grocery shopping I see so many different labels saying "contains no high fructose corn syrup".   Ok?  However it still contains SUGAR!!!! The best part is that people are trying to blame high fructose corn syrup for obesity.  SUGAR IS SUGAR IS SUGAR!!!!!  No matter if it is table sugar or high fructose corn syrup or honey they all three contain the same calories and all need be consumed in MODERATION.  Ok so to get off my soap box..........

I wanted to share with you some fun facts about high fructose corn syrup so that you can go back to shopping and not just buy something because it says "contains no high fructose corn syrup"!  For example the ole peter pan peanut butter had that exact quote on it however it still contains 4 grams of sugar per serving......so it doesn't contain sugar from corn but it contains sugar from cane......like said before sugar should consumed in moderation no matter where the sugar comes from!

On to the fun facts:

  • High fructose corn syrup is not sweeter than sugar; and high fructose corn syrup, sugar and honey all contain the same number of calories (four calories per gram).
  • High fructose corn syrup and sugar are metabolized similarly by the body.
  • Many confuse pure “fructose” with “high fructose corn syrup.” Recent studies that have examined pure fructose have been inappropriately applied to high fructose corn syrup and have caused significant consumer confusion. High fructose corn syrup never contains fructose alone, but always in combination with a roughly equivalent amount of a second sugar (glucose).
  • The American Medical Association stated in June 2008 that “…high fructose syrup does not appear to contribute to obesity more than other caloric sweeteners…” And, the American Dietetic Association (ADA) concluded in December 2008 that “No persuasive evidence supports the claim that high fructose corn syrup is a unique contributor to obesity.”
  • High fructose corn syrup is made from corn, a natural grain product. High fructose corn syrup contains no artificial or synthetic ingredients or color additives and meets the FDA requirements for use of the term “natural.”
I got these fun facts from Corn.org  Check out the website for other great facts about corn!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I finally did it!!!!

A little hidden secret of mine is that I have been trying to do a pull up for the LONGEST time!  I go to a trainer twice a week and "attempt" to work out on my own twice a week.  Well I have always wanted to be able to do a full pull up on my own unassisted.   Today I FINALLY DID IT!!!! 

I had bought a pull up bar for my house because the only time I could use one was when I was at the gym so I thought that if I had one at home I could practice more.  I hung it above the bathroom door so whenever I went in there I would attempt to do one.  Well tonight as I was finishing making dinner I thought to myself as I walked by it I would give it a try because it has been a solid week since I have done partial pull ups.  I got on....hung down....and DID A FULL PULL UP!!  Now I thought it was unreal at first so I went about my business, took a shower and came back to it thinking maybe that was a fluke so lets try it again......I DID IT AGAIN!  

We (as in my trainer and I) have been working on this for what seems like forever!  It probably isn't as long as my inpatient self would make it seem but it has been a long time comin!  I started to feel like it was never going to happen and was loosing faith but with a little persistence and dedication I finally did a full legit from hanging to chin above bar pull up.   I was so excited that I seriously almost started crying!  I instantly texted my trainer who I'm sure was sleeping because she is very much pregnant and i think her bed time is like 8? 

While this may seem really lame to some I just wanted to share with you this great milestone in my life.....yes I will be marking this day down!  And here are the two most important things I have to give credit to my success.......

 This would be my fabulous trainer Michele....check her out.  She is amazing and will get you to do a pull up too!! :)

Last but not least this amazing little pull up bar that I got at Dicks Sporting Goods for $19.  Best investment yet!

Moral of the story.....Don't Give Up!!!