Dirt Road Charm

Motherhood, Agriculture, and everything in between

Monday, November 26, 2012

I sell Monsanto seed and you MUST plant and grow what I say!

Earlier this evening a fellow blogger Katie Pinke of whom I look up to in the blogging world posted a statement looking for info on a matter.  She had said that while in NYC over the summer someone had said to her "I feel so bad for farmers, Monsanto decides what seeds they have to plant and tells them what crops they have to grow."  I don't even know where to begin.  Sometimes I feel that the Internet has made people loose all common sense.  Perhaps it,s because I work in the industry I know that statement is far from the truth.  If I were to hear this statement and it really concerned me I would probably drive out of the city, find a place that had grain bins or farm machinery and stop and ask some questions.  Instead people hear something or look it up on the Internet and take it for the gospel.  This amazes me.  Remember in school when you had to learn about the great depression?  You went and interviewed people that lived through it, be it your grandparents or neighbor.  Not just look it up online and roll with it.  This is the same concept.

This statement may frustrate me more than others mainly because I sell Monsanto seed.  I can tell you first hand that I do not walk onto a farm and tell a farmer what to plant and grow.  I wish it were that easy.  Do people not realize that the seed industry is not a monopoly?  There are many other genetic companies out there besides Monsanto.  For example: AgReliant Genetics, Dupont, Thurston Genetics the list goes on.  How would one company demand a farmer do something when their are other options/companies out there to choose from?  Exactly.  If I were to walk onto a farm and tell that farmer what to do he would laugh at me and kick me off the farm.  These farmers select the company they want to buy from and the varieties that they want to plant.  We help them by offering information on the varieties but by no means do we force or tell them what to buy and plant. 

I do not understand the evil that is associated with Monsanto.  A company becomes successful not by having a bad product.  They become successful by having a good product that you put a lot of time and research into that has a large demand.  It is no different than Apple.  They have evolved with technology so why are they not evil.  I guess haters will just hate.  It is hard to change their minds. My father in law says that people will believe a blatant lie before the true facts because it is easier sometimes.....that rings true a lot in Ag.  People try to  say that they want to make everything GMO.  Not true:  we sell conventional seed.  That is seed that has not been genetically modified.  Farmers have that option to purchase that seed.  Farmers purchase seed for what fits their needs.  Some need root worm protection or else they will lose their whole crop so they go with GMO seed that will protect against that.  They do their research.  They look at plot info and company research to see how these varieties do against each other and what will fit for them.  So these farmers have options and they make these decisions based on what is best for their production.  I have never been able to tell a farmer what he has to do.  If it ever comes to that point I will let you all know!

To conclude:  I would challenge you all to go out and find information on your own.  Please do not just believe the first thing you hear.  Do you remember playing telephone back in grade school?    Same concept.  Information gets twisted down the line.  If you are concerned about anything that is happening on a farm go and ask a farmer.  They are nice and friendly and would be happy to talk.  If you still don't believe me come and ride with me on some sales calls.  You will learn quickly we don't tell people what to do!!!  I can confidently say this myth has been debunked!!!!  Have a great week!!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Featured Farmer Friday: My father in law-Dave Reitzel

Today is not only Black Friday but it is also featured farmer Friday on my blog!  This is where you get to meet some of the farmers and ranchers that produce the food you eat!  Since I kicked off my series with my father I figured it was only right to follow up with my father in law.  Introducing: Dave Reitzel (he pretends to be shy so finding a picture of him was quite a task!).

My father in law and his brother Kenny own a business called Reitzel Bros which is a used machinery dealership.  They ship tractors all over the country and have very successful at what they do. 
While running to auctions to buy equipment and managing a business isn't all he does; he also finds time to grain farm.  He grows corn, soybeans, and wheat. I thought it would be good to get his thoughts on some of the Ag industries current important issues.  Here are his thoughts.....
1.)  What is your favorite aspect of the Agriculture industry?

        -Watching something grow from practically nothing but a small seed into an important plant that helps feed the world.

2.) Where do you see the Ag industry in 20 years when your grandchildren are in your shoes?
      -I see the industry getting better with technology because people have to eat and as long as they don't keep putting too many restrictions on us they will be fine.

3.) How do you think we can help to connect producer to consumer and do you think it is important?
    -I think it is very important.  Many consumers think that their food just comes from the grocery store.  That is scary.  I think that the people putting on seminars and like you with this blog will help to inform customers where their food comes from.

I hope that everyone had a good Thanksgiving and survived Black Friday shopping!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The BEST Thanksgiving side dish ever!!

So if any of you out there are like me, I tend to wait until the last minute to decide what to take to family gatherings.  Last Sunday we had a thanksgiving and i was debating what to take and i remembered that my new Food Network magazine recently came in the mail.  I looked through it and like a sign from god there it was......the most delicious looking sweet potato casserole i had ever seen.  While baking it made the house smelled of deliciousness and once tasted it you were in utter amazement! I got tons of compliments on the dish and am going to share this recipe with all of you so you too can be the star at this years family gatherings!!

This recipe is from non other than the woman herself....The Pioneer Woman..naturally!

We may have devoured it before I could snap a pic so here is the one from the magazine
Ree Drummond's Soul Sweet Taters
  • 4 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 3/4 lbs)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar -(this is the secret weapon)
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1. preheat oven to 375 degrees  Put the sweet potatoes on the oven rack and bake until fork-tender, about 45 min.  When the potatoes are finished cooking let cool slightly, about 5 min.  Slice them open and scrape out the flesh with a fork into a large bowl.  Increase oven temp to 400 degrees.
2. Add the granulated sugar, milk, eggs, vanilla, and salt to the bowl with the sweet potatoes.  Mash the mixture with a potato masher until combined and slightly lumpy-you don't want it to be perfectly smooth
3. Now, in a separate bowl, mash the brown sugar, pecans, flour and butter with a pastry cutter or fork until thoroughly combined.  The mixture should resemble a crumble
4. Spread the sweet potato mixture in a  14-cup oval shaped baking dish and sprinkle the crumb mixture all over the top.  Bake until golden brown, about 30 min.
Good luck, enjoy, you won't be disappointed in this dish, and....HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!  Don't forget to be thankful to the farmers and ranchers that supply the food for the meal today and everyday!!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

New York City.....a city that literally never sleeps...really!

New York City.....where do I start?  I traveled to NYC recently to attend theUS Farmers and Ranchers Alliance Food Dialogues which by the way was an incredible conference.  If any of you get the chance to attend one of these if they come close to you or if you're like me and like to travel then go travel to one!  It is so worth your time, but we will discuss that more later this week.  For now I would like to share with you a little of my trip.

I must say that the trip started off a little rocky.  I have been to Chicago approx 4,546,164,651 times (exaggeration? maybe a little).  I am lucky enough to have family that lives there so I get there quite frequently.  I have taken the train, taxi, been downtown, traveled out of both airports, so I figured NYC couldn't much different...right?  Well lets just say it was a little different.  I took my mother with me for a little mother daughter bonding time.  My mom is that cute little country bumpkin that enjoys her rural life and on occasion will make it into the big city.  I watched her eyes get pretty big on this trip.

We flew into Laguardia airport and as we were walking out there is a sign that SPECIFICALLY reads: If someone offers you a ride you probably shouldn't take it.  Dually noted we thought.  So we walk out the doors and a man is standing there and asks if we are needing a taxi...why yes we are.  So he directs us across the street close to the parking garage.  He comes walking over with another woman and leads us into the parking garage to this unmarked limo......we all start looking at each other thinking this may be a little sketchy.  Finally the other girl with us says "I'm from Chicago and I wouldn't even take this ride if I was at home.  This just doesn't seem right."  We then decided we will pass that proceeded by the man throwing a fit yelling at us saying "is this what a nice guy gets for just trying to help and be nice?"  Dodged a bullet there.

We meander back to the entrance to the airport and quickly see the taxi line....Duh.  So we get in line and the airport guy flags us a taxi.  The taxi driver pulls up, gets out of his taxi with his pants are undone and halfway down his legs......gross.  The airport guy starts yelling at him and sends him on his way shouthing "you sicko, these people don't want to ride with you, get out of here".  At this point my mothers eyes were quite wide and she looks at me and says "do you think we will make it home alive?"  Needless to say we finally got a nice taxi driver that safely got us to our hotel.  After that it was pretty smooth sailing....thankfully!!

Here is a review of our trip through pictures:

Who says there isn't any country in the city?
 The naked cowboy....he isn't really naked FYI

 The Lion King: this was by far the most amazing Broadway show I have ever seen.  I would suggest to everyone to go and see this.  I'm not sure how the traveling show is but the original here in NYC was beyond fabulous and left you in awe by the incredible costumes.  A must see!!!!

 The tree in Rockefeller Center.  I imagined this to be way bigger because it looks so big on TV but it really isn't.  Looks can be deceiving!

Restoration of the Cathedral

Times Square: this city really doesn't sleep.  We flew into NYC around midnight and there were a ton of people out and about.  When we were headed home we left the hotel around 4am and there were still a ton of people walking around!
Holy Heaven!  We ate lunch at Serendipity 3 and had there famous frozen hot chocolate.  It was beyond fabulous!  The food was amazing as well.  If you are in the city I would suggest it to all!

 Our last day in the city we hit 5th ave.  It reminded me a lot of Michigan Ave in Chicago.  I splurged on a gorgeous rose gold Micheal Kors watch and a lovely Tiffany & Co. necklace.
That was our trip in a nut shell.  It was a great experience.  I was pretty bummed that the statue of liberty was closed due to the hurricane but I guess that gives me a reason to go back right?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Featured Farmer Friday: My Father

As I had posted last week I am starting a new series that will feature a farmer/rancher every Friday for a year.  This is a great way for all of you people out there that don't have the wonderful opportunity to meet and talk with these producers to get to know a little bit about them.  I thought it was appropriate to kick off this series with none other than my father!

 Not only a great father but a great grandpa as well!  He lets his grand kids do his hair :)

My father was blessed with 3 wonderful daughters and I am thankful everyday that he treated us like his boys.  We didn't hesitate to go out in the shop and help dad with machinery or field work.  My parents taught us at a young age that if you want something you have to work for it.  And that we did...when it came to raising fair animals we did it all.  My parents were not those that did all the work and we just grabbed the steer and led it into the ring.  Not judging those who do that I'm just saying I'm thankful that my parents showed us responsibility and hard work.  My father is a grain farmer and rotationally raises corn, soybeans, and wheat.

I learned so much by just following dad around.  From trips to the elevator to riding around in the tractor and learning how make crops grows.  One of my my hardest lessons learned was that hydraulic oil does NOT make a good tanning oil   My sister and I were on the back of the bean drill watching the seeds to make sure dad didn't run out because he was getting close to the end of the field.  Earlier that day dad had blew a hydraulic line and hydraulic oil went everywhere.  My sister and I thought that while we were out in the sun the "oil" would help make for great tanning.....not so much.  I'm pretty sure we had 2nd and 3rd degree burns on our shoulders and faces.  Those are the memories that I will never forget. 

While you have profitable years and not so profitable years these men and women keep going out year after year in hopes for a profitable year.  I thank my father (and mom) for raising me in the agriculture industry and creating a passion for the industry that gets stronger every year.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Birthday review and some fashion diaries!

Today was my birthday! Yay!  I had the great pleasure of spending my birthday down in Greensburg Indiana at our company headquarters meeting all the important people that make the business successful.  What better way could one think of spending their birthday?......I could think of none :)

 I was pretty excited to break out some of my new jewelry that I had purchased from Southern Jewlz and Keys Country.

My husband woke me up around midnight last night just to give me my present.  I was really surprised because I had told him a while back what I really wanted but by no means thought he would actually get it for me.   And HE DID!!!!

I saw this amazing purse at Spool 72 and had to have it.  How can one resist fringe AND Aztec pattern? Exactly my point! 

To finish off the day everyone at the office sang happy birthday and they got me an ice cream cake!!

And that is my birthday wrap up!  Pretty successful day I'd have to say!  I would also like to say thanks to all of my social media friends that gave a birthday shout out!  It is amazing how some people you have never met or only met briefly in person can almost feel like family! Thank you!

Also, stay tuned tomorrow for my new series Friday's Featured Farmer!!!