Tag Archives: farm

Have questions? Visit the fair.

The AgChat Banditas have a running series of guest posts on the Agriculture Proud blog.
The AgChat Banditas have a running series of guest posts on the Agriculture Proud blog.


Nicole Small is a mom to 2 boys and along with her husband, runs their beef, wheat, corn and soybean farm in Southeast Kansas. On her blog she shares a mixture of family life on the farm, delicious and easy recipes and snapshots from her corner of agriculture. Visit her blog or find her on facebook or twitter.

For many people around the country the end of summer brings a trip to the county or state fair.  What a great place to learn about where food comes from (while eating all the fried food one can consume in a day).   I want to challenge all of you to stray from the midway and learn a little while at the fair.


While most fairs have fancy booths setup for people (mainly kids) to learn about agriculture, I think the best place to learn is right inside the livestock barns.  My boys worked with their animals early in the morning and late at night to beat the heat before our fair.  They are only 7 and 10 years old, so getting up at 6 am and going to bed at 10 pm makes for a long day and they are not alone.  Lots of kids across American get up early even before school to care for their animals.

Like my friend Rudy Taylor explained in this post there is no such thing as just a farm kid.  These kids know how their animals have been exercised.

lamb walking

They also know exactly what their animals are eating.  When one needs to lose a little fat, they know they need to increase the protein in the feed.  They know exactly how these animals have been cared for every day, because they were the ones that did it.


Here’s another great part of talking to kids: they will tell you exactly how it is (they don’t sugar coat anything.)  They know why they raise these animals whether it is a dairy heifer for milk or a steer for beef.

showing maine anjou

Please take time to talk to those you grow your food.  There are also those at the fairs that are ranchers and farmers showing their livestock.  They love to show off their stock.  They gladly talk about their animals to anyone who will listen.  I know, I have tried to have a short conversation with them.

showing sheep at county fair

Now, if you take your kids with you, PLEASE ask before you let the kids pet the animals.  Cows kick.  Cute lambs bite.  Horses bite.  Pigs like to chew on shoes.

beef heifer show at county fair

We all need to educate ourselves more about where our food comes from.  I know how things are grown on my farm, but I don’t have a clue about raising fish, chickens or cotton.  I hope to get more farmers to share their stories on my page, Tales of A Kansas Farm Mom, through the Flat Aggie project.

Above all, have a great time at the fair, ask lots of questions, and if you don’t get your question answered send it to me and I will help you find an answer.

And if you’re headed out to the fair, be sure to take FlatRyan on your adventure! 

Flat Ryan checks out bacon & Tabasco Sauce

A New Series — The AgProud Adventures of Flat Ryan!

There are times when several things swirl together and the ideas that come out can be fun to watch. And of course some of those ideas can be stinkers too…. But let’s hope this one is really good. So let’s get to it!

The “Big Idea”

Flat Ryan checks out bacon & Tabasco Sauce

We have created four different Flat Ryan paper dolls. You can download, print, color & tour Flat Ryan around your farm, ag areas of your state, etc. Take photos of him learning new things, enjoying himself, being goofy, etc…. whatever works! You can share the photos several ways:

  1. Share photos & video on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Vine as you have adventures using the #FlatRyan hashtag and tell people they can learn more at agricultureproud.com
  2. Email the explanations, photos (as attachments), and embed codes for videos to flatagproudryan@gmail.com and we will start posting guest posts. :) Don’t forget to put in the hyperlinks you think will help people get more info and a few sentences of your biography.

Why do a Flat Ryan series?

  1. Jake & Flat Ryan eat breakfastRyan has taken some needed steps back and he truly needs to stay focused on finishing the research for his master’s degree and the next step in his career path.
  2. His friends, some of whom call themselves Banditas for their stealthy work to continue the efforts of showing why we are ag proud, don’t want to see the blog neglected.
  3. Ryan loves ag facts & trivia. Flat Ryan will get his agnerd on as people help him learn about some of the cool things that happen in their part of the world!
  4. I loved doing the Flat Stanley goes to the farm series of posts for my nephew Jake (who even helped Flat Ryan get a bite of breakfast… we talked about where the bacon we were eating came from!). And I was blown away by the number of people who were willing and interested to help explain the basics of their farm or other part of agriculture on a simple basis. So take that idea, retool it and bam!
  5. Ryan loves to travel to see new things, this is a chance for him (and the rest of us) to travel vicariously to farms, ranches, etc throughout the US (and hopefully around the world). Jake’s Flat Stanley went to 15 states and one foreign country…. I’d like to think we can beat that!
  6. Look how cute Flat Ryan is as his happy go lucky self, a strangely excited or terrorized guy, regular dudeness or a goofy or grossed out expression! You can download the PDF file of all four Flat Ryans here.

various Flat Ryan expressionsWill you host Flat Ryan for an educational tour of your farm & area?

Giveaway: No More Food Fights!

This week a milestone was reached on my Facebook page6,000 ‘Likes’ and counting. For those of you not invested in social media, you may laugh at the celebration of such an event, but I consider it a worthy accomplishment. In fact, each new conversation brought about by each new connection should be considered an accomplishment when it comes to sharing more about my passion – a better understanding of food and agriculture.

To honor that progress, I will celebrate with a giveaway. As I move forward in my agvocacy efforts, begin looking at career opportunities, and set personal goals, one thing continually rises to the top cluster – I want to use my experience by helping others have better conversations about our food system. This includes everyone from the farmer to the consumer. And recently a friend and Indiana Dairy Farmer put together a book that illustrates this need well.

No More Food Fights!

food dialogues fights conversations
No More Food Fights! by Michele Payn-Knoper provides perspectives for the Food and Farm side of the plate.

Michele Payn-Knoper has put together a great guide for both food producers and food consumers when it comes to critically thinking more about the conversations we have that center around food and farming. No More Food Fights! is two books in one; each side discussing issues relevant to either the Farm or Food side of the plate. Along with MPK’s experience, the book includes perspectives from 35 individuals from both sides of the plate that add so much to the conversation.

In the Food side of the book, MPK illustrates the frustration we face with each trip to grocery in our food buying decisions and guilt. She encourages us to use our 6 senses to obtain a more meaningful food conversation: Touch, Sight, Sound, Smell, Taste, and Common Sense. She illustrates each point well with perspectives from her own experience along with others to discuss those questions and doubts we all face.

On the Farm side of things, MPK addresses those who question the need to take time out of the busy schedule, to advocate for agriculture and share their own experiences. It’s not a matter of if a conversation will happen, but will your voice be present at the table. To emphasize how to approach these conversations and guide us through  to better dialogues, Michele utilizes 6.5 points of discussion: Identify influencers, Find their hot buttons, Translate agriculture to their hot buttons, Invest 15 minutes daily, Strategize where you can reach your target audience, Follow an action plan to develop long-lasting relationships, and finally the half-point of the equation – Put your passion to work!

I promise this will not be a disappointing read if you’re interested in better discussions about food and farm topics. And if you’re feeling really ambitious, you just might read both sides of the book.

How do you enter the giveaway?

I really want to thank those of you who follow along with each and every one of my posts here on the blog, on Facebook, and Twitter. BUT I also want this to emphasize my intentions to build bridges for food and farm communication. To fix this, I have TWO books, one for an individual on each side of the plate – Food producers and Food consumers.

Fill out the entry form below. All entries will be entered into a drawing and a winner will be selected from the Food side of the plate and another from the Farm side of the plate. Each winner will receive a copy of No More Food Fights! by Michele Payn-Knoper.

I ask that you do 3 things…

  1. Like the I am Agriculture Proud page on Facebook. We’ll go by the honor system here. You can live with the guilt if you don’t.
  2. Share this link with your friends. Encourage them to learn more about and consider engaging in conversations about our food system in a civil manner.
  3. A) If you win, read No More Food Fights!, take notes, and then share it with someone on the other side of the plate.
    • B) If you are not the lucky winner, consider buying a copy of No More Food Fights! and/or sharing a copy with a friend on the other side of the plate.

Giveaway has closed.

Entries must be submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern time, Monday, April 29. Winners from each group will be selected via Random Number Generator and notified by email, based on completion of entry form, on Tuesday, April 30th and will have 24 hours to respond. Books are provided by Ryan Goodman and no immediate family members of Ryan Goodman or Michele Payn-Knoper are eligible for the giveaway. Participation in the contest guidelines and future sharing of the books by selected winners will be based on the honor system.

My favorite YouTube channels for ag, food, and farm

What are your favorite online channels for videos related to agriculture, food, and farm topics?

Screen show from The Peterson Farm Bros - "I'm Farming and I Grow It"
Screen shot from The Peterson Farm Bros – “I’m Farming and I Grow It”

I have my own subscription list on YouTube of my favorite video channels. It includes everything from my favorite music artists, some good devotional updates, and plenty of farmer bloggers. But I couldn’t find another list to grow my collection. So I decided to create my own.

As farmers and ranchers across the country, grow to the idea of utilizing social media and online tools to open the gates of their farms, many are realizing the potential of sharing with video. I have several videos on my YouTube channel (AgProud) to describe every day scenes and practices in ranch life as well as many video blogs (vlogs) with my on-the-spot commentary.

I’ve written before with several tips on how to utilize video with your blogging efforts. It doesn’t have to be complicated; just take a few moments to plan your video. Most newer phones create high-quality video on the go, so special equipment isn’t always required. Video can also be a great tool to diversify your online content and can require minimal editing.

Here are some of my favorite YouTube channels for Agriculture and Food related content:

Gilmer Dairy Farm – Will Gilmer is a dairy farmer in Alabama who has a craft for putting together fun insight from the farm with regular MooTube minutes and catchy tunes from the tractor.

MT Stockgrowers Assoc - The Montana Stockgrowers Association has a great lineup of videos from ranches across the state of Montana. The Bill on Beef video series showcases great individuals who are a part of the industry and getting beef to your plate.

SunUP TV – SunUP is an educational and extension program from Oklahoma State University College of Agriculture. The weekly program offers updates, advice, and current conditions on livestock, forage, and crop conditions across the state.

USFRA Online – The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance has a great collection of videos that include panel discussions around consumer and food issues and farmer highlights from across the country.

Be sure to visit my Ag Videos page to see a longer list of video channels. Submit your favorite video link through the contact form on the bottom of that page.

What do you enjoy seeing in videos from the farm and ranch?