Tag Archives: Passion

Love for Agriculture and Red Dirt music #WorthTheFight


Nothing in this life is free. Good things come to those who work hard, and for me that includes pursuing my passion. I’m proud of my roots at home in Arkansas. It’s a great state with many traditions, and great people who contribute to the world, but “you’re always 17 in your hometown.”

Branching out to new horizons

No matter how many times I share this image, it still takes me back to the heart of my passion. Well #WorthTheFight

I could have continued my studies and finished a degree at the University of Arkansas, but there was always a desire to attend Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. Most every cattle publication I saw had someone, in some manner, connected to the Agriculture programs at Ok State. As a kid I traveled across Highway 51 many times to attend the annual Bull Sale in Stillwater. Little did I know just how much I would gain moving to this town – which happens to be the home of Red Dirt music and many of my favorite bands.

My life hasn’t been the same and I haven’t looked back except to reflect on what I have learned. There are so many awesome things I have been able to experience in the world of Agriculture since making that move to Oklahoma – I never would have seen Wyoming, Texas, and now even Tennessee. But a deeper knowledge and passion isn’t the only thing I’ve gained. There some good tunes that came along.

Stillwater, Oklahoma and Red Dirt Roots

Cody Canada of Cross Canadian Ragweed at the R...
Cody Canada of Cross Canadian Ragweed at the Reckless Kelly Celebrity Softball Jam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maybe you’ve heard of Calffry at the Tumbleweed, or Cain’s Ballroom just down the road in Tulsa. These have been host to some of my favorite bands – Cross Canadian Ragweed, Stoney LaRue, No Justice, Turnpike Troubadours, Jason Boland, The Great Divide, Micky and the Motorcars and numerous others. No? Surely you’ve heard of Garth Brooks or The All-American Rejects?

Red Dirt music (often combined with Texas Country, just depends on which side of the Red River you find yourself) is a blend of Southern Rock, Americana, and Traditional country music. There’s no hard-core definition for it, other than it doesn’t belong to the big record labels of Nashville, Tennessee. None of that pop-country blend. It’s a regional sub-genre of country music that branches far and wide.

One of my favorite bands, one of the first I was exposed to was Cross Canadian Ragweed. With songs like Boys from Oklahoma, 17, and Cold Hearted Woman, ballads with long guitar solos, who wouldn’t love that stuff. Plus, those guys spent their early days right in Stillwater with lead singer Cody Canada, and band members Grady Cross, Randy Ragsdale, and Jeremy Plato.

In 2011 Cody and Jeremy formed a new band, Cody Canada and The Departed. These guys still have the classic roots of Red Dirt music, but with a refreshed sound. I’m pretty excited about the stuff they’re putting out.

It’s always Worth The Fight

All of this to say, I love Red Dirt/Texas Country music and I never would have found it and gained such a love and appreciation for it, had I not pursued my passion in Agriculture and explored new horizons. Now I have such a great life learning about the cattle community across the country and a complete iPod of tunes from a sub-genre of regional music that I absolutely love, won’t listen to much else.

Not saying if you pursue your passion, that you’ll find the best music in the world. But ya never know until you try! Believe me, it’s Worth The Fight!

Now for the highlight of the post…

Now I have to give credit to Carrie Mess (@dairycarrie) who inspired this blog post. Last year, from Wisconsin, she organized a hay drive to assist farmers and ranchers affected by the historic drought of 2011. Shannon Canada, who happens to be the wife of Cody Canada and manager of many of my favorite Texas/Red Dirt bands, was a huge help in these efforts, tweeting, Facebooking (yes, that’s a verb), and doing anything she could to spread the word to help the farmers in need.

Cody’s band, The Departed, is releasing a new single this week (which Carrie and I discovered yesterday, is very reminiscent of some Tom Petty) and I just have to share! It’s titled Worth The Fight. (Listen here or watch the video) And I have already pressed play and repeat several times. Look it up on all your music outlets, call it in to your radio stations (at least those who are aware of Texas Country), and enjoy.

Be sure to use the twitter hashtag #WorthTheFight and spread the word. There’s so many things in life worth fighting for, and good music should be one of them too.

Thanks Carrie for sharing some great tunes!

What is #WorthTheFight to you?

Lyrics to Worth The Fight by The Departed

What am I doin’
Same old place
Must be something
In my way

Gotta keep movin’
Can’t help myself
Just wanna be someone
Somewhere else

Got me wandering
Round all night
Hard to worry
If it’s worth the fight

Feel like burnin’
Down this town
Kickin’ and swinging
All the way down

Fast and pretty
Safe and sound
Sweet like cherry
Inside out

Kept on pushing
Till we got it right
Far from easy
But worth the fight

Related articles from many friends who also share what they believe is Worth The Fight

What does Agriculture mean to you?


Image Credit: Erin Ehnle

“Agriculture. It’s more than a part of life. It’s a passion, a lifestyle, a resilient community that works hard to feed the world.”

I first put this statement together in November 2010 after asking several of my followers why they were thankful for Agriculture (see blog series).

I learned so much from that series of guest posts. There are so many styles of farming across the country, and even more so, across the globe. Passion, Lifestyle, and Resiliency were the words that really stuck out to me from the responses I received that month. So ask yourself, no matter what role you play, from farmer to customer, Why are you Thankful for Agriculture?

Yesterday, Erin Ehnle (Twitter) put her creativity to work with my quote and posted the above photo on her page - Keeping it Real: Through the Lens of a Farm Girl. This girl just flat out ROCKS! Erin does a great job putting a visual to Agriculture facts, figures, and statements. She combines her photography skills with her passion for Agriculture, to share the world of farmers with everyone.

Image Credit: Erin Ehnle

I asked Erin what Agriculture means to her. This is what came to mind:

It’s the agricultural lifestyle I love more than anything. We make our living off of the land. It’s peaceful. There’s no feeling in the world like being in a combine at sunset, knowing we’re part of the process that feeds people all over the world. Neighbors and communities truly care for each other. We have strong morals and go to church on Sundays. I wouldn’t be half the person I am without the experience of growing up on the farm. I want future generations to have the opportunity to grow up as I did. That’s where my passion comes from, and what agriculture means to me.

Erin also puts her skills at work by sharing many blogging and photography tips on her blog – erinehnle.com. Her work is also pretty popular on Pinterest.

Image Credit: Erin Ehnle

Be sure to follow Erin on Twitter, and you can purchase prints of her images on her website.

Image Credit: Erin Ehnle

How can you put your skills to work and share the story of farming and Agriculture?

What does Agriculture mean to you?

Photo Friday: Experience and Knowledge


Photo credit: Unknown

“The stockman whose training has been solely in the school of experience often holds in light regard that which is written concerning his vocation. Let him remember the facts and truths are the same whether the repository is a book or the human mind. Held by the latter, all perish with the possessor; in keeping of the former, the whole world may be benefited.”

“On the other hand, novices usually underestimate the importance of experience, often thinking that by reading they can acquire the knowledge necessary in the prosecution of their business. That stock feeding is an an art and not a science, and that experience and judgement must rule in its successful conduct, is recognized in our books.”

“The eye of the master fattens his cattle.”

–W.A. Henry, 1898

Found this in one of my cattle nutrition books. Thought it was well worth the share. Hopefully it’ll give you something to ruminate on.

If you have to ask why I’m reading books from the early 1900s on livestock nutrition… Well, it’s an #AgNerd thing. You wouldn’t understand! Haha… Have a great weekend!

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Getting Involved In Campus Food Policy


Food Policy

…definitely not something I consider in my daily vocabulary, but a conversation we should all be a part of. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I should consider myself a ‘foodie’ (term used loosely). I spend every day concerned about my food. I think about where it comes, learning more about how to produce it, and where my next meal will come from. When I was a kid, most of our meat came from our pastures or the neighbors’, and we often had fresh vegetables from the garden. I love to cook, try new recipes, use raw ingredients; however, anyone can accuse me of loving my beef. And when a news story comes out about how our food is produced, it definitely catches my attention. I am certain there’s more out there with those same concerns.

Flyer that caught my attention

Last week I attended a campus Food Policy Council meeting. This isn’t exactly a meeting I would have considered on my own, but the advertising flyer caught my attention. Hung on the door of a building on Ag campus was an orange flyer that simply stated, “Don’t let UT feed you pink slime. Food Policy Council meeting…” How would I respond?

Pink slime caught my eye as soon as the stories started flying on social media. I watched the ABC news report, and read many responses from the beef community. I even shared my thoughts on the topic, but there is no way I will profess myself to be a meat scientist. So I utilized my resources, contacted a few colleagues and professionals within the meat science community, and became more familiar with this lean beef product, which someone decided to label as ‘pink slime.’ I need to learn more, and I wanted to have an answer when/if someone asked me about the topic.

The Food Policy meeting was definitely a good experience. Many students appeared to be from urban backgrounds, from areas on campus like Arts, Science, and Business. Well… let me put it this way. My invited friend and I were the only ones wearing Wranglers in the crowd :) But remember, we all have an interest in food, and I felt like I needed to be there.

Raising cattle is my passion. Cattle produce beef on our plates. Why not share my passion?

We talked about many food issues, the concern of bringing more local, organic food to campus, and issues to be addressed later in the semester. When the time came for open floor, I introduced myself, explained I was a ranch kid, and wanted to address the issue of pink slime. I knew if someone else had attended the meeting after seeing the flyer, they may have had the same concerns and first impressions as myself and those expressed by the media.

I shared my thoughts on pink slime – in my best effort at proposing a conversation, explained the process to the best of my ability, and offered up my experience to answer any questions about food. The faces were friendly in the crowd by the time I finished and hopefully I answered a few questions about this beef product. After the meeting, I answered questions from about half the group and look forward to the next meeting.

Why IS this food conversation important?

This Food Policy Council isn’t unique to my college campus, rather it’s a reflection of society as a whole. Communities who have questions about how food is raised and how it ends up on our grocery shelves surround us. Unfortunately, those who are raised in urban areas may not have the opportunity to experience first-hand food production, and must rely on mainstream media, or what they are told from others to learn about food sources. This is where the Agriculture community steps in.

This campus Food Policy Council is a good thing – even a great thing! We need everyone to be concerned about food sources and learn more about them. But the Agriculture community must be involved in the conversation. Like I mentioned earlier, people who live food production day in and out have first-hand knowledge of how things work and not everyone is privileged to those experiences. Food Policy cannot be dictated solely by those who do not have a hand in production. Non-ag consumers need farmers. Farmers need non-ag consumers. We have to work together in this. If not, it’s just another rally cry for attention that will do little more than burn money on campaigns.

It’s time Agriculture starts joining the conversation where it’s already taking place

It would be a shame for the Agriculture college not to become involved in this Council that can have a huge impact on how the campus community eats. Not because I want to dictate what comes out of the meeting, but because someone should be there to answer questions from hands-on experiences, address misinformation, and learn what we can do to better satisfy the desires of non-ag consumers.

Conversations are a two-way street. It’s time to step up and become a part. Stop waiting for the conversation to come your way. Go be a part of the conversation.

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