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My Favorite Time of Year

This is my favorite time of year. Calving season. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Nothing makes me happier than getting to look at all the new babies in their fuzzy, shiny state. Over the weekend, I got the chance to make it home to see my husband. Since the heifers had been calving, I made it a priority to gaze upon my favorite little creatures. My father-in-law knows that I LOVE calves, so he drove me around in his Mule and stopped to let me take probably a million pictures, squeal, and repetitively talk about how cute they were. Most calf pictures end up on my Instagram, but I figured I would post a couple here. Hope you enjoy!

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Why the Heck Do I Care so Much About Oatmeal?

Photo Credit: Andrew Buckley for the Star Telegram
Photo Credit: Andrew Buckley for the Star Telegram

Last week, the Fort Worth Stock Show held its Sale of Champions. A 13-year-old exhibitor, Kendyll Williams, made the sale with her steer, Oatmeal. Williams not only saw her hard work pay off by making the sale, but Oatmeal was also born blind. After Williams’’ story surfaced in an article in the Fort Worth Star Telegram, the article immediately received comments from activists. These activists were outraged that the family allowed the steer to be sold to slaughter in the first place. Not too long after Oatmeal was sold, a Go Fund Me page was started so that a sanctuary, the Rowdy Girl Sanctuary, could attempt to rescue Oatmeal from slaughter. The Go Fund Me page raised over $12,000. The owner of the Rowdy Girl Sanctuary, Renee King-Sonnen stated that through the Go Fund Me page, they are trying to make Oatmeal’s life matter.

Ok, I get it. He’s blind. Yeah, that does make Oatmeal a little more special, but Oatmeal was raised to be a show steer. That means that a 4-H or FFA member feeds, waters, grooms, washes, trains, etc. the animal for show with the intent that the steer will be slaughtered afterwards. He was raised to enter the food supply. Therefore, his life still matters.

I’m a 4-H alum and raised over 9 steers and countless sheep and goats for show. You know what happened if my livestock didn’t make sale? They ended up on our dinner plate. I was raised knowing what these animals are being raised for and why that was important. I’m not saying that it wasn’t hard. Trust me, I bawled my eyes out when I sold my first couple of steers, lambs, and goats. It was especially hard when they did not make sale and entered my personal food supply. As I grew older, I gained a better understanding of the purpose of livestock. Programs like 4-H and FFA instill values and a strong work ethic into young people and give them the foundational education of what goes into supplying the world with food. Raising livestock for stock shows is a large task to begin with, but compounding that with an animal that is also blind makes it monumental. A large part of raising show stock is gaining the animal’s trust. Kendyll Williams should be praised for her dedication and hard work rather than be chastised for following through with her steer’s life purpose.

Since the story went viral, Kane Beef, a beef processor, in Corpus Christi, TX, stated that they would not being processing Oatmeal. Oatmeal was then donated to Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, where students could study Oatmeal’s corneas. It is unknown how long the university will utilize Oatmeal. Now, there’s still the $12,000 raised through the Go Fund Me page. Activists are arguing over where these funds should go and whether the Rowdy Girl Sanctuary should be required to return the donations.

The family is still receiving negative comments and this story is just an example of the importance of ag-vocating. As one of my favorite professors, Dr. Chris Reinhardt has stated, “Never take advice from someone who is yelling.” Those of us involved in the agriculture industries must work to educate others without stooping to the level of name-calling.

Plenty to Be Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! This is one of my favorite holidays and I think the more people you have around, the better! Others have been posting all day about what they’re thankful for and I believe it’s finally time for mine.

I’m thankful for my hard working husband. He works each and every day to build us a life and I don’t think he gets enough credit for what he does. He goes out and provides for all the cattle regardless of the weather and regardless of how he feels that day. He is also my rock and the relentless listener of my many, many rants. Also, he made the choice to put up with me forever. FOR-EV-ER. And let me  be the first to admit how big of a handful I can be. I mean, I can be a major pain in the ass (especially if I’m tired and hangry at the same time).

I’m thankful for our two dogs, Riley and Bo, that bring light into my life without even trying.

I’m thankful for the farmers and ranchers who continuously provide the food we put on our tables.

I’m thankful for my entire family. Everyone from my parents to my in-laws to my extended family and even to all the friends I consider family.

I’m holding my family a little tighter this year and vowing to myself to simply enjoy life and worry less. Anyone that knows me understands how big of a change it would be for me to worry less. I’m going to try to do these things not only to help my own sanity but in honor of a friend who lived her life to the fullest and was probably one of the biggest optimists I’ve met. Hannah made her journey to heaven Tuesday after a vehicle accident two nights before. I had the honor to know her for five years. She loved unsweet tea, horses, dogs, dancing to name a few of her favorite things. But most of all, Hannah enjoyed the little things in life and made the most out of every situation. All of us already miss her and may she rest in peace. Thank you, Hannah, for bringing a little sunshine into our lives.