AGvocating

21 Mar

I’m always encouraging my ag friends to advocate for their industry. I try to practice what I preach, but am not always great about it. However, I did-done good this week when I shared my ag background and some ag facts with my PEO Sisters.

My program was entitled, “If It Weren’t for Agriculture, I Wouldn’t Have Any Culture At All!” I’m hysterical, I know. Here ’tis…

My maternal grandparents raised cattle and horses for more than 40 years. Both sets of their parents farmed and ranched, coming from generations of farmers and ranchers before them.

AGvocating | The Farm PaparazziMy paternal grandparents were not involved in agriculture, but my father’s side has farmers dating back to before his three-times great-grandfather.

AGvocating | The Farm PaparazziMy dad fell in love with agriculture and studied ag business in college. He and my mother have been involved in some aspect of farming and ranching their whole married life.

AGvocating | The Farm PaparazziThe Lauck’s have farmed since before coming to America. They were German-Russians from the Volga River region. Tyler’s great-grandpa, grandpa and Dad all farmed and his dad currently custom feeds cattle.

AGvocating | The Farm PaparazziThat brings us to Tyler and I, who work together, farming 1,200 acres here in Wheatland. I guess you could say agriculture literally runs in my blood.

That’s why I’m so passionate about sharing the story of agriculture! It’s more important than ever because the average American is now at least three generations removed from the farm. That means that some of my friends didn’t even have a great-grandpa who farmed.

LizLauckEntry1Let me tell you a little about agriculture in Platte County, Wyo. There are over 1.3 million acres of land in farms and ranches in our county were we produce more than $97 million worth of products each year – making us the 3rd-highest producing county in Wyoming.

AGvocating | The Farm PaparazziWe’re ranked 3rd in the state for number of cattle and 1st in the state for number of hogs. We’re ranked 3rd in the state for acres of wheat, 2nd for acres of corn for grain, 1st for acres of corn for silage and 4th for acres of sugarbeets.

AGvocating | The Farm PaparazziNationwide, the average farmer feeds 155 people, compared to 19 people in 1940. Farm and ranch families make up less than 2% of the U.S. population and 98% of farms are family owned. Two thirds of all cattle operations have been in the same family for at least two generations.

AGvocating | The Farm PaparazziAmerican agriculture is safe, affordable and abundant. The average US family spends 10% of their income on food. Most developed countries spend 25% and some developing countries spend 75%.

AGvocating | The Farm Paparazzi PaparazziToday’s American farmer, equipped with modern technology, grows more and more food on fewer and fewer acres. This is vital since an acre of ag land is lost every minute to development.

Farmers produce 262% more food with 2% fewer inputs compared to 1950. Biotechnology also saves the equivalent of 521,000 pounds of pesticides each year and helps cut herbicide runoff by nearly 70%. Today it takes less than half as much land to produce our meat, dairy and poultry supply compared to 45 years ago.

AGvocating | The Farm PaparazziFarmers and ranchers are also looking to the future. Experts say the world population will hit 10 billion people by 2050 and most of the increase will happen in poor and developing countries. That’s a lot of hungry mouths. Biotechnology and precision farming techniques help to increase yields on the same, or fewer number of acres. For example, biotechnology has been shown to multiply crop production by seven to tenfold in some developing countries.

AGvocating | The Farm PaparazziAnother quick topic I want to touch on is nutrition. I’m an ardent supporter of the beef industry and red meat often gets a bad rap – unfairly so. In about 150 calories of lean beef, 8% of your daily value (DV), you get 48% of your DV of protein, 44% of vitamin B12, 40% of selenium, 36% of zinc and between 10-25% of niacin, Vitamin B6, choline, iron and riboflavin. These nutrients are important for brain function, nervous system development, immune system maintenance and energy, among other things.

AGvocating | The Farm PaparazziThere’s a lot of varying information out there about the difference between organic, natural and conventional foods. The bottom line is that studies have shown no difference in nutritional value between any of these foods. If you’re eating a healthy, balanced diet, you’re free to choose which foods you want with confidence. They were grown by farmers and ranchers who care about their consumers and feed the same foods to their own families.

AGvocating | The Farm PaparazziThe End.

God Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

P.S. I put this presentation together in about an hour. It doesn’t take a lot to advocate for your industry, just the right resources. Here are some that I used:

Answering Questions & Concerns About American Agriculture
www.fooddialogues.com

 About The Beef Industry & How Cattle Are Raised
www.explorebeef.org

 Busting Common Myths & Misunderstandings About The Beef Industry
www.factsaboutbeef.com

 Answering Questions About Genetically Modified Organisms
www.gmoanswers.com

 Building Trust & Confidence In Today’s Food System
www.foodintegrity.org

 The Truth About the Humane Society of the United States
www.humanewatch.org

 Fun Facts About American Agriculture
www.pinterest.com/erin_ehnle/through-the-lens-of-a-farm-girl/

Craftiness

5 Feb

Tyler got the cutest Christmas present this year. Our good friends made this candy tractor.

Craftiness | The Farm Paparazzi Almond Rocha hood, Lifesaver & peppermint patty wheels, Smarties exhaust pipe, mini Snickers under carriage, and Starburst seat. I love clever people!

Speaking of creativity, I finished the biggest chunk of this pinwheel quilt top recently.

Craftiness | The Farm PaparazziI was given this “turnover” pack at a quilting retreat three years ago and had it laid out on my design wall. It was in the way for laying out my niece’s quilt, so I pieced the top instead of trying to re-create my layout again. I’m hoping to eventually add a border or two down the road.

Not much winter downtime left, so taking advantage of these cold days to create. It’s clear up to 5 degrees right now! Stay warm!

God Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. – Ephesians 2:8-9

Chopping Ice

31 Jan

I’m sure many of you have experienced the, well, Arctic temperatures this winter. Negative temps were the norm during parts of December and the wind blew extremely hard for several of those days making the wind chill ridiculously cold.

Chopping Ice IIIMy father-in-law feeds cattle through the winter. They come off of grass, where they spend most of their lives, and spend a couple months gaining weight or “finishing” (last step before becoming delicious, nutritious beef!). Tyler isn’t involved full-time in the feeding operation, but he pitches in when his dad needs a hand. During the frigid temps in December, “helping” meant chopping ice on waterers.

Chopping Ice IIWhile cattle are well adapted to the elements, they are like any other mammal and need a steady water source. So we make sure the ice is cleared off each day, the hose is still running in the manual tanks and the automatic waterers are in working order. Hydrated cows = happy cows.

Chopping Ice IHere’s to staying warm!

God Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for people to cultivate—bringing forth food from the earth. Psalm 104:14

Gone, But Not Forgotten

24 Jan

I’m still here! I promise! I’ve been gone, but my faithful readers are not forgotten. Okay, so maybe I have two faithful readers. And maybe their names are Mom and Dad. But, a girl can dream can’t she?

As, I’m sure it’s been for all of you, life has been crazy busy. Here’s a quick recap of the last couple of months…

I’ve been finishing up my wedding quilt (yes I realize I’ve been married three years).

Gone But Not Forgotten | The Farm PaparazziI went to Missouri to see my friend, Kassi, who had the nerve to fall in love with a rancher 1,000 miles away. We had fun reminiscing about our State FFA and College Roommate days. We baked cookies, fed cattle and didn’t take a single picture. This is ironic since she is a professional photographer and I’m a Farm Paparazzi. We did get one picture when our friend Megan showed up.

Gone But Not Forgotten | The Farm PaparazziWe traveled a lot for holidays, visiting family in Colorado and Gillette. We also saw family here at home. We are blessed to be able to see so many loved ones!

Gone But Not Forgotten | The Farm PaparazziWe celebrated my Mom’s birthday in December and Tyler and I celebrated our third anniversary on Jan. 8!

Gone But Not Forgotten | The Farm PaparazziI’ve been keeping busy with contract PR jobs, volunteer work, and farm wife duties. Tyler has been busy helping feed cattle and do some winter farm work.

Gone But Not Forgotten | The Farm PaparazziBut, the absolute best news is we have a new nephew! Hunter was born on Jan. 19 and Tyler and I traveled up to Gillette to visit the next day. I hogged held him and loved him and threatened to bring him home with me. It was wonderful!

Gone But Not Forgotten | The Farm Paparazzi

Hope all is well in your world!

God Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.” – Matthew 18:12-14 (NIV)

Merry Christmas

24 Dec

 

(Click on images to make larger)

2013 C.Mas Card 1

2013 C.Mas Card 2

Yearlong Greetings

12 Dec

December seems to always fill our mailbox with lovely greetings from family and friends. Christmas cards, letters and invitations bring greetings of joy, love and good tidings. For someone who loves getting cards and letters, it makes the jaunt to the mailbox pretty exciting.

Yearlong Greetings IMy mom has a basket she always fills with cards and letters from the year, then she covers the fridge with photos of family and friends. I started the same tradition in my household. The basket holds all the cards and greetings and this frame holds all the photos.

Yearlong Greetings IVSince the string of new greetings is filing in, it was time to clean out the basket. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside as I re-read this past year’s Christmas greetings, anniversary and birthday wishes, wedding and baby announcements and thank you notes. Our loved ones are really a gift and fill our lives with an abundance of joy and love.

Yearlong Greetings IISo, as 2014 approaches and the new year speeds along, I’ll look forward to my little basket filling with reminders of how blessed we are to have such loving, caring people in our lives.

Yearlong Greetings IIIEnjoy your holiday preparations and keep Christ as the focus!

God Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

Belonging

10 Dec

d457d-speakingLast week I was in Casper for the Wyoming Stock Growers Association Winter Roundup. This annual meeting was a highlight of my work with WSGA, so I was thrilled when they asked me to come back and help. I didn’t take a single photo while I was there…except with the Association’s camera. I know, bad paparazzi, bad. I was just too busy having fun, I guess!

A bunch of information was distributed, many issues were addressed, lots of money was raised and much merry-making went on. There was great energy at this convention! The current leadership team is really firing people up and I saw more young people this year than ever before. Way to step up Millennials!

Associations like WSGA, Wyoming CattleWomen, Wyoming Farm Bureau, etc. are vital to our industry. These are the folks tracking the issues and utilizing our dues to the benefit of all farmers and ranchers. While we’re on our operations…um…actually operating, they are tracking bills, rules, regulations and misinformation. They are meeting with lawmakers and officials. They are sharing positive and truthful messages about our industry. They are talking to reporters to explain what agriculturists go through to get food on consumers’ plates. We need them and I’m grateful for them.

I heard it mentioned during one of the “talks” that out of all the ranchers in Wyoming that utilize public lands, only 10% provide the funding to the Wyoming Public Lands Coalition for our state’s part in the national Public Lands Council. That means 10% are carrying the burden for 100% of the public lands ranchers. I think only 25% of all the ranchers in Wyoming belong to WSGA. Again, 25% shouldering the load for 100%.

I urge everyone to belong to an ag organization – whether as a regular, associate or supporting member. Whether or not you want to dedicate the time to participating is one thing, but everyone should be sending that annual dues check in. We all need to pitch in to strengthen the organizations benefiting us every day.

So as you’re sending your famous fruit cake to Aunt June and signing that Christmas card to Cousin Bart, be sure to throw your check in the mail to your local, state and national agricultural associations. Together we can do so much more.

Cattle

“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.” – J.C. Penney

God Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. – Galations 6:2

My Cup Runneth Over

27 Nov

I want to express how blessed and thankful I am as we move into this day of thanksgiving tomorrow.

Happy ThanksgivingMy husband offered me a good lesson the other day. We’d had a wonderful sermon that Sunday about how to actively give thanks (speak up, make the most of it and pass it on). I tease my husband about having A.D.D. and not being able to listen through the whole sermon. Turns out, even though I listened, I didn’t really absorb it. But, he did.

It was my turn to cook food for our church’s free high school lunch program. I was in the midst of fretting about having enough. Complaining about chopping and peeling vegetables. Wondering why I volunteer to help with things that stress me out. As I complained, he offered suggestions, encouraging words and reassurance. Then he gave me the best advice of all. He reminded me that we’d just listened to a sermon on thankfulness. So I needed to look at this project with gratitude.

He told me to be grateful we had the money to buy groceries to donate toward the project. To marvel at the ability to run to the store at any time for any ingredient. To rejoice at the fact that I’m able to stay home on the farm, which also gives me time during our slow season to volunteer. To thank God for the ministry our church provides these students and for using me in it.

Talk about bringing a sermon full circle and refocusing my attitude!

Busyness VII | The Farm PaparazziA lot of my Facebook friends have been posting something they’re grateful for each day of November. I didn’t jump on that bandwagon, but would like to offer my own list.

This year, and every year, I’m thankful for the following:

Thankful for Christ’s example, teaching and sacrifice. Thankful for God’s grace, mercy and love. Without knowing Jesus, I would have no hope.

Laramie Peak SunsetThankful for family. The one that raised me and the one that welcomed me when I married Tyler.

LeSatz Family

Lauck FamilyThankful for my husband. He is hard-working, patient, loving and fun. He starts my car while I’m getting ready so it can warm up. He makes me laugh and helps me not take myself so seriously. He gives the best hugs.

Barley PlantingThankful for my friends. Longtime friends and new friends. I’m surrounded by amazing, kind, Godly people.

Old Friends

New Friends

Work friendsThankful for my occupation(s). Working with my husband is awesome. Working the land and growing food to feed the world is gratifying. My “other” occupation keeps me connected to ranching and Wyoming. It keeps my creative juices flowing.

Busyness III | The Farm Paparazzi

Busyness V | The Farm PaparazziThankful for my church congregation. The folks who run and attend Memorial Baptist Church are truly the salt of the earth.

Church

Thankful for the service organizations to which I belong and members who work beside me.

Laramie Peak CattleWomenThankful for creative outlets. I’ve found joy and solace in music throughout my life. And quilting is reminding me what beauty lies ahead when we overcome obstacles.

Quilting Retreat 2011 E

Stars of Tomorrow 05Thankful for health. It’s something I take for granted everyday. There are so many things that can go “wrong” with our bodies. Let me remember to cherish every healthy day I have.

LizLauckEntry1Thankful for Wyoming. This state and its people are independent and strong, but won’t hesitate to help and share in times of need. We follow the Bible and the Code of the West.

WyomingThankful for our energy workers. Thank you to the coal miners, oil and gas drillers and all the support workers that keep our lights on and our gas tanks full.

CoalThankful for America and those who keep her free. With all her faults, this country is still the best in the world and I’m proud to be an American. Thank you to our military servicemen and their families. Without these amazing people, and God’s grace, we would have nothing that matters on this earth.

AmericaThankful for my fellow farmers and ranchers. They endure, they achieve, they innovate, they fight. And then they get back up and do it again the next day.

CattleThankful for abundance. I’ve never suffered from lack of food, warmth, shelter or love. My cup runneth over. Every. Single. Day.

IMG_8819

Thankful for the promise of tomorrow. There are so many things I’m leaving off this list. There are countless every day blessings like running water, a reliable car to drive, civil service workers and the friendly neighborhood store owner.

I humbly thank God for the undeserved life he’s given me. I praise Him for allowing me a life to live in comfort and peace. I ask every day that He use me to do his will and his work. I ask for each tomorrow to be a day to right wrongs, shine His love and thank Him for all he does and provides.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

God Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. – Psalm 23:5 (KJV)

Dammit

11 Nov

Do you have a temper? Have you ever broken things because you threw something or hit something too hard?

No?

Me either.

Dammit | The Farm Paparazzi

My college roommates doing our best Tony Soprano impressions

Okay, to tell you the truth, I do have a temper. My parents, little brother, husband and college roommates will attest to that. Once I broke the towel rack in our hall bath because I thought it would be safe to hit things with a towel. A towel is soft, right? Well, it ripped the rack right out of the wall. I’m just being honest. Please, don’t think less of me.

I’ve gotten much better about controlling my temper, but every now and then I still feel like hitting something. My mom knows this about me and she brought something to my aid when my parents visited last week.Dammit | The Farm Paparazzi

It’s called a Dammit Doll. We’re new best friends.

Dammit | The Farm PaparazziThis poor little creature has one purpose…getting the stuffing knocked out of it. Short of tenderizing chicken breasts with a mallet, this is the best stress relief tool I’ve ever seen.

Dammit | The Farm PaparazziI haven’t used it yet for it’s official purpose (see I told you I was getting better at this self-control thing), but when I need it, my Dammit Doll will be there for me.

Thanks Mom,

Liz

(This isn’t a paid promotion. Dammit Dolls has never heard of me. I just like their product.)

Control your temper, for anger labels you a fool. – Ecclesiastes 7:9 (NLT)

Family Photos

25 Oct

My sister-in-law, brother-in-law and amazing niece (no I’m not biased) visited a couple weeks ago and while they were here we took some family photos.

Family Photos | The Farm PaparazziI’d like to make a big, bold statement right now. I’m not a professional photographer. I don’t even take my camera off the automatic settings. I just shift from the little mountain setting to the person’s head setting or, sometimes, when I’m feeling adventurous, to the little man running setting.

Family Photos | The Farm PaparazziI always try to talk people into using professional photographers. I have friends who actually take photos for a living and actually know what they are doing. You can’t get real quality without a pro. My friend, Kassi, actually just blogged about this very thing. If you look at the quality of pros like my friends at Big Star Photography, Double H Photography and Cowgirl Graphics, you’ll see a big difference.

Family Photos | The Farm PaparazziThat being said, I really do enjoy taking photos. My mom was always taking photos as I was growing up and I loved seeing how her pictures turned out. I remember getting my first camera and how excited I was to get the prints in the mail. It was a Kodak Advantix and you could mail the film off to get it developed. I took a lot of unnecessary photos of random objects. I probably spent a lot of birthday money on printing nonsense, but that is a 12-year-old girl’s prerogative.

Family Photos | The Farm PaparazziSo, when my sister-in-law requested I snap a few photos while they were in town, I argued with her, then agreed to do it.

Family Photos | The Farm PaparazziAll went well except we had trouble getting my niece to smile. She was determined to stare me down until the dog licked me in the face while I was crouched down with my camera. She thought it was hysterical! She also laughed and giggled when I let her throw corn at me. So, just remember, when you’re having trouble getting a toddler to smile in photos, just go with the Three Stooges theory.

Family Photos | The Farm PaparazziOver the years, I’ve learned a few Photoshop tricks so I’m usually able to adjust my photos the way I like. The most important thing I’ve learned about photography, or any hobby for that matter, is to just have fun.

Family Photos | The Farm PaparazziAnd an adorable 2 1/2 year old niece as a photo subject doesn’t hurt either.

Family Photos | The Farm PaparazziNow, go hire a professional.

Family Photos | The Farm PaparazziGod Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck. – Proverbs 1:8-9

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