Saturday, October 22, 2016

Clowns Are Scary; Pig Farmers Aren't

Halloween is approaching fast and with it murderous clowns, superstitions and the tale of La Llorona scaring children off the streets and into their homes before the sun sets. Hocus Pocus, The Hills Have Eyes, The Evil Dead and more will be playing on TV screens across America. Lucky for us, we know that the events in these movies are not real. We may cuddle up close to our crush or sleep with a baseball bat next to the bed for a few days, but for the most part, the terror is over when the credits roll. Not all scary things have to do with Halloween though. In the agricultural industry, people just like you and I are scared about the safety and quality of their food. Hot topics such as GMO's, hormones, anti-biotics and more can cause quite a scare in the consumer sector. But just as the scary ends when the credits roll for a movie, we can take the terror out of agriculture by thinking with our heads and not our imagination. There are many scary rumors going around about pig farming. These rumors include that there is antibiotic residue in the meat we buy in the stores, that pig farmers do not care about their animals, sows are kept pregnant and in farrowing crates their entire life and that we would all be better off if nobody raised pigs. Take a look at this infographic that I put together and decide for yourself!
Take the Scary out of Pig farming #realpigfarming Clowns are scary;...
Still think pig farmers are scary? Check out this link to put a personable face to the job!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

I am a Voice for Agriculture, and I am Learning to Speak Up

"Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire".  I have never been one to stand around and watch idly as my dreams surpass me, so naturally it made sense for me to seize this amazing opportunity to spread truth about the industry that I love. You may have seen me posting more than usual on social media. I have started using hashtags, cool graphics and facts about livestock. But what is this #CAO16, and why do I use it so much?

What does C.A.O stand for?
First off, C.A.O is short for College Aggies Online. We are a bunch of passion ridden agriculture students and groups from across the U.S. Though we may not always be on the same side of the stadium come Saturday, we stand hand in hand when it comes to loving agriculture. If you feel the same, there is still time to sign up your group or club and compete for cash prizes by following this link: . 

What is my role in #CAO16? 
As a 2016 competitor, my role in College Aggies Online is to create social media posts that reflect common misconceptions in the agricultural industries. Some of these hot topics include hormones, anti-biotic use and animal welfare. Each week for 9 weeks, there is a different animal theme. Via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and my blog, I tell Ag's story one post at a time. 

Who am I?
Who am I? Who am I? *begin terrible Eddy Murphy impression of Mushu from Mulan* I am the generous, the gregarious, the indispensable Dallas Dooley. I grew up on a small family farm where we raised everything but wages. After I left for college at New Mexico State University, my mom started a horse rescue called Phoenix Equine. She is a firm believer that bad things happen to good people, and she gives all horses a second chance at life and service. If you ask me, her compassion extends to more than just horses which is why our farm looks more like a petting zoo than a business. However, my mother's compassion is the trait I am most proud to have inherited. It allows me to step back and gives me time to try and understand when someone shares an opinion different than my own. Growing up on a farm taught me how to love and care for animals, though I was not always so good with the ones that could talk back (aka humans). After leaving the farm and going to a university that was several hours removed from my friends, family and animals, I started to get really involved to fill the void of farm chores. As a result, my social skills began to blossom. Years later, I am able to carry on a conversation with a brick wall if necessary, but I can still sympathize with agriculturalist who struggle with talking to people not directly related to the farm. I am a voice for agricultureand through College Aggies Online, I am learning to speak up. 

Time flies when you are having fun. Being a competitor in #CAO16 is no different. We are already at the end of week 3! If you are having a great time keeping up with all of our posts, don't fret because we still have 6 weeks to go. Don't forget to check back in with me for next week's theme: Crops. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

National Pork Month is Finally Here!

The nights are getting colder, pumpkin spice is overwhelming the market and the smell of bacon is in the air. Wait, what? Yes folks, that's right; bacon. Amongst the many things that the month of October brings us; pumpkin spice, jack-o-lanterns, s'mores by the fire, hay rides, Halloween, etc, pork products are more than worthy of being added to the list because October is National Pork Month! While this gives me an excuse to eat bacon 31 days in a row, it also gives me a chance to tell the #realpigfarming stories of my friends, families and mentors whose way of life centers around raising happy, healthy pigs. Although we now have access to delicious pork products such as bacon, pork chops, sausage and ribs year round, we were not always so blessed. October is the official month of pork because this is the time of year that pigs were traditionally taken to market. Even though we no longer have a season specific market, our farmers are still committed to producing a quality product every single day. Here are some creative ways to celebrate National Pork Month, and don't forget to thank a farmer for all that they and their families do to keep food in front of mine and yours.
1. Take a Virtual Farm Tour
Pig farmers cannot let you into their barns because it would increase the risk of disease and harm to their pigs. There is also the chance for undercover videos that have been twisted to put farmers in a bad light to be filmed. Virtual tours are a great way see what goes on while still keeping the pigs safe and healthy. Check out this link to get you started.

2. Eat Bacon Pumpkin Quinoa
Combine the best of both worlds with this yummy treat! It's healthy, easy to make, and best of all it has bacon! Not quite your speed? Try these other 27 unique ways to eat bacon.

3. Write a Thank You Letter to a Farmer
National Pork Month is really a celebration of the pig farmers who continue to grow a quality product for us to enjoy. Real pig farmers do not expect a reward for their hard work; healthy pigs is reward enough. However, a good old fashioned thank you letter never hurt a soul. Let them know how much we appreciate them! Get started on your own thank you letter with one of these templates.

4. Change Your Social Media Profile Picture
Let your friends and family know that you are celebrating National Pork Month by adding #RealPigFarming to your social media profile pictures. You can find the link here.
But do not stop at your own picture! Feel free to share this link and encourage others to show their support of our nation's bacon growers.

5. Ask Questions
Not familiar with pig farming? Let us answer your questions by using the #realpigfarming link. Simply ask your questions, add the hashtag and wait for one of our pig farming experts or communication specialists to answer your questions. Can't figure out myth from fact for anti-biotics, feed additives, growth hormones or animal welfare practices? No problem! We are always more than happy to help. Here is a quick link to get you started.

You can find more creative ways to celebrate National Pork Month by following this link.