About Me

Kentucky, United States
Fourth generation beef producer, wife, mother, 4-H & FFA supporter, agriculture advocate, Christian, WKU alum, love livestock shows, basketball, college football, Dallas Cowboys. All things agriculture.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

KDA Points Banquet, Much More Than Awards

     On Saturday, September 23,  we were honored to host the Kentucky Department of Agriculture's Livestock Youth Points Program Awards Banquet at Burley Fields Livestock Center. This banquet is to award youth for their year of hard work and dedication to their livestock program and awards are given according to points tallied while attending KDA sponsored district shows, livestock expos, and the Kentucky State Fair.
     The KDA points program involves five species, dairy, beef, swine, sheep, and goat and points are earned for placing in the top ten at sponsored shows with added points given to champions. Youth exhibitors are also given points for showmanship, livestock judging, and skillathon contests.                                                                                              

     Christmas arrived early for many of the youth involved, especially those placing in the overall top ten in their divisions with thousands of dollars worth of show supplies awarded at the banquet. It needs to be clear that these awards are not gifts, they are earned from hard work and many miles traveling to all the shows. Several states offer points programs but few have free entries to district shows or even local county fairs plus our Kentucky youth are also provided with educational opportunities through livestock judging and skillathon clinics and contests.
     I am an advocate for livestock projects for the obvious reasons of teaching responsibility, animal husbandry, the rewards of hard work, and the science of nutrition, genetics, and animal health. However, my favorite aspect of livestock projects and the agriculture industry are the relationships built. This is obvious from the points banquet seeing families arrive and the kids running to meet their friends they haven't seen in several weeks or months. Hearing people say they knew they weren't getting any awards but were in attendance just to see friends is confirmation of the strength of friendships built across the state. My own family is blessed with so many life-long friends that we first met at livestock shows both in Kentucky and across the nation.
     Congratulations to all the youth recognized at the banquet with over 200 people in attendance. I'm not going to list all the winners but I have included the link to the KDA Show and Fair Promotion Facebook page which includes the photographs of winners. Two special awards were presented, each voted on by KDA Shows and Fairs staff.  Katie Jo Walker was the recipient of the 110% Award and Todd Yazell was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
     While the awards banquet recognizes the youth, the attendance at the shows would not be possible without parents, grandparents, family and friends helping to haul both livestock and kids to these events. If you are one of these lucky kids, be sure to thank your parents for their time and help with your projects.
     I am especially proud of our local Hart County youth that were in attendance and recognized for the following awards:

Destiny Byrd, Hardyville - 8th  Dairy Cow exhibited; 9th Dairy Showmanship; 6th Overall Dairy Exhibitor with Keith Rogers, Chief of Staff to Commissioner of Agriculture

Taylor Jeffries, Canmer - 5th Beef Heifer exhibited; 4th Top KY Proud Beef Heifer; 2nd Beef Cow/Calf; 5th Beef Showmanship; 3rd Overall Beef Exhibitor, with Tim Hughes, Deputy Executive Director, Office of Agriculture Marketing and Product Promotion.

Lily Jeffries, Canmer - 10th Overall Beef Exhibitor

Maribeth Scott, Munfordville - $500 Scholarship Recipient

MaKayla Jeffries, Horse Cave - $500 Scholarship Recipient
Buckner & Jeffries Angus, Canmer - 2nd Kentucky Proud Beef Breeder

You can find all the photos taken by KDA Show and Fair Promotion at the following link https://www.facebook.com/Kentucky-Department-of-Agriculture-Show-and-Fair-Promotion-357866184325946/


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Tips on Fighting Seasonal Allergies

     When our kids were younger they both dealt with seasonal allergies during the Spring and Fall. Both were very healthy and could make it through the winter without a cold but let the temperature warm and plants begin to  grow and bloom and soon their upper respiratory system would react often so strong resulting in tonsillitis or strep throat
     I quickly learned that treating with over-the-counter antihistamines a few weeks before the height of the allergy season really helped. Claritin or Zyrtec once-a-day tablets have worked best for our family. I actually use store brands of these antihistamines and I try to rotate using the two different brands so that the effectiveness continues. We also use Flonase nasal spray during the worse part of allergy season.
     With only a week before opening day of the Kentucky State Fair I am working to help our family stay healthy and fight the allergens and dust so common at livestock shows, It is a goal each year to  make it through the fair without getting sick with what we stock show folks commonly call the "Louisville Crud".
     This Spring I experienced the worse allergy season of my life. My eyes were red, swollen, and painful to the extent that I thought I had an eye infection. My optometrist quickly explained that I had allergies. He suggested using an OTC allergy eye drop, twice daily, and also gave me a wonderful tip to wash my eyes and eyebrows with Johnson's Baby Shampoo during a shower. That daily routine helped me survive Spring and I have passed that along to many friends. The shampoo truly is tear-free with no burning or stinging.

     I love hanging laundry outside to dry and it was something that I often did  until the kids developed their allergies. During a visit with our pediatrician, she asked if I dried laundry outside and explained how that routine brought the allergens into the house to the kids, especially with sheets and their clothes. Now I rarely hang laundry outside to dry and if I do I throw everything into the dryer to remove any allergens.
     Also it is best to keep the windows closed during the heaviest allergy season or at least keep the windows closed in the bedrooms  and family rooms to keep pollen and dust from those areas where we spend a lot of time.
     All of this information is simple common sense, however I think we are all too busy  to think about what allergens we may be exposing ourselves to each day.This post is not to be used as medical advice but simple information that can help make allergy season a little easier.
     This may not be new information but hopefully it will help someone get through the Fall allergy season filled with ragweed and golden rod,

I did not get paid by anyone for mentioning the brand names in this post. I wanted to share what has worked for me and felt it was important to use the specific brands.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Friday Fun Day!!

     A little motivation for everyone preparing for the state fair! Actually good advice for all on any day!  Wishing all a 'Happy Friday' and a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Heat Is On!

     We were blessed with a mild, wet Spring here in Southern Kentucky but Summer has arrived and the heat is on! We have had several days of 90+ temperatures this week and the forecast has a heat advisory for tomorrow and Saturday with the heat index possibly reaching 105. It is difficult for us to cope with the heat and it is especially difficult for our livestock.

     Market hogs, goats, lambs and steers are fed for a specific show and and most people work to get their animals to a specific weight and having increased temperature can result in decreased feed consumption and failing to reach the desired weight for a show. Taking the time to watch your animals eat, to see that they are hungry and ready to eat with a good appetite should be part of your daily routine. Noticing a change in eating habits early makes it easier to diagnose the problem and make changes. Animals often won't eat as much when they are hot, so feeding early morning and late afternoon, preferably at the same time daily, may help in increase consumption.
     Water consumption is always important for our livestock and especially those being fed for the show ring. For lambs and goats, we use individual concrete-floored pens with individual small buckets of water that we empty, rinse, and refill both morning and night and often during the day when it is extremely hot or during a temperature change. Its simple, we don't like to drink dirty water and the animals would rather have clean, cool water to drink also.
    Hogs are especially susceptible to heat distress and even death if they get too hot so it is very important to monitor them during high temperatures.  We also stall hogs on concrete-floored pens covered with pine shavings which provides a cool, easy to clean floor, with added protection from the shavings. Fans help to cool the penned area for hogs and misters added to fans can lower the temperature by several degrees. A simple PVC pipe waterer can  provide water for hogs and keep the water fresh and clean. No water lines are needed, just fill the pipe daily.

     One of the easiest ways to cool beef cattle stalled or haltered in the barn is with a Sullivan's Supply fogger. The fogger attaches to the blower hose and provides a mist that you can apply to the cattle. Fogging the cattle several times a day will help to keep them cool during excessive summer heat.

     It is important to keep your animals on the same feed. If you notice a decrease in consumption don't change the feed, change the environment. Do what you can to make your animals comfortable during the hottest summer days. Shade, concrete floors, water, fans and misters work well together to lower temperatures inside a barn. I realize that everyone doesn't have concrete and we only have a few feet in our barn. I believe it's all about doing the best job you can with what you have. You don't have to have the nicest barn and the latest equipment to have champion animals. It's more about the time and work you put into that animal.
     If sudden increase in heat and humidity has your animal eating less, I have a few tips from our experience that might help.
     *  Feed during the coolest time of the day, early morning and late evening
     *  Add fans to the barn to lower temperature.
     *  Add misters to fans if needed.
     *  Change or refresh water during the day if possible.

     Our most drastic move  to increase feed consumption following an increase in temperature was to move our son's market goat into the basement of our house, which is air conditioned. At approximately 3 weeks before the Kentucky State Fair, the temperature increased to the upper 90's with high humidity. The goat just began to eat less and the temperature remained high and we knew that lower temperatures were the key to reaching the goal weight. It's not anything I thought we would ever do, but having the goat in the basement for a few weeks is a great memory and the goat went on to win the Kentucky State Fair.
     The Kentucky State Fair begins in 4 weeks so livestock exhibitors have time to polish those showmanship skills and get their animals to the desired weight and condition. It's great to start and end the day in the barn with family and project animals, making memories, building relationships, and teaching responsibility. Stay as cool as possible and good luck to all!