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.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Feature Friday: Martindell Shorthorns

     Martindell Shorthorns, of Hardyville, Kentucky has another outstanding set of bulls and heifers consigned to both the 2012 Kentucky Farm Bureau Beef Expo and the 2012 Tennessee Beef Agribition. Consistency of structural correctness, muscle, maternal traits, and overall balance and style with proven success in the pasture and show ring are the result of the family's more than 50 years of breeding Shorthorn cattle.
     C.F. Martin, Jr., purchased his first Shorthorns in 1960 and his knowledge and experience with the breed has given him the ability to know the genetics that work best in his herd.  Today he and sons Franklin and Jason have built a herd of quality cattle with repeat buyers looking for cattle to improve their herd and win in the showring. Years of consistently having one or both of the champion Shorthorns at the Kentucky Beef Expo along with numerous champions at the Kentucky State Fair, Tennessee State Fair, and the NAILE continues to attract buyers from across the country. Bulls and heifers are available for sale throughout the year directly from the farm and can be seen by scheduling a farm visit. Follow this link to their website for more information on current consignments, herd sires, and past champions.  http://www.martindellshorthorns.com/default.html
     The Kentucky Beef Expo Shorthorn Show and Sale will be held at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, on Saturday, March 3, with the show at 10:00 am EST, and the Shorthorn Sale following at 1:00 pm EST. Martindell Shorthorns has consigned one bull and two heifers to this event.

Martindell The Answer 0111, Birthdate- September 29, 2010
Grand Champion Bull 2011 Kentucky State Fair Pace Show
Kentucky Beef Expo Consignment

Martindell Empress 173, Birthdate - September 2, 2011
Sire - The Professor
Kentucky Beef Expo Consignment

     The Tennessee Beef Agribition will be held at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center, Lebanon, Tennessee,  March 9, 10, and 11, with the Shorthorn Show on Friday, March 9, at 1:30 pm CST and the Shorthorn Sale on Saturday, March 10, at 12:00 pm CST.  Martindell Shorthorns has also consigned one bull and two heifers to this event. The bull pictured below is a Tennessee Beef Agribition consignment a with pedigree that goes back to the outstanding Martindell Farm herd sire NPS Durango 774 CHB, a Shorthorn weaning and yearling trait leader.

Martindell Mission 702, Birthdate - July 7, 2010
Tennessee Beef Agribition Consignment
Martindell Mable 122, Birthdate - March 5, 2011
Tennessee Beef Agribition Consignment

      Photographs of the other heifers consigned to both sales can be viewed on Martindell Shorthorns website http://martindellshorthorns.com/
     I have lived near the Martin family most of my life and with their years of experience breeding and raising Shorthorn cattle I'm confident you can find quality cattle and answers to any questions you might have about the breed by visiting with C.F., Franklin, or Jason. Contact information: C. F. Martin (270) 528-3686; Franklin Martin (270) 528-3071; Jason Martin jasmar@scrtc.com.

Photographs on this post property of Martindell Shorthorns and used with their permission. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

National FFA Week: February 18-25, 2012

      This week is National FFA Week, and according to the FFA website this week is a time designated for FFA members to promote and educate the public about agriculture. I agree totally, and I'm so thankful for this youth organization that represents agriculture so well.     
     I did not take advantage of the opportunity I had in high school, and enroll in agriculture classes and join FFA. Even though I was a farmgirl, 4-H member, beef and tobacco producer with my family, I chose a different route in high school, looking only at college and a career in the medical field. Little did I know that by my sophomore year in college, I was missing agriculture and quickly changed my major. That background information is so you know that I'm not a product of FFA. However, I am the wife of a  agriculture education teacher and FFA advisor and I have witnessed thousands of students not only promoting and learning about agriculture, but also many non-farm students joining FFA and later pursuing careers in agriculture related fields.
     FFA, yes and 4-H, has spread the word about agriculture for decades but many still see the organization as the old stereotypical farm kid organization, and nothing could be further from the truth. Yes there are still a lot of dedicated farm kids in FFA but with a membership of 540,379 from all 50 states plus Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, there's definitely many non-farm  members.
     With an agriculture education FFA members choose their SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experience) which can range from production agriculture and environmental issues to food processes and technology, to civic organization presentations and global positioning systems. The list goes on. Conclusion, there's something for everyone! Not only do these students gain a great education and understanding of the agriculture world, they also gain the opportunity for college scholarships through their individual SAE programs.
     Leadership skills obtained from being an FFA member are priceless. Where else can you learn public speaking, sales, marketing, community service, management, writing, etc. in one organization often with one teacher? Nothing is more rewarding than meeting these students as freshman or sophomores and seeing their timidness change to confidence and authority as seniors.
     Since I've never worn one of those blue corduroy jackets, I've never had the honor of being in official dress in mid-summer 90 degree weather, with no chance of taking the jacket off for one minute. I have however, heard many students complain of being uncomfortable and counting the minutes until that jacket can come off! I have a very different opinion of that blue jacket because I've had the honor of witnessing the effects of a single person in official dress and the impression thousands of FFA members at national convention made on one person. Let me explain.
     Our daughter Ashley, as a sophomore, was honored to be accepted into the National FFA Band, and this was a year that national convention was held in Louisville, Kentucky, just an hour's drive from home. She was the first student of her high school band director to be accepted to the National FFA Band and since it was so close, she invited both her band director and school superintendent to attend a session at convention and hear the band. Her superintendent was unable to attend but her director drove to the Kentucky Exposition Center for an early session and arrived just in time to see members of Texas FFA chapters unloading buses. This  tradition included the young men standing with arms out to escort the ladies single file into the convention hall. Everyone in official dress of course. A memorable vision for anyone but especially a person first attending national convention.
     The director found his seat in the convention hall and witnessed not only the band's performance, but heard motivational speeches and saw so many positive effects of FFA, but the most memorable for him was seeing thousands of students, dressed nicely, behaving respectfully, and not seeing one tattoo or body piercing. He had a meeting to attend hours away, and he spent most of his driving time on the phone calling colleagues and the school superintendent telling of all the positive things he'd seen and how he was previously so misled by his perception of FFA, but all that changed that day. First, by a young lady making the invitation, and secondly by the overwhelming impression of thousands.
     Yes, I'm proud of each and every accomplishment of all FFA members but I'm most proud of the effects that blue corduroy jacket can have on people still today. So wear it with pride, knowing that someone is watching and as an FFA member you have the power and opportunity to promote agriculture and make a very positive impact on a single individual.

Membership information from FFA.org

Friday, February 17, 2012

Feature Friday: Star C Farm/Smilin' Goat Ranch

     I'd like to introduce my first Feature Friday post and announce plans to have an article every Friday featuring a breeder, junior exhibitor, or farm family. Being a typical agriculture blogger I too have "many irons in the fire" so hang on as I work to be more disciplined in my writing!

      James and Sarah Coomer and their children, Kristen and Kyle, farm in Temple Hill, Kentucky, located in the southeast region of Barren County. James, along with his father James, Sr., and brother Jeff have raised Simmental cattle for many years as Star C Farm. The beef operation thrives and provides many other breeders with Simmental bulls and heifers. Kristen and Kyle have exhibited their cattle at local, regional, and state levels.
     Our families have been friends since college days and our son introduced Kyle and Kristen to Boer goats at an area livestock show, and they purchased their first four market goats from a local producer the following year in 2007. They have since expanded very successfully and Smilin' Goat Ranch was formed. In 2011, Kyle had several class winners with goats out of their herd at the Kentucky district shows and Junior Livestock Expos. Today they have 31 mature does and 23 yearling does, plus 30 kids and more due in March.

A doe with a very nice set of 5-day old twin does.

Two December kids.

A stout  December kid.

          Kristen and Kyle are members of the Herd Handlers 4-H Club and they participate in many activities such as skillathon, demonstrations, and livestock judging. 4-H is a family activity with James and Sarah volunteering on local and regional levels while helping many children other than their own. Kristen is also a member of the Barren County FFA Chapter.

Kyle with his first  Boer doe at the 2007 Kentucky State Fair. The doe was a class winner in the very competitive commercial  doe classes at the Kentucky district shows.
      The Coomer farming operation is expanding and diversifying with the children continuing to exhibit Simmental cattle, market goats,and beginning in 2010, dairy goats. The dairy goat branch began when Kristen purchased her first Nigerian Dwarf doe. That doe was named Grand Champion Senior Doe at the 2010 Kentucky State Fair open dairy goat show. They have expanded to add Lamancha, Lamancha crosses, and American Saanens. Kristen also had an exciting show at the 2011 Kentucky State Fair open dairy goat show where her Nigerian Dwarf doe was named Best Senior Doe and Best Udder in Show.

Kristen with her Nigerian Dwarf doe, named Best Senior Doe of Show and Best Udder of Show in the 2011 Kentucky State Fair Open Dairy Show. Pictured, left to right, Kyle Coomer, Kristen Coomer, Sara Stewart-Judge.

        The Coomer family offers livestock options with Star C Farm and Smilin' Goat Ranch so be sure to contact them if you're searching for Simmental cattle, Boer goats (especially for market goat shows), or dairy goats. They plan to consign Boer goats to one or two area Spring sales. Call at 270-427-4481 or 270-427-4480 for more information.

All photographs on this post property of Sarah Coomer and published with permission.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

National Farm Machinery Show, Feb. 15-18

     The 47th National Farm Machinery Show is underway in Louisville, Kentucky, showcasing the new and innovative farm equipment, technology, and products. This four day trade show attracts over 300,000 visitors from all over the world and I'm very fortunate to have it in my state and less than 100 miles away. As a beef producer I'm personally not interested in the new tractors and other equipment, I leave that to my husband and son, but I enjoy seeing the new livestock handling equipment, animal nutrition products, agriculture publications and associations, and visiting with everyone. The Family Living Center offers unique gifts, farm toys, and accessories for the home, so there's something for everyone.
     The show began Wednesday, February 15, and continues through Saturday, February 18, and it's not too late to make plans to attend. For more information go to: http://www.farmmachineryshow.org/  Admission to the National Farm Machinery Show is free. Tickets are required for the Championship Tractor Pull and note that tickets to the Saturday evening pull are the first to sell out but, tickets may still be available. It's a great event for the entire family and you never know what you'll learn or who you might see.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

4-H/FFA Market Livestock Projects for Beginners

     If you, or your child, have been wanting to have a 4-H or FFA livestock project, now is the time to begin planning for the  2012 livestock show season. For children, 9 or younger, beginning with a market goat or market lamb is a great choice because they are small, easier to handle, and the cost of purchasing, housing, and  feeding is less than a beef or dairy animal or even a market hog.     
     Now before my fellow beef producers step up to voice opinions about the opening paragraph I would like to clarify that if you are a beef producer and your child has been around cattle, beginning with a beef heifer is great! I'm directing this post primarily to those families who may not be beef cattle producers or who have younger children. The smaller species are super beginning projects because the children can gain confidence in their ability to control the animal and have a safer, more enjoyable time with an animal closer to their size.

*Important Information for Kentucky Exhibitors* 
     Kentucky 4-H and FFA market animals must be tagged prior to the deadlines for each species. Kentucky 4-H market animal exhibitors, be aware of the livestock certification program requiring all 4-H market animal exhibitors to attend 6 hours of training before tagging their market animals. For more information contact your 4-H agent now for training sites and dates in your area. The  2012 Guidelines for Validating Market Animals for 4-H and FFA members can be found at the following link:  http://www2.ca.uky.edu/afs4hyouth-files/validations/2012_Validation_Program_Rules_Only.pdf
      Market steers and market heifers must be tagged by March 31. Market goats, market lambs, and market hogs, must be tagged by May 19. Validation sites (tagging sites) and dates can also be found at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture website, on the Division of Show and Fair promotion page. Just follow the link and look to the bottom right corrner for 'Calendars'. http://www.kyagr.com/marketing/fair/index.htm The KDA site also lists dates, locations, rules, and general information for preview and district shows for all species. Also, read the Ownership, Possession, and Care rules found at the followig link.  http://www2.ca.uky.edu/afs4hyouth-files/possession/Ownership-Possession-Care_Rules-2012.pdf

     I like both the market goat and market lamb projects for young children because they are animals that are easily trained and are led with a halter or collar. The correct way to lead a lamb is without a halter, by holding the lambs head, however, for young children with their first project I believe it's best to give the child confidence, letting them use the halter in the ring. You can teach the child to hold the head when setting up the animal while still having the halter in hand. He/she may not win in showmanship for using the halter, depending on regional preferences and the judge, but the gain in confidence to control an animal can be an invaluable lesson.

Entering the showring at this young age can be intimidating, but sending small children into a show with a halter gives them confidence which helps them to relax and have fun. Thanks to Dallas Bailey for providing this photo of herself and my son at our county fair market lamb show in 2001. Both continue to exhibit livestock today. 
       Having a livestock project requires a lot of responsibility for both parents and child. I think it is most important for the child to want  an animal for a project. It's great if this is the dream of the parent also, but there will only be difficult days ahead if the child is not interested in the project animal.  Key factors in deciding on species should include shelter and housing available, budget for purchasing the animal, budget for feed and care including vaccinations and de-worming costs. You have to consider your area also. If you have goat or lamb producers nearby, that may make the decision for you.
     I think it's important to include the child when selecting the animal, whether it's from your own farm, another producer's farm, or a live auction. This is a great way to begin an education of livestock judging and selection, however if you don't feel comfortable with the task, ask the breeder, another 4-H/FFA family, or your local 4-H agent or FFA advisor for help.  Keep in mind your budget and what you plan to do with this project and it may be easier for you to select just 2 or 3 animals for your child to choose from. Transportation to fairs is also easier with lambs and goats because they can be hauled in the back of a pick-up truck in a cage or in a small trailer and don't require a more costly livestock trailer. Keeping first projects simple and inexpensive is great for everyone involved.

Judge's first look at a market goat showmanship division at the 2011 Kentucky State Fair.

     Market hog projects are great fun and super if you have a barn or shed with a concrete floor. Some may say you can make it without concrete but it's difficult to keep a  200+ pound hog from rooting and destroying a dirt-filled shed or barn. It's hard to imagine how quickly that cute 30-40 pound pig can grow to 270 pounds at only 6 months of age, but it happens! Watch for future posts with more information on market hog projects.
     Stay tuned! I plan to begin featuring breeders and junior exhibitors in my next posts.    

Photograph of Kentucky State Fair market goat show, property of Wanda Quiggins