• Mindy Ward

    The Face Of The FFA

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on April 7, 2014

    I saw the image on Facebook and had to investigate. It was of a young man whose passion for farming and the FFA was emblazoned all over his face, literally. With that one image Cade Ruether became, in my mind, the “Face of the FFA.” The idea was the brainchild of Drew Tignor, 7th grade civics teacher and yearbook sponsor at Troy Middle School in eastern Missouri. Mr. Tignor explained that there is a theme to every yearbook, this year it was “Half.” “We only see…

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    Blogging Through Brazil: Exportese

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     by Mindy Ward
     on March 29, 2014

    U.S. farmers can now truly understand the road a single seed takes from being planted in a field in Mato Grosso to ending up in the belly of a cargo ship at the Guaruja port on the western coast. The last stop on the Rabo AgriFinance Brazil Tour took American farmers to the TEG-Louis Dreyfus & Cargill Terminal in the Santo Amaro island. And as we had seen across the countryside this week, there were trucks lined up to deliver grain. Some traveled more than 1,250 miles of rough terrain to…

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    Blogging Through Brazil: Wacky Weather

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on March 28, 2014

    It is raining in Brazil. The wet weather dampened the Rabo AgriFinance Brazil Tour plans to visit the Chapada dos Guimaraes National Park for a 3-hour walking tour. But just as in the U.S., weather in Brazil can change plans and production. For Brazil farmers this year’s weather with its combination of drought and precipitation are taking a toll on yields. Right now, the country’s soybean harvest is in its final stretch. According to the farmers we visited, the soybean crop will…

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    Blogging Though Brazil: Extreme Farm

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     by Mindy Ward
     on March 27, 2014

    Farmers on the Rabo AgriFinance Brazil Tour farm got a look at how Brazil’s farmers diversify to remain competitive and profitable. Gilberto Goellner raises seed, grain, beans, timber and cattle throughout Brazil. We visited just two of his locations in Mato Grosso. And the size of his operation is impressive in any country. Here is a rundown of his farm by the numbers: •59,280 acres of soybeans •11,856 acres of cotton •14,326 acres of corn •17,290 acres of…

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    Blogging Through Brazil: Seed Production

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on March 26, 2014

    After the cold winter in the U.S., it was good to see farmers smiling while perusing lush green fields of soybeans, corn and pearl millet, even if it wasn’t their own. Tuesday’s travels with Rabo AgriFinance Brazil Tour took farmers from the upper Midwest to seed production operations in Brazil. Located in the Petrovina hill area, known as one of Brazil’s best grain crop growing areas due to its altitude and constant climate conditions, is Adriana Seed Company. The company…

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    Blogging Through Brazil: Holy Rough Roads!

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on March 25, 2014

    We heard the story. We saw the photographs. But really, nothing can prepare you for traversing the Brazilian countryside. Rather than a relaxing drive taking in the scenery, I felt more like a bobblehead doll in the front seat. Earlier in the morning Andy Duff, executive manager of research for Rabobank Brazil, explained that the roads in rural areas of Brazil were of “poor quality.” By evening, the U.S. farmers and ranchers from the Midwest experienced first-hand just how…

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    March Madness, College And FFA

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on March 21, 2014

    It's that time of year--March Madness. So, what college are you rooting for? Better yet, what college is your child cheering for? Because after all, March Madness for parents with a senior in high school takes on a whole new meaning other than basketball. March is the time of year when students start narrowing their college choices. And my senior really needs to start pitting one college against another in an effort to decide which one will be named "The University." TORN…

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  • Mindy Ward

    Blogging Through Brazil

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on March 21, 2014

    When I tell people that tomorrow I am headed to Brazil, the first thing they ask is “business or pleasure?” For an ag journalist exploring another country to see how farmers raise crops and cattle is never work; it is always pleasure. I will be traveling with a group of Midwestern farmers as part of Rabo AgriFinance Brazil Tour. Our first stop will be Sao Paulo to learn about agribusiness in the country. Then it is off for six days of plane and bus rides to visit farms in western…

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    Animal Activists, Leave My Kid Alone

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on February 28, 2014

    Yes, I monitor my daughter’s Facebook account. And today, I am not pleased at the level animal activists, more specifically the vegan community, will go to cajole young teens into their lifestyle. As I scroll through her newsfeed, I run across one of those “Like this page” requests. Its icon is a cute little cartoon pig. Its Facebook page name is “SaveFarmAnimals.” Its category is education. So, I click through. What I find is a page that has a photo of a kitten…

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    I Blame The FFA For Changes In Rural Youth

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on February 21, 2014

    Who hasn’t driven up the driveway at least one time to find livestock standing in their front yard? But multiple times in one week can only lend itself to the family tradition of playing the blame game. It all starts with the question, “Who left the gate open?” Typically, what follows is the inquiry into who was the last one in the barn, who didn’t secure the gate with the wire or why did you not even think to stand the gate up? Then there is the denial, denial, and…

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    10 Reasons A Famer Is An Ideal Valentine

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     by Mindy Ward
     on February 14, 2014

    Famers are great Valentines. However, it takes a special person to truly understand what makes a farmer, well, so lovable. If you are searching for your Valentine, look no further. Here is the list of why a farmer is an ideal Valentine. 1. Loves animals. What is more adorable than a man who loves animals? Well, one who loves animals enough to allow you to keep not just the dog or cat, but also a calf, lamb, goat, or pig in the house. A woman can bring home any stray and a farmer will let her…

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    From A Shepherd, 'Thanks Ralph Lauren'

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on January 31, 2014

    Yes, I have Olympic fever. I am amazed to watch athletes push themselves to the limit, in the freezing cold. Living in current deep-freeze here in the Midwest, it is hard enough to go outside and do chores. Their dedication to training and determination to win is inspiring. However, this year I am equally impressed with how the agriculture industry is front and center during the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi. Last week, I wrote about Missouri’s own speed skating sensation Emily Scott…

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    Baby Farm Animals Arrive In Spring. Not On This Farm.

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on January 9, 2014

    While individuals snuggle by the fireplace with hot chocolate watching their favorite movie, I am spending the coldest days of this Missouri winter in the barn. You see, young spring lambs frolicking in the green pastures are only in children’s storybooks, at least in my neck of the woods. Around here, lambs are born during an all-white winter wonderland. This latest snow blast left my barn with snowdrifts, sub-zero temperatures and wind chills reaching 25 below zero. My 5-foot-1-inch…

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    The Farmer Gets A Christmas Bonus

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on December 27, 2013

    As I sat Christmas Eve in an emergency veterinary hospital, I could not help but wonder how we, as farmers, get ourselves into these situations? It all started back in October when I wrote the blog Don't Worry, The Farmer Will Care For Your Abandoned Dog. Yes, there was a stray dog. This time a black lab broke our perimeter woven-wire fencing system. He interacted with our 7-year-old chocolate lab. Now, our farm family sits in an emergency veterinary hospital the day before Christmas. Our…

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    A Farmer Shall Lead Them

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on December 20, 2013

    I first met Missouri’s new department of agriculture director, Richard Fordyce, back in 2008 on his farm outside of Bethany. That year the agriculture industry was at the height of the food versus fuel debate. He was one of hundreds of farmers across the state, straddling the economic fence. While his grain crops were experiencing a boom in price, his cattle operation was suffering due to high feed costs. At that time, he was also battling rising crop input costs. Standing in his fields…

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    You Might Be A Hay Waster If…

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on December 13, 2013

    This past weekend I sat through yet another talk on hay waste. This is not my first time hearing about the profit-robbing problem for livestock producers in the Midwest. However, every time Justin Sexten, University of Missouri beef nutritionist, offers solutions to the problem, livestock producers are slow to put them into practice. And by producers, I mean myself. Sexten constantly informs livestock producers that how they feed hay in the winter months will determine how much money they will…

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    Ag Supports Mizzou Tigers All Season

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on December 6, 2013

    I should be writing about the dramatic change in the weather from sunny and 75 degrees F last weekend to 7 degrees F wind chill and inches of snow today. However, I would rather write about the dramatic change in the football program at the University of Missouri-Columbia. It is a lot more exciting and positive subject. It was just one year ago that many of Missouri’s so-called “faithful” questioned the move by MU to the SEC. But just like our state’s famous weather, if…

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    Warning Hunters, The Farmer Is Checking Cows

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on November 22, 2013

    A friend of ours came over last weekend to deliver a load of round hay bales. As he jumped out of the truck cab, the blaze orange cap was hard to miss. I asked if he had been hunting earlier in the day. “No, I went to check the cows and I thought, better safe than sorry,” he replied. Hunting season is here. During this time of year, I wake many mornings to the sound of “Pop. Pop. Pop.” I know that hunters, some from the city, some from my area, are in the woods. Still…

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  • Mindy Ward

    Give Thanks, You Live In A Small Town

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on November 15, 2013

    My 17-year-old daughter, Cassidy, called crying from the car. She had pumped her gas tank full, grabbed a soda and candy bar and went to pay the cashier. Her debit card was declined. But what transpired after displays the true heart of rural America. First, this was not our daughter’s fault. The blame lies squarely on her parents shoulders. We have one daughter in college, the other a senior in high school and both using the same bank account. And with more than one account, we did…

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    Don’t Worry, The Farmer Will Work 7 Days For Your Food

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on November 1, 2013

    My husband saw it first. Then he beckoned to me. As I entered my daughter’s bedroom, he pulled open the window blinds. Since her room overlooks the back pasture, I knew the view was not going to be good. There, sprawled out on the ground, was a dead ewe. I was already dressed for Sunday morning church service. My husband and I were scheduled to watch over the children in the nursery. Unfortunately, my husband had to change his plans. He put on his coveralls, donned his muck boots and…

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  • Mindy Ward

    Don’t Worry, The Farmer Will Care For Your Abandoned Dog

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on October 25, 2013

    Question of the day: If there is growing concern over how those in agriculture care for their animals, why do so many stray dogs and cats end up on the farmer’s doorstep? I cannot tell you how many times I arrive at a farmstead to be greeted by a wagging tale of a farm dog. Inevitably, during my conversation with the farmer I find that one if not more of his dogs, “just showed up here one day and never left.” Many of these animals find their way to the farm from the…

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    Breathe In Manure, Burn Off Pounds

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on October 11, 2013

    Well, it is fall applied manure season in the country. I know this not because I am reading my farm calendar, but rather due to the curve about one mile into my workout run/walk. As I descend the cascading hill banking slightly right, I catch the first drift. And I breathe deep. Ah, how I love that smell of manure while putting in the workout miles on my rural route. For some, this may be the point they turn around. For me, it is the point I push forward, no one ever said that a workout…

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  • Mindy Ward

    Wearing A Crown And Helmet

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on October 4, 2013

    When the 2013 Missouri State Fair Queen was announced in August, I screamed. For once, I personally knew the young lady that was about to represent our fair and agriculture across the state. As I traversed the livestock barns on the Missouri State Fairgrounds, people would ask me where she was from. I replied with a little hometown pride “Warren County.” That question was always followed by, “What is her ag background?” My simple answer, “Horses.” Then…

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  • Mindy Ward

    Farm Show Revealed

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on September 10, 2013

    Attending the Farm Progress Show I expect to see large machinery, new technology and impressive displays. However, this year I set out to find the story behind some of the latest products on the market. What I found were ag companies that look beyond the retail sale, companies that are looking to support their employees and give back to their communities. Golden intentions A gold feed wagon drew my attention to the display of S.I. Feeders, a division of Schoessow, Inc. The typical…

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  • Mindy Ward

    Show Ring Sportsmanship

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on September 1, 2013

    As the judges selects the class winner at the Missouri State Fair Swine Show, one-by-one young exhibitors leave their hog behind and make their way across the show ring to congratulate the winner. I would never have caught the gesture had the image not appeared in my camera lens. Often I am focused on the cute little girl and her pig, or the young man driving his hog. Many times, I am just trying to see how well individuals did that I know. But there was something during this year's…

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  • Mindy Ward

    Support Local Famers, Buy Food

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on August 1, 2013

    It was simple question at the Missouri Farmers Care meeting between local farmers and consumers, "How can we help you?" And Pike County hog farmer Jim Fisher gave a quick response, "Buy food." Fisher is part owner in Fisher Hog Farms near Middletown, Mo. There along with his family, they nurture 2,600 sows that produce roughly 65,000 pigs per year. Fisher was joined that evening by cattleman Bill McLaren, dairy farmer Donna Telle and row crop and cattlewoman…

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  • Mindy Ward

    Local Food Fight

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on July 31, 2013

    Where does your food come from? Well just pick up any local grocery flyer and you may see a familiar face. But now I am confused. Which farmer raises the best product? Which store should I choose? Like many other consumers, I scour the local grocery advertisements to see what is on sale this week. Recently, I have been put in a quandary. Two large grocery store chains are using photos of farm families alongside their produce. I know their individual name, farm name, hometown and state…

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    Finding Seasonal Fresh Produce On The Road

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on July 8, 2013

    I am the first to admit that pulling into a farmer's market is a little overwhelming. I am not a vegetable connoisseur. The row upon row of green, red and purple fruits and vegetables has been known to cause mild anxiety attacks. Which one do I pick? How do I prepare it? Well, if you are a fresh produce novice like me, help is on the way. The University of Missouri Extension released a free smart phone application for iPhone, iPad and Android based on its publication Seasonal and…

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    Farmers Finish Up Planting

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on July 3, 2013

    What a difference a year makes. This time last year, I could sit in the shade and sweat. Temperatures hovered around 106 degrees F, and reached into the triple digits for six days straight. Corn was drying up for excessive heat and lack of moisture. Today temperatures are at least 20 degrees cooler with highs in the lower 80s. For the first time in weeks, precipitation averaged less than one inch across the state. Driving across the state this week, the crop progress varies. The corn…

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    Climate Change Weight Loss

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     by Mindy Ward
     on June 25, 2013

    Today, I am eager to try the new climate change weight loss program that is so widely successful in bison. Apparently, as the temperature rises, bison lose weight. In this sweltering Missouri heat, I should be good for losing a few pounds—I think. Researchers at Kansas State University examined how climate change during the next 50 years will affect grazing animals such as bison and cattle. Joseph Craine, K-State research assistant professor led the study which included 22 bison…

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    Hitting The Road

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on June 17, 2013

    As my family drives down Interstate 70 heading west toward Sedalia, my mind races. Did I remember to pack the blower, clippers, spray adhesive, wool cards, sheep coats, buckets, feeders, health papers, and registration papers? And that is just for the sheep bedded down in the stock trailer. The show season is in full swing. Whether your child shows cattle, swine or sheep, as a livestock show mom (or dad) this is the time of year you long for. The countless hours you spent in the barn…

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    Just Keep Swimming

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on June 11, 2013

    As I leaned down to take a photo of a soybean plant submerged in water, all I could think of was the animated Disney movie Finding Nemo. Then I began to sing the angelfish Dora's famous line---"just keep swimming, just keep swimming." While soybeans are resilient, the reality is that there are feet upon feet of water burying some of these plants and the likelihood of recovery is getting slimmer with each passing rain shower. And the corn, well, there will be…

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    Right To Farm

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     by Mindy Ward
     on May 31, 2013

    With the ceremonial toss of the papers in the Missouri House of Representative Chambers, the 97th General Assembly session ended. As an intern for the Missouri House Information office during my college years, I witnessed first-hand the roar of the legislators as the final gavel struck. Then simultaneously there was the throwing of papers filled with hand-written notes and proposed bills From my balcony viewpoint, it was interesting to see their faces. Some were pleased, some angst…

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    Get To Grillin'

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     by Mindy Ward
     on May 28, 2013

    Pork steaks from Mizzou Meat Market-$7.16 Propane tank filled-$20 The smell of barbecue on the grill-Priceless. Memorial Day weekend kicks off our family's barbecue season. It brings about the sights, sounds and smells of summer. And I don't care if you are cooking up beef, pork, chicken, turkey or lamb, for our family, it just does not get any better than that. Honestly, I am not sure how those who are vegans can resist the smell of a slab of meat cooking on the grill, my mouth…

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    Gas At $6.37 Per Gallon

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on May 14, 2013

    I recently attended a day-long workshop focused on technology and innovation for the dairy industry. Spending a day with Kiwis was a fun experience. From their dialect to their discussions on agriculture, I realized that agriculture producers could share a bond that transcends continents, if they are willing to see what they have in common and appreciate their differences. In the morning, we set out to visit a farm north of Kansas City that was using a New Zealand company fencing system…

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  • Mindy Ward

    FFA Honors The Fallen And Faithful

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     by Mindy Ward
     on April 26, 2013

    The youth in agriculture never cease to amaze and impress me. This year at the 85th Missouri FFA Convention in Columbia, members were honored for their work on contest teams, leadership experiences and Supervised Agricultural Experience or SAE. However, this year I was more impressed with what they did beyond individual and school accomplishments. When Elsberry FFA members Jessie Knox and Bo Young took to the stage as part of the talent portion of the convention, I was ready for some…

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