mission to promote agriculture, we will be highlighting a wide variety of blogs from farmers, ranchers and other agriculture professionals. If you have an idea for a submission (or would like us to feature your blog) email Julianne Johnston for consideration.

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December 2012 Archive for Blogging for Agriculture

RSS By: Pro Farmer Editors, Pro Farmer

As part of Pro Farmer's mission to promote agriculture, we will be highlighting a wide variety of blogs from farmers, ranchers and other agriculture professionals. If you have an idea for a submission (or would like us to feature your blog) email Julianne Johnston for consideration.

Give to Local Pet Shelters, Not HSUS

Dec 18, 2012

About the blogger: Larry Sailer is an Iowa pork producer. His blog was featured in The Field Position. We highly encourage you to forward this link to your friends, family and neighbors that don't understand the difference between local pet shelters and the Humane Society of the United States.

'Give to Local Pet Shelters, Not HSUS'

Who can resist a playful puppy or a cuddly kitten, right? We’ve even received some Christmas cards featuring dogs dressed in a Santa hat or kittens peeking out from Christmas stockings.

While pets are cute, they undoubtedly require time and attention. Not everyone enjoys being a pet owner, thus we hear too many stories about animals being mistreated or neglected. This past fall I actually witnessed a puppy being dropped off along the highway as I was driving my tractor with two, full wagons of corn. By the time I crossed the highway with my tractor and wagons, this little dog was standing in the middle of the road. I jumped out of my cab and shouted for the little dog to come. Luckily, he ran toward me! Then I took him home where I placed him into a kennel with some food and water before I went back to finish my farming.

It wasn’t long before I discovered this little dog wasn’t too fond of cats. Since we have lots of farm cats, Janice and I contacted our local pet shelter but it didn’t have room for another dog. Our daughter, Sara, checked with the animal shelter in Iowa City where she volunteers but didn’t have any luck there. We kept trying to find a home for him without avail.

After about two months of trying to find the little guy a home, Janice decided to google "animal shelters." (NOTE: I shy away from the term, Humane Society, and I’ll explain why later.) Janice found the Humane Society of North Iowa. The staff at the Humane Society of North Iowa was very friendly and said they would put this little dog on their waiting list. About one week later, someone from HSNI called and said they had a spot for the little dog. Although I was getting attached to the little critter by now, Janice and I decided to check out the place.

We made the 45-minute trip to Mason City with the dog. The whole time I was driving I was thinking, "If it’s not a nice place, we’re not leaving the dog!" Even though we were being critical, HSNI impressed us with its new facility. There are lots of wide, open spaces and a big exercise area. The animal areas are very clean, and there are many people caring for these pets. Young ladies were swooning all over the little dog from the minute we brought through the doors, and we were convinced it would be a good place to leave him. The staff asked us many questions about the dog and then used that information to create a profile for him on the website. Perhaps you might even know someone who would like to adopt Phoenix. (Remember, his name may be changed by the family who adopts him. I didn’t even give him a name since we weren’t planning to keep him.)

Another reason we felt comfortable leaving "Phoenix" with HSNI is because the organization doesn’t receive funds from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), a non-profit organization claiming to care for animals. This organization shows pictures of scared little kitties and abused dogs on late-night TV, then asks you to donate $19/month. The truth is, HSUS uses emotion to raise money for their retirement funds and to hire lobbyists. Only one half of one percent of the funds raised goes toward animal care! Most of your local pet shelters, even if they have similar names, have no affiliation with HSUS.

Most local pet shelters, even if they have similar names, have no affiliation with HSUS. Local shelters will even tell you that HSUS confuses the public and ends up diverting funds meant to take care of unwanted pets. It ticks me off that HSUS runs misleading ads about its support for animals and doesn’t even help support local shelters.

Please don’t give money to HSUS. If you want to help animals, donate directly to your local pet shelter! Janice and I were extremely impressed with the Humane Shelter of North Iowa. There are many more local shelters across the U.S. doing a great job of caring for animals, so I hope you’ll help support their noble efforts. As a farmer with livestock, animal care is very important to me.


Women are Changing the Ag Landscape

Dec 10, 2012

About the blogger: Shannon Latham is a wife, mother of two and serial entrepreneur. She serves as Vice President of Latham Hi-Tech Seed. in Alexander, Iowa. She is also chief pumpkin picker at Enchanted Acres, LLC. Previously she was an account executive and public relations specialist at The Meyocks Group and served as president of the Iowa Chapter of National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA). Shannon earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Ag Journalism/Public Service and Administration in Agriculture from Iowa State University, as well as an MBA from the University of Iowa. She is also the author of "The Field Position."

'Women Are Changing the Ag Landscape'

Recently I had the opportunity to spend two, action-packed days attending Top Producer’s Executive Women in Agriculture (EWA) event in Chicago. It was a great opportunity for farm women to connect with others who have similar interests and to also attend many professional development seminars. Hats off to Top Producer magazine and Farm Journal companies for acknowledging – and celebrating – the fact that agriculture is a career path for women!

The definition of "woman’s work" has evolved over the years as women became more involved in the decision-making process. "The percentage of farms now influenced by women is significant," says Danny Klinefelter, Texas A&M economist and director of The Executive Program for Agricultural Producers (TEPAP). In an article posted by Top Producer editors on agweb.com, Klinefelter said more women than ever are graduating from TEPAP. They’re becoming key decision makers and often the point person for purchasing decisions.

This trend is also apparent at Iowa State University where 47% of the students enrolled within the College of Agriculture are female. Majors most popular among the female students include: Animal Science, Dairy Science and Pre-Vet. Agronomy has risen in popularity and Ag Business remains strong. There also is a high percentage of women enrolled in Ag Education with the communications option. Food Science, Nutritional Science and Dietetics attract a high percentage of female students, as well.

"It’s refreshing to see headway made on dissolving the stereotype that agriculture is a male-dominated industry," says Mike Gaul, Director of Career Services for the ISU College of Ag. "Subsequent progress is being made to lower the ‘glass ceiling’."

Corporate America is not alone in recognizing the value of females in agriculture. As more farmers understand how business management relates to production management, Klinefelter says more women are earning business degrees and even MBAs before returning to their family farms.

Women’s roles in agriculture have evolved. During the opening session of EWA, Klinefelter said women involved in farming operations today often have the following responsibilities:

  • CEO
  • General manager
  • Public relations
  • Marketing
  • Purchasing
  • Human resources
  • Risk management
  • Information technology
  • Sales
  • Landlord relations manager
  • Data analysis


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