March 18, 2014

How Fat Is Too Fat?

Filed under: Agriculture,Beef,Cattle,Jaclyn Wilson — Jaclyn @ 8:02 pm

The Boss Man and his Wife returned from their annual vacation around a week ago. Even though the Uncle is still around, I do promote myself to Boss Man Junior at this time and inform all the livestock and pets that I will answer by that moniker only (and yes, I did say “moniker”). With the lack of conversation during those couple of weeks, my brain is usually on overload and this time was no different.

How fat is too fat?

Yep, I can’t get this one off my mind.  I’m female, so one of my first arguments every morning is with the lovely bathroom scale.  Most mornings I leave the pad of torture with a smile, but some mornings you can just call me Garfield.  We have become a nation focused on obesity, but why hasn’t that carried over into the Beef Industry?

Let me start at the beginning with this train of thought.  So there I was sitting in the feeder tractor at the lot waiting for a load to finish mixing.  I usually have a couple of magazines in the cab to pass the time, and the magazine of choice for the day was the new issue of TIME magazine.  I lean right, and I’m well aware that TIME is not right, but hey, it was free.  TIME had an article about the new “American Nightmare” which is a generation of children that may have a shorter life expectancy than their parents because of obesity.  The article went on to talk about how being overweight or obese at a young age can expose children to higher rates of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, atherosclerosis and that they are twice as likely to develop certain cancers.  It also noted that premature aging of the obese/overweight young body can cause signs of chromosome wear and tissue damage seen only in older generations.  It was an interesting read, and I didn’t think much about it until I started reading the next publication in the stack.

The next publication was a well-known ag newspaper that provides seedstock sale reports.  I’m reading through the reports and one that probably wouldn’t of caught my attention normally, this time preoccupied my mind for the last week.  The report talked about a production sale that was selling bulls some of which weren’t even a year old that weighed 1500lbs.  That was a little discerning in itself that year old bulls, whose purpose is to chase cows around a pasture weigh the same as a finished feedlot steer.  The kicker??  The reporter followed up by saying that there was no loss to longevity or soundness.


Okay, somebody please explain this to me.  How can I read an article that talks about scientific studies done in animals and humans where being overweight/obese leads to the list of issues above, but an overweight/obese yearling bull is going to have soundness and longevity?

I’m well aware that pounds sell in today’s industry, but maybe it’s time to look at the internal damage we are doing to livestock that are pushed too hard too fast and expected to stay in herds for years.

I’m still a firm believer that I would like to be reincarnated as a feedlot steer.  Who wouldn’t want to sit around and eat all day?  But, maybe we need to start looking at those whose purpose in life is to not sit around and eat all day and ask ourselves are we really doing what is best for the animal…and ourselves?

February 6, 2014

Call to All Beef Producers!

Filed under: Agriculture,Beef,Cattle,FMD,Jaclyn Wilson — Jaclyn @ 1:02 pm

The Olympics start tonight. I’m currently in Nashville at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and will admit that I will probably bypass the opportunity to watch the opening ceremonies for a evening at the Grand Ole Opry. Now, I’m well aware that until they have an Olympic event for loading the Kramer bale processor the fastest, or ATV half pipe that I will never be an Olympian. Terrorism has been an ongoing issue of concern with Sochi. We hear time and time again about terroristic threats not only in Sochi but throughout the world. I can guarantee that the introduction of Foot-And-Mouth (FMD) into the United States would make the majority of those terrorism acts look like a walk in the park.

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) wants to allow the importation of fresh beef from 14 Brazilian states under certain conditions. Currently due to long standing concerns over FMD only thermally processed beef has been allowed in the States from Brazil.

FMD affects cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, deer, and other cloven-hoofed animals. It can be spread by direct contact, aerosol, eating contaminated feeds, clothes, shoes, people, vehicles etc. etc….starting to get the picture?

One infected animal would have a catastrophic impact on the US livestock industry. A small scale example would be to take the 14 county area of southwest Kansas. 1.2 million cattle would have to be destroyed. That’s just the start…what about those truck that carried those cattle, the visitors to those operations, even a UPS truck, or how about the pharmaceutical rep that left from the lot to board a flight to another lot in a different state. That 1.2 number rises fast, and the burn piles become larger and larger.

Brazil has not proved themselves free of FMD long enough to enter the US Market in the form of fresh meat.

ALL beef producers need to comment on this. PLEASE go to Search for (2009-0017) and comment on how devastating this could possibly be to US beef producers! Comments need to be received on or before February 21, 2014.

Hopefully the Sochi Olympics will avoid all catastrophes, and with your input hopefully the US beef industry wiill do the same.

September 19, 2013

On the Road Again…

I’ve been on the road the last couple days. I call these trips my “reintroduction to socialization.” The Boss Man usually calls them something else….

Sunday I ventured down to Lincoln to kickoff the new Nebraska LEAD class. This was the first kickoff seminar that I’ve attended since my own stint through the LEAD Program a mire 9 years ago. It was great to interact with the next wave of movers and shakers in Nebraska ag as chair of the Nebraska Agriculture Leadership Council (the governing board for the program). Monday morning I zipped over to Sully, IA to look at a group of replacement females that we had sold, and back to Omaha by late afternoon to participate in the Nebraska Regional Workshop on Sustainability.

The workshop sponsored in part by the Beef Checkoff, NCBA, Nebraska Cattlemen, WWF and others brought forth individuals that represent the beef supply chain from across the US. Representation from companies such as Tyson, JBS, Cargill, ConAgra, NGO groups, McDonalds, Wendys, YUM Foods, Darden, Walmart, Costco, and others got together and talked about sustainability.

Around 50 people representing the entire beef supply chain were at the workshops, and the information was outstanding. Round table discussions started the workshop off in Omaha, followed by a day of tours to a packing plant, feedyard, cow/calf operation, and presentations following from conservation and landowner groups. The second morning concluded with a trip to MARC, panel discussions, and more round table.

The topic of sustainability is one that has come to the forefront especially in the last decade. I had mixed reviews on perception before the workshop, but what i learned was pretty astounding. I’m going to spend the next couple of blogs really focusing on sustainability, what my perception is, and what I learned. There is not going to be any quotes from companies or individuals as I will protect identity as I’m a firm believer that it helps promote future open conversations that can improve trust between the sectors, but I’m excited to share some insight.

September 3, 2013

Here’s to Another 125!

Filed under: Beef,Cattle,Jaclyn Wilson,Life,Nebraska Cattlemen,politics,Ranch — Jaclyn @ 10:21 am

We had a shindig at the ranch recently in celebration of our 125th.  The year 1888 must of been a progressive one as we share the anniversary with the Nebraska Cattlemen, the closest “metropolis” (Alliance), National Geographic and Limited Edition Bourbon.  Dealing with family for a year or two can be a headache; but a 125 years (?!?!),  it definitely provided an excuse for a big party.

The evening was perfect, and it was great to hear some of the old stories that were being told.  One of the gifts we received was a copy of a letter that my great great grandfather had written in 1918.  The story was that there were some individuals that were wanting to divide Sheridan County into north and south.  My great great grandfather AM Wilson, was admittedly against it and got into a wordsmanship game with the editor of the Antioch News.  Editorial titles of “County Division Propaganda a Myth Advocated by Mythicals for Selfish Purposes Only” and “Hear the Mad Bull Bellow” were entertaining and effective as the county decided not to divide.  I included a copy of one of the editorials by AM.

Editor Rushville Standard:

Dear Sir: Kaiser Broom of the Antioch News seems to have been frosted a little following my letter to your paper a short time ago, expressing my views in regard to dividing the county.  I tried to state the facts as they actually exist.  I hadn’t intended to start a mudslinging game, but as the New editor has made some statements which are the blackest kind of lies, I will try to correct them.

First he says: ” Do we want old fossils and stiffs to dominate?”  No, Mr. Broom, certainly not.  The county affairs should not be trusted with the property owners and tax payers, but should be taken over by office seekers, hoodwinkers and rotten political shysters of Mr. Broom’s calibre, who would like to hold down a cushioned chair and do the wind work while the old stiffs go down in their pockets to carry out his own selfish schemes.  Indeed it would be lovely for the old fossils to empty their pockets into his-he might flop his wings harder in the 400 class.  He likes to do the dominating himself, but wouldn’t soil his white hands to help make those good roads he speaks of.  I, with my men and teams, have been out doing road work while perhaps this popular Broom was guzzling down beer or playing a game of poker or perhaps was in the Times office in Alliance begging the editor not to publish his name when he and his poker friends “got pinched.” I advocate good roads and bridges across the streams but I believe in using a little judgment in building them.  We can’t expect to have macadamized roads in the sand hills, but the man who says I am afraid to spend a few dollars for modern and progressive improvements is only wasting gas.  Talk about progressiveness, a $5000.00 court house would certainly denote it.  It would be a disgrace to the country.  Also the sand hill towns have nothing to do with the value of ranch land, the valuation depending largely on the demand for our products in the east and foreign countries.  The News editor also states the almighty dollar is my ideal and the statement is pretty far fetched when he refers to family affairs, and I will be explicit enough to say my family comes as near to having what they want as any family in the county and I may also add when my family asks for Mr. Broom’s sympathy along those lines will be plenty soon enough for him to grant it.  The News editor refers to me as an old stiff.  I wonder if the dear boy really knows what he’s talking about?  In the hospitals they call the “dead ones” stiffs but, my dear Mr. Broome, I’m a very lively corpse yet and as for my being an old fossil, unpatriotic and unprogressive, I’ll show the stubs to my checks to the Red Cross and Liberty Loan alongside of his any time.

-AM Wilson

They sure don’t write like they use to!

July 18, 2013

Counting Sheep

Filed under: Agriculture,Beef,Cattle,Life,Ranch — Jaclyn @ 8:55 pm

What does Google, NIKE, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, the Boss Man, Uncle and myself all have in common? We are nap takers! A daily power nap is almost a requirement around here with early mornings, and late evenings getting a 30 minute shut eye right after lunch has been passed down through generations. It helps mood, performance, memory, alertness; but, it does not help slow eating, as food is usually scarfed down Hell Week military style to get a couple of those much needed minutes of solitude.

A NASA study backs up the claim by showing that a nap of just 26minutes can boost performance by as much as 34%. Employers are also taking notice and companies are developing nap rooms and nap times to recoup some of the $150 billion a year of lost productivity because of tired workers.

There is a time and a place for a nap. With new trucking regulations that went into effect the beginning of the month, that place was going to be a loaded cattle pot for 30 minutes within the first eight hours of driving. I laughed outloud at the idiocy.

Well, last week the DOT kind of redeemed themselves as they granted a 90-day waiver for livestock transporters as a result of being hammered with request from livestock groups to rethink this stupidity. It’s not over people, this is just the beginning and I highly encourage you to contact the DOT or your politicians and encourage them to permanently repeal the 30 minute nap period. If we have cattle in the corrals, or on the trailer it is not the time to be taking a nap. Ranchers have figured that out, now the DOT needs to do the same!

July 9, 2013

“They Say It’s Your Birthday”

Filed under: Agriculture,Beef,Cattle,Jaclyn Wilson,Ranch,Running — Jaclyn @ 11:22 pm

Thirty three years ago today, the Boss Man and his Wife were “blessed” with a perfectly ornery, opinionated, hard-headed, bull nosed…the list can go on for a while….child.  Yep, it’s my birthday, and what a great one!

The day started off a little before five as I pulled my butt out of bed to hit the gravel running.  Running was followed by an on-key serenade from the Boss Man’s Wife, testing bulls, an off-key serenade by the Uncle, an argument with my four wheeler and an evening out on the town with the potential of a I didn’t know serenade by the waitress which was cut off pretty quick.  Oh, and free dessert…which I did reluctantly hand to Ryan to take with him to work tomorrow…I’m getting old you know.

The advantage of having a birthday around here is that you have clout for the day.  I used it as often as I could.  I informed the deer flies that it was my birthday.  I told the vet that I could play on the phone while testing bulls because it was my birthday.  I even told the Boss Man’s longhorn steer who was engaged in a game of buffalo with me that today was my birthday.

For some reason even though it was my birthday I still ended up the day covered in sweat, bug bites, and manure.  Evidently my clout skills need some work.

I wrote a blog yesterday about the negativity that is included in social media.  The response was amazing.  Of course there was the individual that disagreed with everything I said and did…to each his own, but what was amazing was that I received some great emails, and I want to thank those that took the time to spread encouragement.  With that and all of the birthday wishes I felt extremely blessed…and it led me to an idea.

I have a friend from Kansas that turned 30 this year.  She is an avid runner and decided that she was going to set a personal goal for herself of racing in 30 races while she was 30.  She’s on number 20 right now, and looks like she’s set up to clobber that goal.  Now there is no way in heck I’m going to try and run 33 races when I’m just hoping to run one in November (that yes she talked me into), but that doesn’t mean I can’t do something else.

All the positivity I received today made the one negative tolerable.  So for the next year, I’m setting a personal goal to do 33 acts of kindness.  This can’t be something that I already volunteer for or find myself already doing or participating in….it needs to be above and beyond.    It might be little/big/ or crude what did I get myself into act, but it needs to make somebody smile and inject some positivity into their day.

With that being said keep on the lookout for #1, hopefully coming soon!


July 8, 2013

Guess Whose on a Rant?

I hope everyone had an amazing Fourth of July.  Ryan and I survived the family reunion… well barely, thanks to a little firework incident.  The family is gone, and it’s back to the grind.  I just finished this blog for the Young Producer’s Council of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and wanted to share it, along with the latest video….enjoy!

I’m not a social media junkie.

I opened my Facebook account after I had returned home from college as a way to stay somewhat connected to my non-ag. sorority sisters,  family members that live in other states, and even members of the ag. community which I may see only once or twice a year.   It’s a great way to advocate, to share a story and to build a rapport with others that aren’t in my industry.  It CAN be a positive tool for our generation, and maybe I’m a newbie at this…but when did Facebook become a soapbox?  A place to spread written words meant to insult and degrade? A way to hurt feelings, damage reputations, be disrespectful or make a person feel like they are wearing a scarlet “A”?

Case in point, last week I read a post written by an individual that had leased his ranch, sold his cows, and had an auction to sell the equipment.  He wrote a post to thank people for coming, bidding and being a part of a huge turning point in his life.  It was a sincere post.  There was one reply that surprised me…one individual decided to question his choices, and proceed to tell him the new lease is most likely not going to be part of a community, or give back to the community even though he didn’t have the foggiest idea who the leasee was. It turned a positive post into one that left a bitter taste in my mouth.

I don’t think that social media should be used as a public forum to degrade others, to lose professionalism, to cuss, swear and show pictures of your buddies passed out over the toilet.  It’s not the place to insult others in our industry, to forget that we all have a similar common goal, or to respond without knowing the whole story.  I’ve definitely been guilty, but I’m learning.

I’m not saying that we need to all be political correct or agree all of the time, but as someone in production agriculture our numbers are dwindling more and more…it’s time to start sticking together and work on bridging those gaps.

We have bigger fish to fry then insulting the neighbor.  I’ve said it many times before and I will say it again…I don’t agree with those that want to sit down and have a lovely conversation with HSUS, PETA, or an other anti-agriculture group.  That does not mean that other individuals can’t.

Instead I want to focus on how I can be better: a better rancher, a better steward, a better advocate, a better person.

I want to share what I do in a way that’s proactive and educational…and social media CAN do that.

I’m including a video that was taken the same day I wrote this blog.  Talking the talk is great, but utilizing videos on social media in a proactive and educational way can close that gap between rancher and rancher and rancher and consumer.  As for being better with social media, I’m going to reread my next status update…I hope you do too…now if I could just figure
out how to use a hashtag!


June 27, 2013

National Forgiveness Day

Filed under: Agriculture,Beef,Cattle,Global Forgiveness Day,Jaclyn Wilson,Ranch — Jaclyn @ 12:17 pm

The Committee for Education and Cultural Action started National Forgiveness Day in 1998.  The name has since been changed to Global Forgiveness Day.  Happening on June 26 of every year it’s a time to forgive and to be forgiven.  In honor of the day, I came up with my own list of those that I wanted to forgive or ask for forgiveness.

1.  I would like to ask for forgiveness from those two cows remaining on by “dumb cow list”  even though your complete idiocy got you on the list in the first place, I ask you 0503 and 1198 to forgive me for calling you “stupid bovine” every time I see you.

2.  To my brother whom I “accidently” stabbed in the foot with a pitchfork when I was in grade school…I’m sorry.

3.  To the Boss Man’s Wife for the best April Fools joke in college ever:  including an officer, a fax machine, and being hung over in the slammer…even though you did ground me for life…please forgive me.

4.  To my banker for saying “I sometimes forget you are a girl.”  I forgive you.

5.  For blaming the hired hand that left 10 years ago for all the breakdowns that are still happening today…I’m sorry… (But I doubt I quit doing it!)

6.  To that same hired hand for asking (when I was welding on an autogate) “how come you aren’t in the kitchen cooking?”  You are forgiven (with very clinched teeth!)

7.  To Ryan, for leading him on the first night we met by telling him I drove a Prius…please forgive me.  (Though I bet he’s happy the “Prius” was a Powerstroke.)

8.  To grandma for trying out the new semi-automatic laser on her kitchen walls from a third of a mile away…if you saw the green laser designs, I apologize and no it was not extraterrestrial.

9.  To the Boss Man for putting him in blogs.  International Forgiveness Day is coming up in July, so I will probably ask for forgiveness for that again then.

10.  To my readers and editor…just because I’m sure I need to be forgiven for something!

Happy Forgiveness Day!

June 26, 2013

The Beef State

I have to chuckle whenever I cross the state line into Nebraska. I’m a big supporter of “Nebraska-The Good Life,” but considering cattle outnumber trees almost 10 to 1 here on the ranch, “Home of Arbor Day” is a little misrepresentative of this area. Between the gophers, rabbits, deer, cattle, drought and I’m sure there is probably even extraterrestrial involvement it’s almost easier to win the lottery than to get a tree to reach maturity out here. We do treasure the trees that we have, but we treasure our cattle more.

The Nebraska Cattlemen and Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation are bringing “The Beef State” back in style with the reintroduction of The Beef State license plate. The Beef State plate came on the scene originally from 1956 to 1965, and thanks to a program offered by the Nebraska DMV that can create a state issued plate, once again “The Beef State” can soon be found on vehicles within “The Good Life.” The plates will have an additional fee, can not be personalized and a set number of people have to sign up before production….but for the opportunity to promote my livelihood, SIGN ME UP!

The plates have been narrowed done to three choices. Anyone can vote on their top pick by going to the Nebraska Cattlemen website at and pick your favorite. The voting ends on June 28th!

June 25, 2013

Passing on the Legacy

I attended the Nebraska Cattlemen Midyear this last week.  The meetings took place between The Prairie Club Golf Course and the Valentine High School.  One of the highlights for me was listening to a panel made up of the Nebraska Stock Growers, Nebraska Livestock Feeders and Nebraska Cattlemen Presidents and EVP’s that recalled and discussed history of key events and issues from the last 125 years.

The panel might not have had as much significance for me if we weren’t also celebrating our 125th year here at Wilson Ranch.  The last couple of weeks have been full of nostalgia as I’ve been looking through old photographs, listening to stories, and starting preparation for our birthday party in August.  I continue to learn something new about our history on a regular basis.  Today’s tidbit of information was that we originally started as a Shorthorn outfit before my ancestors started purchasing purebred Herefords in the 1930’s.

There are two sides to being part of a multigenerational operation.  I’ve heard both. There are those that commend the operation for functioning through the trials and tribulations of 125  years and still being successful, than there are those such as the dingbat in Kansas this weekend (that I met for the first time, but knew Ryan) that said “You got a pretty good gig going on up there don’t cha.”  Either way the stories are fascinating, the history is inspiring, and the legacy can continue on.

The moral of this blog is…we all have a history.  Whether we are ranchers celebrating a milestone, associations reaching the big one, or a town (Alliance is also celebrating their 125th) that has pulled through the tough times, that history is a vital part of who we are, why we are here, and how we can continue.

At the Prairie Club on Tuesday evening, with the Governor and a who’s who of past and present Nebraska ranchers, feeders, and agriculturist, there was a commemorative panoramic photography taken.  Sitting in that group looking around the circle made me choke up a little as my thoughts began to wonder to the future and what would someone think of the photo 125 years from now?  Besides wondering why the heck some of us were in golf clothes, I hope they can pick out a couple faces and say that’s why my family is here now and this is the difference that that person made.

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