Thursday, April 29, 2010

Iceland’s Volcano

So, I posted this on my animal advocacy blog, Ag on the Forefront, but I am so in awe over the pictures I've seen from Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano, that I wanted to share here too. This volocano, that affected millions of travelers around the world, even had the World Health Organization issue a health warning to Europeans, not to mention the health affects of locals.
Lightning streaks across the sky as lava flows from a volcano in Eyjafjallajokul April 17, 2010. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

As I look at some of these pictures and think about animal welfare, it shows that Iceland farmers were concerned for the safety and health of their livestock, thus sealing barns and moving them to safer locations. They were out sacrificing their health (shown by the guy covered in ash) for their animals. Collected here are some images from Iceland over the past week, and check out the link below for more amazing pictures. (Drag your mouse over each picture for description.)

The volcano in southern Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull glacier sends ash into the air just prior to sunset ON Friday, April 16, 2010. Thick drifts of volcanic ash blanketed parts of rural Iceland on Friday as a vast, invisible plume of grit drifted over Europe, emptying the skies of planes and sending hundreds of thousands in search of hotel rooms, train tickets or rental cars. (AP Photo/Brynjar Gauti) #

 Horses fight near the town of Sulfoss, Iceland as a volcano in Eyjafjallajokull erupts on April 17, 2010. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson) #  Farmer Thorarinn Olafsson tries to lure his horse back to the stable as a cloud of black ash looms overhead in Drangshlid at Eyjafjoll on April 17, 2010. (REUTERS/Ingolfur Juliusson) #  Farmers team up to rescue cattle from exposure to the toxic volcanic ash at a farm in Nupur, Iceland, as the volcano in southern Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull glacier sends ash into the air Saturday, April 17, 2010. (AP Photo/Brynjar Gauti) #Sheep farmer Thorkell Eiriksson (R) and his brother-in-law Petur Runottsson work to seal a sheep barn, in case winds shift and ash from a volcano erupting across the valley lands on their farm, in Eyjafjallajokull April 17, 2010. The current season is when the spring lambs are born and such young animals are especially susceptible to volcanic ash in their lungs so they must be stored inside. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson) # Ingi Sveinbjoernsso leads his horses on a road covered volcanic ash back to his barn in Yzta-baeli, Iceland on April 18, 2010. They come galloping out of the volcanic storm, hooves muffled in the ash, manes flying. 24 hours earlier he had lost the shaggy Icelandic horses in an ash cloud that turned day into night, blanketing the landscape in sticky gray mud. (HALLDOR KOLBEINS/AFP/Getty Images) # A farmer checks muddy volcanic ash on his land in Iceland on April 18, 2010. (HALLDOR KOLBEINS/AFP/Getty Images) # Wearing a mask and goggles to protect against the smoke, dairy farmer Berglind Hilmarsdottir from Nupur, Iceland, looks for cattle lost in ash clouds, Saturday, April 17, 2010. (AP Photo/Brynjar Gauti) #  Horses graze in a field near the Eyjafjallajokull volcano as it continues to billow dark smoke and ash during an eruption late on April 17, 2010. (HALLDOR KOLBEINS/AFP/Getty Images) #Lightning, smoke and lava above Iceland's Eyjafjallajokul volcano on April 17, 2010. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson) #

Click Here for more pictures from Iceland’s volcano.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Av has a story to tell…

My truck/SUV, a 2003 Chevy Avalanche has something to share. You see, I bought this pickup myself (after taking advantage of an employee discount with Farm Credit and a nice loan from them!) in July of 2003, the summer before my senior year of high school. It was (and still is) my dream truck because it is so versatile! I can haul things, yet stuff stays clean in the back because it seals up so nice.

Ronny and I debated trading her in after we got married, but I'm just not ready. But this week, driving between Lexington and Broken Bow, Nebraska, we crossed a milestone. Ready???























I really wanted my truck to start blinking its lights and to hear cheering noises to come from the stereo and confetti blown from the vents. But it didn't. Instead, she just did this...100001

Oh well. At least she's still running good. And for her 7th birthday, I think I'll buy her some new shocks. :)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

St. Louis…

I was in St. Louis, MO last week for a State Staff meeting with our national headquarters, NCGA. When we weren’t in meetings, we got to do a couple fun things…like a downtown STL scavenger hunt complete with Polaroid cameras, and a Cardinals Baseball game!  Here are some pictures of the fun, beautiful days:

A statue of Pinocchio in the CityGarden…beautiful spot in the middle of the city!
DSCI0010A view of the Arch!
DSCI0011I can’t decide which one of these is my favorite. Even though the Arch is kind of odd, it really is a beautiful piece of art!  DSCI0013 DSCI0017DSCI0014 DSCI0015 DSCI0016

 DSCI0018 DSCI0020DSCI0019

The next day, we went to the STL Cardinals game and got to sit in the Monsanto club level suite. :) We also got there early enough to catch batting practice on the field and see Matt Holiday (who used to play for the Rockies…sad he left.)  DSCI0021DSCI0026DSCI0028DSCI0030

This isn’t Matt, but another player (not sure who) but my counterparts wanted a pic. :)DSCI0022

Views from the Suite:


And FredBird…I love his name. :)DSCI0038

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Heading to STL...

I’m currently sitting at the airport, waiting for my flight to St. Louis to head to State Staff meetings at our national headquarters, National Corn Growers Association (NCGA). Our meetings are to coordinate all the state staff members on current issues, and programs and campaigns to work on for the future. I’m also sitting on a panel to discuss issues, and my role is to talk about corn-fed vs. grass-fed (grass-finished) beef.

We’ll also get to do some fun stuff! Tonight is dinner at Hard Rock CafĂ© with a scavenger hunt (who knows what that will entail) and then a Cardinals/Astros baseball game on Wednesday. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera cord so if I have time, I’ll update pictures with my phone, but may have to wait until I get back.

Until later… pray for Ronny and Hank home alone all week. :)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

An Agriculture Civil War

I posted this on my agvocacy blog - Ag on the Forefront - earlier today and wanted to share here as well as it is something that I want to get out on the table and have a discussion about.

As a person who grew up only around beef cattle, and now working in the crop commodity world, I find it SO frustrating that sometimes the two don't get along. Yes, sometimes events in one industry affect the other industry, but why does 2% of the population that is involved in agriculture have to fight against eachother? We are already getting picked on by the other 98%, so we need to stick together!

This is what prefaces my frustration. It's strange that an organization representing the meat industry, so dependent on farmers, is waging war against someone so fundamental to their livelihood - but that's exactly what the American Meat Institute and its allies are doing in their opposition to corn-based ethanol. They're using deception and distortion in a new ad campaign on Capitol Hill that is designed to kill the ethanol industry and drive down the price of corn so the big food conglomerates can make more money.

In the words and daily speech of my boss, it is well known and documented that the higher corn prices and other commodities of 2008 were brought on more by the value of the dollar, speculative trading and weather, than corn being converted to ethanol. It is also well proven that it was energy prices and transportation cost that spiked food prices during that era, and ironically as commodity prices have dropped; food price index has remained strong comparatively.

  • The ethanol industry is critical to our farms, to all of rural America, and to our country's energy independence that we work together to support agriculture.
  • We need to support, not kill, U.S. jobs. Our domestic ethanol industry supported nearly 400,000 jobs in all sectors of the economy during 2009.
  • Corn prices are half what they were at their peak in 2008, even with ethanol production on the rise. Ethanol demand has little to do with food prices.
  • Compared to gasoline, ethanol provides significant environmental benefits, especially when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. EPA recognizes that corn ethanol provides a GHG reduction of up to 52 percent compared to gasoline.
  • The ethanol industry more than pays its way. Taking into account how much tax revenue the industry generated and the value of key tax credits, the ethanol industry generated a surplus of $3.4 billion for the federal treasury in 2009.
I would be interested in hearing your comments on the situation.

Monday, April 5, 2010

What's better than... adults on a Easter egg hunt!?!
These were my dear cousins, siblings, husband and I (all over 18 years old) getting ready for the Bailey's Annual Easter Egg hunt. We had quite the time and even got some good loot (including cash)!

We all got pictures on the famous tire swing. Ronny was sick so I'll give him that excuse for not getting on the swing, but everyone else enjoyed themselves!


All of this because two people fell in love <3

 Check out more Easter pictures on Caitlin's facebook album.