Category Archives: Cows

Life of a Coach

So I’m trying something new — serving as the Assistant Coach of the KSU Dairy Judging Team. I loved my time spent on the team; I learned SO much about myself and the dairy industry as a whole!
Now, coaching is an entirely different process. Sure, I’m still judging cows and heifers, but I also get to teach the other K-State judgers how to defend their placings using oral reasons. As a communications major, talking has never been hard for me … but learning dairy terms proved to be challenging.


This past weekend, I coached the Kansas 4-H Dairy Judging Team at the NAILE (North American International Livestock Exposition) in Louisville, Ky. They are a very talented group of college freshmen! These three individuals all grew up on dairies, so they know plenty about cows, but it was my job to fine-tune their reasons. I’m happy to report that they did great, and finished 9th overall in the contest, 5th in reasons, and placed in the top 10 in 3 separate breeds! Additionally, a few individuals got their names called individually!

The team at the awards breakfast (L to R): Myself, Darren Mueller, Andrea Steenbock and Maggie Seiler.

We even made time for some sightseeing while in Louisville! We went to Churchhill Downs and took in a few horse races as part of the Breeder’s Cup weekend. Here’s some of the teams’ shenanigans!




By Robin Kleine

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Filed under Agriculture, College Life, Cows, Dairy, judging, Kansas State University, Leadership, Milk

Miss America at Kansas State University

Appreciation & agriculture; there isn’t any better combination that fits Miss America 2011, Teresa Scanlan, who will speak to K-State on Tuesday, November 15th at 7p.m. in McCain Auditorium.

Coming from a rural agriculture focused town in Nebraska, Teresa makes it her passion to inform the nation about supporting farmers and their contribution to feed the nations ever-growing population.

Miss America will speak about “Agriculture in America Today” fall presenter in the Upson Lecture Series. The lecture is free and open to the public, but donations of nonperishable food items for the Flint Hills Breadbasket are encouraged.

I encourage everyone to attend as she is a great representation of not only our nation, but agriculture as a whole. Check out her video titled “Real Farmers, Real Food.”

By Natalie Laubner

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Filed under Agriculture, agvocacy, College Life, Cows, Crops, Dairy, Kansas State University, Leadership, livestock, Milk, Nebraska

WTF? Where’s the Food…Without the Farmer?

I am Beth Holz and I love farmers!

Which is why I am supporting the WTF? Where’s the Food Without the Farmer? movement coming to K-State on November 10th.

K-State students will be around campus on November 10, 2011 educating consumers about agriculture, passing out information, and telling students where to find credible information about their diet choices.

K-State will be joining other schools, such as:

  • Texas A&M
  • Cal Poly State University
  • Oklahoma State University
  • University of Arkansas
  • Fresno State University
  • UC Santa Barbara
  • Iowa State University
  • Woodland College

Use social media to follow the activites!

Twitter Hashtag: #WTFILF2011

Don’t forget to “like” and check out the facebook page “NEW I love Farmers…They Feed My Soul”

Help support this movement and get involved with WTF? Day!


Beth Holz

By Beth Holz

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18th Annual Accelerated Genetics Dairy Judging Contest

Hello everyone!

We will be following our judging teams throughout their season. The Dairy Judging Team went to their first contest September 18th, in Viroqua, Wisc. At the Vernon County Fair.

We left Manhattan Thursday afternoon, and spent the night in Grand Junction, Iowa … home of Beth Holz! Her parents hosted the team for the night, and her mom spoiled us with delicious food! She even made dairy cow cookies, and her brother James named them all. (Note From Beth: James is 25 years old)

Flo, Mable, Iris, Ida & Hattie were all yummy! Plus, it was great to meet some of the team’s family.

From there, we had two practice farms in NE Iowa on Friday. The team got to evaluate some excellent Holstein, Milking Shorthorn and Brown Swiss cows. We also got to be tourists and stop at the Field of Dreams movie site.

Here’s the team on the field. Silly boys!

On Saturday, we practiced in SW Wisconsin. We saw a stellar group of Jerseys, Brown Swiss and Guernsey cattle. Plus, all the farms were very hospitable and enjoyed spoiling us with treats.

Here’s the team taking notes as they evaluate a class of Jersey cows.

 Sunday was contest day! The team judged 10 classes and gave 5 sets of reasons.

Kansas State University ended up 7th overall, 4th in reasons and 5th in Jerseys.

Back Row L to R: Coach Jon Pretz, Amanda Miskiel, Matt Brandt, Nathaniel McGee, Beth Holz and Assistant Coach Robin Kleine. Front Row L to R: Sarah Harris, Jennifer Wyatt.

 Congratulations to the team, and best of luck! The next contest is Oct. 3rd in Madison, Wisc. At World Dairy Expo. I promise to post the results as well!


By Robin Kleine


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Innovation Breeds Excellence

Above is the current slogan for Accelerated Genetics, the beef and dairy semen sales company that I worked for this summer in Baraboo, Wisc. (about an hour from Madison.)

(Background on the semen industry: Farmers and ranchers breed their cows with semen collected from elite bulls to give them access to the best genetics in the industry without making a huge investment on a bull themselves.)

Before I got to the land of cheese, I really didn’t know what I would be doing, other than “marketing and communications work” for the beef division. Pretty broad if you ask me…

I started with some press releases, and my projects got continually more complex. And for those of you with any design experience, I got REALLY familiar with InDesign REALLY fast.

Besides some other design work, and my first nationally syndicated advertisements (I had ads in Angus Journal, Red Angus Magazine and Livestock Plus), I also got to travel and try my hand at photography. Little did I know, I would become best friends with a Canon Rebel!


The advertisement I made for Red Angus Magazine


I spent about two weeks on the road, first traveling to VA, WV, MD & PA. to ride with our district manager in that area, Robert Whitacre. He showed me around some beautiful country, and some even more beautiful Angus cattle. Despite the recent outbreak of pink eye in the area and my constant battle with carsickness from driving in the mountains, I LOVED what I saw!

This is 014AN00317 Poss Total Impact, I snapped this picture at North American Breeders in Virginia. Total Impact is the #1 $B Bull in the Angus Breed. This picture is currently being used by Accelerated Genetics in their marketing campaign.

 Three days later, I was back in the Madison airport, bound for Denver, CO.  Here I met up with Harold Miller, a Regional Beef Specialist with the company. We toured around the state for four days, looking at herds of every breed and color. Harold and I continue to keep in contact, as he also serves as a herd consultant, assisting farmers and ranchers with breeding decisions.

This picture was taken at Coleman Herefords in Westcliffe, Colorado. This little heifer calf is sired by one of Accelerated’s horned Hereford bulls, 175E.

 I got to learn SO much about the commercial cattle industry, and really reinforced what I had learned in my Farm Animal Repro class I took at K-State. Before this internship, I was certain that I needed to stay in school and get a graduate degree or two. Now, I’m not so sure … maybe industry is the place for me?

If anyone is interested in this internship, or another internship with the company, I invite you to check the website: and look under the company tab for the internship page. They offer about 9 summer internships a summer, and have many possible jobs for someone interested in the beef, dairy or semen collecting business.



By Robin Kleine

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“You Gotta Want It” – KSU Dairy Judging Team

In the world of animal production today, the importance of conformation and performance is on the rise. We search for the most correct animals with the greatest combination of qualities. In the world of dairy cattle it is no different; you’re looking for the “good uddered dairy cow.” There is a large need for the understanding of dairy judging in the production world today. Without the ability to measure sustainability and performance, and increase the production of these cattle we will lose the ability to provide the nation with so many different dairy products. My thoughts and knowledge of the dairy industry both have been amplified since joining the KSU Dairy Judging Team.

An Unusual Start

My background in the dairy industry and dairy judging is very short. With my Grandpa operating a dairy (back in Michigan) I had the opportunity to help in the milking parlor and even show some registered Holsteins, however my knowledge of the industry and the way it works stopped there.  My judging experience is all in Livestock Judging where I have competed in 4-H, FFA, and a few collegiate events.

The 2010 team was very small and looking for new recruits to take on the challenge of dairy judging, this is how Beth Holz and I became members of the KSU dairy judging team. After a very rough introduction, a lot of help and a quick contest, I was hooked.

The Team

You don’t need a background in dairy to be a member of the team; all you need is the passion. If you want to get involved start by enrolling in the dairy cattle evaluation class (ASI 396) taught by the coach of the team, Jon Pretz.

The team competes in four main contests during the year; the Southwest in Ft. Worth Texas, the World Dairy Expo in Madison Wisconsin, the Accelerated Genetics contest in Viroqua Wisconsin and the NAILE in Louisville Kentucky. Along with these the team often travels to smaller contests that we are invited to and on the way stop at many dairy farms to practice and learn more about judging. To learn more about the team’s history and contest results check out our page on the k-state website!

Motivation, Dedication & A Whole Lot of Cows  

Judging dairy cattle is a fun and exciting way to learn more about a dynamic agricultural industry. You can’t be afraid to get dirty, or reach out of your comfort zone just a bit. When I began judging I didn’t know what I had gotten into, however with motivation, dedication and a whole lot of cows, it’s been the experience of a lifetime.

Being on the Dairy Cattle Judging team has allowed me to learn so much and get to know so many great people even better than I did before. It has been the greatest opportunity and I would recommend judging to everyone! And always remember, “You gotta want it!”

God Bless,

Sarah Harris

By Sarah Harris

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My Experience at Pfizer Animal Health-Natalie Laubner

Prior to deciding what I was going to do for the summer, I had numerous options running through my mind: 1.) I could go home for the summer to lend a hand to my parents with farming/ranching which would be VERY helpful to them, 2.) I could take summer classes and stay inManhattanto graduate early or 3.) Obtain an internship hopefully from 1 of the 4 companies I applied to, to help me decipher what I want to do with the rest of my life. While I pondered these options and after hearing disappointing news from 3 of the 4 companies that they had already hired there summer interns, I had faith in my last company, Pfizer Animal Health.  A couple months later I got a step closer by getting a phone interview and then with a follow up call that I had got the internship. After telling my parents I wouldn’t be there to help them this summer (which went better than I thought it would), I packed up my stuff and headed to Kalamazoo,Michigan.

I had not a clue what I was going to get myself into as the internship description was very brief due to Pfizer’s confidentiality policy. After meeting my supervisor, I entered my first week of the internship and went through training.  As weeks passed I was working both downtown and at the farm preparing protocols, attending team meetings, processing cattle, going to family farms … etc. 

It was a busy internship which I really enjoyed. I was involved primarily in cattle studies and one swine study.  The cattle studies were focused on trying to alleviate the #1 challenge for producers today, respiratory diseases, both viral and bacterial. Moreover, I spent most of my time assisting in the development of vaccines for cattle or improving those that are on the market already.

I got to meet 30 other great interns that had diverse backgrounds, and they all had a variety of positions from veterinary assistants to statistics to chemistry. Overall, it was one of the greatest internships that I could have ever asked for. Although I can’t say every detail of my internship, it was a heck of a learning experience where I got a 10 week job interview, great pay and available overtime. I have learned so many valuable lessons while stepping into the “work force.” I know that I don’t really prefer an 8 to 5 type of job because of the freedom I had growing up on the farm,  I don’t want to graduate early, I don’t particularly care for paperwork, and how small the agricultural world is getting by making numerous connections with Pfizer colleagues. I’d encourage any other undergrad, vet student or even graduate student to apply for the variety of internships Pfizer offers in January.  If you are one that gets concerned about being away from home—step out of your comfort zone and take the chance to see what it feels like to work at a great company. It will be one of the best summers of your life without a doubt!

By Beth Holz

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Agriculture Facts

  • Mature turkeys have more than 3,500 feathers.
  • There are 47 different breeds of sheep in the U.S.
  • Pork is the most widely eaten meat in the world.
  • The average person consumes 584 pounds of dairy products a year.
  • 160 degrees Fahrenheit is the correct cooking temperature to ensure safe and savory ground beef.
  • Elevators in the Statue of Liberty use a soybean-based hydraulic fluid.
  • Like snowflakes, no two cows have exactly the same pattern of spots.
  • The longest recorded flight of a chicken is 13 seconds.
  • Twenty-nine cuts of beef meet government guidelines for lean.
  • The average dairy cow produces seven gallons of milk a day, 2,100 pounds of milk a month, and 46,000 glasses of milk a year.
  • Turkeys originated in North and Central America, and evidence indicates that they have been around for more than 10 million years.
  • Agriculture employs more than 24 million American workers (17% of the total U.S. work force).
  • Today’s American farmer feeds about 155 people worldwide. In 1960, that number was 25.8.
  • Raising beef cattle is the single largest segment of American agriculture.
  • One pound of wool can make 10 miles of yarn. There are 150 yards (450 feet) of wool yarn in a baseball.
  • Soybeans are an important ingredient for the production of crayons. In fact, one acre of soybeans can produce 82,368 crayons.
  • The heaviest turkey ever raised weighed 86 pounds, about the size of an average third-grader.
  • Cows have four stomachs and can detect smells up to six miles away!
  • Cows are herbivores, so they only have teeth on the bottom.
  • There are 350 squirts in a gallon of milk.
  • Cows must give birth to a calf in order to produce milk.



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Honoring Norma Lyon, “The Butter-Cow Lady”

The Iowa State Fair is one of the most exciting events for a child (or adult) in Iowa. The fair is known for the high quality show animals, food on a stick, great performers, and the big boar. However, no fair-goer steps foot on the fairgrounds in Des Moines, without stopping into the varied industry building (and not to get the free pork and beef samples) they are there to see the famed buttercow, and other butter creations.

Norma Lyon, the artist behind the buttercow, and other butter scultures died at age 81. I feel honored to have been able to see her creations as a young fair goer. Every year, I would wait in line, or crowd close to the window where these creations were displayed. That week, I would watch PBS highlight the events of the Iowa State Fair, always hoping to hear more about one of my favorite parts of the fair.

I consider Norma Lyon a culture icon. Ask anyone from Iowa, they have either seen, or at least heard of the buttercow. To an Iowan, the buttercow is as common as corn and pigs, and a must-see at the fair. Her craft, although unique, has given Iowans something to be proud of and something to set us apart from other midwestern states.

Please read more about the life of Norma Lyon, an “Iowa Culture Icon” and a huge contributior to what makes the Iowa State Fair special:

Norma “Duffy” Lyon, whose life-size butter sculptures of cows, Elvis and even Jesus and his disciples delighted Iowa state fairgoers for nearly half a century, has died. She was 81.

 Lyon suffered a stroke at her rural home Sunday and died shortly after at a hospital, Michelle Juhl, one of Lyon’s nine children, said Monday.

Known to most people as the “butter cow lady,” Lyon was pregnant with her seventh child when she produced her first bovine butter sculpture, a 600-pound cow, for the Iowa State Fair in 1959.

The rural Toledo housewife went on to sculpt a butter cow every year until she retired in 2006, and along the way also sculpted the likes of Garth Brooks, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, Smokey Bear and other images in her 40-degree refrigerated showcase at the fair.

She picked up her penchant for sculpting while earning her veterinary science degree at Iowa State University and helping her husband with the family dairy and beef cattle operation. In the midst of her animal medicine and mammalian anatomy classes, Lyon took two sculpting classes.

The Iowa State Fair has featured a butter cow every year since 1911 as a promotion for dairy products, and Lyon got her start after working briefly under her predecessor, Earl Dutt, whose work didn’t overly impress her.

“It was a good farm cow, but it wasn’t a show cow,” Lyon told The Associated Press in 1999.

While Lyon wasn’t the genesis of the butter cow, she did expand the medium during her time as a butter sculptor for the state fair, much to the delight of fairgoers.

She began carving companion pieces in 1984, starting with a horse and foal. In 1996, Lyon recreated Iowa artist Grant Woods’ “American Gothic,” the famous painting of a stern-faced man and woman with a pitchfork in front of a farm house.

The following year, Lyon suffered a stroke, but recovered in time to sculpt the traditional cow and a 6-foot likeness of Elvis Presley that saw fairgoers lined up around the building that housed it.

In 1999, Lyon took on what was arguably her most ambitious project: Her own rendition of the biblical story of the Last Supper, featuring disciples around a table leaning back on lounge chairs while Jesus stood at the head of the table with his arms stretched out, looking toward the heavens.

Lyon also garnered attention in 2007, when she publicly backed Barack Obama for president and appeared in campaign ads for him.

“She was very patient and kind,” said Sarah Pratt, who took over as “the new butter lady” in 2007 after apprenticing under Lyon starting when she was 14 years old. “She loved to tell stories, and she’d laugh and we’d laugh together. She was at her best, I think, when she was sculpting.”

Juhl, who was 4 when her mother sculpted her first butter cow for the fair, doesn’t remember a time when her mother wasn’t the “butter cow lady.” But she does remember getting to travel to Des Moines for the fair.

“Mainly because we got to stay at a motel and eat out,” Juhl said. “Coming from a family of nine kids, we didn’t get to do that very often.”

Lyon is survived by her husband, G. Joe Lyon, her nine children, 23 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

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June is Dairy Month!

I'm saying thank you to my brown swiss for providing me with dairy products!

June, the month parallel with no school, summer, BBQ’s, and weddings–but most important, for me, as a dairy farmer’s daughter, is that June is Dairy Month. June became Dairy Month back in 1937, when they wanted to promote the dairy industry, and begin influencing children and parents to get their dairy nutrients. You can find many articles about dairy month on several websites, here are a few:

I am sure you are wondering why I am promoting Dairy month so fiercely, well my friends, I am a future dairy farmer. I feel this promotion is important to be successful in the industry. Many would rather work with beef cattle, pigs or sheep, maybe even grow crops, but all I want to do is milk a cow. The dairy industry was a  huge part of everyone’s daily life, unfortunately with the economic pressures and many other “substitute” items coming out, promising better health, the industry has lost a lot of power. These days the smaller farms are having to quit milking, and if you want to survive you better get more cows. While there are still plenty of larger operations providing milk to this country, I feel like everyone should know and thank the smaller farmers still putting in their hard work and dedication to providing a great tasting product to every household. Dairy farmers have strong passion for their job, I know this because of something my father told me once and I have never forgot, he said, “I do not farm to make a living, I farm because I feel as though this is what I am supposed to do to provide food for everyone so that they may survive in this world too.” That is the reason, I want to keep the dairy farm alive and thriving, I want to provide nutrients and delicious dairy products to help others, too.

I could go on for hours and hours talking about the struggles, up and downs to owning and operating a dairy farm, large or small, but I will save that for another time. I guess my main point is take time this month to thank those hard-working dairy farms that milk every day of the year, yes everyday— even holidays—365 days of milking— two or three times a day. The hard work and passion that provides the nutrients you need by just taking the time to drink that glass of milk, enjoy a piece of cheese, or fill your sweets craving with some ice cream. Go ahead you know you want some form of a dairy product now, enjoy it!

By Deanna Patterson

Working with the land.

2010-2011 Dairy Judging Team , (left to right) Justin Souza, Robin Kleine, Beth Holz, Deanna Patterson, Sarah Harris, Jon Pretz (coach)

My very own Annabell!

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