Friday, July 30, 2010

The Dawn of a New Year & Old Mediocrity

I know this is an odd title, especially since I haven't posted a blog in almost a month. A month!! Can you believe that? The month of July swallowed me, spit me out and now I'm back at school. This summer was crazy busy, but the busy-ness allowed me to pack as many visits with family, friends and conferences as I could into 10 weeks. Today was my first day "officially" back on the job and it was a good one at that. I am planning on posting more in the coming weeks, but I can't promise anything. Anyway, I thought I'd share an excerpt from an interesting article that a fellow Ag teacher and friend passed along to's sad to read, especially since I am a high school teacher from the state mentioned in the article. Please pray for our educators, our legislators...and me as I begin a new year!

Turning around Arizona's reputation for educational mediocrity
Published on Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Copyright (c) 2010 Inside Tucson Business

According to a new study, Arizona is winning a race, not to the top but to the bottom - we are about to lead the nation in jobs for high school dropouts. To help reverse this dangerous trend, the state must reshape its higher education system to attract, serve and graduate more college students. (Katy's note: not every kid needs to go to college, but they better not drop out of high school!!)

The study by Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce tells us that Arizonans are at-risk of being locked out of the middle class. (Katy's note: who is Uncle Sam gonna use to pick up the slack when it comes to taxes if we don't have a middle class? [Insert evil laugh.]) It predicts that Arizona will have enough jobs for high school dropouts, but soon we will be woefully deficient in the number of college graduates needed to fill the high wage, modern jobs that businesses demand.

What may be most concerning about this report is that it speaks to a persistent mediocrity in our state. Already, 45 percent of Arizona's high school students do not pursue any form of higher education after high school - the lowest rate among 50 states. Only 25 percent of Arizonan's hold bachelor's degrees.

Friday, July 9, 2010

You can't get away from God's love

Did you get that memo? You. Yep you. You can't get away from God's love! What a wonderful message, huh?

"And I am convinced that nothing can ever seperate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow - not even the powers of hell can seperate us from God's love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below - indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to seperate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Romans 8:38-39

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Rock on Feedlots

Arizona Young Cattlemen's Initiative (YCI) distributes a weekly email that is packed full of great information. Recently, this email contained a link to an article written for Precision Nutrition by vegetarian author, Ryan Andrews. Andrews was given an exclusive tour of the Magnum Feedyard in Wiggins, Colorado. He was stoked about the opportunity and had no clue about what his experience would be like. Fortunately for us (us = beef producers and other agricultural operations), Andrews was impressed by the healthcare, nutrition and sanitation that all cattle at that feedyard are exposed to. I am confident when I say that I think we would have found similar experiences at feedyards across the US. Props to Magmum Feedyard for doing an awesome job of representing one segment of the beef industry, and props to Mr. Andrews for his willingness to seek the truth when it comes to animal production in the United States. You can read the article for yourself here. A short excerpt is listed below to wet your appetite.

And, I have to say it. If my experience at Magnum is representative of other cattle farms, all those accounts of the dismal, depressing, disastrous cattle conditions seem to be exaggerated.
No, I’m not going to start eating meat again.

However, if I did eat meat, my visit to Magnum would have made me feel great about eating non-organic, non-grass-fed beef. Seriously. I can’t imagine the quality of meat would be substantially better with organic and grass-fed. Nor can I imagine the living conditions would be substantially better for the cattle.

Now, to be clear, we don’t require meat in our diet. And I don’t think we should be using cows for food, doesn’t matter if the cattle are kept on a feedlot or chilling in a waterbed listening to John Tesh. But that’s my own value system and I’m well aware that 97% of people in the U.S. eat meat on a regular basis.

However, considering the amount we procreate in the U.S. (there’s a birth every 8 seconds and a death every 12 seconds); and the amount of meat we eat (222 pounds per person, per year – not including marine life); and the small amount of money we’re willing to spend on food (we spend 9.6% of our disposable income on food, the lowest in the world. India spends 53%, Venezuela 34%, Italy 26%, Japan 19%, France 16%); feedlots have it right.

People want meat. And Magnum’s feedlot system is dialed in. They’re producing safe and cost-effective meat in, arguably, the most cattle-conscious way (short of opening up those pens and letting them run free). Rock on Magnum.