Thought of the Week

Agriculture relies on infrastructure
to be globally competitive,
including dependable and affordable power, water, transportation and communications services.

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Cowboy Logic Video

Ryan Taylor Cowboy Logic Video for all y’all!

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Pizza My Heart

I’m pretty sure there’ is/was a pizza place in Santa Cruz, California with that name! Pizza could probably be named The World’s Favorite Food. Pizza can be fancy shmancy gourmet from a specialty pizza shop, or a slice from Domino’s, and the toppings are only limited by your imagination! Who doesn’t like pizza?!

Piiiiizzzzzzaaaaa Photo source

Photo source

Here’s a brief timeline of how pizza came to be:

4000 BC – the Egyptians begin making bread with yeast.

425 BC – Egyptians celebrate Pharoah’s birthday with a flatbread seasoned with herbs.

600 AD – Mozzarella cheese made with the milk of water buffalo (still done this way in Naples, Italy!)

1522 – Tomatoes are introduced to Europe from Peru, and added to yeast dough to make the first pizza.

1600’s – Naples becomes the true birthplace of pizza. It was made by peasant men known as “pizzaioli.”

1889 – The Margherita pizza is named after Queen Margherita, Queen of Italy. Queen Margherita and King Umberto I had Raffaele Esposito, a famous pizza maker, make them a pizza. The dough was topped with mozzarella, basil and tomatoes to represent the colors of the Italian flag. The Queen loved the pizza so much that it was named after her!

A pizza and its namesake. Photo source

A pizza and its namesake.
Photo source

Late 1800’s – Italian immigrants bring pizza to America.  Pizza peddlers carry tubs of pizza up and down the streets.

1943 – The fist deep-dish pizza was made by Ike Sewell in Chicago. The Chicago-style crust is born, with a deep crust an inch or more deep with lots of toppings.

1945 – American soldiers stationed in Italy fall in love with pizza. When they get home, they want their pizza!

2004 – Americans buy more than four billion fresh and one billion frozen pizzas this year!

Just about every country in the world makes pizza. The toppings vary, and are definitely very different from good ol’ pepperoni!

Japan: eel, squid, and mayo jaga (Mayo Jaga is made with tomato sauce and its toppings are onion, corn, potato, pancetta, paprika and mayonnaise).

Salmon and eel pizza. Thanks but no.  Photo source

Salmon and eel pizza. Thanks but no.
Photo source

Pakistan: curry

France: with an egg, sunny-side up, on top!

This looks pretty awesome. Photo source.

This looks pretty awesome. Photo source.

India: mutton, pickled ginger, tofu and paneer, which is similar to cottage cheese.

Russia: served cold and topped with sardines, tuna, mackerel, salmon and onions.

Australia: emu, kangaroo and crocodile meat with BBQ sauce.

‘Merica – pepperoni, tomatoes, cheese, peppers, sausage, onions.

So, now you know a little more about pizza! Go order or make yourself one for dinner tonight. You’ll be supporting America’s farmers and ranchers, and making your whole family (and your tummy) happy!

All that pizza! Photo source

All that pizza! Photo source

And be on the lookout for more pizza posts to come!


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Thought of the Week


The nation that destroys its soil
destroys itself.

-Franklin D. Roosevelt

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Doomsday Seed Vault Opened!

You may have read about the “Doomsday Vault,” which stores seeds from all over the world.  The Svalbard Global Seed Vault or “Doomsday Vault” was built in Norway in 2008.  It currently contains more than 850,000 seed samples from all over the world.  Its purpose is to safeguard the world’s future food supply in case of a worldwide catastrophe like nuclear war or disease.  There are multiple seed banks scattered around the world.  The purpose of the Svalbard Bank is to store backup samples from all of them.

Entrance to the vault. Photo source

Entrance to the Svalbard Vault. Photo source

Regional and national seed banks are vulnerable to loss from accidents, mis-management, equipment failure, natural disasters, and war.  The seed bank in the Philippines was destroyed by flood and fire, and the seed banks in Iraq and Afghanistan have been lost.

The Svalbard Vault is dug deep into the permafrost of a remote Norwegian island.  It is cooled even further to -0.4*F to preserve the seeds indefinitely.  The vault is built to hold 4.5 million seed samples, many times more than the 1.8 million agricultural crops thought to exist.

Countries may make “deposits” of seeds at no charge.  Norway and the Global Crop Diversity Trust cover all of the vault’s operating costs.  Funding for the Diversity Trust comes from many different organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as from governments worldwide.

The seed vault operates much like a safety deposit box at a bank.  The seeds are stored and protected at the vault, but they belong to the depositors, and can be withdrawn at any time.

Seeds in storage. Not very exciting. Photo source.

Seeds in storage.  Not very exciting. Photo source.

Now, less than 10 years after its opening, a withdrawal is being made from the Svalbard Vaults.  Agricultural officials from civil war-torn Syria have requested withdrawal of samples they deposited years ago.  Their own national seed banks have been damaged in the ongoing conflict, and the withdrawn seeds will replenish those banks.

The seeds were requested by the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas.  ICARDA moved its headquarters to Beirut from Aleppo, Syria in 2012 because of the war.  This organization does research on varieties of barley, wheat and grasses suited to dry areas.

Syrian farmers harvest wheat in a field in Assanamein area, south of Damascus August 20, 2009. REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri

Syrian farmers harvest wheat in a field in Assanamein area, south of Damascus August 20, 2009. REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri

It is unfortunate that a withdrawal from the Svalbard Global Seed Vault had to be made so soon.  However, it demonstrates the prudence and necessity of not only national and regional seed banks, but also the necessity of a global backup seed bank in protecting our food source.  In case of true global disaster, a seed bank will be the most valuable resource humanity has.

NPR Article: “Syrian Civil War Prompts First Withdrawal from Doomsday Vault”
Svalbard Global Seed Vault

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Cool Facts About Wheat

Wheat harvest is just finishing up across the nation, so we thought we’d share some interesting facts about wheat!

Farmers on 160,817 farms in the United States grow about 2.27 billion bushels of wheat (100 million bushels are grown right here in Idaho!).

Around 10% of the world’s wheat comes from the United States, with 2/3 of our nation’s wheat grown in the Midwestern states.

Around 975 million bushels of wheat are sent out across the world, with the majority going to sub-Saharan Africa, Japan, Mexico, and the Philippines.

Photo source

That’s a lotta wheat!  Photo source

One bushel of wheat weighs approximately 60 pounds, and contains about 1 million kernels.

A single bushel of wheat will make 73 loaves of bread, or 53 boxes of cereal or 72 pounds of tortillas.

Delicious Amish White Bread from the blog Sweet Morris

Delicious Amish White Bread from the blog Sweet Morris

Wheat is classified by time of year planted, hardness, and color (like Hard Red Winter Wheat or Soft White Spring Wheat). The characteristics of each class of wheat affect milling and baking when used in food products.

Of the wheat consumed in the United States, over 70% is used for food products, 22% is used for animal feed and residuals, and the remainder is used for seed.

Wheat is one of the most important crops worldwide, and is grown on more land area than any other crop.  About 1/3 of the world’s population depends on wheat for their nourishment.

There you have it, some interesting facts about an ancient crop that, more than ever, is still hugely important to each of us today.

I’ll bet you’re all wanting to try out that bread recipe!  Go get yourself some flour, say a thanks to the farmers who grew it, and enjoy a fresh loaf of bread!

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Would You Like A Side of Fries With That?

Um, is that even a question?! I will always take some fries with that. Nowadays, though, you might have more options than just good ‘ole potato fries. Any starchy vegetable can be made into tasty fries.

Here are some of the more popular forms of fries that you can sometimes find in restaurants or make yourself at home.

Potato Fries

You know ’em, you love’em. Potato fries in all their forms – shoestring, crinkle, homestyle, curly, steak, regular, or waffle. Potato fries can be served sprinkled with a myriad of herbs and spices, covered with cheese and chili, dunked in fry sauce (please tell me you know about fry sauce) or ketchup, or served just about any other way you can think!

Potato fries vary in their calorie content, depending on the cut, whether they’re baked or actually fried, and what you put on them. If you have them with the skin on the fiber content goes up a bit, and of course you want all the good vitamins and minerals that potatoes have. Mmmm!

Baked Potato French Fries

  • 3-4 russet potatoes, scrubbed clean and dried
  • 1/4 cup Olive or Canola Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Chop potatoes into matchsticks by halving, halving once more, then cutting into wedges, then strips.
  3. Line two baking sheets with foil and generously spray with nonstick spray.
  4. Add fries plus a generous drizzle of oil and salt and pepper Toss to coat.
  5. Arrange fries a single layer making sure they aren’t touching too much. This will help them crisp up and cook evenly.
  6. Bake for 25-35 minutes, tossing/flipping at least once to ensure even baking.
  7. Remove from heat and set aside.
  8. When the fries are finished, remove from oven, sprinkle again with salt. Toss to coat and serve immediately.

Fry Sauce
Fry sauce is apparently a regional thing (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah), and I’m sure glad I live in that region! It’s about two parts mayonnaise and one part ketchup, with a sprinkle of salt. So good on fries, burgers, fish sticks, hot dogs, etc!

Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potato fries are gaining in popularity, and for good reason. They’re darned good! You can find them in all the same forms as regular potato fries, and they’re often served salted or with salt and tasty herbs. You can sometimes find, or could make yourself, sweet-sweet potato fries, flavored with sugar and cinnamon.

Sweet potato fries have more fiber, protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and calcium than regular potato fries. They’re a great way to add something interesting and tasty to your meal!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, rinsed and dried
  • 2tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Cut the potatoes into 1/4″ thin strips, or to your desired thickness and length. Mix all other ingredients together in a large bowl and toss with the potatoes until they are evenly coated.
  3. Transfer the potatoes to a large baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Spread the potatoes in a single layer. Try not to overcrowd or have multiple layers of fries — you want them to be roasted, not steamed.
  4. Place in the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes, turning the fries once or twice during that time to cook evenly. May take more or less time, depending on the size and thickness you cut the fries.
  5. Remove once the edges slightly begin to brown and fries begin to crisp. Sprinkle salt on top when they are hot out of the oven.


Zucchini Fries

If you’re going to eat zucchini, you might as well make it into fry form. Zucchini fries are breaded in order to make them crispy, but they’re still very low in calories, fat and carbohydrates.

Zucchini Fries

  • 2-3 small zucchini, sliced into fry shapes
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 420F.

Lightly grease a cooling rack, place it on a baking tray, and set aside. Set up an assembly line: flour and spices in one bowl, milk in another, and breadcrumbs in a third. Dip each zucchini stick in the flour, then the milk, then the breadcrumbs. Place on the cooling rack. Bake 18-19 minutes, or until desired crispiness is reached.

Carrot & Turnip Fries

Carrots and turnips are great vegetables to turn into fries. They’re prepared the same way as potato or sweet potato fries, and are a fun way to get some good veggies in!

Carrot/Turnip Fries

  • 1 12lbs carrots or turnips
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a shallow pan with foil.
  2. Using a sharp knife, slice away the tip and end of each carrot; peel each completely.
  3. Cut carrots in half crosswise, then cut lengthwise, then cut lengthwise again.
  4. In a mixing bowl, combine the carrot sticks, olive oil,  salt and pepper. Stir until all are evenly coated.
  5. Place carrots in pan, spreading sticks out as much as possible. Bake for 20 minutes or until carrots get crispy but not burned. Sprinkle again with salt when you remove them from the oven
  6. Serve hot!



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Thought of the Week

“You’ve got to give your customer what they want at a price they can afford, along with a good dose of tender loving care.”

-Joe Alberston, founder, Albertson’s Food Stores

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Now That’s A Smart Cow!

At first you think this cow might be helping the others out by releasing them. Nope! She just wants the goodies all to herself!

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Said By A Farm Kid…


The grandmother, while loading lambs to take to market, tore a rip along the top of her right ring finger.  Down to the bone.  No tendons damaged.  Lots of blood.  But, it stopped bleeding pretty quickly, didn’t hurt too much, and the finger still worked, so she got the lambs all loaded before stopping to take a good look at it.

She showed it to her 4 year old grandson who was standing by.  He put his hands on his hips and peered closely at the gory wound.  After a careful inspection he looked up at his grandmother and proclaimed, “You need to go to the vet!”

Out of the mouths of babes.


Posted in Education, Farm Families, Farmers, For Kids, Livestock Production, Ranchers, Sheep, Women in Agriculture | Tagged , | 1 Comment