Monday, June 10, 2013

Accidently Illinois Bound..

So I guess it's about time I get my butt back in blogging gear since I've taken an accidental break for the last couple months. But I do some pretty exciting news to share

I guess I'll start with the fact that I finished my senior year of college which my parents are thankful for! I'm not done yet though.. one more semester (hopefully, fingers crossed) which i'm fine with, from what I've heard the grown-up life isn't all it's cracked up to be.

When I was finishing up this year I had no idea what I was going to do this summer, I had applied for an internship with Midwest Dairy Association (MDA) in Kansas City,  got the dreaded "you were so great but we offered the position to someone else" and I just figured it wasn't meant to be. The lady with Midwest did said that she had forwarded my application to her counter part in Illinois and asked if that was okay with me. I said sure not really thinking too much of it. It was literally finals week and I got a phone call one morning. It was the MDA rep from Illinois calling to see if I was interested in the internship, with a little consideration I said sure, why not.

I'm not quite sure if when I said yes to this internship that I realized that I would have to live in Illinois for the summer.. a good 8 hours from Nebraska. After a few phone calls with my future boss, I packed up my car and headed East with very little idea of what I was doing. To give you a clue on how unprepared I actually was for this I didn't have a place to live yet when I got in the car the morning that I was Illinois bound, for some reason that didn't' seem to bother me (it seemed to bother other people more than me).

My box that i was going to live in while in Illinois

Luckily it worked out really well and I found a decent apartment in Springfield with a cool roommate. I've been here for a little over a week and have already done some really cool stuff!
Proof that I did actually make it Illinois
First night in the new apartment, the whole street flooded.
We found a mattress floating down the street so
we decided to go for a ride! 
Got to attend some meetings with the Illinois Milk Producers Association and Illinois Ag in the Classroom.

FBI building my meeting was in.. SO COOL! 

My favorite was attending a meeting at the FBI headquarters here in Springfield. They have a work group consisting of different individuals with connections and influence over different Ag industries in the state. We talked about different things on the terrorist radar for the FBI and different possibilities for Agro-terrorism and different ways that could be prevented. Coolest part of the whole meeting was going through all the security (dorky I know!) and that all the agents in the building had guns they carried with them.. SWEET RIGHT?! I wanted to ask if I could see their guns but I don't really wanna end up in jail during this internship so I decided against that idea.

So lucky for you all you'll be hearing a lot more about my adventures here in Illinois and it's even more exciting because JUNE IS DAIRY MONTH! WOOHOO.. pretty exciting so look back for more blogs soon!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Jack of our Hearts

Everyone knows football in Nebraska is kind of a big deal.. DUH. They drew 60,000 fans for their spring game this last Saturday, people enjoy going because Nebraska wins. The usual talk after the spring game is how Taylor Martinez looked, how the running backs look to do without Rex Burkhead, or if the Offensive and Deffensive lines could look more aggressive this year (lets pray!). There has been no such talk this year, not one mention. because something even more amazing happened... a slight return of faith in humanity and college athletics. In recent years we have seen college athletics really go down hill, football especially, problems with drugs, grades, staff, etc.  However, Husker nation has once again found a reason to be so very proud of this program and this university.

Meet Jack Hoffman, if you're a Husker fan you've heard of him I'm sure and he's won over your heart. He's a six year old that has been battling pediatric brain cancer for about 2 years. He was born and raised in Nebraska and found a passion for football just like any one else in this state. His favorite player was always Rex Burkhead and got the chance to meet him in 2011. Every since then Jack has been seen hanging around with Rex and the team at various games and events. He's also beloved by Husker fans all over the world, they sell 'Team Jack' t-shirts, as you can see from their facebook page, people love wearing them.

Well on Saturday Jack and the football team had a little surprise for fans.. I'll just let you watch the video to find out what happened.

Simply amazing! This is just one of the many reasons I'm a Husker fan.. how can you not be? Spring games are usually not remembered but I assure you this one will be for a long time! It was the game that the good of the team was put second to one little boy and his cause.. inspiring! 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ag Day

Yesterday, Tuesday, I got to do one of my favorite thing.. AGVOCATE of course. I was asked by our state Midwest Dairy rep to talk about dairy to the students that were attending the Ag Day. 
Here is a link for an article about the event!

I talked at this same event last year to nearly 400 students and was impressed with the turnout and the event in general. They said last year the event numbers were down due to school district budget cuts and not having the funding for busing. So the organizers of the event decided to make a short video about what kids experience during the event. They sent the video out to anyone in that area who had influence over school planning and budgeting. Clearly it worked! This year there were nearly 850 students who attended! That is purely amazing! Many had no idea about what the difference between a dairy and beef cow were or that there are quite an array of products in the grocery store that are made from milk, but that's what they were there to learn!

Of course my favorite part of any event like this is the questions

One of the MANY classes I spoke with

*When I asked what products at the grocery store were made from milk these are a few of the answers I got - "cake", "bacon" "eggs" (this was a common answer), "bread"  so needless to say the Aggie in me had to give them a quick lesson on where those things actually come from

 * how exactly cows turned water and feed into milk.. this one stumped me

*how come cows drink milk to make milk 

*a few arguments on whether we can milk bulls 

*a few class discussions on what that "thing sticking out of that cows butt is" - turns out they were talking about the udder... who knew?! 

So after nearly 40 presentations I was dairy'ed out and ready for a nap, but all-in-all it was a success, hopefully those kids learned something!

I used the video to help start discussion
and questions.

~Lastly, here is a video that I love to use when I present about modern dairy farms. The kids really enjoy this video, it does a great job keeping their attention and giving them the important general facts! 

Wordless Wednesday

Life lessons from a calf: don't forget your coat and
don't go out into the cold if you don't have to...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

New Addition

Myself and Baby Grant.. he's a cutie

So yesterday my family got a little bigger, pretty exciting stuff I know! I got a text yesterday morning at about 9:15 with a picture announcing the arrival of our new cousin,Grant. It was a bit of a surprise because Aunt Carol wasn't supposed to be induced until the night of the 13th. So of course I was so excited I left work early, skipped class and headed to the hospital to see the new little guy.  

I made a quick stop on the way there to pick up a few 'essential' things; a 6 pack of beer, a tub of cheese balls, skittles, Twizzlers, and of course diapers! Now most would be wondering why I picked up beer on the way to the hospital (beer and baby Tuesdays?!) so I'll tell you so you don't assume Carol is a drunk (just fyi, she's not!!). Carol and I had been talking about my 21st birthday from the time I turned 18, however she found out she was pregnant right before my 21st so she wasn't able to attend that disastrous outing. I had joked I would bring her beer to the hospital, and boy was she surprised when I did. So it was a pretty exciting day in that we also had our first beers together, chicken only drank 1/4 of hers: wasn't like she just had a baby 8 hours ago... ohhh wait :).


Big brother Alex and Carol are in the midst of negotiating
at what age Alex can start wrestling his new brother! 
Needless to say it was a pretty awesome day, I got to see her other two boys reaction to seeing their brother for the first time. That happy brotherly bonding moment was over quickly when they realized I brought candy, cheese balls, and that there was free pop down the hall! But the whole thing had me thinking a lot about family and how important it is. Not that this is something new to me but it's something I know I take for granted. Carol and I didn't always have a great relationship growing up; she scared the crap out of me! But that didn't mean she wasn't always there to support me, encourage me to do what I loved, or just share stories. I know that if I asked her she would drop everything to help me out if I needed it, so not a second thought crossed my mind when I decided to leave work early and skip class. Family is something to be celebrated everyday because as we know they won't always be there. I want to be to these boys what Carol was to me (minus all the scariness haha), someone to talk to when Mom and Dad just aren't cool enough. [Mom and Dad you're still cool, don't worry!] Someone to teach them about all the cool things in life; like how to show a dairy calf or where uncle TK keeps his pop and candy stash! How to have a proper rotten tomato fight... the best places to hide when mom and dad come to look for you... the many ways you can annoy your parents... and of course all the tricks to growing up on a farm.

So hopefully this little guy is ready to grow up in the Konecky clan because it's going to be quite the adventure but I know we're all a little excited to see what this little guy is going to do with his life; so much potential, so many places, all with the support of his family! 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Pep Talk from Kid President!

I just saw this video yesterday and I absolutely LOVE IT! It has nothing to do with Ag but this kid has a good point, what will you create to make the world awesome?!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Some days on the farm are just rough.. 
especially when you slip on the ice.. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


We all know that Nebraska had one of the driest years it’s seen in a while, even comparable to the 1930’s. But I bet you didn’t know that Nebraska farmers still harvested 1.29 billion bushels of corn this summer. Or that Nebraska’s feedlots contained 5% more cattle than as the same time last year even though the drought affected their feed supplies? As a farmer or rancher you come to understand that Mother Nature is one crafty lady! She has no end of tricks up her sleeves to try and throw us off our game. Luckily we have one tool to trump that, experience. Our farmers and ranchers have been doing their job for decades, even centuries. Learning from their fathers, mothers, uncles, grandparents, or even friends. Teaching it to future generations.  

Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted. And experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer.” ― Randy Pausch 

When people try to discredit our farmers and ranchers it makes me wonder if they even realize what they’re saying? How many professionals have studied their profession before kindergarten even started? Or would go home on nights and weekends during high school and/ or college to get some hands on experience in that field? Or have their families available to help answer questions and give insight? Where fathers and mothers want their kids with them while they’re doing their job, even if it is just riding along? Yeah, I can’t think of many.

It always just amazes me watching my parents, how they know the best ways to make a fence or which acres of land will be planted with which seed. They know when a storm is coming in or the best way to take care of their animals so their healthy, happy and productive. How they seem to always know when a cow is about to calve or how they seem to always know what's wrong with the cow before the vet even gets there. I’ve come to realize it’s all just life experience, watching their parents and asking questions, I’ve even picked up a few things in my 21 years.

Pairing that experience with today’s technology and you have a combination that can’t be beat. Each generation of farmer and rancher has had some changes to make, they weren’t always easy but they figured it out. You think going from using horses to tractors to do farm work would be an easy transition? I would think it would’ve been one of the hardest, but because they made those sacrifices we now are producing more food with fewer resources.

This industry is very important, always changing but has little room for error. It is an industry that is driven by experience and without that experience would be nowhere near where it's at today. What our farmers and ranchers are offering us is far more than what's just learned at school, it's generation's worth of knowledge on feeding the world!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Newest addition to the farm and family... Benji! 
He was a Christmas present for my youngest brother. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Winter What?!

If I gave you one word to describe Nebraska weather I can assure you that list woudln't include; consistent, lovely, or stable. I don't know if there even is one right word. This makes dairy farming in Nebraska quite interesting!

Last week on Wednesday afternoon it started snowing here (Thank God!). It snowed all through evening chores and I thought nothing special of it. About 10:45 pm on Wednesday we lost power at our house and farm. Now this really an uncommon occurance, usually it goes back on by morning. However Thursday morning us kids got a wake up call from dad to get our butts to the farm. I walked over eyeing a few of the big drifts in front of our house,they were only about 3.5 ft tall (we only got about a 1 ft total), and I didn't think too much of that. But that wasn't the problem, the electricity wasn't back on yet!

The heifers do like to frolic in the snow

That doesn't seem like a big deal but on a dairy farm the electricity plays a very important role. When there is no electricity our milk parlor, the bulk tank (where the milk is cooled and stored), the heat lamps that keep the cow waters from freezing,  and the tractors that are plugged into outlets so they stay warm to start in the morning, all those don't work! But of course we're prepared for that, dad had the generator started by 6 am Thursday morning.

 But unfortunately that didn't solve all of our problems. My family spent the about 6 hours that morning doing chores, thawing waters, scooping snow off the drive ways , feed bunks, and  calf hutches, also bedding down cows/calves with straw and sand

All the snow in front of the hutch calves had to be scooped out  
This little heifer decided to brave the snow outside her hutch
before we cleaned it out

Bedding down one of the heifer barns with a cornstalk bale

We know that when dad calls with orders to get to the farm you dress quick, giving no thought to breakfast or yourself,  COWS COME FIRST! It's just the way it is and we all agree on that.

Thawing the cow water with the Knipco.

Unfortunately this wasn't a quickly fixed problem, we were without electricity for about 48 hours. Life at the farm went on as normal but our house (not powered by the generator) was not real lovely. It was cold and and dark. We all agreed that it was nicer at the farm with the cows than it was in our house!

We spent a lot of our free time in the milk barn because it was a nice 65 degrees in there
It was a long two days but it all worked out and we were happy to know that our cows were comfortable and taken care of!