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Internet in the life of a cattle farmer

Hello everyone, I am Jessica Carlson and currently a seventh-grader at Malden Grade School.

Along with being on the high honor roll, I also keep very busy with extracurricular activities at my school. I play three sports: Volleyball, basketball and track, plus I am also preparing for this year’s speech competition and Scholastic Bowl season. I have also been kept very busy this year as the secretary of my school’s Student Council.

Although school keeps me busy, I am also very active outside of school. Music keeps me very busy, especially since I play three instruments. I have played the piano since the end of third grade, the alto saxophone since I joined my school’s band in fifth grade and the flute since the end of my sixth grade year. I am also very involved in the Dover-Berlin 4-H Club, being the secretary for what will soon be three years. I take a large variety of 4-H projects, including cooking, sewing, visual arts, public speaking, cake decorating, horticulture and beef.

My family has been involved in the Simmental cattle breed for many years now. We have shown cattle and sold registered animals to other cattle producers. I have shown Simmental cattle for what will soon be five years. I have competed at many different levels of cattle shows such as, county shows, state shows, regional junior Simmental shows and even national junior Simmental shows.

When it comes to preparing for the next show season or even maintaining your beef herd, the Internet plays a large role.

There are many different websites I use when it comes to seeking advice and instructions. I find discussion sites very helpful for advice on subjects, such as showmanship skills and feeding suggestions. These sites also offer useful information on herd health management, nutrition ideas and even management of your whole beef herd. Whenever a new beef product is made available, you can research it on the Internet to learn more about its use in your herd.

The Internet also plays a big part in the decision of which bulls we use to breed the cows in our herd. Websites by sire/artificial insemination companies provide videos, pictures and data to compare bulls and their breeding potential. We also can use the websites of many of the large cattle breeding herds to look at their genetics and calves to give us even more information on potential sires for calves. Several evenings of research and a little bit of planning, and I can plan out my next year’s calf crop.

One of the largest changes that have come along in recent years has been the rise of online cattle auctions. This alone has changed the source of purchase for my show animals and even additions of animals to my family’s herd. Instead of going to live auctions and production sales, people can sit in the comfort of their homes and bid on cattle on websites that provide catalogs and videos of the animals.

Many breeders and herd owners have converted to this method as a way to cut costs and to increase exposure of their herd. It has become an ever-increasing source of marketing animals. Feeder cattle, bulls, embryos and semen seem to be marketed like this more often.

The Internet has also played a big part in beef promotion. Social media sites are huge in promoting beef in the United States and other countries. With the gaining popularity of sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and even Pinterest, cattle breeders are taking advantage of the advertising and promotion opportunities.

One of my favorite beef promotions, and one of the best, is a parody to Katie Perry’s song “Roar” called “Chore,” made by the Peterson Farm Brothers. This parody, along with many other farm based videos, has offered a very realistic look into the life of a farmer.

As you know, the Internet might play a large role in your life, but it plays an even larger role in the life of a farmer. Since my involvement in  4-H, the Internet has really changed the scope of my projects, and will do so even more in the future.

Jessica Carlson is a seventh-grader at Malden Grade School and also helps out on her grandfather’s cattle farm in rural Malden.

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