Red Cowgirl Boots Welcome!

Welcome to my blog!

I am a young agricultural enthusiast focused on spreading the "Colorful" world of Agriculture.

Involved with an amazing group of other Calgary Stampede Summer Synergy Youth who are committed to promoting Agricultural to others. I was introduced to blogging in participation for the Summer Synergy Marketing Campaign, which has truly inspired me.

I am excited to share my thoughts, comments, on serious and fun aspects of Agriculture. I hope that if you have an opinion on my subject matter, that you will leave a comment - I want to know how you feel, from both my agriculture and urban friends. Lets have some fun, relive some memories, make new memories and talk about what really matters most - help spread the word of Agriculture.

Get your boots out, dust them off, and join me in adding a bit of color to Agriculture!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Just a Farmer – Just a Doctor – Just a . . .

When we think of careers, we forget how many different types go with it when it comes to farming. When you are introduced to someone new, and they tell you that they are a Doctor, you generally ask - "What type of Doctor" and you will get different answers, General Practitioner, Pediatrician, Cardiac Surgeon, and the list goes on. I always find it funny when I am with my dad and someone asks him what he does for a living, when the answer if "Farmer" the questions usually go like this: "Where do you farm?" or "Do you have Horses?"

The vision of a Farmer starts when we are very young in our first story books, so you can understand how the Farmer steryotyped to most at a very young age. Our first books show the Jolly Fellow and his Happy Wife with the chickens running around, a cow with calf or two, a horse, a sheep, a pig - very diversified farming. However, this is a rare find now a days. Most farmers specialize in one or two different types of farming. I am involved with my family in a beef cattle operation, where the beef cattle operations generally breaks into 3 divisions.

Beef Cattle Operations:
Cattle Operations can vary from Cow/Calf producers, Seedstock producers, to Feedlots. 
Cow Calf Operation

Cow/Calf producers: These operations generally have the majority of their cattle belonging to a specific breed (ie: Hereford, Angus, Limousin, Charolais etc.) and they usually purchase a bull that belongs to a different breed type which give them a crossbred calf. Crossbreeding two different breeds have proven to offer a higher weaning weight than breeding two animals of the same breed. These operations, breed their cows, calve them out, and ship the animals after weaning to a "Backgrounder/Feedlot operation". These operations can range from 10 - 1000 head of cattle.

Feedlot Operation:
This operations, often referred to as Intensive livestock Producers, generally purchase the weaned calves from the Cow/Calf operators, in most cases at an auction market. Feedlots, utilize a very scientifically modified feeding program to produce the best meat available at your grocery store. These operations work very efficiently to increase the weight of these animals  at approximately 3 - 4 lbs per day. Once they reach the optimal size (1000 - 1400 lbs) they are shipped off to the packing plant for slaughter. These operations will rotate pens based on weights, adding new livestock weekly so there is a consistent number in the feedlot. These operations will vary in size from 1000 - 50,000 head of cattle.

Purebred Bull at a Livestock Show
Seedstock Producer:
The Seedstock Procucer are also known as Purebred Breeders. Most of these operations will represent one or two breeds of cattle. My family is in this type of the cattle business, and we raise Hereford and Angus Cattle. This type of producer raises replacement females and bulls for the Cow/Calf operator, keeping them all one breed. This type of producer, works on genetic selection, and they are continually working to improve their livestock keeping what the industry is wanting in mind. They keep in mind things like birthweights, sound feet and legs, good milking ability, and muscling. Many of these operations attend livestock shows to market their breeding programs. These operations will vary in size from 40 - 500 head of cattle.

Many beef cattle operations are operated in conjunction with a grain operations of some sort, either just growing feed to sustain the feed supply of this operation, or they will also sell the grain to offer a diversity of the operation.

Below is a chart of many different divisions of Canadian Farming: (source:

NAICS five-digit classesCensus of Agriculture derived categories
Dairy cattle and milk production Dairy
Beef cattle ranching and farmingBeef
Hog and pig farmingHog and pig
Chicken and egg production Poultry and egg
Broiler and other meat-type chicken production
Turkey production
Poultry hatcheries
Combination poultry and egg production
Other poultry production 
Sheep farmingAll other animal 
Goat farming
Horse and other equine production
Fur-bearing animal and rabbit production
Livestock combination farming
All other miscellaneous animal production
Soybean farmingField crops
Oilseed (except soybean) farming
Dry pea and bean farming
Wheat farming
Corn farming
Other grain farming
Potato farming
Tobacco farming
Hay farming
All other miscellaneous crop farming
Other vegetable (except potato) and melon farmingFruit and vegetable
Fruit and tree nut farming
Fruit and vegetable combination farming
Mushroom productionGreenhouse, nursery and floriculture 
Other food crops grown under cover
Nursery and tree production
Floriculture production

The next time someone tells you that they are a farmer - please ask what type of farming - farming is a one of the largest industries in Canada, that we need to survive.

Well back to a full day of studying Biology 30 for my last official High School diploma exam. Have a great day!


  1. Great blog entry, Carling! A few years ago I was chatting with a high school student in southern Alberta who was feeling undecided about what she wanted to take in college/university. I asked her if she'd ever considered agriculture, to which she said that it wasn't really up her alley and she was leaning towards biology or the life sciences. I'm not sure what she initially thought agriculture was all about -- but our conversation did continue. ;)

  2. Thank you Nicole - All we can do is try to continue to educate more and more about agriculture and how much impact it has on all of us. We need farmers, its a huge part of our survival.