Advice from the best agriculture advocates

As part of the Alliance’s College Aggies Online Scholarship Competition that kicks off on September 16th, I asked the program mentors to share their #1 piece of advice they’d like to share with aspiring agriculture advocates. Here are a few of my favorites…


Lukas Fricke, Hog Farmer, ChorChek, Inc.: “We’re all people. I know it sounds far out and kinda “yuppie-ish” but we all share the same similar anatomy inside of us and all want to be heard. Listening to the human in a person and not the “conflict creating issues” is how we can make an impact. Now, I’ve made my fair share of quick judgments and fast comments but it takes time to break the feeling of being hurt right off the bat and making the commitment to truly listening and connecting with people. Everyone is scared to make the “right” decision, know that you play an important part in helping talk through those fears.” Follow Luckas!

Lukas Fricke

Don Schindler, Senior Vice President of Digital Innovations, Dairy Management Inc.: “I believe the smartest thing to do is to understand who you are talking to and how you would persuade them to trust agriculture. If you like them, want to entertain them and teach them with the upmost respect, you will succeed. Ignoring their desires, misunderstanding where they come from and forcing education on them is not the way to go.” Follow Don!

Don Schindler

Beth Breeding, Vice President of Communications and Marketing, National Turkey Federation: “Keep it simple and tell a good story – most Americans don’t understand agriculture, so we have to make sure our message gets across in the clearest way possible.” Follow Beth!

Keep an open mind

Cara Harbstreet, RD, Street Smart Nutrition: “Keep an open mind. Although you may be an expert in one area or have a particular set of skills, that doesn’t discount that someone else carries their own expertise in another area. They may seem like opposing sides of a topic but this is a great opportunity to learn and see things through another perspective. It opens the floor for a dialogue and conversation, versus an argument or shutting down. It’s important to avoid the echo chamber effect, especially with tough topics or controversial issues, so I believe in keeping an open mind before drawing assumptions about someone’s message or the reason behind their actions.” Follow Cara!

Cara Harbstreet

Tim Hammerich, AgGrad: “It’s impossible to be both curious and angry at the same time. Stay genuinely curious and you will avoid getting angry.” Follow Tim!

Focus on relationships

Jessica Peters, Dairy Farmer, Spruce Row Farm: “You can’t approach advocating like you’re educating consumers, nobody wants to be preached to. We need to focus on sharing our lives with consumers. We all want our advice and information from people we trust, if we work on creating relationships, trust will come with it.” Follow Jessica!

Jessica Peters

Lauren Arbogast, Chicken Farmer, Paint The Town Ag: “Don’t pursue people for the sake of “education.’ Pursue them for relationships, and the conversations about agriculture will happen.” Follow Lauren!

Rebecca Hilby, Dairy Farmer, Weigel Dairy/Hilby Family Farm: “BE YOURSELF. Once you start having fun on social media and show that you’re human just like your consumers, you’ll be able to relate to them and engage so much more!” Follow Rebecca!

Rebecca Hilby

Jennifer Osterholt, Strategic Marketing Consultant and Farmer, Osterholt Marketing & Communications LLC: “To connect with people we have to reach out. There is great opportunity for those of us in agriculture to learn what people care about and focus on communicating in those terms. I began sharing stories about farming and people in my personal circles read and followed me. When I transitioned to sharing recipes my traffic began growing in very noticeable ways. About 100,000 people click on my website each month looking for a great recipe. I gently weave stories about modern food production into my recipe posts. I would love to see others communicate with large volumes of people and help generate income for themselves in the process.” Follow Jennifer!

Jennifer Osterholt

Be honest

Allison Devitre, Regulatory Scientific Affairs, Bayer Crop Science: “Open, read and verify the information prior to sharing online. People that look to you as a credible source of information will find you a valuable resource if they can count on you for accuracy!” Follow Allison!

Allison Devitre

Karoline Rose, KRose Marketing and KRose Cattle Company: “Honesty and consistency. People want to hear the truth and hear it often.” Follow Karoline!

Marissa Hake, DVM, Veterinarian, Midwest Veal, LLC/ Strauss Feeds: “Be authentic and always fact check. Remember that it takes “all kinds of kinds” and we should be supporting all types of agriculture.” Follow Marissa!

Marissa Hake

Michelle Jones, Grain Farmer, BigSkyFarmher: “Find your passion. What are you the most passionate about? Crops? Agronomy? Animal Science? Ranching? Policy? Once you find your passion, simply start. Start talking. Start posting. Start telling your story and how your life is impacted by agriculture. It is as simple as taking the first step in what often seems to be an overwhelming and monumental undertaking.” Follow Michelle!

Students signed up for this year’s College Aggies Online Scholarship Competition will have the opportunity to network and learn these amazing people. If you are interested in participating, visit To follow along with this year’s competition, search #CAO19 on social media!

Could you be hiring an “undercover” activist?

Are the employees working on your farm there to help care for your animals? Do their goals align with your business? Unfortunately, it’s a common strategy for some animal rights organizations to have individuals go “undercover” on farms. They record videos that can be taken out of context, stage scenes of animal mistreatment or encourage abuse to record it without doing anything to stop it.

Hiring good employees
A farm worker taking care of cows.

While the first step is always ensuring your animal care practices are beyond reproach, the Animal Agriculture Alliance also advises farmers and ranchers to be vigilant when hiring. Ensure everyone hired is there for the right reason – to provide care to livestock – and does not have any ulterior motives that would distract from that.

7 tips for hiring farm employees

The Alliance is a non-profit working to bridging the communication gap between farm and fork for more than thirty years. We monitor animal rights activists and offers these tips when hiring:

  1. It is vital to thoroughly screen applicants, verify information and check all references.
  2. Be cautious of individuals who use a college ID, have out of state license plates or are looking for short-term work.
  3. During the interview, look for answers that seem overly rehearsed or include incorrect use of farm terminology.
  4. Search for all applicants online to see if they have public social media profiles or websites/blogs. Look for any questionable content or connections to activist organizations.
  5. Require all employees to sign your animal care policy. Provide training and updates on proper animal handling training.
  6. Require employees to report any mishandling to management immediately.
  7. Watch out for red flags, such as coming to work unusually early or staying late and going into areas of the farm not required for their job.

Trust your gut

Always trust your gut – if something doesn’t seem right, explore it further. Be vigilant and never cut corners, even if you need to hire someone quickly. Doing your homework on every job applicant may be time-consuming, but it can ultimately save your business’ reputation. As always, it is important to work with your legal counsel to ensure compliance with federal and state laws.

hiring employees
Are you hiring?

For farm security resources and background information on animal rights activist organizations, go to or email us. Members of the Animal Ag Alliance have access to more detailed resources on hiring and farm security.

Vote: “A Seat At The Table” Farmer Photo Contest

The entries are in for the “A Seat At The Table” farmer photo contest! Take a look at all the photos and vote for your absolute favorite in the poll at the end of this post.

Voting is open until Friday, February 22 at noon eastern time. The winners will be announced that same day.

Here are the prizes up for grabs:

  • First place: Free registration to the Animal Agriculture Alliance’s 2019 Stakeholders Summit, $300 travel stipend and a two-night stay at the Summit hotel
  • Second place: Free Summit registration and a two-night stay at the Summit hotel
  • Third and fifth place: Free Summit registration
Julie Walker, Tennessee dairy farmer

When I’m seated at a table, MILK always has a place on the menu! Whether paired with a casual meal or the fanciest of plates, let others see it’s simple goodness! Give real milk, from cows, a place at your table! #AAA19

Melinda Bastian, Missouri beef rancher

Gathering at the table to discuss sustainability for the current and future generations. #AAA19

Wanda Patsche, Minnesota pig farmer

Here is my seat at the table! #AAA19

Amanda Freund, Connecticut dairy farmer

When you have so many people over to dinner, you move the meal out to the greenhouse and set up a model train set to pass the butter and condiments 🙂 #AAA19

Nicole Small, Kansas beef rancher

The @animalagalliance summit is coming up in May. It is one of my favorite conferences to attend. #AAA19 strives to keep animal agriculture off the chopping block of those who are generations removed from the farm.

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“A Seat At The Table” Farmer Photo Contest

Vote now!

Some are round, set for five with a dog underneath waiting for something to drop. Some are rectangular, feature homemade pies and have a highchair at the end. Others have take-out set for two and are in front of a television. Although each may look different, the table is where we come together to connect, to engage with each other and to hear from and be heard.

If you’re a farmer or rancher, we want to see what a seat at your table looks like! Enter the Animal Agriculture Alliance‘s “A Seat At The Table” Farmer Photo Contest for your chance to win a seat at the 2019 Stakeholders Summit. You’ll learn about key issues facing food and agriculture and gain the supportive network and tools you need for success on your farm. So how do you enter?

How do I enter?

  1. Take a photo of a seat at your table
  2. Post it on Instagram or Facebook
  3. Tag the photo to @animalagalliance
  4. Use the hashtag #AAA19
  5. Contest entry ends Sunday, February 10 at midnight Sunday, February 17 at midnight!
A Seat At The Table Farmer Photo Contest

How can I win?

Get creative! Take a photo worth hanging in an art gallery and pair it with a clever caption. The top photos selected by the Animal Agriculture Alliance team to be eligible for public voting. Check back here on Monday, February 18 to vote for your favorite! The five farmers whose photos receive the most votes will win a free registration to the 2019 Summit, set for May 8-9 in Kansas City, Missouri. We will announce the winners on Friday, February 22 at noon eastern time.

In addition to a free registration, the first-place winner will receive a $300 travel stipend and a two-night stay at the Summit hotel. The second-place winner will also have their hotel covered.

  • First place: Free registration, $300 travel stipend and a two-night stay at the Summit hotel
  • Second place: Free registration and a two-night stay at the Summit hotel
  • Third – fifth place: Free registration

Before the photo contest deadline was extended, two farmers submitted their best photos and will receive a free registration, but will still compete for the top spots through public voting.

The annual Summit brings top thought leaders in the industry together to discuss hot-button issues and out-of-the-box ideas. The 2018 event was the largest yet, attracting 305 attendees. To learn more, visit the Summit website.

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram or Facebook.

Health goals and common sense

It’s the start to a new year and many of us are evaluating our health goals, myself included. I dug my Fitbit out of the dresser drawer a few weeks ago to start keeping better track of my eating habits, exercise and water intake. With so many fad diets, it can be challenging to decipher all the health claims floating around. I am definitely not a nutritionist or health expert, but some things just make sense – like including lean meat, eggs and dairy in a healthy, balanced diet.

Health goal 1: Eating healthy

Eating healthy is probably my biggest challenge. I have an uncontrollable sweet tooth – if chocolate is in my house, I will eat it…in one sitting. I try to avoid buying candies and desserts I like so I won’t be as tempted, but it never works. For example, last Halloween I refused to buy Milky Ways, Snickers, KitKats and all the candies I love (the trick-or-treaters probably hated me too), and I still ended up eating the entire bowl of Starbursts that was leftover at the end of the night. It’s been a problem for as long as I can remember. My mom had to buy my sister Zebra Cakes growing up because if she bought Cosmic Brownies the box wouldn’t last more than two days.

To keep myself on track, I make sure to eat nutrient-dense foods instead of high-calorie, nutrient-lacking foods. Sorry, Cosmic Brownies!

Meat Matters Guide

Meat Matters Guide

Here’s a few reasons why I include meat, dairy and eggs in my diet:

  • Milk’s essential nutrients can be difficult to replace. Three 8-ounce cups provide as much calcium as approximately 17 cups of raw kale!
  • One large egg has varying amounts of 13 essential vitamins and minerals along with six grams of protein and just 70 calories.
  • It would take 600+ calories of quinoa to get the same amount of protein in a 170-calorie serving of lean beef!
  • One 3-ounce serving of turkey has 10 essential nutrients and about 50 percent of the recommended daily value of protein.
  • Meat, dairy and eggs are natural sources of vitamin B12, essential for proper red blood cell formation and neurological function.

My meal plan

Arugula and goat cheese sandwich

Arugula and goat cheese sandwich

The nutrients and protein meat, dairy and eggs provide are hard to ignore! For the last few weeks, my go-to breakfast has been low-fat cottage cheese with blueberries and granola with coffee. For lunch, I usually have two hard-boiled eggs, carrots, a BabyBel cheese wheel and a handful of mini Triscuit crackers – I love the smoked Gouda flavor. If I have my life together on Sundays, I’ll grill some chicken and veggies to have for lunches all week.

Then I’ll have a snack around 3 o’clock – usually an apple. One of my biggest pet peeves is wasting food, so I try to mix things up on the weekends to avoid getting tired of the same meals. I recently tried a new recipe – arugula and goat cheese sandwiches with roasted red peppers and mozzarella on sourdough. So good.

Chicken breast with broccoli and garlic pasta

Chicken breast with broccoli and garlic pasta

For dinner I’m cooking for two. My husband has been trying to learn to cook, but it’s a process. “A” for effort, right? We usually have chicken breasts or pork loin cutlets. With both of us trying to exercise more, the protein and nutrients meat provides help us convert food to energy and preserve and build muscle. Alongside our chicken or pork we always have a vegetable. In addition to in-season vegetables, I always keep bags of frozen veggies on hand.  I’ve heard claims that I can eat broccoli to get my protein, but to get the same amount of protein in a 3-ounce serving of chicken I would have to eat 10 cups of broccoli. No matter how much I love broccoli, 10 cups is a lot!

Speaking of a lot, Crock-Pot meals are also a staple in my house. White chicken chili, creamy Tuscan chicken and butter chicken are all husband-approved. Who am I kidding, he’ll eat anything!

Health goal 2: Drinking enough water

You don’t have to remind me to eat, but I could use some reminders about drinking water. I’m horrible at drinking enough water each day – coffee is another story. My goal is to drink 64 ounces of water every day. I have a a ton of 24-ounce Tervis Tumblers, so I try to drink three by the time I go to bed. This doesn’t sound too difficult, but for some reason I find myself chugging water each night because I didn’t drink enough throughout the day. I’ve thought about setting an alarm on my phone to go off every hour to cue me to drink a glass. Any other suggestions?

Health goal 3: Staying active

So far, I’ve been pretty good about exercising three to four times a week. Reaching 10,000 steps can be difficult with an office job, but when I feel those celebratory buzzes on my wrist (if you have never used a Fitbit, you might not understand) it makes me feel accomplished. My secret to motivating myself to workout is to only allow myself to watch Netflix if I’m on the stationary bike, lifting weights or doing floor exercises. This way if I get hooked on a show I 1) have a distraction that doesn’t make working out so bad, 2) if I’m really hooked, then I exercise every day and 3) I can’t binge watch shows because cycling for eight consecutive hours is insane.

Well, that’s a little about how I stay healthy. Everyone has different routines, preferences and bodies. What works for one person may not work for another. With so many claims on what’s healthy and what’s not, I think it’s important for everyone to do research and use common sense. Happy 2019!

My favorite season: farmers’ market season

Everyone has a favorite season. Some love summer with sandy floorboards while others opt for fall with a pumpkin spice latte in hand. My favorite season is April – November…farmers’ market season.

My weekly farmers’ market trip

Every Friday and Saturday I go to the farmers’ market with my husband. One is just down the street from where we live in a shopping center parking lot and the other is only a few miles away in the local mall parking lot. I love getting a week’s worth of crisp apples, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, yellow squash, purple potatoes and juicy nectarines. I even came home with a slab of bacon after our last trip!

Apples, nectarines, potatoes, onion and grape tomatoes from the farmers’ market.

Although the delicious fruits, vegetables and meats are more than enough reason to keep going back, my favorite part is getting to meet and talk to farmers. Many of them are with their children, teaching them to run the register, help customers pick out the best tomato and answer questions about how their food is grown. It’s great to see my urban neighbors taking the opportunity to talk about where their food comes from.

Farmers’ markets connect the public to agriculture

Farmers load up their vehicles, hauling crates and coolers of food to nearby cities and towns. The white-topped tents go up and the fun begins! I walk around to every booth with my neon teal, reusable shopping bags (when I remember them!) deciding what to cook for the week based on what I see. One of the farmers I visit every Saturday is from Fredrick, Maryland and he always has the best honeynut squash. He also sells sweet potatoes, so I’ve been baking homemade sweet potato muffins every week. They make the perfect breakfast on the go! Another farmer is from West Virginia and I always make sure to go by his booth to get the sweetest peaches.

Homemade sweet potato muffins.

With not many people being raised on a farm anymore, farmers’ markets are a great opportunity to connect with farmers and agriculture. This is especially true if you can’t fit a farm tour into your busy schedule.

There are a lot of food myths out there, so it’s nice to get information straight from the source. While some farmers prefer to grow their vegetables or raise their pigs a certain way, they all care about agriculture and want to provide the best food they can to the public. Farmers are constantly thinking about environmental stewardship and animal welfare. It’s how they ensure their farm stays successful for years to come.

From the farmers’ market to the grocery store

market 2
My farmers’ market picks and bananas from the store!

Afterwards my husband and I head to the grocery store to get things like bananas, milk, bread, yogurt and other foods we consider weekly staples to go along with our farmers’ market picks.

Grocery and meal kit delivery are becoming increasingly popular, but I prefer venturing out myself. I love going up and down each and every aisle, even if I only have three items on my list. My husband hates this, but there’s just something about looking at all the different types of food that captivates me. I will definitely miss going to the farmers’ market every weekend once November is here, but I know my food is safe, nutritious and supporting farmers wherever I buy it.

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How farmers prep for severe weather

Bread, batteries and bottled water vanish from supermarket shelves; lines snake around gas stations as people top off their tanks; and plywood covers windows. This is what many do when a severe storm is on the way. But how do farmers prepare for hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires and other extreme weather events?

How do farmers prepare for severe weather?

Feeding the cows.

Farmers pay close attention to the weather on any given day because they rely on just the right amount of rain for a bountiful harvest. They heed warnings from state and federal agencies, along with their local farm bureaus when a severe weather event lurks on the horizon. Farmers assess their situation and determine what steps to take to protect their families and livelihoods.

If it is safe enough to stay put, they’ll take inventory and stock up on supplies in case roads flood or the power goes out. Water and food are among the most important things on their list – for both people and farm animals. For poultry farmers in particular, gas to run generators is a must to maintain the temperature in the chicken houses.

As we all know, batteries, non-perishable food, water and generators are sometimes not enough.

What do farmers do during an evacuation?

Loading pigs onto a trailer.

When evacuation is necessary, farmers take extra steps to ensure they have a farm to come back to. They harvest cotton, corn, soybeans and other crops as fast as possible to make sure all their hard work doesn’t go to waste.

Farm animals are evacuated if possible. Farmers load cattle, pigs and other livestock onto trailers and move them to higher ground and out of the storm’s path. The animals often go to nearby farms that have extra space to host them until the storm is over.

Farmers consider environmental stewardship during severe weather too. Manure lagoons must always have a minimum buffer of 19 inches, but when flooding is imminent farmers will lower the levels of their manure lagoons to prevent overflow. To lower levels, manure is sprayed on nearby fields as fertilizer. If lagoons do breach, the solid waste stays at the bottom, minimizing environmental impact.

Unfortunately, no matter how much we prepare, things can still go south. Farmers rely on Mother Nature to help them thrive as much as they are at her mercy.

Communities come together

The agriculture community is famous for helping neighbors in times of need – even if they are five states away. We’ve seen farmers donate truck-loads of hay to fellow farmers in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas after a devastating wildfire. After the Hurricane Harvey, farmers in the Texas community rallied together to help everyone rebuildWhen snow covered the Eastern Shore, farmers dug people out with their tractors.

Even if 364 days out of the year they compete to raise the better chicken, they set differences aside to help each other. Not even a category four hurricane can keep farmers and ranchers from lending out a helping hand. No matter what severe weather event comes their way, the agriculture community will always stand together.

WeWork going vegetarian doesn’t work

WeWork, a company which provides shared office spaces, announced it is going vegetarian. It is taking meat and poultry off the menu for their nearly 6,000 staff members at company events and during work travel. The company also shared their interest in taking it a step further and potentially going vegan, saying it will evaluate its consumption of seafood, eggs and dairy.


Shared workspace

The company cited environmental concerns for its decision. While protecting our environment is certainly a noble cause, this policy seems to have been made based on disproven exaggerations about the proportion of greenhouse gas emissions that can be attributed to livestock and poultry. The Animal Agriculture Alliance and the farmers, ranchers and other members of the animal agriculture community we represent, are disheartened by WeWork’s decision to go meat-free, so we sent them a letter. Here are some facts we shared with them…

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, animal agriculture only accounts for 3.8 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Globally, livestock contribute to 14.5 percent of total greenhouse gasses. In comparison, transportation accounts for 28 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Frank Mitloehner, PhD, professor and air quality specialist at the University of California, Davis, debunks misinformation about livestock’s contributions to climate change in this white paper. In the paper, Mitloehner discusses the flaws in the oft-cited “Livestock’s Long Shadow” report, which concluded that livestock produces more greenhouse gasses than transportation, saying it is “based on inappropriate or inaccurate scaling of predictions.”

Jamie Henneman Down the Road 1

Sheep farmer looking over her flock.

Farmers and ranchers across our nation work tirelessly to provide food, fuel and fiber to their communities and ones around the world. Many farmers live on or near the land that they farm, so they understand the responsibility they have to protect natural resources, and they share this commitment with their community. The best way to preserve land is to keep farms in business. Instead of adopting a workplace without meat, the data clearly show WeWork could have a much larger impact focusing on using energy-efficient lighting, reducing food waste, recycling and encouraging employees to drive less by using public transportation and carpooling when possible.

We hope WeWork will explore more productive and science-based ways of reducing their company’s environmental footprint rather than dictating what its employees can and cannot eat.

How to protect your farm from extreme activists

If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all; treat others like you would like to be treated; always be respectful – these are all basic rules I learned growing up. Unfortunately, some people have forgotten these simple gestures and need to listen to R-E-S-P-E-C-T by Aretha Franklin on repeat.

It’s no surprise that animal rights activist extremists are not fond of farmers and ranchers who raise animals. No matter how well the animals are treated under the farmers’ care, it will never be enough for the activists because their goal is a world without meat, milk, poultry and eggs. Just because these activists would rather see farmers out of business, it does not give them the right to break the law in the name of animal rights – but that is exactly what they are doing.

Animal rights activists harass farmers

Across the world, animal rights activist extremists are harassing and stealing from farmers and ranchers. Here are just a few of their stunts:

Turkey biosecurity

Wearing plastic booties for biosecurity

Since when is this type of behavior okay? Thankfully, the law is catching up with some of them. The leader of the very extreme group, Direct Action Everywhere is facing multiple charges for his illegal actions against farmers.

Breaking into farms could potentially put the animals in danger. Farmers take the health and well-being of their animals seriously. Biosecurity is any procedure or practice intended to protect humans and animals against disease. When someone breaks into a farm they may track in germs that could get the animals sick, especially if they are traveling from farm to farm trying to gain access.

Protect your farm

To protect your farm and animals from these extreme actions, here are a few things you can do:

  1. Have proper lighting, motion detectors, security cameras, and locks or key code access on gates and doors.
  2. Proactively connect with local law enforcement – let them know any concerns you have and ask for advice and protocol suggestions. Make sure they have access to maps of your facilities.
  3. If you do encounter any suspicious activity, immediately report it to law enforcement and notify the Animal Agriculture Alliance and your state commodity association. This could be anything from someone trying to get hired on your farm with dishonest intentions to a drone flying overhead.

If you are being harassed or activists are trespassing on your farm, please contact the Animal Agriculture Alliance at

Agriculture lingo cheat sheet

Jargon gets thrown around quite a bit in agriculture. The farmers, ranchers and people who grew up on the farm understand the lingo, but not everyone grew up on a farm. In fact, less than two percent of today’s population is directly involved in food production. That leaves about 98 percent of us trying to decipher ag lingo, so here’s a cheat sheet…

Producer: Sometimes they are called farmers, sometimes they are called ranchers and other times they are called producers. Producer encompasses both farmers and ranchers as they are both producers of food.

Swine: When you hear swine, think pig.

Pigs eating


Sow: An adult, female pig that has had a litter of piglets.

Gilt: A female pig that has not had a litter of piglets.

Biosecurity: Any procedure or practice intended to protect humans and animals against disease.

Bovine: When you hear bovine, think cattle.



Steer: A neutered bovine.

Bull: A bovine that has not been neutered.

Cud: Feed that cattle throw up to chew on again. Kind of gross, but when you see a cow chewing cud, it’s a sign they are comfortable and healthy.

Poult: A young turkey. Don’t call them chicks, you’ll get scolded.

turkey poult


Tom: This could be the farmer’s name, but it is also what a male turkey is called.

Operation: Any ranch or farm that raises animals or crops and is also the primary source of income to provide a livelihood for the farmer.

AI: You might think this stands for artificial intelligence, but usually in an agriculture-context it stands for artificial insemination  – two very different things.

Broiler: A chicken raised for meat.


Broiler chickens

Layer: A hen that lays eggs.

Hen: OK, you have to be careful to not get confused about which bird you’re talking about when you hear hen. A hen can be a female turkey or a layer.

Cow: If you want to show that you really know your ag lingo, be sure to get this one correct. A cow is a fully-grown female animal of the bovine family. So technically a male bovine isn’t a cow, but all domestic bovine regardless of sex are usually referred to as cows.

Heifer: A young, female cow that has not given birth.

Head: A single animal. Often times you’ll hear farmers say they have # head of cattle.


Five head of cattle.


Poultry: Any domesticated bird, such as turkeys, chickens and ducks.

Litter: This can mean two different things (I know, everything has to be so complicated). It could be referring to a set of newborn piglets or it could be the bedding used for poultry.

Flock: Get ready, this is another word with two meanings. A flock can be a group of poultry or a group of sheep.


Flock of sheep

Ewe: A female sheep.

Ram: A male sheep, also a type of truck some farmers drive.

Windbreak: No, this isn’t what the farmers wear out on a windy day. A windbreak is a barrier of trees or bushes put on the side of a barn to  protect the animals from winds or to reduce any odor that drifts to the neighbors.

Any lingo missing? Comment what you think should be added to the list!