Friday, December 30, 2011

Keeping Warm

By Sarah Ford of Indiana Pork

It’s wintertime in the Midwest and that means cooler temperature and lots of snow.  About this time every year, stores stock up on hats, coats, gloves and all of the essentials so we can keep the cold off our skin.  We purchase cars with seat warmers, drink hot coffee brewed from Starbucks (or your coffee barista of choice), and then cuddle into our Snuggie at night in an effort to stay warm.

In the meantime, pigs are doing this…

And when they get bored, they’ll do a little of this…

And then they’ll do a little more of this…

As you can see, these pigs are in a climate controlled environment. The temperature never goes below 72 degrees.  If the temperature drops below this level, a sensor is activated and the owner knows to check the pigs and fix the problem.  The piglets you see here are actually laying under heat lamps – it’s like their own personal tanning salon! 

This is just another way our farmers care for their animals – every season of the year.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

College Funds Available Thanks to Farmers and Colts

By Megan Kuhn of Indiana Corn Marketing Council and Indiana Soybean Alliance

Even though the Indianapolis Colts season is wrapping up, there is still time for high school seniors across Indiana to benefit from Colts tight end Dallas Clark's hard work on the field this year.

Indiana corn and soybean farmers are partnering with the Indianapolis Colts to bring the Hoosier Horsepower Essay Contest to Indiana high school seniors. Students can enter the contest and win cash prizes to help fund their college education. 

On behalf of Indiana’s corn and soybean farmers, the Colts donated $100 to the program for each catch Clark made this season. While Clark was plagued with injuries towards the end of the season, f
our (4) Indiana high school seniors will each receive $2,000 to help defer college education related expenses.

To be eligible for the essay competition, applicants must be a high school senior in Indiana and plan to enroll in an accredited college or university within the United States pursuing either an associate or bachelor degree for the 2012-2013 school year. 

Essay competition winners will be awarded based on a combination of factors. Academic achievement, leadership and community service will be considered in addition to their essay detailing how today’s farmers are working to tackle tomorrow’s needs for food, fiber and fuel.

Winners will be announced prior to the end of the 2011-2012 academic year. All essays must be postmarked no later than Friday, February 17, 2012. Parents and students can go to to learn more.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Cooking with Leftovers

By Michelle Plummer of Winners Drink Milk

“I HATE leftovers”…how many times have you heard that at your house?  I could easily fit into that category until I went on a mission these past few months to clear out my pantry and freezer; and realized I don’t hate leftovers, I hate lacking the creativity!  So let me let you in on a few secrets to make your holiday meal help stretch your family dining, increase interest and most of all rid your house of the motto: “I hate leftovers!”

Begin by planning menus for a week using ingredients in the refrigerator.  Next, I would look at the menu and see what I could do with it for a second meal or sandwich.  I am not a great sandwich eater (6 bites and the meal is over), so stir fry, salads (that I combine at the meal), casseroles and of course soups and stews!

Look at the items on hand.  Many times the additional items you need are in your pantry waiting to be used!

Make the recipes.  Package the leftovers in separate small containers- so not all foods taste alike!

Make a spice bag. Using a bit of the spices used in the dish to refresh the dish when reheating.

Mix and Match foods leftover from a couple of days look and see what can be created. 

Below are some suggestions for the first part of the week, you try the second part…no going out to eat!

Saturday- steak, roasted rosemary potatoes, veggie sauté of peppers, onions, mushrooms (I use a frozen medley product)

Sunday- A big pot of chili for the game, cheese, sour cream, all the fixings!

Monday- Steak and pepper subs with melted cheese, Italian dressing and new veggie.

Tuesday- make Hero Nachos with the remaining peppers, onions, and chili.  Add cheese, salsa and sour cream.

Wednesday- With leftovers, I try to clean up every three days.  So on Hump day begin again and use chicken, pork or shrimp.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Holidays on the Farm

By Kimmi Devaney of Winners Drink Milk

This is a special time of year for many people, including farm families. Many farms operate 24/7/365, so families can’t just take a week off. Coming together as a family is a central part of what the holiday season is all about. For dairy families, many of these memories and traditions involve the cows.

Christmas morning on many dairies includes milking cows and completing chores around the farm before opening presents. Keeping cows comfortable and providing the best care possible is a top priority on dairies across the nation. After all, it’s the ladies—I mean the cows—who work hard every day to produce wholesome, nutritious milk.

We asked two of our Indiana dairy families about some of their holiday traditions and memories, and here’s what they said…

“Our holiday tradition centers around the barn. After a year, we gave up on the idea of unwrapping presents on Christmas morning! On Christmas Eve, several of our family members come to the farm early to help with chores. There is something special about being in the barn that night—near a manger. A few years ago, one of our favorite cows gave birth to twins! We were up really late that night unwrapping presents since everyone wanted to stay in the barn with the cow and calves.”

Duane & Joyce Hill
Mayhill Holsteins
Fountain City, Indiana

“Family fun on the farm during Christmas is the best! We have big Christmas dinners for our workers who never stop, decorate all the trees near the farm and always have to unthaw equipment on Christmas Eve since it always really cold…all while bonding with family!”

Elles Niessen
Milco Dairy
Lewisville, Indiana

Don’t forget to add nutritious dairy products to your holiday family festivities! From our families to yours, have a great holiday season!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

For the Love of Chocolate

Guest Post By: Liz of Two Maids a Milking and Real Farmwives of America and Friends

Did you know Monday was National Cocoa Day?!?

Let all the chocolate lovers rejoice!!

I thought I would celebrate by sharing some of my favorite recipes that use cocoa!!

Now if only I could send you one through the computer....

Lets start with Cocoa Banana Bottom Bars. Perfect for breakfast, well... they do have fruit in them!!

For a fun activity with the kids you can make Chocolate No-Bake Cookies.

If you are looking for a recipe to take to a Holiday party I have the perfect one, Peanut Butter Truffle Brownies!! Perfect with a tall glass of ice cold milk!

I hope you enjoyed Cocoa Day!! I know I will all week long!!

Psst... have all you chocolate lovers entered our Chocolate Giveaway this week.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Chocolate as its own Food Group?

Chocolate can be used in so many great dishes and has so many healthful benefits! Whether you choose a rich dark chocolate or a creamy sweet milk chocolate there are nutritional benefits. Below is the top 10 reasons to have chocolate in your daily diet.

1. High in Antioxidants - Cocoa contains flavanols, a type of flavanoid that is only found in cocoa and chocolate. Flavanoids are naturally-occurring compounds that occur in plant foods that act as antioxidants and help counteract free radicals in the body.

2. Blood Pressure Benefits - Dark chocolate has been shown in studies to lower blood pressure in people with elevated blood pressure.

3. Lower LDL Cholesterol - Eating dark chocolate on a regular basis has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol by as much as 10 percent.

4. Natural Anti-Depressant - Chocolate contains serotonin, a natural anti-depressant. Chocolate also stimulates endorphin production, which creates feelings of happiness and pleasure. In fact, one study found that melting chocolate in the mouth produced feelings of pleasure longer than passionate kissing. This may explain why many people naturally reach for chocolate when they're depressed.

5. Cancer Fighter
Several studies have found chocolate to be one of the best cancer-fighting foods along with foods like red wine, blueberries, garlic, and tea. Two ways that chocolate works as a cancer fighter is by inhibiting cell division and reducing inflammation, though research is ongoing and will probably find additional ways in which chocolate fights cancer.

6. Prevents Tooth Decay - Research has found that the theobromine in chocolate prevents tooth decay by eliminating streptococcus mutans, a bacteria found in the oral cavity that contributes to tooth decay.

7. Longer Life and Less Disease - One Dutch study followed 200 men over 20 years and found that those who consumed large amounts of chocolate, both milk chocolate and dark, lived longer and had lower overall disease rates than men who ate little or no chocolate.

To further strengthen the case for dark chocolate as a life extender, the world's longest-lived person, Jeanne Louise Calment, lived to the age of 122 and many ascribed her longevity in part to her consumption of 2.5 pounds of dark chocolate a week.

8. High in Magnesium - Cacao is higher in magnesium than any other plant. Magnesium is an important mineral that helps in the regulation of the digestive, neurological, and cardiovascular systems. Since many people are magnesium deficient, adding magnesium-rich dark chocolate to the diet can improve overall health.

9. Artery Cleanup - Studies have shown that the antioxidants in cacao work like brooms in sweeping plaque out of the arteries.

10. Brain Health - Many studies have shown that dark chocolate is good for the brain. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that it can protect the brain after a stroke by shielding the nerve cells from further damage. Dark chocolate has also been found to improve memory.

To help you with your chocolate intake if you let Indiana Family of Farmers know your favorite use for chocolate ONE lucky winner will receive a luscious Chocolate Gift package, just for letting us know how you cook with chocolate and reap the many healthy benefits from a great tasting “food group”.

Enter on the widget below. Email/Feed Subscribers will need to visit the blog to view 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Teachers: Happy Holidays! Enjoy this early gift: State Core Academic Standards aligned to essay contest

Meet State Standards for grades 4-12 in English/language arts, science and social studies. Students can win an Apple iPad®

INDIANAPOLIS (December 9, 2011) — A breakdown of the State Core Academic Standards met by the 2nd annual Our Food, Our Farmers essay contest is now available on the Indiana’s Family of Farmers and Indiana Humanities websites.

The analysis was done this past fall by a third party consultant to determine Indiana academic standards met by the contest for grades 4 – 12.  Through this essay contest, academic standards can be met at all grade levels in the areas of English/language arts, science and social studies. Additional academic standards can be met for high school students in the areas of biology, economics, geography and world history.

“This essay contest offers a ‘win-win’ for all. Teachers meet both their curriculum needs and can offer their students a new and interesting project,” said Keira Amstutz, president and CEO of Indiana Humanities. “We get a better opportunity to expand the contest throughout our state schools and provide students with an opportunity to think, read and talk more about Indiana’s rich agricultural history and its bright future.”

Sponsored by Indiana’s Family of Farmers and Indiana Humanities, this year’s contest explores Indiana’s role as a global agricultural leader and is titled “Our Food, Our Farmers: Feeding the World.” Students have the opportunity to write an essay about all the ways Indiana agriculture plays a positive role in their own lives –as well as in the lives of those around them. The essay competition includes three grade levels: 4-6; 7-9 and 10-12. Entries must be received by Feb. 1, 2012.

There will be a first and second place winner from each grade level. First place winners will receive an Apple iPad and second place winners will receive a Kodak PlaySport camcorder.  All winners will be invited to attend a special recognition ceremony on March 8, 2012 in Celebration of National Ag Day.

Entry guidelines and State Standards can be found at or
This contest is part of Indiana Humanities’ two-year Spirit of Competition initiative, which  celebrates the role competition plays in our lives by examining core elements such as civility, rivalry, innovation, passion and failure. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Tis the Season for Cookies!

Guest Post by Cris of  The Real Farmwives of America and Friends and GOODEness Gracious

Dear Reader-
I am so excited to share with you what my friends and I have been baking up in our kitchens over at The Real Farmwives of America and Friends. It is cookie time and we have been holding a virtual cookie exchange and sharing all the recipes and step by step instructions with our readers!

So far, you will find recipes to such yummy delights such as:

lemony goodness

3-2-1 Lemon Cookies from Miss Marybeth at Alarm Clock Wars

And, if that doesn't soothe your sweet tooth, on Tuesday Miss Liz of 2 Maids a Milking will be hosting a cookie recipe link up on our RFOA blog where bloggers across the blogosphere will be linking up their best cookie recipes!

So grab a big glass a milk and let us know what's your favorite cookie?