The Angus community is built on dedicated farmers and ranchers from throughout the country, and the American Angus Association® is thankful to see those efforts recognized by others. Most recently, rancher Debbie Lyons-Blythe, White City, Kan., was honored as the 2012 America’s Farmers Mom of the Year.
Nominated by her children (Meghan, Allie, Trenton, Tyler and Eric) and aunt (Mary Ferguson), Lyons-Blythe is a prime example of what it means to be a working rancher and mom. Both nominations summarized what makes Lyons-Blythe so special to her family, farm, community and the agricultural industry. She was selected as the Southwest Region’s Farm Mom of the Year by a panel of judges from American Agri-Women and Monsanto, and later the 2012 America’s Farmers Mom of the Year through online voting.
“There are literally thousands of farm moms who do what I do and who are so deserving of this award,” Lyons-Blythe says. “I don’t know how they select just one, but I’m honored to have been spotlighted by the America’s Farmers program.”
Life on a Kansas cattle ranch
Lyons-Blythe and her family manage 250 registered Angus cows, along with a commercial heifer development program. Amid running the ranch, she also manages five kids and a husband – no small task. And, she shares her experiences through her blog, www.kansascattleranch.blogspot.com.
Lyons-Blythe started blogging after she realized that consumers are hungry for information about their food, and sometimes they do not rely on accurate sources. Her own relative had questions about the safety of serving non-organic milk to her children, because she thought it was unhealthy for them.
“That was when I realized, if she is only one generation removed from the ranch and didn’t know the answers to these questions, then the people much farther removed really need to have good sources of information,” Blythe says. “We all have the responsibility to share that information, and I am lucky enough to be able to tell our story.”
Blythe says her blog is an opportunity to share what she and her family do on the ranch every day, and connect with others interested in food production. And it works. She has seen responses from people across the country.
“I met a fellow from California who has taken my stories and incorporated them into presentations he gives about having a healthy diet and lifestyle,” Blythe says. “I love that he talks about beef and believes it is a healthy part of our diet.”
Without Blythe’s blog or similar media outlets, consumers might not see why and how producers raise cattle. Blythe says it is important for farmers and ranchers to take 10 minutes each day to post a Facebook status or tweet about what they are doing, how they are doing it, and why. Blythe also suggests taking photos and posting them online.
“Farmers and ranchers need to tell their story; or laws, regulations and even decisions made in the kitchen will be misinformed and will limit us on what we do here,” Blythe says.
About America’s Farmers Mom of the Year: The other four regional winners were Danni Beer, Keldron, S.D.; Sherri Lynn Kannmacher, Martinsville, Ill.; Sarah Peterson, Niles, Mich.; and Delores “Dee Dee” Clements Darden, Smithfield, Va.
America’s Farmers Mom of the Year is an extension of the America’s Farmers program, which celebrates the contributions of America’s farmers, who provide food, energy and clothing for a growing planet. Visit AmericasFarmers.com throughout the year to read about other ways Monsanto recognizes the hard work and contributions of American farmers.
The American Angus Association is the nation’s largest beef organization, serving nearly 30,000 members across the United States and Canada. It provides programs and services to farmers, ranchers and others who rely on the power of Angus to produce quality genetics for the beef industry and quality beef for consumers.
For more information about Angus cattle and the American Angus Association’s programs and services, visit www.angus.org.