Posts tagged agriculture
hot wax and pesticides

The other day I went for a routine eyebrow wax. If you’re a dark-haired girl, you get that finding someone to trust with your eyebrows is just as important as finding a doctor, a gym and a grocery store in your new city.

So while my esthetician, who I’ve come to adore in the past few months, strategically poured hot wax on my brows, I tried to make small talk. Because nothing says small talk like hot wax only an inch from your eyeballs.

I don’t find much surprising these days. I have, you see, been urban for six years. Between the mix of a random calf on the front porch during calving season and walking down Bourbon Street during the day - and night - I’ve seen and heard my fair share of random.

Following up on our last awkward small talk conversation, I asked about her juice cleanse. Juice for 21 days? I’m curious. Do you wear one of those helmets with straws like the crazy dudes in football commercials? Are you hungry? Does wine count? It’s sort of a juice.

She said, and I paraphrase, that she feels better than she has in her entire life. That her body is functioning stupendously without pesticides or growth hormones lining her intestines. Her hair is fuller, her nails are longer and her stress is basically non-existent.

I’m reasonable to a fault. My counselor says he’s impressed with how I try to see a situation from every possible angle before responding, but sometimes I should just react before thinking too much.

Remember, folks. Hot wax. A quick reaction wasn’t really in the cards.

So I kept quiet and said, “good for you!” sans sarcasm. To be fair, my eyebrows have been looking really good lately and I don’t want to be on market again for another esthetician, and maybe I can introduce her to a farmer.

Then it hit me. Someone told her pesticides line her intestines. That’s her truth.

Colon cancer took my dad when he was only 25, so I’m well versed in intestinal health and ohmygosh she thinks farmers are killing us.

So, clearly, I googled. I wanted to know what she sees. I wanted to know why she thinks modern agriculture is bad for her. I needed to know why she thinks an organic apple has more nutritional value than a regular apple.

I get it, though. I do. In the middle of a big city, whether it’s Charlotte, Austin or Nashville, grocery marketing is our first, sometimes only, connection with agriculture.


Our address now (east side, strong side) is very much in a food desert. Every Sunday (sometimes weekdays, too) I drive nine miles north to the “good Kroger.” This Kroger does a great job of showing pictures of farmers and locations (very much Whole Foods-eque) of their farms. I’ve noticed, however, this is primarily found on the organic foods. So, if organic foods showcase their farmers the regular foods must have been made in a factory or used chemicals to make the product so affordable, right? Right?

This is why I want to connect farmers with consumers. Because, unfortunately, not everything we read on the internet is truthful.

I spend more time in the kitchen now than ever. I’m strategic in my purchasing decisions and select produce and meat products that not only fit within our budget, but also appeal to our waistlines. I, too, want to make good choices. I, too, reach out to farmers to make sure I’m a well-informed consumer.

This is why I agvocate.

on the eve of fall

Today, on the last official day of summer, I’m thrilled—and relieved.

As I look back at the happenings of the past few months I feel a lot like Drake. I wasn’t at the bottom when I started (ahem, Degrassi: The Next Generation) but I feel pretty high right about now.


I’m working from the office in the cattle barn this week, which is a stone's throw from the working pens. My heart is full of gratitude for a career in digital media that allows me to pursue my passion for the agricultural industry and work anywhere there is high speed internet.

And, yes, I’m thanking my lucky stars high speed Internet found its way to rural Oklahoma.

The view from the west pasture on Sunday afternoon. 

The view from the west pasture on Sunday afternoon. 

I’m three weeks into a new job, folks. Three weeks with an all-digital agency based in Boston and a client in the animal health industry

As part of the strategy team I’m working with talented, passionate stewards of the digital space on blogger engagement programs, new websites, social strategy, et al.

With an innovative, international brand.

Pinch me. 

Grateful just doesn't seem to do it justice. 

The Rest of the Story

While the rest of the country was (is) dealing with white tundra that is winter in February, the weather in Austin turned from perfect and sunny to non-so-perfect and a little bit rainy. *sad trombone*

Rain in Texas? It’s because I’m wearing my moccasins e’rday, obviously.

Because of the rain, I fell into my rainy-day habits that are everything that is unreasonable and first-world of exploring Dillards. A girl just needs something new to wear to a work event, am I right?

While perusing the Vince Camuto dresses, my grandma called to inform me had stumbled upon my Instagram and did I want to know the rest of the story

Of course, Paul Harvey. Lay it on me. 

"Ahhh, I could really use the Dodge about now."

A photo posted by brooke clay haney (@thebrookehaney) on

While loving everything that is Johnson County, Indiana, before AgChat's National Collegiate Conference, I drove past this big, red Dodge taking residence in an iconic rural barn. To be honest, to me it was nothing more than a 'grammable moment a few football fields away from my mother's childhood home.

To my grandma, it was more. 

This Dodge was one of a pair she drove during harvest near the time my family purchased a grain elevator on the south side of the county. 

Oh, hey family heritage.

Also, my grandma has Instagram? No way. 

Do you, North Carolina.

Brooke_Haney_Canola Rural scenery is my drug of choice. Turns out, winter wheat is gateway drug into the world of row crops.

Returning from the beach, this canola field took my breath away. Gone. Breathing was just no longer an option while standing on the side of a [paved] country road, staring in wonder at the beauty of a canola field.

Rural America and all it encompasses — is the epitome of joy.

Once surrounded by winter wheat and black cattle, this rural-gone-urban girl needs scenes like this. Too often I get caught up in the hustle of urban living: the homes, ‘hoods and schedules.

Keep showing off, North Carolina. It looks good on you.

Strippers and Babies !?!

Yes, you read that correctly. I'm in New Orleans, or "Nawlins," depending on your dialect. I'm here at the Ag Media Summit and luckily our hotel is only a few blocks away from Bourbon Street.

As a college student I attened AMS because that's what I was suppose to do. I was an overachiever and my adrenaline rush was meeting the best of the best and knowing who was who among the agiculture community.

However, when the chance to attend again arose - I jumped on it for an entirely different reason.

Because it's the place where between catching up with old friends (Ahem, Katie Allen) you learn to think like a reader while writing for your audience, strategic tweeting (reinforcing why I love Social Media so much), and how to make your copy more creative.

It's the place where your 5-year-old heart jumps in excitment at Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots that toured the streets of NOLA during Mardi Gras.

It's the place where you keep a straight face when the tour guide neither confirms nor denies the existence of vampires - but leaves you not being able to completely rule out the idea.

Ag Media Summit is the place where you sit in one session learning how to build pages faster in InDesign (design software) while checking twitter (#AgMS) to see what people are learning from AdFarm's Brandon Souza regarding networking.

It's the place you feel a sigh of relieve knowing your smart phone is fully charged - so you can capture the lady in the table.

It's the place you fall head-over-heels in love with Adobe Lightroom and question why strippers are lining the same streets where  families push baby strollers.

Mostly, Ag Media Summit is the place where you confirm your career choice. Your lovely career choice that allows you to embrace your abstract-random way of thinking that is so delicately intertwined in the agricultural community.

Who am I to complain?

Once, for a short period of time, I had a green thumb.

I kept this little diddy alive for a whole 2 months.

These guys are still alive - barely.

These - goners.

Last night I ripped out the lifeless plants that crumbled between my fingers.

We {Oklahoma} are in a drought.

For me - in my little urban casa, this means if you leave for a weekend when you return your flowers will be dead.

It means all my hard work planting, watering, weeding... well, is gone. I laughed as I was pulling the plants and thought, "too bad there isn't crop insurance for my urban flowers."


In the grand scheme of things, my flowers don't make a microdent in the impact the weather is making in the agricultural industry. This drought or "The Great Drought of 2011" as some are calling it is  affecting 14 states from Florida to Arizona. This is big time.

It means the pastures where the cattle graze on our farm - is burning up.

Who am I to complain about a few measly little flowers?

For the record - Oklahoma City thankfully accepted rain today.

Not a bad urban view, huh?

Curious Calves

On the weekends, I'll usually leave the Big City for a night and visit my family at the farm. Although I was there for less than 12 hours, I made it a point to get out of bed and check the cows. My show heifers (now cows) are now mixed in with the rest of the herd, so it's always fun for me to play Where's Waldo trying to spot them in the crowd of all black.

Without fail, a few curious calves take a few timid steps my direction wondering why I'm in my pajamas and boots - in their pasture. {at least, that's what I would be thinking if I were them.}

This is one of the calves that will be weaned from his mama the first of September and will be put on wheat pasture the middle of October (if we get any rain.)

They'll graze on wheat during the winter months until they reach 800 -900 pounds (Usually around June) Then, a few good heifers will be kept back for the breeding program and the rest will be sold.

Weather dictates the schedule, if it doesn't rain these calves will be weaned a little earlier.

One of the most important lessons I learned as a child is that our animals deserve our respect. Before eating breakfast, our first obligation was to feed/water our animals. This may be why if you drive past our farm early in the morning you'll see my sister in her pajamas and boots before getting ready for school.

To me, there's nothing more beautiful than a few black calves on a green pasture with a blue sky as a backdrop  - or, well, a 50 percent off shoe sale. Just being honest.