The Big Question: Why Do the Big Get Bigger?

Friends, I have some exciting news to share. A little while ago I was asked to pen a chapter in a new book by nationally recognized television/radio host Larry King. The book is entitled The Big Question and is filled with advice from experts across the globe. Entrepreneurs and professionals tackle tough questions (and even ask a few of their own) to inspire and inform their readers.

It was a dream come true to be able to publish a chapter in Larry King’s new book, The Big QuestionI wanted to address something that is not talked about much in the Farming industry and that is consolidation in farming.

 

You hear people talk about farmers getting bigger and the negativity that surrounds that from someone’s perception.  But, in reality, there is a reason why the big get bigger and this applies not only to farming, but to all industries.  In Larry King’s new book, I tackle the topic, “Why Do The Big Get Bigger?”

Consolidation is happening in farming in a real way and not many are addressing the topic.  Growing up on a small farm as a kid and being a part of a farm that has gone from a small farming business out of our homes to a structured and growing business, I’ve learned what is important to survive and be sustainable as a business.  One key component I speak on in the book is to “recognize in business what it is you want to be, and put the structure in place to move toward it. Your attitude is everything!”

 

Growing your business to be bigger is not a bad thing and is a very important thing if you have the desire, dreams, and goals to make it succeed.  As I note in the book “Fulfilling your passion takes drive and determination. It will always pay off in the long run to commit to those things you value most.”

 

While I feel honored to be a partner in our farm, I couldn’t be more thankful for my business partners, our visionary leader Justin, and all of those who make the sacrifices that they do to make our farm operate the way it does.

 

Consolidation is real in farming. To learn more about Texas Farm Girl’s perspective on the subject, you can purchase an autographed copy of The Big Question by clicking here.

Celebrate the Fourth with Thanks!

Happy Fourth of July weekend y’all!

In preparation for Wednesday’s big holiday, most folks are planning cookouts or vacations. I know I’ll be scouting out the best fireworks spot to celebrate the day.

 

 

Fourth of July is a great holiday that reminds us of the beauties and blessings we enjoy living in the USA. It’s a day usually spent with family and steeped with individual traditions of favorite foods and fireworks. While I think the greatest gift is to be able to celebrate the holiday with family, I also think that sometimes we forget to be thankful (especially on the Fourth of July) for the men and women who serve in our military.

 

 

No matter your political affiliation, there’s no denying that these men and women, and the families they support, make sacrifices on behalf of Americans each and every day. They might not get to celebrate the Fourth of July with their families, but we can celebrate their service! I am so grateful to the great people who had dedicated their time to serving our country and protecting our freedom.

 

Sometimes we don’t appreciate our freedoms as we should. Every now and then, try to remind yourself that other countries might not have the same rights and freedoms we enjoy. Be proud to be an American and thankful that each and every day you can speak your mind and enjoy the beautiful country our service men and women have fought to protect for us all.

 

Thank you to all the men and women and families of the armed forces! A special thanks to those in my own family who have served and my cousins who are serving today.  May you all have a blessed Fourth of July!

Celebrate Summer with Family and Faith

It’s summertime! Though some kids have been out of school for a few weeks now, the official start of summer was Thursday. I think we can all agree that spring is gone and the long, hot days of summer are upon us.

Most people pack their summers with sports or camps or vacations they’ve been dreaming of since winter. In all the chaotic joys of summer, it’s easy to watch the days fly by without truly appreciating them.

Summer is a great gift. The weather is welcoming and the days are longer. It’s almost as if we’ve been given more time to enjoy the wonders of life. Family is one such wonder.

Too often we let the hustle and bustle of life distract us from the importance of spending real time with our family and real time with our faith. Let’s not allow that to happen this summer. We have a few more hours of sunshine each day – let’s spend them wisely.

Take this summer to reintroduce yourself to your faith and cherish the gift of summer with family.

 

Have you thanked a farmer today?

How many meals have you prepared this week? How many trips did you make to the grocery store or market for fresh produce? Two? Three?

We take great time and care with the meals we prepare and the healthy snacks we enjoy, but hardly any thought is given the farmer who fought to bring the meal to our tables.

Farmer’s sacrifice holidays, endure droughts and wildfires, and face the uncertainty of each season all in the name of the harvest enjoyed by so many.

Often when farmers are recognized, it’s in a negative light and accusatory. I came across an incredible open letter from Texas Farmers to the people they feed on Texas Table Top the other day. In this letter, farmers address common misconceptions held by consumers.

Texas farmers care about their crops. They value the health of their livestock and the importance of the environment.

Most of all, they care about the people their nourishing. Farming is more than a job. It’s about providing for their families as well as ours.

So tell me…have you thanked a farmer today?

Inspiration For Your Big Future

God’s plan and the inspiration he blesses us with can lead you to wondrous ends – some that you may not be able to imagine. I listened to a past sermon by Keith Craft of Elevate Life Church in Frisco, TX last week that really resonated with me. He shed a new light on a story we all learned in school and, in doing so, showed that God works in incredible ways. I’d like to take a moment to share the story of George Washington Carver and how, through the path of God, he changed the world of agriculture.

George Washington Carver in 1906. (Photo: Frances Benjamin Johnston [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
George Washington Carver was an African American that was born into slavery.  His master, Moses Carver, was a German American immigrant who had purchased George’s parents, Mary and Giles, from William P. McGinnis on October 9, 1855, for $700. When George was only a week old, he, a sister, and his mother were kidnapped by night raiders from Arkansas. George’s brother, James, was rushed to safety from the kidnappers. The kidnappers sold the slaves in Kentucky. Moses Carver hired John Bentley to find them, but he located only the infant George. Moses negotiated with the raiders to gain the boy’s return, and rewarded Bentley. After slavery was abolished, Moses Carver and his wife Susan raised George and his older brother James as their own children. They encouraged George to continue his intellectual pursuits, and “Aunt Susan” taught him the basics of reading and writing. (Wilkepedia)

George grew up with a white family. By the age of twelve he left home to pursue his desire for more knowledge.  He applied to a number of colleges and was rejected because of his race.  He eventually made his way to Iowa State University to study botany and was accepted as the first African American student in 1891.  It was at Iowa State where he found national recognition as a botanist.  This led him to later become a professor at Tuskegee Institute. There, he had a laboratory that he called, “God’s Little Workshop.”

Pictured is Dr. George Washington Carver in his lab at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama in 1940. (Wide World Photo/file)

As George eagerly pursued his desires for plants, soil, etc., one thing led to another.  He rose to fame by transforming the agriculture industry through his research.  He became an inventor and developed hundreds of products using the peanut, sweet potatoes and soybeans.  He also became a champion of agriculture education and crop rotation.  His research, ideas, and inventions spawned into a big future that changed the landscapes in America.

Not only can we respect and appreciate George Washington Carver for his contribution to Agriculture, but appreciate his perseverance in his life that launched him into a great future.  George could have allowed his childhood experiences to hold him back in life.  Instead, he launched past his past in the 1800’s in a very racial intense America.  George took the desires of his heart, pushed forward with God by his side, and became a legendary pioneer for the agriculture industry.  He was a history maker and to this day, highly remembered for his accomplishments and the man of perseverance that he was.

George Washington Carver is a great example that we can find inspiration from for our own lives.  If we all launch past our past and build on our God given inspirations, we can build empires.

“When you learn from what inspires you, you will build empires both inside and outside of you.  Whatever is manifest outside of your life, you have to build on the inside of you first.” -Keith Craft

Inspiring Quotes by George Washington Carver (azquotes.com):

When I was young, I said to God, ‘God, tell me the mystery of the universe.’ But God answered, ‘That knowledge is for me alone.’ So I said, ‘God, tell me the mystery of the peanut.’ Then God said, ‘Well George, that’s more nearly your size.’ And he told me.

Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.

When you can do the common things of life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.

God is going to reveal to us things He never revealed before if we put our hands in His. No books ever go into my laboratory. The thing I am to do and the way of doing it are revealed to me. I never have to grope for methods. The method is revealed to me the moment I am inspired to create something new. Without God to draw aside the curtain I would be helpless.

Listen to Keith Craft’s message on How to Launch a Great Future for an inspiring sermon you can apply to your own life.

Congratulations Class of 2018

Graduation season has begun!

Years of study, dedication and hard work have finally paid off for this year’s graduates. They’ve planned and dreamed of this day for years. Some even counted down the days until they were off to college or off on their next great adventure.

The excitement of the season is infectious. It takes us all back to that time in our own lives when we celebrated the great accomplishment and privilege of education. For many, it also brings back the countless walks of life we faced at that pivotal moment of change.

As all of these new graduates head off into the world, they will be taking on a new set of wheels on a life journey through ups and downs. To all the graduates out there, there’s a beloved John Muir quote that seems appropriate for the next step in your life:

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”

John Muir, often dubbed the Father of our National Parks, was a wilderness explorer, writer and naturalist. His words are powerful, but even more inspiring is that they are universal and can inspire different people in different ways.

This particular quote to me is full of hope and of wisdom. You have an infinite number of paths before you. Some of the paths will be rough, unpaved and raw. Those paths-less-traveled are often the most fruitful and fulfilling. Follow your path and wherever it leads let it be walked with God.

I’d like to leave you this week with a few more words of wisdom from John Muir:

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”

Congratulations to this year’s graduates! You have earned it!

Try Something New!

School’s almost out! What will you do with your summer?

You could go to the beach or tackle a monstrous summer reading list. Maybe you’ll spend the precious summer hours discovering something new and exciting.

The arrival of warmer weather opens up a world of possibilities. Use the long, sunny days to your greatest advantage. Find your passion. Try something new – try a dozen new things.

Take heed of that voice in the back of your mind that whispers, “that looks like fun” when you see a gardener harvesting the fruits of their labor – or when you see a cyclist speeding down a winding road. Use this summer to do twelve things you’ve never done before. Fishing, camping, gardening, biking, hiking, singing, skateboarding, painting, or even something that you’ve always dreamed of.

Why not use the summer to write the great American novel? Go volunteer at your local children’s hospital as a candy striper to see if the medical field holds your heart. Wander through parks and across mountain paths taking photos. Who knows? Maybe photography is your calling.

We have a beautiful but fleeting opportunity to find what joys call to us and make our hearts race with hope. That feeling of hope and piqued interest – that’s God’s influence. Take the time to reflect on yourself and who God is asking you to become. What gifts and passions did he bestow upon you?

Now is the time to pursue them!

Spring Inspiration

Spring is in full swing and with it we start to shake away the winter blues and embrace the season that signifies change and new beginnings. As the trees blossom and many of us start the long-dreaded tradition of spring cleaning, now might be the best time of the year to think ahead. Where do you want to be this time next year? Who would it make you proud to be when spring rolls around again?

The season of change is the best time to plan on the changes in your life this year. Take time for yourself this weekend. Take a moment, a breath, to think about your hopes for the future. How are you going to get there?

Let the spring sunshine energize you to plan and dream your way to the future you want most. Already have it? Wonderful! Take a few moments to stop and appreciate it. Really look around at all the good in your life and be grateful for each and every blessing you’ve been bestowed.

On the Mother’s Day weekend, be thankful for your family and your health. Be kind to those you see and know that a smile in a busy supermarket line or the simple gesture of holding the door for someone can carry forward and send positivity across the community.

Don’t forget to cherish and voice your appreciation for the woman who raised you this Sunday. They deserve so much more than a day.

Every moment is a gift. What will you do with a year’s worth of moments?

The Amazing Life of Coir

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Even in agriculture, companies and farmers are coming up with new ways to recycle and reuse materials. One such company is Riococo Worldwide. Riococo uses byproducts of coconuts like pith, fiber, and husk which has traditionally been discarded as waste, to create coir products.

Photo provided by Riococo

The coir industry in Sri Lanka, where Riococo sources their byproduct, began in the 1860s and involves creating things like brushes, mattresses, floor mats, etc. from coconut fibers.

From the coconut byproduct, Riococo makes coir products used in greenhouses to grow produce like tomatoes, kale, melons, berries and lettuce. The coir product serves as a soilless growing media and is used in greenhouses, gardening, roof top, indoor and open field farming.

Photo provided by Riococo

According to Planet Natural, coir has great water retention and deters fungus gnats as well as certain diseases. Coir optimizes the nutrients used by the plant and growers have found their yields to be higher with its use as it has better steerability. Coir is biodegradable, renewable and non-toxic, while alternatives like peat and stonewool have more controversial environmental implications. In addition, after its use by commercial growers it can further be repurposed to be used as mulch in the community.

Photo provided by Riococo

Coir can also be used in wetlands restoration by allowing plants to pre-root into coir mats and ensuring that the plants do not erode away. Restoring and protecting our wetlands is an important buffer in protecting our land.

Photo provided by Riococo

Coir has so many wonderful benefits serving as an excellent solution in agriculture and our environment. With companies like Riococo, we can be thankful for all of their work in bringing a coir solution to market. Whether you’re a home gardener or a greenhouse farmer, your crop can benefit from coir.

Photo provided by Riococo

To learn more about Riococo Worldwide, visit: www.riococo.com