Tag Archives: agriculture

Industry Tours in Gympie

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I had the opportunity to attend the AgForce SEQ (Southeast Queenlsand) Regional Meeting in Gympie. Gympie is about two hours north of Brissie. The meeting was two days long with the first day consisting of two industry tours and then the second day consisted of meetings.

Our first stop was Nolan Meats. Growing up on a ranch and processing our livestock to put in our freezer, slaughter is not a new or scary thing for me. For most, it’s hard to wrap their head around the fact that I’ve raised an animal, named it, showed it at livestock shows across the state, and then at the end of the show season it was put it in our freezer.  It’s part of life. So, getting to tour Nolan Meats was really fascinating for me. They process about 540 head of beef cattle from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

I’ve been to several meat processing plants, my sister just got her master’s in meat science so this wasn’t anything new for me, or so I thought. Nolan Meats is an accredited Halal processing plant. Never in my life have I heard the term Halal much less how to spell it (thank gosh for Google). In order to export to the Middle East and North Africa, Halal processing must occur. In a nut shell, to be eligible for Halal, the animal must have it’s throat cut while it’s still alive. In order to do this, Nolan Meats uses a mushroom stun gun then the animal is rolled out of the crush (chute) where a Muslim says a prayer to Allah and cuts the throat. There are strict guidelines and if an animal is deemed ineligible for Halal it has to be removed immediately because it cannot touch any carcass that is Halal or that carcass will also be ineligible. The animal also has to walk into the crush on it’s own accord. Interestingly, for McDonald’s and the USA this is also the case. If the animal is not killed in the crush, the USA considers the animal non-ambulatory and will not allow it to be imported. If an animal will not walk into the crush, the plant then uses a captive bolt gun to kill it.

Moving from the whole act of killing the animal, it goes through the butchering process and at the end must be graded. There are two grading schemes in Australia. Meat Standards Australia is the eating quality grading scheme. The Australia Meat Accreditation, as it was explained to me, is the value of the meat so basically what they get paid for the carcass. It’s very interesting and much more complicated than I’m used to. Another thing I found interesting was how they take hump height on all carcasses. This allows them to determine the BI% (Bos indicus) of the carcass which is taken into account when grading.

Some other interesting things about Nolan Meats. All yards are designed based upon Temple Grandin’s recommendations. I immediately picked up on this when I noticed most everything is curved and not straight. The entire time I was there, about 1.5 hours, I never once heard a calf moo. There has to be less than 10% noise or the plant can’t slaughter because it’s too noisy (I think I understood that right). I believe this has to do with animal welfare. Besides how quite it was, I also noticed it really didn’t smell. This is because they have anaerobic ponds. This helps to keep the odor down. They also prefer to receive crossbred calves that have all three (American, English and Exotic) bloodlines. Like many plants, the different colored hats represent different individual responsibilities (i.e. quality officers). Just over 10% of their employees are Muslim. They were extremely clean and sanitary. I noticed that after each kill they sharpen and sanitize the knifes. They do a great job!

Finally, Nolan Meats is eligible to export to 192 countries! Wow! The countries they export to the most include Dubai, Brunei, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea, Japan and the USA. Sorry I wasn’t able to take photos. Like most processing plants, they don’t allow photos to be taken thanks to animal activists. Yep, it’s a problem here too.

Our next stop was at Suncoast Gold Macadamia. It was really neat to see the process. They create lots of flavored macadamias and I was able to try wasabi, sea salt, honey roasted and mango. The top three major exports for Suncoast Gold Macadamia are Germany, Japan and the USA. Sorry, this tour wasn’t as cool to me as the previous one. We saw a bunch of silos and boxes. Below are a few photos.

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We rounded out the day at Yandina Station. I can honestly say, this is the best food I’ve ever eaten in my entire life. There was plenty of beer and wine to go around and then they started bringing out canape’s (hors d’ouvre). They were so good! We had Vietnamese spring rolls, prawn, mini duck meat pies and pork belly. Greg from MLA (Meat & Livestock Australia) gave a report on some research they’ve been doing and then took a rump and fabricated it (cut it up) into the different muscles in the rump and then grilled them for everyone to taste. They were so good! This was to get the most out of a lower quality cut of meat. If I had to guess what cut of meat it was after it was grilled, I would have never guessed rump. I want to get a whole rump when I get home and show my sister this. It was really interesting! 

We then went into the dining area and had our meal. Holy cow! We had beef, lamb, and chicken stuffed with dressing along with mashed potatoes, green beans and rocket (arugula) salad. Finally, three different mini desserts were served. I don’t remember them all (shocking I know), but my favorite was the sticky date cake. Yummy! From my understanding, the food was from Matt Golinski’s (winner of Master Chef Australia who lost his family and was himself severely burned from a house fire) catering staff. Below are a few pictures of the meal. Sorry for the poor quality.


I won’t bore y’all with all the stuff that went on in the meeting the next day. I had a great time! I met some awesome people and was invited to come out and look at someone’s property so hopefully I’ll be able to do that soon. I also have to give a shout out to Scott Hansen from MLA who showed the So God Made a Farmer Dodge commercial at the end of his presentation. I can watch that 100 times and it never gets old.

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10 Examples of Agriculture in Social Media

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For this blog post, we were tasked to blog about 10 examples of agriculture in social media. Below you will find brief descriptions and links to 10 examples. All, of which, are varying in content and social media platform. They are in no particular order.

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (LinkedIn Group)

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association does a good job with their group on LinkedIn. There’s a variety of information posted including jobs, agriculture industry news, and general tips and advice. They encourage discussions and making connections. I believe the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association does a good job promoting agriculture and creating a conversation through the social media platform LinkedIn.

AgChat Foundation (Twitter)

The AgChat Foundation has done an outstanding job creating discussion in the agriculture community on Twitter. They host discussions on Tuesday nights which has a different topic encompassing agriculture in some form or fashion each time. AgChat Foundation also posts interesting tweets and articles links. AgChat Foundation is definitely a good one to follow for agriculturists and those interested in agriculture.

I am Agriculture Proud (Facebook Group)

I am Agriculture Proud is a Facebook group dedicated to agriculturists who are excited and proud to be a part of the agriculture industry. Ryan Goodman established this group. He has done a great job of posting articles and agriculture information. Furthermore, members of the group are comfortable posting and informing others in the industry about what they’re doing.

Taste Arkansas (Blog)

The Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation created the Taste Arkansas blog. This blog is dedicated to posting recipes with pictures and instructions. Tara Johnson does a great job consistently posting recipes as well as other featured bloggers. Taste Arkansas also has other pages including a featured farmer page.

Meat MythCrushers (Facebook)

Meat MythCrushers is exactly what it sounds like. They are dedicated to correcting misinformation to the public concerning meat. They do a great job of posting facts including articles as supporting information.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) (Blog)

The USDA has done a great job of posting articles and information for agriculturists and the general public. I believe this blog helps to showcase how the USDA does more than government work, but community work as well. I also believe they provide articles in the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food category to help with transparency between the farmers and the public.

Ranch House Designs, Inc. Back at the Ranch (Blog)

Ranch House Designs, Inc. is an all-encompassing agriculture marketing company. I enjoy this blog because they post about new clients and the services they provide. Rachel Cutrer has a great design team who are extremely creative and talented. I also think Rachel does a great job of personalizing the blog and throwing in a few stories here and there.

Truffle Media (Blog)

Truffle Media does a great job about posting agriculture industry information. This information is always up-to-date. Furthermore, they don’t focus on one particular sector of the agriculture industry. They post a variety of information so no matter what sector of agriculture you’re particularly interested in, you’ll find newsworthy information here.

i2agriculture (Twitter)

i2agriculture has a very informative approach to tweeting. They post not only about agriculture, but post interesting information for the general public as a whole. They tweet interesting facts and articles appealing to a wide array of audiences.

Pork, Knife and Spoon (Blog)

Pork, Knife and Spoon is sponsored by the National Pork Board. This blog features recipes all about pork. They provide pictures along with recipes and instructions. I really enjoy this blog because sometimes it’s hard to come up with new pork recipes. This blog is a great resource for cooks.

10 Likable Blogs

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Listed below you will find 10 blogs I have found and enjoy. They are listed in no particular order with a link and brief description of each.

Deep South Dish

Deep South Dish is a blog all about cooking. Mary focuses on cooking southern food, mainly from scratch, so I really enjoy this blog. She posts pretty regularly to keep you intrigued. Furthermore, she posts a picture of the final product along with the recipe. There’s also links to other pages such as cooking tips.

It Is What It Is

Beth’s blog has entries about pictures, projects and printables. She also posts pictures along with her instructions to help you understand the topic/project better. There’s also a categories section so you can access what you’re looking for more easily. One neat thing about her blog is her printables section. Here you can find several different tags and labels to print.

On Charming Party

Brittany has dedicated her blog to all things party. She provides posts about anything from party decorating ideas to party food ideas. I really enjoy the pictures she posts along with her instructions. When you’re having a party this would be a good blog to check out. You can also order books with specific party themes.

Blissfully Content

Julia is a busy lady. There’s recipes, project tutorials and also a page about preserving. She also posts about her family on her home page to make it a bit more personal. This is a neat blog with really great ideas and she keeps it up-to-date.

Life With J&A

Jonathan and Anna enjoy creating picture frames. They also like DIY projects, in which I’ve seen several utilizing burlap. There are pictures along with the instructions helping to insure you are doing the right thing. Jonathan and Anna also like going to thrift stores and finding a good steal and fixin’ it up. They also have great photos they have taken posted on their blog.

Tip Junkie

This is a one stop shop blog. There’s several categories from projects and printables to food and party ideas. This is an interesting blog because the items featured look to be shared and provided by other bloggers. Quick summaries and pictures are provided and if you find something you’re interested in you click on it to view the entire entry.

Design Seeds

I really love this blog. Jessica has done a great job of taking a photo and making color palettes from the colors in the picture. The colors always compliment each other and also have the color code listed so you can get the exact color. She also has books for sell containing the more popular color palettes from her blog.

Natalie’s Daily Crave

Natalie’s blog is dedicated to all things food. She posts pictures of a completed recipe along with the recipe. She’s a personal chef sharing recipes to the home cook. There are also short stories to go along with the recipes giving them her personal touch.

My Kitchen Addiction

Jen features recipes on her blog. She takes step-by-step photos along with her instructions on how to make a recipe. She also includes her Husband’s Picks, Tips and Tutorials and a photography section on her blog site. If you’re a food lover, you should check her out!

AgWeb

AgWeb features bloggers across various sectors of the agriculture industry. No matter what your agricultural interests are you will find a topic here to fit your needs. There’s also links to other publications and resources. For anything agriculture, this is a great blog to consider when needing to find out information.