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"Stand for what is right. Even if it means standing alone." β€” Suzy Kassem

By now many of you have asked if Ellen DeGeneres replied to my social media video shout out to her. No, unfortunately, I haven't gotten a response. You see, I put together a short video, inviting Ellen to come to North Iowa to see the Rudd Haunted House and to come visit our farm. Why would I do that? Well, Ellen chose to use her large platform as a celebrity to encourage all to "eat less meat". You can google her plea that she shared on social media. Her message included that eating less meat was better for the environment, our bodies, and the animals.

As you might guess, I have a large collection of facts that I could fire back with. In fact, I waited a few days trying to decide how I might react to this video she shared. As the days passed on after she had shared the video, I realized I was upset that Ellen had done this, but she hadn't said: "Don't eat meat." She said, "Eat less meat." Do I believe deep in my heart the hidden message she was sharing was "Don't eat meat." Darn right I do, but as the days went on I realized I wasn't as upset with Ellen as I was with the people going crazy on social media speaking negatively about farmers and ranchers and the fact that they were making blanket statements about an occupation that they have probably never witnessed first hand. Most of the keyboard warriors responding are using false facts to make their incorrect claims. Now, that made me mad.

Tell your story.

It made me mad and it just added fuel to a fire that I have burning in my soul to tell our story. I believe we each have a story and that our story needs to be told. For instance, our little farm family works hard to provide food to local families. In fact, this summer alone, we have filled the freezers of 30 families with beef, pork, and chicken that we literally pour blood, sweat, and tears into. We poured ourselves into those animals whether it was a polar vortex or whether it was 100 degrees out. We have also produced a hay crop for our own animals to eat this winter and produced enough to sell to other farmers and animal enthusiasts to feed their stock. I lost track of how many families benefited from our two sweet corn plots, but I know for a fact that our family will be able to go to our freezer to enjoy several meals that will include that taste of summer that, unless frozen, only comes around for a few weeks each year.

I feel strongly that everyone needs to tell their story, whatever it is. If we don't tell our version of our stories someone else will, just like the fake news and fake facts that are getting spewed by those that are against farmers and ranchers. Just like Ellen did in 2008 when she said this of animals produced for meat: They are all in pain, they are all treated badly. They are all diseased and they are all pumped with antibiotics. It’s a very disturbing reality. And it happens every minute of the day.”

Um, what?

In pain and treated badly? I have an iPhone full of photographs that I take on the daily that will tell you otherwise about how animals are treated on our farm so making blanket statements like that is just plain wrong.

Here is what happens every day at our house, animals are fed before humans eat breakfast or supper. Animals receive the same antibiotic care that our children would receive if they had a fever and an infection. If animals are in pain and we can't fix it a veterinarian is called just as if one of our children would go to a doctor if they were in pain that we couldn't control.

To those of you reading this and to Ellen if it ever gets to her. This is your invitation to come see our farm, hear our story, and to make your own judgment based on first-hand facts rather than fake news or the comments of a keyboard warrior. If you don't want to come visit and get some sh*t on your shoes or scared out of you at our little local haunted house that is perfectly fine with me. Just remember if you are going to use your celebrity platform like a manure spreader to spread it we are sure going to use our platform, to share our stories and the truth about it.

How will you be brave and share your story?

From the gravel road,


Someone asked me today why I get so excited about the babies being born on our farm when we have experienced it so many times before...

I have to admit I was dumbfounded.

Me: Huh? What do you mean? Do you get excited when humans that you know give birth?

Adult: Well, sure, but those are people. You are freaking out about animals.

Me: Well, have a seat, let me explain... πŸ™‚

New baby that we are calling Twister

Spring on the farm means new life, new beginnings, new challenges, and a new chapter. As I have said, it's not always sunshine and roses but it's why most farmers and ranchers do what they do! We love to see a new baby calf hit the ground and then hop up within minutes looking for it's momma for a drink. Why? Because it means that we chose the right bull for that heifer or cow, that we kept that heifer or cow healthy during pregnancy, and that we (with our planning and care) helped bring a new life into the world.

It ALWAYS stays exciting, with each nearing day of piglets being born, with each day on the calendar being checked off as a due date approaches, it is ALWAYS exciting. With it, we teach our children (and social media following) about the life cycle and where their food comes from. We teach our children responsibility, about reproduction and giving the animals the proper care that they need after giving birth.

On our farm spring isn't all about livestock giving birth, the greening of the alfalfa and it's growth mean that we cared for our product and it has come back another year to provide our cows with nutrition and income for our family. Spring means that corn and soybeans can go in the ground, which will, in turn, provide nutrition for our animals.

Farmers and ranchers care deeply about their livestock and crops and want only the best for them and the consumers that will benefit from the product that is raised.

These are just a few of the reasons why I will never tire of spring on the farm and never tire of telling people about it!

What do you love about spring where you live?

From the Gravel Road-


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