Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valen-swine's Day

In honor of this Valentine's Day, here's some of the things I really, really like about this day. 

Heart Shaped foods...especially beef.

These cookies.

This heart on our last puppy's hind end. 

I always love agriculture but I also really, really like the ocean. 

And I suppose this guy's pretty cool, too.

So, whether you're single or not, have a Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

We've been going to a lot of cattle shows lately and are getting ready for
Denver for the National Western Stock Show in January.

Last month, I had the chance to intern with Livestock Publications Council at the American Royal. Three other ag comm students and I got to cover shows and write press releases and shoot photos all weekend. It was a great experience!
It's getting closer to the holidays and that means Springfield will be putting up our annual Christmas tree in the middle of Main Street! One of my all-time favorite traditions!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

30 days of thankfulness.

I've been seeing people posting statuses on Facebook about something they're thankful for each day leading up to Thursday and I didn't get the memo in time to start on November 1st with everyone else. So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I'd like to jump on the bandwagon and share with you the things that I am thankful for each day of this beautiful month of November.

1. I'm thankful for my main man, God, for I know he's ALWAYS there, no matter what.

2, 3, 4, 5, & 6: I'm thankful for my family. I don't know what I'd do without my loving parents and everything they've worked so hard to give me and my sisters. Speaking of sisters, they're the best; no one can make me happier than they can.

7. Agriculture: you all know I'm obsessed with it. This industry has given me so many opportunities to grow as a person and I can't wait to see where it takes me next.

8. I'm thankful for my friends. Even though they almost always take advantage of my inability to say "no," they put up with my sarcasm and weirdness.

9. Angus cattle make my world go round. I know they technically fit under #7 but they deserve a category all their own.

10. I'm thankful for the University of Nebraska and the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources! A good education is a privilege and I'm so grateful I can get one at a place I love.

11. I'm thankful for the men and women that serve in our armed forces.

12. I'm thankful that my family and I are healthy.

13. Also, I'm so glad we have a roof over our head and shoes on our feet.

14. I'm thankful for beautiful places like East Campus and Western Nebraska.

15. Thank goodness I have a job! And thank goodness I have a good chance of getting a great job right out of college! The internships that I've had throughout the past couple of years have helped me grow as a person and have honed so many important skills that will help me out when it comes time to apply for big girl jobs in less than a year.

16. I'm thankful for Diet Mountain Dew; without it, I wouldn't be able to get through the day. DMD is my coffee. My roommate and I can go through a 12-pack like nobody's business...It's a problem.

17. I'm thankful for the right to vote. Even if the election doesn't end up the way you hoped it would, you should be happy that you had a choice to help make that decision because a lot of people in this world don't even have that option.

18. I'm thankful for groups like NAMA and CASNR Advisory Board and the National Collegiate Ag Ambassadors that have not only bolstered my resume but have given me an escape from school work and help me feel like I'm making a difference on campus and in the world.

19. My iPhone..I'm not high maintenance, I swear. I just love my iPhone.

20. I'm thankful that I love to read and write and speak in public. They say a lot of people's number one fear is public speaking....I don't have that problem. I might actually love it too much.

21. I'm thankful for Governor Dave Heineman. That might sound kinda weird...but I really am! Not many states have a governor as awesome as we do in Nebraska! He's helped make Nebraska one of the happiest places in the country AND he LOVES agriculture!

22. Target. I can buy anything and everything there and it's all reasonably priced. Thank you, Target.

23. Nothing satisfies my tastebuds like a good 'ol ribeye cooked to medium rare...Nothing.

24. I'm thankful for country music; actually, maybe just music in general. I wouldn't be able to get through a long night of studying or a car ride that lasts more than 15 minutes without music, especially 90s country and red dirt music from down south. I have been known to switch up every once in awhile though, I love me some hardcore rap music here and there.

25. Need a little cheering up? Or a study break? Look up a good YouTube video. They've got everything. Here's one that makes me laugh every time.

26. I'm thankful for social media. Without social media, I wouldn't be able to connect with family and friends that don't live as close as we'd like. It's also a great tool for me to tell the story of agriculture!

27. I'm thankful for my planner and my desk-sized calendar. I'd be lost without them.

28. I thank the Lord for this beautiful, unseasonably warm weather we've been experiencing. I know it won't be like this for long but a girl can hope, right?

29. I'm thankful for the good work ethic that my parents have instilled in me from day one.

30. Most of all, I am thankful that I have 30 things to be thankful for. I live a blessed life.

What kind of things are you thankful for this year?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


As farmers and ranchers, it's sometimes difficult to share our story about what we do with those not directly related to agriculture. One way to connect with that group is through the use of social media.

The power of social media is unbelievable and can reach a large number of people virtually anywhere in an instant. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogs are just a small piece of the social media puzzle. Some may see these avenues as distractions or nuisances while trying to write that research paper you have to turn in by midnight. But I see them as opportunities and as tools that anyone with a computer and a passion can use to share their stories. 

This is one of my favorite YouTube videos of all time. It really shows the effects of social media and shares a lot of interesting statistics about social media users and successes. Watch it and tell me you aren't impressed...I dare you.

This August I had the opportunity to attend the 3rd annual Agvocacy 2.0 conference put on by the AgChat Foundation. This conference was held in Kansas City and offered a host of speakers about the importance of social media and how farmers and ranchers can use it to share with others. It was also a great chance to network with other agriculturalists. 

Among the topics we discussed were: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and ways to improve your blog. We also had sessions devoted to mobile apps. A lot of the speakers we heard were people that I had previously interacted with on Facebook and Twitter so it was nice to finally meet them all in person! 

I'd like to share a couple of examples of the power of social media that I have encountered in my own experiences. All of these posts to Facebook or Twitter are related to agriculture and I posted them with hope that the people that follow my pages would see them and get them thinking about agriculture and maybe even learn something!

Whenever I make it home, I like to try and post what's going on at the farm to Facebook or Twitter. This particular day, Dad and I were checking cows! 

It never hurts to post a picture of a steak. Especially one that's in the shape of the USA.

This is one of my favorite posts. It got quite a bit of action, too! 129 likes!

My sisters are pretty good at being advocates through social media, too.  It seems Jenny and Michelle are always tweeting about our cows or what's goin' on on the farm.

I am in an editing class for school right now and we use our AP Stylebooks on a regular basis. While studying the "H" Section of the book, I came across this definition of HSUS. I thought it was awesome that they said, "has no formal affiliation with the many local organizations that use the name Humane Society." This particular tweet was retweeted by other Twitter users 26 times!

I hope you've realized that it really isn't difficult to use social media and that the impact you can make on others can be huge. Get out there and make yourself a Facebook page and start sharing your story, no matter what it is! 

You can follow my tweets: @Mel_Keyes
Check me out on Facebook at:
And, as always, follow my blog here!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

After a nearly four-month hiatus, I am back in action! For some reason, Google "lost" Born in a Barn and I couldn't access it! What a nightmare! Nevertheless, here I am and here is my blog.

Here are some things that have happened since my last Wordless Wednesday.

This was the corn in the middle of June, before the drought got too terribly horrible. This corn was significantly taller and greener than a lot of corn in Nebraska at this time. We finished harvesting all of our crops just this Monday!

We got some new tats for the pickup! This pickup has taken us to several shows this summer: Angus Junior Nationals in Louisville, KY, the Nebraska State Fair and AkSarBen, just to name a few!

I was recently chosen to be a National Collegiate Agricultural Ambassador. This is such an honor and I'm so excited to serve my term with this amazing group of individuals from across the country. The girl in the picture with me is my friend, Mollie. Mollie and I are the two Nebraska Agriculture Ambassadors. Part of our responsibilities include doing 30 hours of presentations to all ages about agriculture.

Jenny, the middle Keyes girl, has joined me in Lincoln at UNL and I couldn't be happier! 

Cher, my Angus heifer, recently won the Angus show at the Nebraska State Fair. She looked so beautiful and we were so happy! Cher went on to help Michelle win 3rd place in showmanship at AkSarBen and hopefully she'll do well in Kansas City at the end of this month at the American Royal!

Thursday, June 21, 2012


The Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute is 18 days away!  

I have been interning for the Nebraska Department of Agriculture since August and my biggest project has been planning NAYI.

The Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council has been working hard for the past year to make this NAYI the best NAYI yet! We have a fun-filled week planned for the 156 delegates that will flock to UNL's East Campus July 9-13.

This is our logo for #NAYI12. Agriculture is a growing industry
and especially in Nebraska. The things we are doing in agriculture
today are not only affecting our communities and our state
but on a global level. We're doing big things each and every day.

Motivational speakers like Jolene Brown and Justin Lookadoo will be with us for our opening and closing ceremonies while commodity board representatives and some NAYI sponsors will be speaking throughout the rest of the week. Delegates will either be participating in the Farm Management Game or producing the daily newsletter (The Hitchin' Post) and newscast throughout the week. We'll have a career fair, CASNR campus tours, a dance and a toga party to wrap up the last night!

It's going to be a great time had by all although it will be a little bittersweet for me. This will be my fifth and final NAYI conference. NAYI has given me so much over the past five years and I hope it will impact this year's delegates like it has impacted me.

You can keep up with us on Facebook by searching "Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute" and follow us on Twitter @The_NAYC.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Fun Fact #1: Nearly 90% of the photos on my phone are of cattle. 

Fun Fact #2: I love instagram. It's probably my favorite app of all time.

There's no place like home. God's Country.

Angus Road