Michelle Bufkin

I am a freelance writer and photographer that focuses on the agricultural industry. I have a degree in Agricultural Communications from Auburn University.

Thanksgiving: Holding onto the positives

Thanksgiving is a time to spend with family, to remember to be grateful for the little things, and to eat until you’re miserable. But as people in the agriculture industry know, those first two can be difficult. Farming or ranching can take a lot of time, energy, and dedication. There’s rarely time for holidays and vacations — especially now as we get closer to winter and as the South is suffering a horrible drought. It makes things difficult. But I encourage you to take the time to enjoy yours

Antibiotic Stewardship

Creating a plan for reduced and refined use Antibiotic resistance is a concern for many consumers in today’s world. The aspect that most concerns, for most consumers, is the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture. We know how careful we are with antibiotics and that there is a withdrawal period for all antibiotics to keep people safe. But consumers don’t know this, so we need to inform them that we are using antibiotics safely. We also know how incredibly important antibiotics can be when tre

So, where does milk come from?

Auburn’s Dairy U and Dairy Goat U programs provide a unique hands-on learning experience for youth and adults. When most students are asked where milk comes from, the typical response is the grocery store. This poses an issue for the agriculture industry because we are raising a generation that does not know about farming. In April, there will be two programs, Dairy Goat U and Dairy U, that attempt to correct this issue. Both of these events are run by students in Auburn University’s Animal Sci

Beefing Up the Next Generation

The Alabama Beef Ambassador Program offers youth an opportunity to educate consumers about beef. The future of agriculture lies in developing today’s youth to not only become better farmers but to also be better advocates for agriculture. In today’s society, most people are four generations removed from the farm. This means there are numerous consumers who have little-to-no idea where their food comes from. The best way to change that is to educate farmers and ranchers on how to bridge that gap

Farming: A Labor of Love

Working hard for something we do not care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion. This statement rings true with most farmers. They get stressed when working on anything else, but they thrive under the pressures of farming. Why? One word: love. Farmers love what they do and that is proven over and over again when they continue farming – when literally anything else would be easier. It is also reflected when they reminisce on why they started farming. Garret

Ag Adventures

Annual event bridges the gap between farmers and the public. The fourth annual Ag Discovery Adventure had 1,907 people, a record number, attend to learn more about the agriculture industry. The event, held on October 10, focused on teaching the public about agriculture through hands-on activities and presentations. ADA is hosted at E.V. Smith Research Center by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and Auburn University’s College of Agriculture. I

Risky Business

The majority of farm accidents are tractor related; youth supervision is a necessity. Farming is a dangerous occupation, especially during the busy seasons. Everyone thinks farm accidents will happen to other people, but the truth is farm accidents can happen to anyone, including you or someone you know. Statistics about farm accidents can be broken down into two categories: incidents involving youth and incidents involving adults. A child dies in an agriculture-related incident about every th

Fueling a Passion

Successful Women in Agriculture is a new AU donor society offering support for females in a male-dominated field. It is not uncommon to hear that farming is a predominantly male field, but in recent years women’s participation in farming has increased. According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, 30 percent of farmers in the United States are females. That means there are 3.2 million female farmers. There are also more women studying agriculture at land-grant universities. Auburn University is

Guiltless Chicken

The Myth About Hormones in Poultry Production The use of hormones in the poultry industry is a myth that has persisted for years, and recent marketing techniques have not helped to dispel this myth. One of the reasons it is so difficult to dispel is the public misconception that anything large has to be artificially induced. Another reason consumers may believe hormones are used in the poultry industry could be that hormones are allowed in livestock production, but the hormones used on cattle d

The Magic of DNA

One of the more controversial debates currently in the agriculture industry is the use of GMOs, or genetically modified organisms. I use the term "debate" lightly: when I searched the word GMO on the Internet, ten posts appeared (not including Wikipedia) that pertained to GMOs; nine of those ten were against their usage. Ninety percent of the articles that a consumer reads when they Google the term GMO are negative, yet around ninety percent of field corn, soybeans and cotton grown in the United

Tell Your Story

Before Someone Else Does Troy and Stacy Hadrick are cattle farmers living in South Dakota. They are a fifth-generation farming family and hope to pass their farm down to their children one day, but realize some people would prefer that not happen. The Hadricks viewed themselves as normal, everyday cattle farmers in 2002 when Michael Pollan from The New York Times asked to write a story about one of their steers from birth to death. The Hadricks thought this would be a fantastic opportunity to

AFC Cooperative Farming News - The Great Social Debate

Ag and the Power of Social Media Some of the largest conversations concerning the farming industry lately have been occurring on social media sites. The only issue is that a majority of these conversations have been occurring without input from any agriculturalists. We as an industry need to focus more of our time and energy on educating and informing the public. The easiest and most efficient way to do this is through utilizing social media. Jeff Helms, director of the Department of Public R

Women in Ag 2016

"Women in agriculture need to recognize that their work is valuable – and with value comes greater confidence in themselves and in their businesses," said Marji Alaniz, head of FarmHer, in an article from agweb. Self-confidence was one of the focuses of the Women in Ag Workshop. The workshop was held May 13 at the Black Belt Research and Extension Center in Marion Junction. Thirty-six women attended the Alabama Cooperative Extension Systems woman-led workshop where they gained hands-on experie

Auburn U. research goes deep into irrigation sensors

Water is the most limiting factor in the world, especially when it comes to growing crops. And unfortunately farmers cannot depend on Mother Nature to provide them with this nourishment. Because of this, much of the crop land in America is irrigated. This is a great solution to not relying on Mother Nature, which we all know can be moody. But irrigation is not without its problems: The most common questions from farmers when it comes to this process is when to apply the water and how often. Dr.

Farmers get coalition's backing to do more with their data

We are in the middle of the information age, and everything is becoming more technological: people, jobs, communications, and farm equipment. While the general public may be surprised by the last one, farmers aren’t. Today tractors, planters, combines, sprayers, harvesters, and all kinds of other agricultural equipment are collecting data every time they pass over a field. The Agricultural Data Coalition is working to improve the storage of the data that is collected. This data can help farmers

Rustic meets rock in this rural Iowa music venue

Think all farmers are huge country music fans? While, this may be common, it is not always the case. A unique concert venue in Iowa is a perfect example of that. Codfish Hollow Barnstormers draws all kinds of people to a 900-acre farm to jam to local and national indie and rock bands. “The farm has been in my family handed down generation to generation, for five generations — my great-grandfather, Frederick Wilhelm Stamp farming it and then my grandpa, Arnold Stamp who built the round barn,” e

School's Out for Summer!

Not Quite, For Many Ag Teachers That’s the best part of being a teacher? Most people would jokingly answer June and July, more commonly known as summer break. This is not the case for most teachers these days, especially agriscience teachers. These dedicated educators spend what is normally a break preparing for the coming year or working with their students. "Summers are extremely busy for ag teachers. We do not have the typical summer break that everyone imagines. In many cases, the summer i