BEEF Daily

Introducing Baby Scarlett; PLUS: 5 Resources For Ranching Parents


BEEF Daily Editor Amanda Radke welcomes a new daughter as her muse for future blog posts.

My first blog post for BEEF was in September 2008, following a summer internship with the magazine just before my senior year of college. Since then, I’ve experienced many milestones in life and have had the pleasure with sharing these moments with all of you through this blog. I graduated from South Dakota State University (SDSU); moved home to our family ranch; got engaged and married to Tyler -- a guy I met on the SDSU Meat Judging Team; bought our own ranch site close to my childhood home; purchased cattle; and most recently, had our first child.

After much anticipation, our daughter, Scarlett, has arrived, and we couldn’t be happier with the new addition to our family. Life has certainly changed forever and definitely for the better. Despite the sleepless nights and dirty diapers, we feel truly blessed to have Scarlett in our lives, and I’m excited to share her with all of you. (Photo Credit: Ann Long Photography, Mitchell, SD)

You’ll hear more about Scarlett in future blog posts as she offers me a new perspective on our ranching business. I’m thrilled to bring a new generation to our operation, and I can’t wait to start teaching her everything there is to know about cattle and instill in her a love of the land and livestock.

Seeing as she is just shy of three weeks old today, I suppose I will let her grow up a little bit before we start exploring the ranch. In the meantime, however, she will be my blogging assistant, and I wanted to be sure to introduce her to all of you.

Please welcome Scarlett to our blogging community! And thank you to those who have emailed me already and sent kind words of congratulations and advice.


Subscribe now to Cow-Calf Weekly to get the latest industry research and information in your inbox every Friday!

In honor of all ranching parents, here’s a round-up of some of our best blog posts and articles about raising country kids. Here are five of my favorites:

7 Lessons I Want To Teach My Ranch Baby

10 Best Photos Featuring Generations On The Ranch From Readers

25 Facts About Farm Kids

Raising Kids Is Kind Of Like Training Horses, But Not Quite

This Week I Had One Of Those “Dad” Moments

Do you have advice for a first-time parent? I would love to hear about your kids and any parenting stories you might have. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of or the Penton Farm Progress Group.


Other resources you may enjoy:

5 Essential Steps For Fly Control On Cattle

10 New Farm Trucks To Consider For 2014

Enjoy These Picture-Perfect Summer Grazing Scenes

10 Resources For Breeding Success

Discuss this Blog Entry 24

Elaine Steigman (not verified)
on Jun 23, 2014

Welcome to Scarlet. Life will certainly become more interesting as you continue to grow through the eyes of your little girl. Life is good. :) Happy for you.

W. E. (not verified)
on Jun 23, 2014

Congratulations, Amanda!! There is no better addition to a farm or ranch family than a child, who gives the land and its stewards a focus and a worthy purpose for the future. And congratulations, Scarlett, on being born into a ranching family! There is no better place for a child to grow up than in the country, where she will be able to find her own purpose and focus among people who who value her, protect her, and provide for her health and development. Who knows what gifts and possibilities (and challenges, of course) this beautiful baby may bring to your lives? She may even bring about a new paradigm that can help change the world for the better. Many others in your blogging community no doubt join us in looking forward to her childhood with hopes and smiles. Amanda, rest when you can. There will be days in your future when you can't. Hope you have planned on nursing her for as long as she needs to provide her with the best possible start nature offers toward a healthy and happy life.

Emma (not verified)
on Jun 23, 2014

Congrats Amanda! Miss Scarlett is beautiful!

Marcia Callaway -- Callaway Cattl (not verified)
on Jun 23, 2014

What a Blessing. Motherhood fits you well. God Bless you all and many thanks for sharing Scarlett. Ture SOUTHERN name. Love ya, Marcia

Linda (not verified)
on Jun 23, 2014

Congratulations to you and Tyler on your new rancher. To bring a child into the world is one of life's greatest blessings. Your days will be changed forever and your lives enriched forever.

Liz (not verified)
on Jun 23, 2014

Congratulations, Tyler and Amanda! She is precious and is blessed to be born into a ranching family. God bless your family!

cowmandan (not verified)
on Jun 23, 2014

Congratulations. There is nothing better than raising children and nothing better than raising them in the country as part of the family business. May God bless you all.

Tunde Caraway (not verified)
on Jun 23, 2014

Congratulations on your new baby - nothing stronger or more sacred than a bond between mother and baby. This bond is not specific to humans but all mammal life including cows, horses, etc. being a rancher and breeding cows, does it not even enter your mind that you are specifically breeding babies to be torn from their mother and end up being brutally murdered and carved for money? To live in a society where your chilled are force ably removed from you and killed for dirty bloody money? Is there anything more horrendous that we humans do sell precious life for a bigger house or new car? Change places for one minute with these mothers and feel their pain and anguish - being a new mother yourself. Thank you for reading this.

on Jun 23, 2014


I appreciate you having the courage to state your thoughts about beef production on this blog. I can tell you are speaking from the heart, so I hope you will also know that my perceptions also come from a heartfelt place.

Being a steward of our cattle is one of the best gifts God has ever bestowed upon me. As a caretaker of my livestock, I get to see baby calves being born every spring. I get to watch them grow and make sure they have everything they need to thrive -- things like grass, water, feed and shelter. I'm also responsible for the mothers, and we wean these calves at an appropriate time, so the mama cows can grow and thrive as well.

As a rancher, I understand the circle of life, and I don't take it lightly how much cattle give to make my life better. It's more than just burgers and steaks, it's by-products too. Things like leather for furniture, shoes, belts, etc., insulin for diabetics, stearic acid for my tires, crayons, deodorant, etc. I literally couldn't go a day without a cow helping me out, and relying on synthetic replacements would be detrimental to the environment and non-sustainable.

Ranching is more than just about making money because there have been plenty of years where our operation has been in the red. We do it because we truly love caring for the land and the livestock. Even in a blizzard or the pouring rain, we take care of our cattle before we take care of ourselves. It's a way of life.

And that's the life I want to pass on to my daughter, Scarlett. Last night, we went for a drive through the pasture, and I introduced her to our cattle for the first time. It was such a beautiful memory to take a photo of my daughter with her herd of cows in the background. I feel very fortunate that she will be able to work with multiple generations on our ranch, and that she will be lucky enough to live and work in the great outdoors, serving as a caretaker for God's beautiful bovines.

Finally, as a protective mother, I would hope that blog posts about my child would be sacred ground from folks trying to push propaganda such as a meatless lifestyle, but I know that with the internet, people can say and do whatever they like. But please respect that Scarlett is a newborn baby, and any negative attacks on her -- however nicely written -- won't be taken kindly, even in an open forum like this one.

Respectfully submitted,

Amanda Radke

Tunde (not verified)
on Jun 23, 2014

I appreciate your well thought out and sensitive response, I would never attack any beautiful innocent child, I just have one more question. when are you going to take your child who is going to be raised to love and nurture these cows, to the slaughterhouse to show the truth of what she is working for? If she and you truly care for their lives then it will be very painful to see where their love and dedication is ending up...if it's just for the money, it won't make a difference. I regard all animals as children, completely innocent, trusting and vulnerable, and it pains me so much to see them exploited in the worst way. I sincerely wish your beautiful new baby a long and happy life filled with love and happiness!

BG (not verified)
on Jun 24, 2014

I must ask Tunde, have you ever been inside a modern beef processing plant? Have you seen the process, the animal/human safety protocols, the humane handling standards, the food safety regulations that must be followed and all else that is involved with animal harvesting practices? I have in fact I have been in several of today's modern processing facilities, I have seen first hand how cattle are handled and harvested prior to and post death. I have seen the process of cleaning the carcasses and the process of cutting the meat. I have followed specific cattle from the time they stepped off the truck at the slaughter plant till the ribeye steaks and sirloins where put in boxes to be aged. I don't personally enjoy watching the cattle being killed and bled out but I understand that it is done as humanely as possible and that death is instant.
I am also a rancher, a wife, and a mother. Our young son (he is 1.5 years old) will grow up just like the vast majority of ranch kids learning about how precious life is both human and non-human. He will be taught to love and respect the animals and land that God has given us to tend. He will also get to see the WHOLE circle of life from the first breath the new born calf takes to the last breath that calf takes.
You speak about in your earlier comment of taking away the young calves from their mothers and the pain that the mothers go through. As a mother who nursed her son for a full year I fully understand that there comes a time in EVERY young mammels life that they must be weaned from mothers milk. Most cow/calf producers wean their calves between 6 and 8 months of age. At this time in the cows "natural" lacation cycle she starts to slowly dry up and produce less milk because her body must prepair to be able to provide for the next new born calf. The cow just like all other wild animals will wean their calves with out human intervention. There came a time when it was time to wean my son, was it painful, absolutely there was physical pain involved any woman who has produced milk and not felt pain is a very lucky woman. As far as emotional pain for the cows at weaning time, yes some cows will call for their calves and look for them, some cows will walk back out to pasture never look back for their calves. I did experience some "emotional discontent" when I weaned my son, mostly because what had become my normal everyday life for 12 months had suddenly changed. Within a day or 2 just like the cows I had begun to adjust back to a life without nursing my child. My son on the other hand could of cared less if he got his milk from mommy or from a glass. When we wean our calves they are physically able to consume adult cattle feed and drink water the cows do a great job of teaching them to eat and drink like adult cattle. Within a few days the calves have forgotten all about life when they consumed milk from mommy and learn to find comfort without her. Just like my son who has long since forgotten that mommy fed him and gave him comfort for the 1st 12 months of his life has moved to the next stage of his life. Just like my son a weaned calf will move on to the next stage of their life.
If I as a rancher was all about getting rich at the expense of the animals, I would not of paid double for feed during the drought (I would of sold them), I would not pay for feed, vet, and other cattle needs before buying designer jeans (wait I don't wear designer jeans) or new carpet for the house. If I was just for the money I would not have struggled to stay in business and maintain our cow herd during the years that the cost of producing those calves was more than the price we recieved for them at sale time. Yes we run a business and in order to keep our business and home we must make a profit, but those profits don't get spent at the mall on overly expensive cloths/jewelry, they don't get spent on new big screen TV and game stations (we don't even own a video game), nor do they get spend on other lavish things for myself or my family. The profits we make go right back into the business to make life better for the cows, we spend our profits on new fences, better handling equipment, upgrading a tractor/feed wagon that breaks down less so we can get feed to the cattle faster, yes we buy new pickups because they are used for the cattle hauling feed, fixing fences, trips to the vet office, etc. We spend the profits in ways that make life better for the cows.
I can't speak for Amanda but speaking as a fellow farm mother I can assume with a good level of confidence that her daughter will be brought up to know the WHOLE circle of life for the cattle that they love and nuture. I personally do not know a single farmer/rancher who doesn't understand the how the whole system works and doesn't want their children to completely understand the system of meat production.

Tunde (not verified)
on Jun 24, 2014

BG I do appreciate you taking the time and effort to write me and try to humanize the slaughter business. When I was talking about taking away newborn calves from their mother, I was specifically talking about the dairy business. They keep impregnating the cows continuously and take the newborns away so as not to waste their profitable product on the babies where God intended. The male newborns are immediately murdered or sold for veal where the baby is isolated and unable to exercise for the few months it is kept alive. I am not referring so much to family owned farms, I am against factory farming where no care is given to the animal, no sunshine, no grass,but treated as objects for profit. Unfortunately animals today are tortured, abused, kept as prisoners and gassed, beaten and skinned alive for profit. food, clothing, entertainment, scientific experiments, the list goes on and on. Most of the people here seem to be very religious, but ignore God's 10 commandments - Thou Shall Not Kill - very explicit. In Gods kingdom in the beginning, and in revelations at the very end where people will be chosen, God specifically states there will be no death, no pain, no killing, no eating of meat. It is all written down. Killing any living thing for monetary profit is wrong. How do you teach a child that killing some things are okay and others are not. Animals have complex emotions just like we do, they love, they play, they dream when asleep. I can hardly sleep at night when I see the continuous pain, torture and murder of innocent lives that cannot defend themselves which include, children, the elderly, disabled, etc, they trust us and we betray them. Thank you again for writing your thoughts, I hope some part of you can understand mine. I am not a fanatic, I just choose compassion over cruelty and there is always a choice. God bless you and your family.

on Jun 23, 2014

Well said Amanda. God gave us livestock and the gifts and desire to look after them to the best of our ability which we do with great pride and skill.
A word of warning you now have competition for the position as Tylers' favourite girl. It is a wonderful feeling for you as a mother and Scarlet will be forever daddys' little girl.
Congratulations from far afield (Northern Ireland)
Barrie Barr and family

on Jun 23, 2014

Thank you, everyone, for the kind words and thoughtful advice. Scarlett and I are enjoying reading through them this morning.

Ddee Haynes (not verified)
on Jun 23, 2014

Well said Amanda.

KW (not verified)
on Jun 23, 2014

Congratulations on baby Scarlett! I can't wait to see her grow up and enjoy the life lessons that come from living on a beef ranch. Some of my most treasured childhood memories come from raising and caring for the animals that my family has had the privilege of owning for generations.

As you know, nothing compares to a life in agriculture and the beef industry. I only wish that those who aren't knowledgeable or respective of our lifestyle would be open to educating themselves on the truth of cattle production and those farm families that have devoted their lives to it.

Best wishes to baby Scarlett and her wonderful parents! She's one lucky little cowgirl!

Renae (not verified)
on Jun 23, 2014

Well said, Amanda, indeed.

Peggy Vostad, LPN (not verified)
on Jun 23, 2014

Amanda, first let me congratulate you on your beautiful daughter. I have so enjoyed the pictures of her you have shared on Facebook! I so agree with your comments! I will treasure my memories and the memories of my children that where made being involved in the beef industry. Well said my friend!

Jess Peterson (not verified)
on Jun 23, 2014

Amanda- your post just made my day! Laura and I are so happy for you and Tyler!! Scarlett is beautiful and perfect in every way-- you have a super little blogging assistant that will go on to have many fun adventures and learning experiences on the ranch. Here’s to many happy and joyous days ahead!

Robert Gwilt (not verified)
on Jun 23, 2014

Amanda Congrats on the arrival of your beautiful daughter.
Brings back memorys of my first first born daughter. She
will completely change your life.
All the best wishes for you and your family.

Debbie Bacon (not verified)
on Jun 23, 2014

Amanda congratulations on your baby girl! I'm confident you will create many memories as you teach her the ranching way of life. God has placed her in your care by his purpose and in his time. Just as he has a purpose and plan for each of us, he also has a purpose for each creature that he created. For beef cattle and any other species of livestock that purpose is to provide sustenance for the human race and in fact sometimes for other species of animals. Those of us in the ranching/livestock business often are the ones who understand most the power of His creation and look to Him to provide for us through challenging times as a rancher. Stay firm and proud in what you do!

BG (not verified)
on Jun 24, 2014

Congrats on the new Addition!! My advise is that it is OK to not enjoy every single moment. Everybody would tell me that after a long sleepless night leading into an all day fussy baby to just enjoy every single moment because you will soon miss them. A year and a half after our son was born there are moments that I am GLAD are behind us. I do not miss crying in the middle of the night because it hurt so bad to nurse him, I don't miss being up every 2 hours to feed him, I don't miss him crying at me for hours and not knowing what to do and how to fix what ever was wrong. There are moments to enjoy and treasure and there will be moments that are simple best forgotten. It is Ok to put those not so great moments behind you and look to the future.

Adele Bartholomew (not verified)
on Jul 3, 2014

Congrats to you, Amanda & Tyler. Scarlett is a beautiful baby.

Rebecca Shaw (not verified)
on Dec 23, 2014

Your ability to defend and promote your industry is inspiring. Very well spoken, Miss Radke. Keep it up!

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What's BEEF Daily?

BEEF Daily Blog is produced by rancher Amanda Radke, one of the U.S. beef industry’s top social media “agvocates.”


Amanda Radke

Amanda Radke is a fifth generation rancher from Mitchell, S.D., who has dedicated her career to serving as a voice for the nation’s beef producers. A 2009 graduate of South Dakota State...

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