click image to zoom “I had to reach out.” That is how Debbie Lyons-Blythe describes her motivation to create her blog, “Life on a Kansas Cattle Ranch.” And reach out she has, connecting with both ranch mothers and urban consumers through her blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts. Her goal is to be an advocate for agriculture, educating consumers about how their food makes it from farm to table, and offering some great recipes that encourage consumer choices at the grocery store.
Lyons-Blythe and her husband Duane are raising five children along with Angus cattle on their Flint Hills ranch near White City, Kan. The blog is written about her daily life juggling the kids’ activities and caring for 500 head of cattle, and it has become a popular site for many in the ag community. But she targets a much larger audience.
“We need to tell the farmer and rancher story (to consumers), but we can’t let other people tell our story for us. Many people are interested in our story but don’t know anything about being a rancher, and they often miscommunicate the facts,” Lyons-Blythe says.
After a visit from relatives whose children are the first generation off of the farm, Lyons-Blythe was motivated to start blogging. The children were inquisitive about things on the farm that any rancher would automatically know the answers to, she says. Because the children were raised in an urban area, however, they did not understand the many practices involved in ranching and why things were done in certain ways. The visit from the relatives inspired her, Lyons-Blythe says, but she also indicated she needed a “creative outlet,” and the visit from the relatives gave her a push to get the blog started.
Lyons-Blythe was raised on a well-known Angus ranch in the Flint Hills and her mother, Jan Lyons, also devoted much of her time to supporting agriculture and the beef industry. Jan and her husband Frank operate Lyons Angus Ranch, Manhattan, Kan., and Jan has served as president of both the Kansas Livestock Association and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. She also served as national chairperson of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board.
Following her mother’s path, Lyons-Blythe now serves on the board of directors for the Kansas Livestock Association and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and is an active member of the American Angus Association. She readily admits that her parents instilled in her traditional farm values and a love for the farm lifestyle, characteristics she’s passing on to her children. She attended Kansas State University where she earned a degree in ag journalism, and while at K-State, she met her future husband.