Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, July 08, 2000, Image 54

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    814-Lancaster Farming, Saturday, July 8, 2000
(Continued from Page B 2)
field was in full bloom, and bee
traffic was heavy as the bees
flew back and forth.
Renee enjoys experimenting
cooking with honey. She even
won some prizes among veteran
cooks when she entered the con
test sponsored by the Pa. State
Beekeepers Association. She re
ceived first place for Honey
Kissed Peanut Butter Cookies,
which she said taste better than
those made with sugar, and a
third place for Honey Apple Nut
Not all of her promotional
work is verbal. Renee helped
members of the beekeepers asso
ciation set up the ice cream
booth at the state farm show,
and made a bee hive stencil to
stencil the wall behind the
“I guess you could say I’m ar
tistic and can turn out some
pretty good work if I set my
mind to it,” Renee said.
She believes she picked up her
do-it-yourself attitude from her
dad, who incorporates ideas he
sees into his farming operation.
The Blatts farm 150 acres of
Renee’s grandfather’s farm and
rent an additional 130 acres.
Renee’s family are independ
ent hog farmers, who sell 6,200
hogs a year, and milk about 45
Biatt is fiercely proud of the
independent sow to farrow oper
ation. “As long as we raise hogs
according to industry standards,
there is no problem getting rid of
them,” he said of not having the
security of a contract. The 45-
pound hogs are sold to an inde
pendent buyer who sells them to
Leighty’s when finished.
During last year’s depressing
market hog prices, the family
made a decision to go into the
dairy business. The red-painted
dairy barn was empty so the
family purchased 45 Holsteins.
The tie stall stanchion bam isn’t
as up-to-date as the family
would like, but find it works out
During a school promotions, Renee explains the impor
tance of bees and how honey is extracted for use.
The Farm With
Queen Renee Blatt
well for their purposes.
He said, “Cows are a lot of
work, but they help with the
cash flow.”
While dairy farmers lament
milk’s low prices, Blatt said they
have never had its as bad as hog
farmers. He quoted a report
from Farm Bureau that deter
mined if other commodity prices
had fallen to the level that hog
prices had, relative to 10-year
average prices, you’d see milk at
$2.20 a hundred pounds.
Milk is shipped to the Mt. Joy
Renee raises her own nine
acre plot of corn. She has en
tered corn in Five Acre Corn
Club. At both regional and state
competitions, she received a
1999 FFA Proficiency Award for
corn and grain production.
The family mixes its own feed
for cows and pigs.
Blatt said that he plans to
remain independent but en
courages his kids to go to school
to learn something other than
“They can always come back
if they want to,” he said.
Renee has six months until
graduation from Central Penn
sylvania College, where she will
receive an associates degree in
entrepreneurial and small busi
ness and marketing.
Renee got a head start in en
trepreneurial business when she
was in high school. She pro
cessed a sow and packaged sau
sage patties in five pound boxes
of 20 patties. She marketed the
sausage to family and friends.
The venture helped her save a
lot of money for college, but the
problem was delivering the sau
sages. “Everyone wanted to
talk. I like to talk too,” but if
you counted my time for deliver
ing, I didn’t make a lot of
profit,” she said.
At college, Renee is vice presi
dent of human resources for the
student store, the Campus Con
nection, is a SIFE (Students In
Free Enterprise) certified
scholar, and recognized by the
national dean’s list.
A graduate of Northern Leba
non High School, Renee was
active in FFA, field hockey,
cross country, winter track,
track, marching band, varsity
club, SADD (Students Against
Drunk Driving, Fellowship of
Christian Athletes, Who’s Who
Among American High School
Students, and she set a school
record for the 26-mile Philadel
phia Marathon.
The marathon demonstrates
Renee’s perseverance and deter
mination. She said that her par
ents, teachers, and friends were
skeptical that she would finish.
They warned her that 26 miles is
a long run.
They were right about it being
a race of endurance. It took four
hours and 23 minutes and
seemed like an eternity, but
Renee did it.
Renee is also an outstanding
example of overcoming a weight
problem. She considered herself
fat, and frankly shares an em
barrassing episode that resulted
in her determination to shed 35
pounds between her eighth and
ninth grades. She said, one day
when she stood up, her school"
desk stuck to her hips. She shed
the pounds by improving her
diet and through exercise.
That’s when she developed her
love for running.
“I’m always running back
and forth between the house and
bam,’’ she said of the distance
that measures about a half mile.
“I like to stay in shape be
cause I feel healthy,” she said.
Renee would like to become
certified to teach aerobics and
help overweight people attain
weight and fitness goals.
Renee also raised beef cattle
for market and would like to
have a cow and calf operation
someday, but doesn’t have time
now. Although she loves bees
and dairy farming, she said that
she wouldn’t miss hogs, al
though she shows them at the
Lebanon Fair and Farm Show.
On the farm, Renee and mom
take care of the dairy end, her
brothers the hogs, and her dad
takes care of the other farm re
sponsibilities. Renee also helps
with the field work.
"• nee en i°y reading letters from students who write to
tell her how they are no longer scared of bees and how her
demonstrations are their favorite ones from the many or
ganizations that visit the school.
Gov. Thomas Ridge accepts a commodity basket filled
with honey products from Pa. Honey Queen Renee Blatt
and Sec. of Ag Samuel Hayes Jr.
Do you know what Pooh bears like best?” asks the
Honey Queen as she hands out a “I love honey” sticker to a
boy wearing a Winnie the Pooh shirt.
She definitely wants a career
in agriculture. As part of her
schooling she is required to fill
an internship, which she hopes
leads to a full-time position.
“She’s a rare bird,” her dad
said of daughter. “She does a lot
of things people don’t expect a
girl to do.”
If interested in booking the
Honey Queen for an event, con
tact Linda Hackenburg, queen
committee chairperson, at (570)
Queen candidates are needed
for the upcoming state competi
tion scheduled for November.
“Being honey queen is such a
great opportunity, I encourage
all girls interested to apply. 1
have learned so much about bees
and beekeeping, and there are
lots of opportunities within the
industry,” Renee said.
Here is an quick, refreshing
drink that Renee enjoys.
1 Vi cups milk
IVi cups strawberries, sliced
1 cup vanilla yogurt
V* cup honey
S ice cubes
Combine all ingredients
except ice cubes in blender, and
blend until thick and creamy.
Add ice cubes one at a time and
blend until smooth.
Makes four 1-cup servings.