Since September 2008, when I wrote my first official post on this blog , BEEF Daily has become an important part of my daily life -- a place where I can ask questions, learn from seasoned producers, bring awareness to readers on important issues, start grassroots campaigns to respond to negative articles in the media, and, most importantly, forge long-lasting friendships with ranchers, consumers and media folks from across the country. A prime example of the power of this blog is its ability to keep us up to date on anything and everything beef related. Today, I've included three reader-submitted updates that we should all tune into. Thanks for your continued comments and emails. Your participation is what makes this blog great!
Harvey Hicks sent me a note about running and Team ZIP. Hicks writes, "I ran in the Deadwood Mikkelson Trail Half Marathon over the weekend and noticed a few of the bright red "Powered by Beef” t-shirts. The runners were from Montana and the t-shirts were very visible. Since this has grown to such a large event -- 2500 runners -- I think it would be good to have more of those t-shirts on runners promoting beef. Do you know how to get some of these t-shirts? Keep up your good job with the blog. I follow every day."
 Congratulations on completing your half-marathon, Harvey, and thanks for asking about the Team ZIP jerseys. I truly believe running in races is a great way to keep in shape, share our story and promote beef to athletes. To order your Team ZIP jersey, call 1-800-354-2825. Reference ID: C10BEEF. No minimums! Available in singlet (sleeveless) for $32.50 and Marathon T (with sleeves) for $50. Link here  for more information. Read past BEEF articles on Team ZIP: Amanda Nolz Zips For Beef  and Join Team ZIP, Run For A Cause .
 A note from South Dakota rancher Leroy Daniels says, "Amanda, my daughter and I were delivering bulls to one of our customers one night last week, and we heard an interview on-air with Carrie Underwood. Like you, we refuse to listen to her music and are frustrated that despite the fact she comes from an Oklahoma cattle ranch, she has ditched her rural values in lieu of celebrity antics. Her association with anti-farm group, the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS), is extremely disappointing, and her hypocrisy in marrying a grizzly hunter and meat eater and wearing leather from head to toe in her concerts is dumbfounding. However, I guess Underwood is finally seeking to get her anti-agriculture message consistent. She told the radio host that she wants to design a line of faux-leather boots, belts and clothes. I thought your readers might need a reminder about researching celebrities, products and companies that might be associated with HSUS. It’s always good to keep our eyes and ears open to these things!"
Thanks, Leroy! And, I completely agree with your take on Underwood’s hypocrisy and the importance of knowing exactly where our money is going to and who or what it supports. I refuse to give a dollar to anyone or any company that supports HSUS. Although farmers and ranchers are the best advocates for agriculture, let’s also stand behind real country musicians like Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert, who represent rural values and haven’t lost touch with their roots despite being mega-stars.
How fitting that the second update focuses on knowing where our dollars filter to because Fred Abel's email brings to attention a company that has teamed up with HSUS.
 Abel writes, "Hello Amanda. This past weekend I was going to order some more blank checks. I was looking at all the neat backgrounds to use, when, lo and behold, one for the HSUS popped out at me. I called my bank; next time I order checks, it will be from a different company. I will be avoiding Harland-Clarke based on the East Coast from now on."
 Have you sent in your entry for the BEEF and Roper "Cowboys and Cattlemen" Photo Contest  yet? The deadline is June 10! Don't miss your opportunity to win one of two $150 Roper gift cards! We also have prizes for the voters of our finalists, too, so stay tuned for contest updates! Link here  to view the gallery - a compilation of reader-submitted photos featuring our hardworking cowboys and cattlemen!