rambles

Agriculture

This tag is associated with 9 posts

National Cheese Lover’s Day


Deutsch: Blauschimmelkäse, "Lys bleu"...

Image via Wikipedia

Hey Cheese Lover’s today is your day so vote for up to 3 of your favorite cheeses below. Feel free to add any not here.

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Cow Bling!


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New calves showing off their bling!

On our farm we use eartags to give each animal an unique identifier that allows us to keep important health records for each animal. Here are a few pictures that show the tags up close.

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This is used to apply the tags similar to how ears are pierced for earrings

The tags are applied in a similar fashion to earrings through a soft portion of the ear. Each tag is self contained and is clean and sterile.

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Each tag has 2 parts this is the male part

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Cow bling has a lot of information about the animal

The information of the tags includes our farm brand (starting at the very top of the biggest tag), next is the unique “840” number assigned to only this animal in the United States, followed by the unique number for our farm, in this case 2129. The small white tag has the same numbers and also id an EID tag that contains an RFID information. We currently do not utilize the RFID tag outside of visual use however are we will be implementing the electronic reading in the future to help with efficiency and to eliminate human error.

Curious about the camera, and showing the bling!

Peek a Boo Sun


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Beautiful sunrise and one reason we enjoy working with the cows because we can witness natures grandeur first hand.

Awesome sunrise taken from one of our barns.

Just a farmer… Just a person…


Today’s thought: Farmers are people too, we enjoy many of the same hobbies as other’s who walk this great earth. We farmers might be small in numbers however mighty in what we provide as nourishment to this world. Yes farmers are humans first and we are emotionally connected to being the best caretaker’s we can be for our great resources in this world.

Lazy Summer Morning


Here is a cow picture for Wordless Wednesday.

Cows chilllin

A few of our cows enjoying the cool morning before a hot summer day here in Central California.

These cows were just moved into this pasture yesterday and are relaxing in the grass. With all the late rains we had here in the Central Valley and now the heat the grass is growing very quickly in the pasture. these cows need to get up and get to work eating it down!

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Making Cow Food


A few weeks ago we harvested our winter small grain crop to make it into a fermented cow food called silage. Here are a few pictures of the process.

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This is what the crop looks like before harvesting.

Making Cow Food.

This machine is a Windrower it cuts the crop and gathers it into rows to be chopped up by another machine

Making Cow Food

This machine is a Forage Chopper it picks the rows up and cuts it into approximately inch long pieces then blows it into the truck.

Making Cow Food

the trucks then back into this machine that packs the pieces of the crop into long plastic tubes.

Making Cow Food

The crop then ferments inside these airtight tubes and within a few weeks it is cow food.

For more about some of the other things we feed our cows read What Do Cows Eat?

Farmers who care about animals.


Here is a compilation of blogs I have seen in response to the Mercy For Animals video of calf abuse from Texas. Coming from those farmers who care greatly for their animals the common themes all the posts have is outrage, anger and disappointment towards those committing the cruelty.

(If I have missed any responses please leave a comment with the link and I will add them)

Ray-Lin Dairy Is going Vegan the Answer to Animal Abuse?

Haley Farms No Mercy For Animal Abuse

Agriculture Proud  Quality Food Begins With Quality Animal Care

Agriculture Proud Video – Ranchers Care About Animal Welfare

Cause Matters The Tears I’ve Shed…. Animal Abuse

Crystal Cattle Animal Abuse in Agriculture

Dairy Innovation Animal abuse: Still a Big No No!

Zweber Farms  Video:Calf Care on Zweber Farms December 2010

Zweber Family Farm News  Calf and Animal Care is our Number One!

Orange Patch Dairy Too mad to go to bed!

killrocfarms Animal abuse: Never acceptable

Pinke Post Link Up Wordless/Wordful Wednesday: Despite Animal Abuse Headlines

Life as an Iowa Farmwife Animal Abuse, Undercover Videos, and Doing the Right Thing

From the Tractor Seat Animal Abuse

The Ole Cowmilkers Random Thoughts Animal Care

Buzzard’s Beat No Excuse

ag – a colorful adventure Hold People to A Higher Standard

Reflections from a Country Boy We Care For Our Livestock!

Loos Tales Interview with the owner of E6 Ranch

Slow Money Farm – Life, Farm, Food Double Standards and Bad Days

Around the Farm Blog Fighting moral fire with moral fire

My View Quality Animal Care

Maricle Minute: Family, Food, & Farm Atrocious!

Jersey [Cow] Girl And So It Goes

Dairy Devotion Why am I doing this?

Pearl Snap’s Ponderings Animal Abuse Unacceptable

Topwinds Dairy Animal Care is Priority

Purple Poke Animal Abuse – Simply Unacceptable

Food For Thought – The Blog  Enraged: Animal Abuse Video

Beef Daily Blog A Rancher’s Letter To You About Animal Abuse

Wag’N Tales Safe at home

A Farm Girl’s Perspective Do those shooting animal abuse videos really have mercy for the animals?

FarmersWife30 Heartbreak and Anger

Loos Tales Nathan Runkle founder Mercy for Animals on E6 Ranch

The Frolicking Farmgirl  No Excuse for Animal Abuse

Haley Farms Why Animal Abuse?

Cow Spots and Tales 100% NOT okay

Northview Dairy And the Badly Ugly

A Dairy Goddess’ Blog Spring, Harvest, Calves And Cheese: A Few Of Dairy Goddesses Favorite Things

Curios Cattle

These heifers are getting nosy with the camera!

We Need Your Story!


Agriculture needs anyone who has ever been touched by food production to become Agvocates. So basically if you eat you’re automatically included. Ag needs people to start talking and asking questions with an Open Mind, we also need those questions received and answered with an Open Mind. There is a great story behind how food reaches the plate that is not being told enough. Sure we have some in Agriculture starting to speak up and the people enjoying food asking questions however there needs to be one prerequisite to these conversations; an Open Mind.

You might ask; why keep repeating the need for an Open Mind? Too often I have seen the questions being asked of agriculture based on documentaries or books. The thing we need to remember is first and foremost the books and movies need to sell and to sell can stretch the truth and sensationalize it to the point it becomes a seller. Do not get me wrong there are great starting points for questions and conversations that come from these works. However the questions need thought of with an Open Mind because the answer may be different than what one wants to hear and contradict the book or movie.

On the other side of the coin farmers, ranchers and others in the food chain need to welcome the questions and answer them with Open Minds. Too often I see or hear things become polarized from the word go because we in Agriculture have grown weary of  people and groups like Oprah, Michael Pollan and HSUS thought of  as experts on farming and animal care. Oprah is a television host, and Pollan is a journalist and author who do raise good points however must also add the fluff so their products sell. HSUS is a nonprofit business that derives a major part of their income from donations and to get those donations needs to sensationalize their story and move people to send money. We in Agriculture need to have Open Minds when we answer questions  formed from the works of those who can often stretch the truth. As agriculturists we should embrace the fact that those who buy the food that comes from our toils are interested in how and why we do what we do.

So why does Agriculture need YOU?

Because I firmly believe “Conversations are King!” It takes CONVERSATIONS to build RELATIONSHIPS that lead to TRUST (each belief can still differ). If farmers and ranchers along with those enjoying the end products of their toil can build relationships based on Conversations many questions will naturally be answered. Those in Agriculture and those buying the products that result from agriculture need to remember to not be preachy and seem better than the other. I have been guilty of preaching before and try to catch myself before doing it. If there is one thing I have learned you truly learn who is listening and who your audience is with engaging conversations not just preaching. I can’t remember how many times I have had conversations with people I have no Idea that are following me through various social platforms or by actively searching out a conversation to join.

Do I think only “farmers or ranchers” can tell “Ag’s” story?

NO, we need everyone to tell the great story of Agriculture.

Do I think only “farmers or ranchers” can tell “farmers or ranchers” individual stories?

YES, just like only someone like a Mom can tell a Mom’s story or only a Doctor can tell a Doctor’s story because they are individual stories.

Collectively the individual stories we tell will shape Agriculture’s story.

The work that is behind putting food on our plates makes a great story to tell and WE ALL need to remember WE need ALL the help WE can get to tell it.

We need you to tell your story because we all eat and are touched in some way by agriculture everyday.

Welcome to “TEAM AG”!

Agriculture needs YOU to tell your story!

Putting the “culture” in Agriculture


I just started reading the recently released book The Now Revolution by Jay Baer and Amber Naslund. One of the biggest things to hit me so far is the focus on how customers can use social interactions to get the sense of the “culture” of a business and gain insight into the values a company believes in. Baer and Naslund write “Your company culture consists of two key elements: Your business’ underlying intent and the people you bring together to carry it out.” In other words personal interactions and relationships built with people and faces of the company allow customers the opportunity to learn what the company believes in and it’s core values.  Another great point made in the book is : “Having a great product or business to sell is important. But if you truly have something of value to offer, the how and why you go about doing that are every bit as critical as the what.” To further define culture Baer and Naslund explain it consists of 3 parts:

○        Passion

○        Philosophy on how people who interact with the business are treated

○        Actions taken to prove your “culture”

We in agriculture need to work on building relationships with our customers (those buying and using our products) and share our values on “how and why we do what we do” with them. In farming, we may not have a formal customer service department to interact with our loyal customers and as a result they have no understanding of some of today’s innovative farm practices. On the flip side with no clear way to communicate with consumers farmers lose touch of societal shifts in eating habits and changes consumers may be wanting.  We are vital pieces of the food chain, however, the only personal interactions our customers have with people in the food chain are with the employees of the supermarkets or restaurants they frequent. Does the supermarket chain and its employees have the same values as farmers? Restaurants? I would hope so however I am not willing to risk my farming future on it. As farmers we need to be cognizant that the majority of our customers learn about farming from driving by our farms as they go about their daily routines and from their interactions at farmers markets. If our customers drive by an unkempt farm what impression are they left with? If the only personal relationship with someone in agriculture is those they meet at farmer’s markets what do they think of the rest of farmers? In agriculture we as farmers care greatly for the environment, animals and our communities, however are we conveying that message through relationships? For more on creating relationships please read Building Bridges, Connecting Communities.

A good friend of mine and fellow Agvocate Chris Chinn asked the question Who Is Telling the Story of Agriculture?” in a recent blog post. I would like to ask a different but similar question:

“What are you doing to tell the story of agriculture?”

Do you have to tell your story of agriculture online with social platforms like blogs, Twitter and Facebook? No, however you need to tell your story where you are comfortable doing so. Places such as schools, churches, civic groups and supermarkets are great opportunities to interact with others and share your values with them.

Another great way to show that we as farmers care for our communities is to sponsor roadside cleanups or community events. As a group farmers are some of the best stewards of local communities, however do those who live outside the local area see what we do? To bring more awareness to what we as farmers care about we can sponsor events in bigger communities to help others understand the “culture” of agriculture. If there are major roadways near your farm sponsor the cleanup of a section of roadway so the many cars driving by see that farmers care.

In addition to community support and social platforms other great ways to agvocate are speaking to local service and hobby groups like Larkin Martin from Alabama does. Laurie Kyle from Wisconsin uses her background working in a school library and nutrition degree to discuss inaccuracies she sees in articles by writing letters to the editor and adding comments to online articles.

Together we can put the “culture” back in Agriculture and tell the wonderful story farmers and rancher’s have to tell!

For more reading on “culture” here is a blog post I came across after this was originally posted: “Culture Trumps Strategy, Every Time”

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Dairy kids having fun

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