Wordless Wednesday is a blog concept where a picture is posted and words are not the focus of the posting. We have decided to join in on the WW fun and started last week with “Can I get a hand for an itch?”.
Do you have a picture you would like to see?
For this week and weeks to come please send in you requests for various piuctures from around the dairy and we will do our best to post them. If you have a request just leave a comment to this post.
One night last week we had a Breech calving here at the dairy, a Breech birth is when the calf is coming backwards or rear legs first. These calvings are extremely difficult because the last part of the calf to be exposed is the head. A normal birth is front feet and head first presentation because it is naturally somewhat more aerodynamic and the calf can start breathing sooner. This situation has to be dealt with as an emergency and immediate attention and assistance is given so the calf does not suffocate.
As I was finishing the calving it hit me that the situation mimicked life a bit, in that if we are backwards in our thinking sometimes we can’t see the light and will suffocate. Sadly I see this thinking more and more everyday. For example overburdening regulations that actually makes doing the right thing more expensive than neccessary it threatens the sustainability of an industry. Here in the California Central Valley we have regulations from the Central Valley Water Resources Control Board that can actually make doing the right thing downright unsustainable for business survival. As time has gone by and common sense been added to the water environmental regulations they have been much easier to work with. Farmers are all about doing the right thing we just want a common sense economically feasible way to do it.
Backwards thinking can also be seen in knee jerk reaction to one high profile incident just to create that warm fuzzy feeling that something was done, only to end up making the problem many times worse. Another example of thinking backwards is the thought that something should always be done one way because that is how it has always been done, and refusing to see the opportunity for innovation by looking for more options.
By thinking backwards we can almost guarantee ourselves that we will never move forward and stretch our boundaries to see what lies beyond them.
If you are wondering how the calving ended up through teamwork my father and I were able to help a calf be born alive.
Here is a post perfect for Wordless Wednesday because no words were used to get a helping hand.
What things that happen on a farm are of interest and should be shared online by farmers? Write an answer on Quora
One of the things I am extremely passionate about is telling my story on my own terms because no one knows it better than I do. It is this passion that drives me to find common ground with others outside of farming and have discussions about farming when the time is right. Speaking up for farmers and farming is as simple as talking to an old friend who moved to the city or asking a person what motivates them to buy certain things in the grocery store.
I have taken the opportunity on many an airplane to reach out to others, however one time stands out. I was on a flight from St. Louis to Salt Lake City and was seated next to two young boys travelling with their families for a ski vacation to Utah. Throughout the flight I kept to myself because the boys were having their own conversation and as an adult I did not want to create a weir situation. As the flight was nearing its end the show friends was being shown as the in flight entertainment. The episode was one where Ross dumps a whole gallon of milk down the front of himself. One of the boys then said something to the effect of “that’s a lot of milk”. I then proceed to say no I have 4000 times as much at home. Then conversation then moved to me explain that my family operates a dairy farm. One of the boys then proceeds to ask me “Are your cows free range?” After I picked my jaw up off the ground I answered that some do and some are housed in open air barns and in nice weather have access to outdoor exercise pens. I also explained the stalls in the barn are groomed and kept clean. The cows also have free access to fresh food and clean water. The concrete the cows walk on is cleaned frequently and there is soft rubber where the cows walk. The young boy then said “Wow it sounds like you take great care of your cows.”
Another time I was engaged in a local community on twitter and through several meet and greets created several longtime friends. One of those friends asked if he could bring his boys out to the dairy and being one to not miss an agvocacy moment I agreed. His boys loved the tour and to this day nearly a year later he continues to remind me his young sons remember what they saw and did on the dairy thus creating a lifetime impression. In addition to his sons the gentleman also came to realize that many who try to paint farmers and ranchers in a negative light are not always being the completely truthful.
Here are some videos from their visit:
It is so easy to build bridges between communities in our lives, they can be virtual, social, religious, or hobby based communities however they have all started with common ground outside agriculture.
If we farmers and ranchers think about it enough becoming an Agvocate and letting others know why and how we do what we farmers and ranchers do to feed, fuel and clothe them becomes second nature. We are given opportunities to Agvocate daily it is up to us as Agriculturalists to take advantage of them and not let the opportunity forever slip away.
I recently upgraded to a new smartphone the 4G HTC EVO from Sprint that runs on the android operating system from Google. Today I was goofing around shooting some videos and here is one that was shot in 720p:
I am extremely excited to see all of the blogs, tweets and status updates from farmers explaining that what the recent “undercover video” shows is not the norm. The pride I felt today while catching up with reading all the posts that I missed on vacation was amazing so I listed some below.
A few blogs in response to the video:
I am hearing of some video footage coming from a dairy farm in Ohio that shows someone abusing an animal(s) and my reaction is the same as every time one of these “exposes” is brought to light. I feel a response is so important I am taking time away from my family’s vacation to express my disgust with this behavior.
Every other farmer I know who cares for animals has at one time or another put those animals well being ahead of their own or their families time or needs. Wether it is treating a sick animal during the middle of the night after having been woken from a well deserved slumber to recover from the previous days long hours, or having to jump up from the dinner table to fix a water system so the animals have a cool refreshing drink. I firmly believe that the right thing to do when anyone observes another person abusing an animal they should immediately stop what they are doing and confront the person or report it to their supervisor if that is not effective then make contact with someone in a regulatory capacity. An employee who blatantly abusesan animal observes another employee doing the same without taking the appropriate action should be immediately terminated.
Here are some of my previous thoughts on this topic:
January 27, 2010
I watched a investigative report on a major networks late night news show Nightline that was about dairy farms. The sensationalism used in these stories is getting harder to watch as a second generation farmer whose family has cared for our animals comfort for nearly 40 years. I feel the media and activist groups use isolated incidents to create a sense of a major problem when quite the opposite is true. In the video I listened to the farmer say he does not stand for the improper care of animals and has previously fired employees for just that. I only wish he was able to express whether the employee(s) in this incident had been let go. If you want to see a video of animals on an average dairy you can see avideo I did for Evernote. the California Milk Advisory Board also has put together some great videos of average dairymen and dairy families throughout California.
The dairy farmers in the United States are working toward implementing a best care practices program for animal care called the National Dairy FARM Program. when this program is in place we will have an animal care manual that all dairy farms can use to continue to provide the highest level of care for their animals.
A great friend of mine Jeff Fowle, a cattle rancher from northern California has a great post on his blog Common Sense Agriculture discussing animal rights versus animal welfare and why we should pay close attention to the difference.
In addition the post I made on this topic in September of 2009 is still pertinent as is the post referenced below from Dino Giacomazzi.
September 29, 2009
Below is a link to a blog post by a fellow California Dairyman Dino Giacomazzi. Dino does an awesome job highlighting the unnecessary pressure and sensationalism some Animal right groups are using to ban the docking of Cattle Tails in CA. This is all unnecessary because no farm or dairy group opposes the ban and one group even supports the ban now that the farmer can provide prompt care for an injured animal.
I’m not a farmer but I play one on TV!