It was another busy week around the farm waiting for the rains to pass. We were not able to get anything planted this week, but the week was full of lots of excitement. Here are a few pictures from this week.
Just a few pictures from after my livestock trailor was rear ended. Dont worry, no cattle were on board and nobody was hurt.
Changing the tracks on the 8400
Changing the tracks on the 8400
The supplies for the mums have arrived!
Boby Moser presenting for the #AgvocATI meeting last week, here he is talking about the Livestock Care Standars Board
As I thought about writing this post I am remembering the hundreds of times through my life that I have heard someone say “Sometimes you just have to learn the hard way” well that applies to the day that I am having. Let us start from the beginning of the day, it is wet nasty and cold and it is the middle of May, the kind of day that makes you want to stay in bed which turns out I should have done just that. We always start our day here at the farm doing chores and making sure all the animals are fed and cared for so that is what we headed off to do. The first place that we went this morning was the farm on the west side of town, we checked cows, I milked out a quarter on the cow that has mastitis, put hay in to the feeder and then we pulled the livestock trailer out because we needed to take it home because it is time to move some of the cows to the pasture. Mike needed to get the new tracks for the track tractor home and so the livestock trailer was the safest easiest way to do that because they are hard to tie down and that way everyone is safe that they can be hauled inside, so we loaded those up and I took off in the one truck with the dogs and Mike took the truck and trailer to head home. I was going to the next barn to feed there and then meet him at home to go on to the last couple barns. Well I had just gotten started to put feed in for the cows and he called to tell me that he was going to be held up because someone rear –ended the stock trailer, thank goodness no one was hurt and no animals were on board just the tracks. So I had to run home and get a different truck with the right light plug on it along with the other insurance card that was still in the house. Our hired hand and I head over to get the trailer with the other truck so we could get the trailer home. The young guy that hit the trailer was just getting off work, 3rd shift and he must have been really tired because I think from what he told us he probably fell asleep for just a minute and then when he woke quick he was to close and hit the trailer without breaking much.
Now I get to the lesson part of the story, we called our insurance company to make sure that they knew about it and we worked with them and they said to take the truck to our normal place and the adjuster was going to have someone come out to look at the trailer so we could decide where it should go. Well that young lady called back to let me know that the trailer was not covered under this policy and so the company could not help us, we would just have to wait for the other drivers company to call and they would need to pay for it. I was so mad; our agent had told us that the trailer was covered as long as it was attached to the truck we would be covered for liability and uninsured motorists, so untrue. It turns out that our agent or his office help were just too lazy to ask enough questions and figured we would just go on and be fine, I’m not an insurance agent so I trusted that he knew what he was doing. The other driver said that he has full coverage and we hope that is true but we have not heard from his company yet but we have also come to find out that state minimum coverage for damage to the other person’s property is only $7500 and that will not even cover half of what this will cost, I assume, we are still hopeful that he will be covered at more than the minimum. I understand more as the day goes on why people get sued because for the most part we depend on other people to do their job and to provide the knowledge on subjects that we can’t possibly know all about. I need that trailer to do the work that needs to be done and get the cows where they need to be, it is not a luxury item it is a necessity for us.
My frustration level is very high so now I will take steps to improve the situation for next time something unexpected happens, I am switching insurance agents to someone that seems to care about what I need. It is yet to be seen about the trailer and what will happen with that, I do not need a bill like that right now but I will find a way to make it work.
Sorry for not getting any farm updates up in the past week, things are finally starting to roll around the farm. For the first time this spring we have been able to get in the fields to get some seeds planted. It was a little rough going as we had three days of planting with rain between each, in fact one day we were rained out on one side of the farm and moved to a field that The rain missed! With over an inch of rain last night and more predicted over the next week I doubt we will be planting much more for the next 7 days.
We also had our last calf for the spring last week! It was a black bull calf out of a first calf heifer named Reflections. While it was apparent she struggled a bit during birth she was able to have it on her own and is doing a great job as a new mother ;)
Here are a few pictures from around the farm, I hope you enjoy!
The cows enjoying their grass after we rotated them to a new pasture!
Strip-tilling fertilizer for corn.
A field of clover that has been strip-tiller. We will plant directly into these strips. As the clover dies and decomposed it will provide additional fertilizer for our corn crop.
There is a new blog in town, and I am happy to be a contributor alongside several other great farmer bloggers accross the country!
This blog was designed to bring together many of the great blogs various farmers have created together in one spot, yet still maintain the individual blog's identity. After several conversations and a few late nights of manipulating code FarmerBloggers.com was created by several farmers who have a passion to tell their stories and connect with those interested in farms and farm life. FarmerBloggers.com is a one stop blog where a person can read the stories and opinions of many different farmers and farming styles. Our project is focused on gathering the best content we can and present it in an easy to read fresh format.
One of the cool features on this new blog is the crowdsourcing component that lets readers vote on each post. The better the votes the higher it scores on the Post Rating page and Widget. This allows readers to quickly find the posts that others liked very easily, so if you like one of my posts be sure to vote on it. On the same token….. if you dislike a post dont vote on it (ok, maybe you should ;) )
If you are interested in what farmers are up to, be sure to keep an eye on this site!
I sold a load of hay this morning at the local hay auction in Wooster and noticed this official Wayne County rain gauge. I was a little confused as Mr. Acker must have emptied it a week back because we currently have 6 1/4 inches of rain so far this month. This is the wettest April on record (dating clear back to 1894) for Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.
So what does all this wet spring weather mean for a farmer?
Well, not a whole lot of good things as the pastures are to wet to turn the cows out and the fields are to wet to plant. This means a shorter growing season for our crops leading for the potential for less yield and more hay we need to feed to our cattle until the grass starts to grow.
On the bright side it has gave us plenty of time to get equipment ready, enjoy easter and hunt mushrooms as they are starting to grow! With luck we will miss this next rain and be in the fields the first half of next week, keep your fingers crossed for me!
Normally at this time of year there would be plenty of pictures of working ground and planting that I could share, unfortunately the wet weather has barely let us do any field work yet this spring, maybe next week! Here are a few pictures from around our farm over the past week!
The Calves were hunting for Easter eggs in their fresh straw this morning
Molly watching over the cows
We had one day last Friday that was fit to work ground, here I am putting in a new pasture seeding
Look close, there is a tractor in this picture taking care of some spring plowing!
After several years my neighbors have decided that it is time to retire from the cattle business. They are auctioning off the last of the equipment that they own tomorrow April 23rd at 11 sharp, all of which is in good shape. We have a few pieces of equipment that are no longer needed on our farm as well that we are consigning to the sale as well. If you are interested in a medium sized loader tractor, manure spreader, chopper and silage wagons, hay balers, wagons, and livestock trailer be sure that you don't miss this auction!
Yesterday I wrote a post in outrage about a video I saw showing very horrid animal abuse and neglect to calves on a large farm in Texas. I don’t, nor does the industry support such acts of animal abuse by anyone. If you are interested in what other farmers have had to say about this video please see the list that my friend Ray Prock has put together here. If it’s not bad enough that animals were being treated this way, it's worse that this is not the first time in the past few years that videos have shown such abuse. I am humiliated to think that the individuals that perpetuated those acts of cruelty would ever consider themselves a farmer.
In the end I am left asking myself why this has happened. Is it a new phenomenon that has emerged with the onset of “factory farming” or has there always been isolated cases of animal abuse throughout the country but just not highlighted to the point that it is today. I can speculate that it is the latter, but the fact is I don’t know. What I do know is that it's not about profits, greed, or a flawed system. I have visited several farms that would be classified by animal rights as a “factory farm," and in fact I believe most would even classify my 30 cow operation as one. What I have found is that no matter if a farm is large or small, farmers care about their animals as they spend every day making sure they are well fed, watered and as content as possible. Only at last resort would any farmer result to euthanasia as that would mean a loss of profits.
The fact is I don’t know why animal abuse keeps occurring, but it really bothers me that animal rights groups have succeeded in several states to pass laws that force farmers that are taking good care of their animals to adopt practices that are proven to be a less effective and costly animal husbandry practice. The result, several farmers call it quits. Looking at veal alone, these laws have forced all the veal farms out of California and other states, leaving them to ship their calves to other states or out of the country to be raised. I am not saying that these calves are sent somewhere that cannot adequately care for them, but that if we continue to restrict farmers ability to properly care for their animals, we may not have enough farmers left in the United States to continue to provide proper animal welfare to properly feed our country, leaving us to rely on other countries that may or may not care about the welfare of animals to raise our food.
As I wrote yesterday, it is time to accept responsibility for the bad actors in our industry and seek new ways to find and report them to authorities. Until we prove to the public that we do not condone this type of activity in agriculture extremist groups will have no problem convincing voters and lawmakers to regulate the good farmers out of business
I just watched a horrific video filmed by a vegan activist group about how one farm very clearly did not care for the welfare and health of the dairy calves. I just want to say that I am outraged; nobody should treat an animal in the manner that was depicted in the short video, and everyone involved in the malicious acts should be penalized for their actions. I am not going to post the video here as it shows violent abuse and may even violate animal crush video laws, if you wish to watch it a simple search for "mercy for animals, calves" should find it for you.
This is not how we care for the beef calves on our farm, nor how my neighboring dairy farmers raise the calves on their farms. Here are a few of the ways that we care for the calves on our farm:
When calves are born we give vitamins, vaccines, and make sure that their navels are clean to prevent infection. We also record their weight to refer back to if needed.
We make sure that calves are well cared for; they always have access to hay and water. During the wet spring months we make sure that they always have access to a dry bedded area in the barn. Making sure that calves are dry and comfortable is always the first line of defense against disease and illness.
At the end of the video there is a message from the group that conducted the undercover investigation urging watchers to “go vegan” to end animal abuse. I have a different message that I would like to share, animal abuse is not caused by eating meat or animal products. Animal abuse is the result of disturbed individuals that have little to no respect of the life of the animal that they are abusing.
I would like to thank Mercy For Animals (MFA) for finding and reporting this abuse to authorities after they were done with their two week investigation, even though I feel that they should have reported it quicker. This is one of several undercover video’s that was released by this group over the past few years. Surely they have been on thousands of farms that treat their animals with respect. If this group really want to show America how farm animals are treated across the majority of farms in the United States I ask that they show footage from these thousands of farms as well. Below is a video that is a regular scene on our farm:
Furthermore, for anyone reading this blog and is aware of animal abuse or neglect please report it right away. Please familiarize yourself with the proper authorities on animal welfare in your state. If you are in Ohio you can report abuse claims to The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, your local animal shelter, or local law enforcement agency. Animal Abuse is not acceptable and should not be tolerated, it is up to us to take action and call out the bad actors in agriculture.
For more information you may also be interested in the following: