Friday, August 20, 2010

"The Barn" Begins...

Well, I have not been very good at keeping up with this blog.  I have to apologize-writing is essentially more difficult than I ever imagined! I have to admit that talking is so much easier!!  I can carry on a conversation with the best of them, but sitting down at the computer and trying to turn my thoughts into a meaningful array of words, well, has me second guessing what I am really trying to say!!  Holy Cow!  But let's move forward and I will attempt to make some sense of my thoughts and please feel free to comment on anything that I may not make very clear.  Okay, moooving forward...

The Barn.  Since the last time I posted here, we have made the decision to moove forward and build, basically for the next generation.  As my husband and I are in our mid-40's, we are already thinking of ways to help the next generation transition, easier, into owning their own, and continuing our, family-business.  Our oldest son is back at the farm and working full time.  Our youngest son is contemplating Vet School, which his parents are thrilled about, but may decide to work with his older brother in the family business.  That's up in the air right now, but at any rate, we have made the decision.  The Barn.

So let's take a look at where it all started...

The new barn will have a walkway for the cows to enter the old barn.

This is the base for the new barn.
These heifers heading down their "new lane" to go to pasture.

This is the "old lane" the heifers used before.  The new barn will sit over this lane.

Keep checking back as I will have updated pics for you to look at.  This whole process started in May 2010.  We hope to be complete by October 2010.  That sounds like a long time, trust me, it is!!

Until next time...

Friday, June 18, 2010

One Hungry Planet

This video is amazing!  Want to know how we do it?  Just take a look....

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Michigan Meatout Day, More From Trent Loos...

More on the "Michigan Meat-Out Day"...this is from Trent Loos, a 6th generation rancher from Nebraska, and Ag Advocate....(as printed on his blog page)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Thank you Governor Granholm
As our nation celebrated National Ag Week and Ag Day last week some interesting developments took place, particularly in the state of Michigan. If you missed it, Governor Jennifer Granholm signed a proclamation declaring National Ag Day as “Michigan Meat-out Day.” I fail to understand why so many of the elitists of this country want to apologize for the abundant food system we have created. Meat of all types contributes to a healthy lifestyle and the American consumer has access to meat items in the store at the most reasonable prices of any consumer worldwide.

At a time when so many people want to be “green” and efficient, we should be celebrating that we have a nutrient dense food substance such as meat. In fact, if you eat a 3 oz. serving of beef you get the most nutrient dense profile of any food substance. Calorie for calorie, nothing offers a greater balance and nutrient punch than meat. Vitamin B12, vitamin B6, zinc, iron and, of course, protein but I don’t want to forget the other nutrient that many Americans are short of today - healthy fats.

Americans are lacking most all of these ingredients, including good fats, in their diet. In fact, many in the scientific field are learning that every single one of those key nutrients mentioned above are also important for proper mental health. While often not discussed, depression continues to be a growing problem in the United States. Depression tends to occur even more often in more affluent families. Why?

I believe that affluent people are most often the individuals that reduce or eliminate meats and natural fats from their diet because they think that they are making a healthier choice while they fail to recognize the key nutrients that meat provides to human health.

A growing body of scientific evidence has shown that kids who do not eat meat often enough suffer in cognitive development and IQ scores. I point to the recent study from the University of North Carolina that suggests that all pregnant women should consume bacon and eggs every morning in order to improve the IQ of their unborn babies.

On one of my recent trips to California I learned that many farmers with grape vineyards are actually taking out acres of grapes and putting in olive trees. Olive oil is the new rage in health circles because it is the “heart healthy” fat thanks to the Omega 3 benefits. While I think olive oil is great and use it from time to time myself, the intramuscular fat from beef and the fat from bacon both contain the same exact monounsaturated fats found in olive oil. So if you really wanted to improve both your health and your intelligence you would fry your eggs in olive oil right next to the bacon every morning.

This should be a time in our culture that we truly celebrate the many benefits and opportunities for choice that we have as American consumers. No other country in the world has access to all of the nutritious foods that we do and we offer them so inexpensively. The fact that year after year we spend less that 10% of our disposable income on food is the primary reason that we take this bountiful food supply for granted. Not only is it inexpensive but the shelves are always full. Think about how panicked consumers are when they are stockpiling for an impending storm and they go the grocery store only to find that their neighbors have beat them to the punch. What if this were an every day occurrence and not just something that you might experience once in your lifetime? Most of us are so spoiled that we are disappointed if we go to the store and they don’t have our favorite style of bread or the milk we like best. So indeed, National Ag Day, a day set aside to bring a greater awareness to the importance of the efforts of farmers and ranchers toward human health, should come to the forefront. If it takes the ignorance of the Governor of Michigan to get it done and help it make a bigger splash in the media, perhaps that is even better. It seems that bacon and eggs may have been missing in the cognitive development of someone in the Great Lakes State!

Posted by Trent Loos at 8:11 AM
For your information, Trent, Governor Granholm hails from Canada.  Michiganders are equal opportunity employers, well, maybe not anymore!

Here is another story from Wood TV Channel 8,   Meatout-Day (click on)

Until next time,

Eat Meat!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

When the Governor Speaks...

Michigan Meatout Day, as proclaimed by our illustious Governer of the State of Michigan...

Whereas, A wholesome diet of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains promotes good health and reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and other chronic diseases, which take the lives of approximately 1.3 million Americans each year; and,

Whereas, The number of those who choose to live the lifestyle of a vegan or vegetarian has increased and so has the availability and selection of meat and dairy alternatives in mainstream grocery stores, restaurants, and catering operations; and,

Whereas, Reducing the consumption of meat or not eating meat at all can significantly decrease the exposure to infectious pathogens such as salmonella, E. coli, and campylobacter, which take the lives of several thousand Americans and sicken millions more each year; and,

Whereas, The benefits of a plant-based diet can consist of increased energy levels, lower food budget costs, and simplified food preparation and cleanup; and,

Whereas, It is encouraged that the residents of this state get into the habit of healthy living by consuming a diet that is rich with vegetables, fruit, and whole grains, and by staying active;

Now, Therefore, be it Resolved, That I, Jennifer M. Granholm, governor of the state of Michigan, do hereby proclaim March 20, 2010, Michigan Meatout Day in Michigan. In observance of this day, I encourage the residents of this state to choose not to eat meat. Eating a healthy diet can be fun. Explore the different recipes that can be created by using fresh ingredients and by having a sense of adventure.

After this came to our attention at the Annual meeting of the Co-Op where we sell our milk, the delegates quickly approved this:

Resolution Approved by MMPA Delegates, March 16, 2010:

Michigan Meatout Day

Be it resolved, that as dairy farmers we are bitterly opposed to Governor Granholm’s declaration of “Michigan Meatout Day” on March 20, 2010.

Meat and dairy products are part of a nutritionally balanced diet and the production of these play a critical role in Michigan’s second leading industry.

We feel the Governor’s actions are destructive, insensitive and antagonistic toward a major force in the state’s economics.

The fact that the Governor’s resolution states unfounded facts and allegations toward meat products indicates her desire and willingness to court special interest groups to the demise of a major state industry.

Stay tuned there's more to come....

Sunday, March 14, 2010

To Build or Not to Build!

Happy Spring!!
Spring you say? Well maybe that's wishful thinking, but today the weather was 44 degrees...that sure feels like Spring to us after many, many cold days of winter.  And when Spring arrives, it brings lots of joy and hapiness with it.  The sunshine glowing early in the morning and the moon rising on those clear and cold nights.
The Spring fever cleaning bug aways hits me hard, it didn't when I was young because my Mother was the Queen of Clean-ing (so I guess I didn't have to do the cleaning?) Our house and our farm were clean...all the time.  Well, maybe not all the time! Oh, and yes I did have to do the cleaning too!
This Spring brings us to other issues on the farm.  For a few months now, the cows have been a little over-crowded. This causes may issues, one of which is cow comfort. Now we pride ourselves on cow comfort.  Comfortable cows are happy cows!
So for the last few months we have been discussing how to eliminate the over-crowding issue.  We have two choices, sell cows or build a new barn.  After the year of 2009, which brought us the lowest milk prices in 30 years, we are a bit cautious about selling cows. So we are pursuing the option of building a barn.  Barns are not cheap, but we have another generation coming into the farm and we need to think about that.
My husband and son have been traveling around looking at different types of barns to give us an idea of some of the new improvements that have been made since the last time we built a cow barn.  We need to think about air flow, and cow flow.  Where to install waterers and where and how many freestalls to put in.  The freestalls are the stalls that the cows lay in.  They are "free" because they allow any cow to enter and exit at any time.  We need to decide whether to lay out the barn East to West or North to South.  We are currently laid out North to South.
With the addition of a new barn also comes the challenges of the overall farm lay-out. We need to really make some decisions on where the new barn should go and if in the future the next generation decides to increase in size, that this pre-planning will help with some of those decisions. We will continue to discuss these issues and more that will probably come up as we move forward. 
So look for news to come this Spring and hopefully some pictures as the project progresses, as long as the decision is made to build!  I'll keep you posted.

Until next time...
Wish us luck!!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Got Milk? Animal Rights v. U.S. Dairy Industry - ABC News

Got Milk? Animal Rights v. U.S. Dairy Industry - ABC News 

At Pleasant Veiw Dairy, we strive to care for our animals in a humane and caring environment.  I personally don't know any farmer who mistreats his animals, even when tempers flare and you've heard the comment, "kick the dog", we don't abuse our animals in any way, shape, or form. 
It appears that unknowing farming families have hired "undercover people" who, for some reason or another, take measures to uncover anything that slightly resembles what a consumer might think of as "mistreatment".  Then these "employees" (undercover people)  just look for things to video tape that any uneducated consumer might not understand.  Instead of standing up for these animals, they expose the animals, and in the end laugh at the fact that they are somehow a celebrity in the eyes of uninformed people.  If PETA, HSUS, and Mercy for Animals were so concerned, then they should teach their hired "informants" (undercover people) to correct the alleged abuse (which they do not).
Let's look at the practice of tail docking.  Some dairy farmers used this practice.  Surely the cow didn't agree and so the practice was eliminated from the course of keeping the udder clean.  But why do we need to keep the udder clean, and is that the only reason dairy farmers did it?  The daily ritual of cleaning the udder to wipe away bedding materials (sand or newspapers, etc.) and possibly manure begins with a pre-dip, wipe, and hook up to the udder. In simple terms, we want to be sure that the udder is cleaned before we begin to milk the cow.  Think about it.  Another reason to dock a cow's tail is to eliminate the unpleasant surprise when a cow's tail (manure ridden or not) slaps you in the face, this usually happens when the switch (hairy end of the cow's tail) is there and the cow feels the need to swat at something.  It's not pretty!  So many farmers have gone to shaving the hairy end of the tail, therefore just eliminating the "wet slap".  :)
And how about de-horning.  This is the practice of removing horns or parts thereof from the head of a cow.  The most important reason for doing this is...SAFETY!  Cow's are large animals, and not all are "happy cows" all of the time.  Just recently a local man was "gorged" by a bovine.  He crawled to safety and a Life Flight helicopter had to take him to a hospital.  This is very serious, I do not know the condition of the man or his injuries, but he could have been killed. When cows or bulls are protective, they use what they have, and that can be horns.  To protect our workers, our other cattle, and ourselves, we de-horn.  This is done when they are young. 
I am not here to say that all farmers do it right-but I believe that 99.9% of farmers do!  This is our livlihood, this is where we raise our children.  We are good stewards of the land.  We are producers of your food and fiber, and we are happy to be supplying you with products that are nutritious, delicious and American made.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Meeting Season has Officially Begun!

Since there are just a few months during the year when farmers can actually attend events without having to worry about crops in the fields, we have officially entered "meeting season".

The invites have been coming for a couple of weeks. Salesmen show up at your office or your front door. They have a smile and the invite in their hand and tell you they will feed you and show you how to save money in the coming year. Yeah right! Well.....sometimes they are right.

Some of these meetings are to entice you to buy their products, some to educate you on new technologies or innovations and yes, some will help you save money this year.
We attend a lot of meetings, if i had to guess, I would probably say we will attend 20 meetings this winter. You know the old saying, "never pass up a free meal!" Oh, maybe that's my saying!

Until next time,
Let someone else pay for dinner:)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Happy New Year!

Hey Folks,

I'm back! After a hiatus this winter to catch up with things on the farm and prepare for the next adventures in my life, I'm getting things moving again.
I hope that everyone had a joyous holiday season and made some great New Years resolutions. I did! One of the first things on my list, besides to get in better shape and keep up with things in the house, is to keep Twittering, uh oh, I mean Tweeting, and writing on my Blog. So, here it is the third week of January and I'm just getting started on the Blog! Oh, brother! But, on the other hand, the house looks great and Twittering is fun.
So what's happening on the farm this time of year? Lots of things. We are working on equipment in the shop, some to be used for Spring field work and others that are used heavy during the winter months.
We are making sure the cattle have extra care and attention during the cold weather too, so we bed (put straw down ) them heavier, feed them a little more during extreme cold, and make sure they have un-frozen waterers! The last part is very important to the health of our cattle, and as usual, we provide them with fresh water 24/7 and making sure that the water is not frozen is a part of that. We also provide the cattle with fresh feed twice daily and any medical attention they may need. Shelter is important during cold Michigan winters and our cows are happy to have the cold wind blocked for them by the "curtains" (a special heavy plastic hung down the open sides of the barns).
During January we tie up all the lose ends from the last year. My work in the office heats up this time of year, and getting all the taxes done, W-2's for the employees and finishing up the accounting for the previous year is what I love! Bookwork is my friend! :)
There are many other things we do in the winter just to prepare for the Spring work ahead, one of those being placing our seed orders for the upcoming planting season. And no matter how cold it is outside, or how warm it is in the house, taking care of the things that take care of us is always a high priority on the farm!!
Remember, a farmer always looks ahead no matter what the weather is outside!
Until next time,
Smile because Spring is on its way!