Failed Farmer

The beginning of October is usually a fun one!  Its time to think about winter, prepare for it (or lack of), and some early anticipated babies to arrive.  This story is painful because I feel like as a farmer I failed.  I failed because we lost a calf...and not just one but two.

     Tyra, the chi heifer, 312B was due to calve at the end of October but decided she wanted to do it Friday.  I usually check the cows before I start my morning errands but for some reason that morning I didn't.  I came home to a cow laying on her side, restless, upon closer inspection in labor.  I rushed everyone into high gear, we got her up and to the barn.  I then realized, once we got her calmed down, a tail was hanging out.  BAD NEWS. BAD. BAD. BAD.  I have little experience with pulling and re-position calves inside the mother but I knew it had to be done.  I checked while she stood in the barn and got Brandon (my boyfriend) to call a vet.  I felt the butt of the calf and could tell it was small an…

3 Things You Need to Know About Modern Agriculture

There are many many misconceptions about the agriculture industry.  I think a lot about how to "correct" the way the public views farmers and ranchers.  Being surrounded all aspects of ag I have come up with 3 misconceptions that consumers have about the agriculture community.  If you have any more you would like to know more about leave a comment.

     All products (GMO, DAIRY, BEEF, POULTRY etc) are safe, wholesome, and nutritious for you and your family. Farmers and ranchers work day and in a day out to make sure we have a great product.  I feel like a crucial thing to remember is we are consumers too. 

Don't let labels mislead you. It is federal law poultry cannot have added steroids or hormones.  GMOs have been around for more than 60 years, and there are no reported cases of them affecting humans.  

          Farmers and ranchers care and we are capable.  We, too, consume our products.  The same cow we put in the grocery stores is at our table.  Raising cro…

My Future is Our Future

If you all don't follow my FaceBook page here is a quick recap.  I am competing in the College Aggies Online contest for the next (now) 8 weeks. The point of the contest is to learn more about other aspects of agriculture and to talk about it, publicly.  College Aggies even gives us mentors each week to mentor and at the end of the week rank our activities (social media and assignments.)  The top one gets scholarship money.        I am so very passionate about everything this contest values and strives for.  This week, week 8 is all about turkeys which I know nothing about but through the contest I have learned a lot.  Our assignment, are not always related to the topic of the week, is writing a blog post.

For my long- time followers this will be repetitive but to my new ones listen up!     I live on my families farm in East Tennessee where we raise registered Simmental for show and sale; we have also incorporated other breeds such as ChiAngus and Maintainers.  I love cows, co…

Organic Donuts

A man eats an organic doughnut, does organic mean healthy?  Organic by definition just means certified by the USDA that it meets their standards.  Their standards are: no fertilizers with added synthesized ingredients, conventional pesticides, GMOs,
    So this begs the question does it really differ in nutritional content, no.  The reason farmers and ranchers offer different methods of production because we too are different.  We are consumers of our own products and we each want something different.  We don't do it because one is better than the other, we do it because we are human.  Conventional, certified organic, or natural it is all safe wholesome, and nutritious.

I have attached a link to the USDA guidelines to certified organic because it has a big misconception around it--I will talk about the others in following posts.

National Organic Program

Dehorning--Please Do It

This topic is controversial among some.
Athens Stockyard is the local stockyard in our town.  We usually have around 1100 head and with that comes a delicate balance of keeping the sale going, keeping the cattle cool and calm, and not getting hurt.  When a mean animal comes through we take certain measures like climbing gates, closing cross gates, or putting more stock with the one that is mean to try and calm them down.

I work where I can see what goes in the chute so I know what is coming.  The boys in the back looked at this cow, a dairy cow, and looked at me and told me to watch her.  My first thought was she isn't mean, she is a dairy cow.  Dairy cows are normally calm and nothing gets them going!  This dairy cow had horns and was huge, probably weighing in around 2000lbs.  I still thought she couldn't be that bad...until she went in the ring, the lady who calls out pens told us to get up and get out of her way. Oh crap!!  She might actually be a bad cat.  Then she calls …

Types of BEEF Identification

The way I do things down in Tennessee is way different that my friend in WY or CA or even FL.         When talking with other producers about the way they ID I realized how little I actually knew about the different methods.  I have found FIVE different types of ID for cattle. Branding (hot/freeze), brisket tags, ear tags, EID, and ear notches.

     Branding: Branding is used more commonly on larger farms and ranches where the cattle are out on their own on wide open ranges.  There are two types of brands: freeze and hot.  Freeze branding is basically an iron formed into a specific combination of letters, symbols, and numbers to ID cattle easily.  A hot brand is a brand that is gotten hot over a fire but it is the same type of iron used in freeze branding.  This type of ID is regulated by the government by having a person at sale barns to inspect brands to decrease the rustling of cattle.
    Brisket tags:  I just heard about these from a friend who ranches in Wyoming.  I do not know ab…

The moment I hated showing cattle

My first show after Mean Gene died was very hard.  I entered the ring and exited only to not have my biggest supporter waiting with the halter.  But, one thing that got me through was the people that surrounded me.  I felt hands all along my way to the ring.  I felt Pop there but I still didn't see him.  That was the part that sucked.  I have mourned long enough but now I don't want to show.  I could care less if I ever saw another show or walked in the ring....that is till I met VS DIVA!  She has a stacked pedigree.  She is out of the heifer we won Grand Champion % Simmental Heifer at the Dixie Nationals.  Her sire is a bull I feel in love with when Pop and I would check the cows.  No, I never met this bull, we didn't raise him, but we have a lot of his daughter grazing our pastures and I loved them.  (Black Joker is an old purebred Simmental bull)  I begged and pleaded to get semen on him for as long as I can remember.  I finally got my wish with this cross and then…