Thursday, January 31, 2013

GDF MooTube Minute - 1/30/13

Here's a brief video of me recapping the past month's activities on the farm:

Friday, January 25, 2013

Honored to be chosen as a "Face"

USFRA consists of 70+ farmer/rancher-led
organizations and agricultural partners
This week I was honored to be introduced as one of the US Farmers & Ranchers Alliance's "Faces of Farming & Ranching". Along with fellow winners Bo Stone, Chris Chinn, and Katie Pratt, I'll have opportunities to represent the USFRA and our nation's agriculturalists as we engage in insightful conversations about our food system.

Food is obviously a basic need we all share, but our views on its production and preparation are often quite different. My goals this year are to share how our farms and ranches are continually improving production methods, learn more about the factors that drive people's food choices, and build upon common ground when discussing our food system's most oft-debated issues. And whether you adhere to a strict diet of organically-raised fruits and vegetables or enjoy occasionally slapping some PB&J between a couple of oatmeal creme pies, I hope you'll join the conversations we'll be having about food production, safety, quality, and choice.

Thanks for all the encouragement and support up to this point, and I covet both as I move forward in this new role.

Related links/video:

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Snowy morning on the dairy farm

We've finally had a change in the weather after days and days of snowed this morning. It was actually drizzling early when we started milking, but the rain gave way to snow just before dawn. It was coming down pretty hard for a little while, but for the most part had stopped by 10am.  We may get another flurry or two through early afternoon, but it should all burn off as the clouds move on to the east and we get a little sunshine for what will seem like the first time in 2013.

snow falling on a wheat field

"What is this white stuff?"

snow in Lamar County = no school = happy kids

Friday, January 11, 2013

Happy National Milk Day!

It's January 11th, which can only mean one thing: today is National Milk Day!

Ok, I'll admit that I didn't have it circled on my calendar. In fact, I didn't even realize it until someone tweeted me about it after breakfast. Once I knew about it though, I felt it was my dairy farming duty to promote the heck out of it! I've posted a coupled of things about it on Facebook, solicited people to "#showmeyourglass" on Twitter, and now I'm cutting out my lunchtime nap to let you know about this great occasion here on my blog.

How should you celebrate National Milk Day? Well, the obvious answer is to enjoy a glass of the good stuff. And by "the good stuff", I mean the REAL stuff...not that soy/almond/coconut/hemp nonsense. You can pour up a glass of "whole" milk, 2%, 1%, skim, lactose-free, chocolate, strawberry, or any number of other varieties available. You can also celebrate by cooking up something that calls for milk in the recipe, donating shelf-stable milk to your local food pantry, or expressing your appreciation to a dairy farmer you might know. I'd love to hear a story or see of photo of how you celebrated this great holiday!

I hope you enjoy milk today and every day, both for its taste and nutritional benefits. Most of all, I want to thank all of you milk drinkers and dairy lovers out there. It's because of your support that I get to raise my kids on a farm, work with my family, and do what I love to do every day. So I raise this tall, cold glass of milk in your honor...Happy National Milk Day, and Cheers!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Looking back at 2012

I hope everyone had a happy and blessed Christmas season and has gotten the new year started off on the right foot.  I was able to take a little more time off than normal, making one overnight trip to the in-laws before traveling down to Jacksonville a week later to watch Mississippi State play in the Gator Bowl. Now I'm back in the swing of things and looking forward to a productive year, but first I thought I'd give you the obligatory "Looking back at 2012" blog post.  

My son & his classmates inspecting a baby
calf during a springtime farm visit.
We probably milked fewer cows this past year than we did at any point within the last ten. With good beef prices and a not so good "milk income over feed cost" ratio this past Spring, we decided to sell a higher percentage of our cows for beef than what we typically do. As a result, we've had fewer cows milking but we've also extended our forage supplies. We should start getting  our cow numbers back up to normal within the next couple of months.  The past year also saw us breed some heifers with "sexed" semen for the first time, and all-told we had an average year for forage production.

Off the farm, I found plenty of things to involve myself in.  I helped coach my son's t-ball team this Spring and continued teaching a Sunday School class at my church up through late Fall. I was elected to leadership positions on my state's dairy policy and promotion committees, and I served as a voting delegate at the annual meetings of my regional dairy checkoff and national dairy cooperative. I even made my first ever trip to New York City in November. And, of course, my family made time to attend several of Mississippi State's athletic events over the last 12 months.

The number of you following along with my craziness on this blog or through social media outlets continued to grow, so I guess I must be doing something right. I had a lot of fun using Twitter this past year, managed to make and upload a handful of farm videos, and my farm's Facebook page saw more activity and engagement than ever before. I didn't blog as much as I have in years past, but my posts on hormones in milk, traditional vs. organic milk, and rural America's relevance ended up being three of my six most-read posts ever.

Big thanks to my family, employees, friends, peers, milk drinkers, dairy lovers, and all of you readers for the positives that came along in 2012. God has truly blessed me to be in the position I'm in, and I'm happy to be providing you with high-quality milk, food for thought, and hopefully an occasional smile.

So here's to 2012, and my 2013 be even better for all of us!