Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Happy Ag Day!

I would like to take a moment to wish all of you a very happy National Ag Day! I'm celebrating the event in Washington, DC, where I will be part of a panel discussion entitled "The Next Generation of America’s Farmers and Ranchers" later this afternoon. This discussion is just one of several events associated with Ag Day in DC, and only one of hundreds being held this week around the country. I'm sure you can contact your local agricultural organizations to find out about events being held in your area.

Ag Day means different things to different people. For some, it's an opportunity to reflect on the contributions of great agriculural pioneers such as Dr. Norman Borlaug. For others, it's a chance to assess agriculture's current social and economic impact. Personally, the thing I most appreciate about Ag Day is that it provides an excellent opportunity for Americans to learn more about our nation's farms and the families that raise our food. This awareness can help build relationships between consumers and farmers and serve as the starting point for conversations about how our food is grown and raised.

So no matter what your connection is to agriculture, I hope you have the opportunity to attend an Ag Day event or at the least take a moment to reflect upon it's impact in your life. And as always, I certainly appreciate all of you who buy milk and dairy products...it's YOUR support that enables me to make my living doing what I love. 

Have a "dairy" good Ag Day!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

It's Grazing Time!

It's been a long, cold Winter, but Spring has finally sprung and that means that the grazing season is upon us! The wheat and ryegrass we planted late last Fall has gotten tall enough (and the ground firm enough) to begin grazing our milking cows in the mornings, which we've done now for four consecutive days. The girls have already responded by upping their milk production a couple of pounds, and I suspect that number to climb by a couple more pounds by mid-week.

As a reminder to my local readers, most of our cows' grazing land is across the road from our dairy barn. Be prepared to stop and watch the cows cross the road for a couple of minutes if you plan on driving by our farm around 8:30am or 1:00pm. 

Now, here are a few videos and photos from the first few days of grazing:

I love the sight of our black & white cows out in a green pasture!

Mooooving on down the road back to the milking barn.

cows on their way to graze

With their bellies now full of green grass, the cows are ready to head back to the milking barn.

Lamar County cattle drive

Thursday, March 6, 2014

5 years and 20,000 tweets later...

March of 2009 was a big month for me. It was the month I left my 20's behind and said hello to 30, embarked on my two-year AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee adventure, and welcomed my baby daughter into the world.

I also tweeted for the very first time:
I didn't have great expectations for Twitter at the time, or at least not my usage of it. The thought of sharing short bursts of farm info was intriguing, but I didn't think you folks would find my tweets as interesting or useful as my blog or my farm's Facebook page. Once I figured out that I could post real-time updates via text on my Razr v3 flip-phone, though, both my follower count and my own interest began to rise. I upgraded to a smartphone within a couple of months, and my new-found ability to interact with other Twitter users while in the milking barn or in a tractor cab encouraged me to tweet even more frequently. 

So now here I sit, five years and a little over 20k tweets later, and I wonder what kind of impact I've made. As I stated in my very first tweet, my goal was to let you know about life on my family's farm, and that still remains the primary focus of all I do online. There are other farmers that interact with and influence far more people than I do (give 'em props), but there's nobody else that does it exactly like me and I'm pretty dang proud of that. I might not have posted or tweeted a single thing in the last five years that has helped shape your point of view on food or farming, but I've had fun trying!

Whether you follow me on Twitter, regularly read this blog, watch my farm videos on YouTube, or "like" our Facebook page, I sincerely want to thank you for taking the time to learn more about me and my family's dairy farm. I continue to welcome your comments and questions, and I hope my social-sharing style helps you feel more connected to both your glass of milk and to the farmer keeping a steady hand on the udder. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Show me your jugs...of milk!

As the Mardi Gras season enters its final weekend on the way to its (butter)Fat Tuesday finale, it's time for me to once again ask you to not only celebrate with parades, parties, King Cake and beads, but with milk as well. So in in the spirit of this festive time, I'm asking you to open your refrigerator, snap a photo of the dairy products stored within, and "show me your jugs"! Whether you have big jugs, little jugs, full jugs, near-empty jugs, mismatched jugs, or jugs of different shapes and colors, you can feel good about exposing them to the whole world and showing them that you value the taste and nutrition milk has to offer. And unlike some other "show me your (fill-in-the-blank)" Mardi Gras photos that may be floating around, you'll never have to have an embarrassing or awkward conversation with your family or coworkers about the milk jugs in your fridge.

nothing beats a nice, full rack of milk
Let's have some fun and raise a little dairy awareness while we're at it. Post a photo of your milk jugs to Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, and be sure to include the #showmeyourjugs tag. And when Ash Wednesday rolls around, consider giving up soft drinks for Lent and replacing them with milk. With 8 grams of protein per serving and a wide variety of options for flavor and butterfat content, milk is a beverage you can feel good about pouring for yourself and your family.

Have a "dairy" happy Mardi Gras...now show me your jugs!