Tuesday, December 9, 2014

It’s Christmas Time in Burton, Ohio

While my son, Jack, and I visited Hill Hardware last Saturday morning, we had the pleasure of hearing a group of Christmas carolers who were going from business to business downtown spreading cheer. It was a reminder of how lucky we are to live in Burton, Ohio.

In our quaint small town, Christmas wreaths line the downtown street. The town oval, featuring an old-fashion log cabin, is decorated for the holidays.

Burton Oval decorated for the Holidays

Last week I did some Christmas shopping in downtown Burton. It’s a wonderful place to find unique gifts. The town is lined with small businesses where you’ll often find the store owner behind the counter greeting you as you walk in the door.  

I frequent Coffee Corners which offers an assortment of home baked goodies, coffee and antiques. I love the muffins they make fresh every morning.

One of my favorite places to find items for my home is Off Center. They have a creative knack to repurposed furniture and other items into beautiful home d├ęcor. 

I went into Hansel's Locally Blown Glass, which is owned by a talented husband and wife team who make unique glass pieces and offer them for sale in their retail store. They have a variety of one-of-a-kind glass items that you won’t find anywhere else.

Hand-crafted items at Hansel's Locally Blown Glass
One of the newest retail stores in our community is Soul of the Rose. They offer gorgeous women’s jewelry, clothing and accessories. 

Original designs from Soul of the Rose

Just down the road, I stopped in at Buckeye Chocolate. They make delicious chocolate candy. It’s a treat to go into this shop because they always have lots of samples to try. 

An Ohio speciality, chocolate & peanut butter buckeyes

As a fellow small business in the community, I like to frequent shops in my town. I feel good purchasing from people who work hard using their talents to create something special. They contribute to making this town a neat place to live.

If you live in Northeast Ohio, I encourage you to visit downtown Burton to stop in at these and more unique, locally owned business.

My boys, Jack and Garrett, with our Christmas tree purchased down the road at North Corner Farm.  

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Calf with a broken leg

Calves are born on our farm daily. They usually get up and start walking around within an hour after birth. But that wasn’t the case with a heifer calf born a few days ago. Shortly after she entered the world, it appears her mother accidently stepped on her back leg breaking it.

She needed medical attention, so Lad, Josue and Marco got to work helping this calf. An injury like this is rare on our farm. A splint was made, then the leg was set with the cloth-lined pipe splint before being bound with hoof wrap.

She's a tough, strong calf
The calf was treated with anti-inflammatory and penicillin for the pain and swelling. She’s doing well and currently resting in the soft, cozy straw bed inside her hutch.

In a week, the splint will be taken off to check the leg. Then the dressing and splint will be re-applied.

She's protected from the wind and cold
Everything is being done to help her leg heal so she recovers and becomes a healthy heifer.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

First Snow of the Winter

We live in the snowbelt of Northeast Ohio, so expect cold and snowy winters. The question isn't if snow will come, it's when and how much. As a native Californian, I always hope for short and mild winters. We recently had the first snow of the season leaving us about a foot of snow on the ground.

Here are some images from the farm. . .

The snow covered milking parlor building
Icicles in mid-November!
Everyone is bundled up
The daily chores go on snow, rain or shine
The snow covered milk tank
My handsome husband, Lad

The animals are protected from the elements. . .

Keeping cozy in a straw bed in the maternity pen
These cows happily chew their cud while being milked
The calves don't know how cold it is outside
The curtains in the barn block cold wind and snow

The snow creates new recreation opportunities, especially for children. . .

My sons enjoy some sledding

Ready or not, winter is here. On the bright side, a snow-covered landscape is beautiful.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Farm Animal Treatment & the See It? Stop It! Program

A dairy farmer’s job is to take care of animals. Everything that happens on our farm is centered on doing what’s best to maintain comfortable, healthy and productive animals.

We are fortunate to have a great team at our farm who like taking care of animals. Each day they milk the cows, deliver feed to their pens, make sure the animals have clean water troughs filled with fresh water, clean manure out of the pens, bring in clean bedding, treat sick animals, and whatever else is necessary for the herd.

Josue with a favorite heifer, Penelope
Andres carefully prepares the cows to be milked
Gregorio mixing fresh feed to deliver to the cows
Marco brings buckets of milk to the calves
Dave fixing the barn door to keep the cold air out this winter
Taylor with one of his favorite girls, Lorena #6616
 It’s inconceivable to most people that anyone would intentionally hurt an animal. Especially when your job is to take care of them. Our cattle depend on us to do what’s right. It’s important for us, and everyone charged with caring for livestock, to take their responsibility seriously. 

Unfortunately, a negative video pops up every once in a while displaying poor treatment of livestock. These videos are disturbing and difficult to watch. They are used by some organizations to convince people that the abuse depicted is normal behavior by farmers. It’s not.

I recently attended a national dairy meeting where I learned that 30% of the millennial generation (about 80 million people born between 1980 and 1995) believe farm animals are mistreated. This statistic disturbs me. Why do such a large number of young people in this country believe we fall short when it comes to livestock care?

Could it be this generation, well versed in YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and other social media, have seen videos depicting poor livestock treatment? Do they think this is common behavior? It isn’t.

One way we display our commitment to good animal care, is implementing the See It? Stop It! Program on our farm. This program is based on the principle that giving caretaker’s responsibility to report animal abuse assures the best animal care. Everyone on our farm is committed to providing the best care possible for the animals.

Good animal care has been happening on farms for generations. Long before the See It! Stop It! Program was created. But in today’s world, people seem to want a written, tangible assurance that farmers are doing the right thing. Programs and paperwork are not a substitute for setting an example and making sure good people are part of our team.

The people at our farm create a great environment for the animals

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Top 5 Reasons Starbucks and other Restaurants should Embrace Traditional Dairy

Why is Starbucks considering serving only organic milk in their restaurants? I would like to share with Starbucks, and all restaurants considering going only organic, the top 5 reasons to embrace traditional dairy.

1. Milk Quality – All milk, organic and traditional, meet the same quality standards and naturally contain the same nutrients. All milk must be tested free of antibiotic and pesticide residue before it gets to the store shelf. All dairy farms are inspected and required to follow the same guidelines to ensure a wholesome product.

2. Sustain Family Farmers – The majority of dairy farms (about 98%) are owned and operated by families. The perception that many dairy farms are “factory farms” under the control of corporations or “big ag” is false. When you purchase dairy products, organic or traditional, you are helping to sustain family farmers.
Generations on the farm - my parents and my sons
My son, Jack, with one of our favorite cows

3. Support Content Cows – Dairy farmers love their cows. Our priority as dairy farmers is caring for cows to keep them content and healthy. Irrespective of farm size, production method, housing preference, and specific feed ingredients. There is more than one way to successfully keep cows comfortable and happy. 

Our content cows in their barn
Healthy, curious calves in their pen

4. Price & Value – Traditionally produced dairy products are an exceptional value and less expensive than their organic counterparts.

5. Consumer Choice – People should have a choice. When you go to a restaurant or the grocery store, you should be able to choose the products you want. That choice shouldn’t be taken away because of a small, loud, radical minority.

Read what others are saying about this topic. I’ve pulled a quote from each, but you can click on the title for a link to the full post:

Dear Starbucks: Please Don't Cave to #OrganicMilkNext by Nurse Loves Farmer Blog
"The agriculture world needs the diversity of various farming methods, it's not "one-size fits all" farming. Enjoy your choices and I'll enjoy mine--just don't try to take them away." 

“The truth is that there are no quality differences to distinguish organic milk from milk produced from a regular dairy herd. Also, using "organic" as a measuring stick of milk quality or cow quality is not accurate by any means. The size and type of the farm has little relevancy in comparison to how the farmers and their employees do their jobs."

Why I'm Not Converting the Farm to Organic Production by Andrew Campbell

“Despite the continued mind-numbing objection to genetically modified crops, fact after fact (including the latest that 100 billion animals fed GMOs over 30 years showed zero difference to those fed non-GMO grains) points to technology benefiting more than just the definition of our television or the quality of life through medical breakthroughs.”

American Society of Animal Science Issues Statement in Support of Conventional Milk
“There is no scientific basis for Starbucks to stop using conventional milk. The U.S. milk supply is safe, wholesome and nutritious. That remains true nearly two decades after the introduction of genetically engineered (GE) crops in 1996. Furthermore, it has been repeatedly shown that feed crops of biotech origin do not compromise the health, well-being and ability of food-producing animals to contribute to a safe, plentiful food supply.”

Consumers are mislead about organic safety by John Block
“Organic foods are four to eight times more likely to be recalled than conventional foods for safety issues like bacterial contamination. In short, the federal government is strict about science, labeling and claims for all industries except one. The marketers of organic food are allowed to make scientifically false and misleading claims about the safety and wholesomeness of conventional food, while their products are increasingly likely to be recalled for safety reasons.”

I ask you to support the cows on our dairy farm by consuming traditional dairy products.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Fall Harvest is Underway!

It's extra busy at the farm this week because we're harvesting corn for silage. The cows at our farm love corn silage, which is a fermented forage that includes the entire corn plant from stock to ear. The silage we put up in October, will be an ingredient in our cows diet over the next year.

I captured these images over the last few days. . .
Chopping corn on a beautiful fall afternoon
The chopper blows the corn into the trailer
The truck follows the chopper around the field
The chopped corn is delivered to our farm then dumped into a pile
This pack tractor pushes the corn silage up the pile
Once all the corn silage is in a pile, it will be covered with tarp and tires
Corn silage is the entire corn plant all chopped up
Jack checks an ear of corn in the partially harvested field
Garrett hides in the corn
The boys picked some corn stalks out of the field
We're displaying the corn stalks and cobs on our front porch
Corn chopping frequently goes into the night - we've got to chop during dry weather
During harvest, large trucks and tractors with wagons make many trips from the fields to our farm delivering the chopped corn. Thank you to our neighbors and community for being patient with our slow moving vehicles on the road. This feed provides nutrients to our cows which enables them to make milk to supply you with the dairy products you enjoy.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

For the Love of Play

Fall is a beautiful season here in Northeast Ohio. The days are cool, the leaves are changing colors, there are many fun fall events to participate in and its football season. My sons play football and its fun watching their games. 

My sons, Jack and Garrett, play football for the Berkshire Badgers
In addition to watching local youth football, we support the hometown team; the Cleveland Browns. Their stadium is just 45 minutes from our farm.

We feel a small connection to the Browns because as dairy producers, we partner with the NFL to fund Fuel Up to Play 60. This is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program promoting a healthy lifestyle. I’m proud to be part of this wellness program.

Jack loves to play!
To amplify the message of an active lifestyle, Quaker, NFL, dairy farmers and others have joined to launch “For the Love of Play”. This campaign encourages kids and adults to be active for 60 minutes of play a day as part of a healthy lifestyle. Go to Love of Play to join the action and learn how you can win exclusive NFL prizes.
To learn more about dairy farmers partnership with the NFL, check out my blog Dairy Farmers and the NFL sponsor Fuel Up to Play 60.
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