Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth day Event

Our heifers were not aware that today was Earth Day as they were enjoying the warm sun, munching on green grass in the pasture as I left to attend the Earth Day Celebration in downtown Bentonville sponsored by Baker Elementary School. A dozen organizations were represented with table displays or demonstrations about environmental stewardship. I displayed information about dairy, provided dairy recipe booklets and gave out Borden string cheese.One little boy asked me if I was selling for free? His smile was priceless as I handed him that free cheese! Every grade participated in the Earth Day program with songs,poems, or facts about recycling and what we can do to improve our environment. One of the 4th grade classes made and modeled hats with recycled materials that we might find in our homes like newspapers, water bottles,cereal boxes,soda cans and pizza boxes. Those hats were definitely conversation pieces! These students recycle everyday in their school program. They are being taught about the value of caring for the environment. Dairy farmers value and care for our natural resources everyday because we depend on the land for our business and quality of life for our families and our communities. We know the future depends on what we do today. Farmers do celebrate Earth Day Everyday!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Earth Day--Everyday

As I was feeding baby calves and enjoying a dose of April sunshine, I was also thinking about an upcoming event I will be participating in next week for the celebration of Earth Day. The very first Earth Day celebration began in april 1970 to bring awareness to environmental issues. Farmers and ranchers are known to be the first environmentalists. Like most farm families I know, we live and work on our farms. We work to maintain and improve the soil and our natural resources to pass on to the next generation. Our cows are the perfect recyclers! Just as our urban neighbors are recycling grass,newspaper, and aluminum, we apply our cow manure to fields to replace the nutrients in the soil. Sharing information with our community about dairy farming and agriculture seems a natural fit for Earth Day celebrating, and it's a great way for us to connect with and give back to the people in our area. Dairy farm families essentially celebrate Earth Day every day by taking the best possible care of our land and animals, and it's important for us to encourage others to do their part as well.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Dairy Springin'

If you want to get a dairy farmer excited, just start talking about the heifers that are springin'! Before I became a farmer, I would have connected this with enjoying the spring beauty that surrounds us in Northwest Arkansas. Springin'(springing) actually is a description dairy farmers use referring to the beginning development of the heifer's udder and other changes that they can visually see and usually indicate that calving is not too far away. To produce milk, a heifer must have a calf. Having a calf for the first time is a new experience for the heifer and very exciting for the dairy farmer. As a dairy farmer, it is gratifying to see an animal that we have raised from a baby calf come to this point in their growth and development. Springin' heifers give us a spring in our step as we work to produce a great product!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Family Tradition

As I was working in the kitchen yesterday preparing food for Easter lunch, I happened to hear the Hank Williams song "Family Tradition". It sparked alot of thoughts about the traditions we have in our family as dairy farmers. Holidays of all kinds are like a juggling act with the daily chores of milking and caring for our animals added with the holiday activities. The best part of every holiday is that we are together as a family. 98% of farms in the United States are family farms with real families working together to produce the safest and most affordable food in the world. Today was a bitter sweet holiday, the first Easter without my mother-in-law. One of her Easter traditions since my husband was a little boy was to bring out the small red basket that held the old stuffed and faded calico hen sitting on top of dozen colored plastic eggs. The eggs were always stuffed with candy,coins or small toys for my sons to discover after Easter lunch. I really did not have the heart to bring the old hen out for this Easter and I thought the boys probably wouldn't care since they are 21 and 19 years old. Just before Easter lunch today, as I was welcoming some of our guests in the back door,my oldest son came up to the door with the old hen and basket in his arms. Family traditions are hard to break--next year the eggs will have candy,coins, or toys for the big boys!