Category: Young Farmers and Ranchers

When the Birds Point Levee Broke, We ALL Lost

My heart is breaking for all of my friends in Southeast Missouri today. The Army Corps of Engineers decided last night to blast the Birds Point Levee in a two mile stretch to save the Illinois town of Cairo. In … Continue reading

Greener Pastures

I spent most of my Saturday fixing fences so the horses could go out to pasture. It’s always amazing to see the land change from brown and bare after the snow melts to a beautiful green. We’ve had lots of rain in the Northeast this spring and these pastures are on the way to their full potential. Across the road, the pastures are already as beautiful as any I’ve ever seen. The grass is bright green and lush with no bare spots in sight. The land is owned and farmed by a sheep farmer. He milks about 200 sheep and makes delicious cheese. If I were a sheep, I’d want to graze in those pastures.

I called this farmer a sheep farmer and most people would think of him that way. He could as accurately be called a grass farmer. As with any animal product, the cycle starts with grass or plants that the animal can utilize and in the process creates a product that humans can use—milk, meat, eggs, etc. The animals are the intermediary between plants which humans cannot digest and a product that nourishes us. This farmer is very productive because he is so successful with the first step in this chain. In his case, the sheep are an ingredient in the recipe of raising grass. They are rotated correctly to keep the pastures grazed and their manure is used as natural fertilizer. Hay is taken from the fields as well so the grass is available year round even when snow is on the ground.

I’m sure there are other fields that are just as green as the ones I rode my horse through today, but the contrast between the sheep farm pastures and the horse pastures was striking. The horse pastures don’t get such careful attention and I don’t have a degree in soil biology like the sheep farmer does. If you stop to think about it, farming is an impressive endeavor. I am always amazed that someone can start with grass and soil and through animals create a nourishing and delicious product.

Greener Pastures

I spent most of my Saturday fixing fences so the horses could go out to pasture. It’s always amazing to see the land change from brown and bare after the snow melts to a beautiful green. We’ve had lots of … Continue reading

The Cows Come Home

My wife and I have had very different agriculture experiences growing up. She grew up checking cows and bailing hay while I grew up planting corn and cutting wheat. My grandpa had cows until he finally sold out and concentrated … Continue reading

Backyard Farmer

There is something about living in the country that is a huge draw for me–the fresh air, the peace and quiet, the land and animals. Not that I live in the country now, but I hope to some day. I … Continue reading

Professional Board Member

I heard this term, professional board member, used in a conversation about a year ago. It was a somewhat negative reference to a person who seemed to have a long resume of organizational involvement, especially serving on boards of directors. … Continue reading

Orchard Planting and Earth Day

Happy Earth Day! Today we get to celebrate our planet, marvel in its environmental wonder, and plant a tree to commemorate the event. As a tree fruit farmer, planting trees is a rite of spring, a job that ensures that … Continue reading

What Makes a Farm House?

When you think of a “farm house” what comes to mind? Stereotypically you think of a 1900’s white 2-story house with some large red barns. Let me tell you a little bit about our “farm house.” We have been living … Continue reading

Tender Loving Care

1:25am Friday morning – the telephone rings. To a non-farming family, panic would be the initial feeling. Instead, I reach over and shove Scott out of the bed. He of course, did not hear the phone. Still asleep he questions, … Continue reading