Friday, December 3, 2010

A weekend around on our farm

This post is kinda old and should have been done a while back but I thought I would share what happens when a 7th grade science teacher has a furlough day from school!
Since my husband is a full time farmer and day off from school means a day to help him out in some way.  Sometimes it just be keeping the little man out of his hair and giving Nana a break, other days it includes driving a silage truck, which has no brakes or power steering.

Our day started with checking on everything at the house.  Wyatt and I make a run through the sheep, horses and the few goats to make sure everything is in their place and doing OK.  Then we head south to the main part of Nance Farm, LLC.  Along the way we picked up some breakfast for the rest of the crew.

Wyatt and I got a by on the first round of chopping silage because we can only run one truck at a time in the field.  While we waited I did a little fall photo shoot with the booger man. 

Once the photo shoot was over we had to get to work.  Wyatt and I climbed into the truck and drove across the field to catch up with William who was driving the tractor.  I drove while Wyatt sat in the passenger seat watching the silage chopper.  He can do this for hours.  One of his favorite pastimes is napping in the silage truck.  After riding around for hours and watching the repetitive motions he just passes out and sleeps so soundly that I want to curl up beside him. 
After a full day of riding in the silage truck and watching the chopper we headed to the barn to help feed baby calves.  We feed our calves fresh "waste" milk from our dairy, so to get milk we have to wait and when you are waiting you usually get roped into helping in the milk parlor too!  Wyatt loves to help put cows in the alleys and push the milk valves down.  After feeding all the calves I caught William washing up and I couldn't resist snapping pictures of him.

We ended our day putting out feed with William.  It's not how I had dreamed of spending my day but it was great to spend time helping out on the farm.  It also makes for great memories and family bonding time. 

Just another day in the life of this farm wife!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A yummy fall treat


Fall has just really began in our part of the country and we are lucky to still be enjoying some summer garden favorites such as fresh tomatoes and squash.  Now my little man LOVES LOVES LOVES his veggies, but especially squash (in any form).  His favorite though is fried squash.  So I thought I would share this super simple recipe and give all of you a chance to enjoy Simply Southern Squash...

You will need:
a frying pan
tongs or fork
bowl w/ a lid (tupperware works best)
2 or 3 medium sized yellow squash
cooking oil
and a little helper doesn't hurt

1. rinse the outside of your squash and pat dry
2. fill your bowl about 1/2 full with cornmeal
3. pour oil into your frying pan (it needs to be about 1/4 inch deep) turn the burn on med-high heat
4. slice your squash into 1/8 to 1/4 inch slices
5. put squash slices into cornmeal bowl, place the lid on and let your little helper shake

6. once the slices are coated throughly...shake off the excess cornmeal and drop into the oil (which should be hot but not smoking hot)
7. don't over crowd the slices, leave a little room for flipping
8.  after about 2 minutes flip the squash slices over...the side that is now facing up should be light golden brown (you might find you like them cooked a little darker)
9. wait another minute or 2 and flip again to ensure color is correct on opposite side
10. take slices out of oil and drain  and cool on paper towels
11. repeat steps 5-10 until all slices have been cooked.
12. serve warm and enjoy!
I hope you enjoy this quick and easy way to use your garden bounty and enjoy some Southern comfort food.

(pics coming soon!)

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Farm Yard

A farm's yard is like no other.  It has been decorated with care just to be trampled over by loose cattle, eaten by deer, torn up by tractors, and loved by children.  I took a few moments last weekend to take pictures of my yard and all it inhabitants at the time.  So here goes
 Molly our, youngest cowdog is learning to watch fence lines

A pair of mud boots that have apparently been abandoned by their owner

 A pair of overturned tractors...a rough day on dry ground, I 'spect.

A lonely four wheeler that has seen too many hours in the blazing South Carolina sun.

A tractor, wagon, and if you look close a dump truck working in the silage pit.

 Another wreck of some sort with a combine, a train, and a tractor trailer truck...oh and a hay bale too!

Or it could be they are getting ready for a wash down!
A tractor that has spent too much time in the mud...amazing how little boys can find mud even when it hasn't rained more than a spit in 40 days.

 A LARGE dump truck carrying around a backhoe

And the creator of these accidents, silage pits, and little man, Wyatt

Here he is again with Reba...bless her, she will tolerate anything he throws her way.  At just under a year she is gonna make a good dog, even if she does end up just a pet.

 And one last picture of the boy
whose playground is as far as the eye can see
who would rather be outside in the dirt
than inside any day of the week,
who has stolen my heart

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Cowdog Catches

All farms and ranches have their share of working dogs.  Some have herd dogs, some have guard dogs, and some end up just being pets.  We have had our share.  Back when William & I were dating we got Maggie (tri-color in pic).  Maggie didn't really do much work most of the time since we were at school 5 days of the week.  However as she grew and our lives changed she became a loyal working dog and a wonderful pet all wrapped up into one.  Then after our first year of marriage we be purchased Cowboy (the red merle).  He was young and very active.  I loved him dearly, I am sad to say we lost him due to a heat stroke at 10 months old.   Maggie was with us through college, the first few years of marriage and the birth of our son.  Then one night when Wyatt was 2 months old and William was headed west to deliver some bucks to a test, I didn't shut the screen door well and she went to find him.  She didn't make it far before she was hit and killed.  It took a long time to get over losing such a wonderful worker. 

Now we have two young cowdogs.  Reba and Molly are a far cry different in attitude from our past cowdogs (Maggie & Cowboy).  Neither Reba or Molly have had their first birthdays yet so we are still waiting to see if they will become good working partners or just companions for my little man.  Reba is older and listens better to commands than Molly.  She is also calmer and smoother when working.  However Molly is more aggressive and will take charge faster, but hasn't learned to control herself yet.  So time and training will give us a better idea.

                                                    Molly                                          Reba
Both dogs have been spending some time in their pen this week due to our crazy schedule.  This morning when I let them out I noticed that Reba had a chunk missing out of one of her front legs. 
 It looked like someone tried to cut an orange slice out of her leg.  Now I don't have a problem with blood or flesh missing but I do tend to over react when any animal or child has a piece of flesh missing but that's just the mom in me I think. 

Vetrap & Oiniment
Well I decided that since it was still bleeding some that we needed to do some doctoring on the pup. 

Wyatt helped me to select some pink vetrap and together we put some oinment on the wound and wrapped it up. 

Now just for the record Reba didn't like this one bit.  To get her to cooperate I had to hold her between my legs and have Wyatt pet her. 

My helper
I am happy to report that she is feeling better.  I rewrapped the leg this evening during feed time and it seems to be doing well.  I realize that she probably would have been fine without the wrap however at least this way she will keep the dirt out of the wound. 
Reba with a fresh, clean wrap

 William is gonna bring a shot home from the barn just to help ward off infection.  And according to Wyatt he's gonna kiss it and make it all better.  I still get to keep the job of wrapping though cause who wants to be the bad guy???  Just another day in the life of a Farm Wife....

Have a wonderful weekend,

Caci....The Farm Wife

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

South Carolina Farmer Magazine

Here is the latest copy of the South Carolina Farmer. There is an article about the dairy industry and our family was one of the ones selected. Please enjoy reading about our farm and how we began.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

York County Fall Livestock Show

The programs are printed, the classes are set, and the ring is ready...Tonight began the final phase of preparing for the largest South Carolina Only Youth Livestock Show in our state.  We spent a few hours out at Triple Creek Farm getting all the last minute details together.  This week is always a whirlwind of activity and lots of stress but worth every minute of the year long preparation. 

Let me give you a few details about the began in 2002 after our county fair decided the would no longer host a livestock show for the youth of York County and sold the land the show barn was on to a local university.  A group of parents got together and decided they would step up and begin hosting a yearly show.  With support from the community and numerous volunteers we put together a show.  We continued the tradition today.

The committee has changed and evolved to represent our changing livestock community around the state.  We never know what breeds we will have for beef and sheep however we know without a doubt the kids will come out and have a great time.  So if you are in the Rock Hill, SC area this weekend come out and join us for a great time. 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Homecoming Sunday

Today was homecoming at our tiny church in McConnells. The church began in 1842 and has helped to raise generations of my husband's family and now helping us to raise or little man. Of course if you know us at all you know we were LATE as usual. The Y-man was having issues of what to wear this morning and I was still feeling a little under the weather. We finally made it to Sunday school about 9:50 or 10 a.m. Even though we were late we did have a great lesson. Our class is reading the book "Respectable Sins" by Jerry Bridges. It is really an eye opener and causes one to reflect on their actions.

It amazes me each year how many people gather in the tiny church to celebrate and worship with each other. We were packed each row filled with people who somehow, someway had a connection with this tiny brick church. The sermon was delivered by Rev. Al Ward from a sister church just down the road in Lowrys. He did an excellent job of reminding us that we have never felt the punishment that those in the Bible felt for worshiping God, we are comfortable in our faith and that needs to change. We need to understand that comfort leads to a life that doesn't depend on God but uses him as a casual acquaintance instead of the bread of life.

I know personally I have let my faith slip from time to time and need a gentle (okay maybe a hard) kick to get back to where I am walking with God in the way he desires instead of in the way that is easiest for me.

Of course after the wonderful sermon we all gather to eat lunch on the grounds, and I have to say it was the most beautiful afternoon to do so. There was a light breeze and comfortable temperatures to keep everyone happy and enjoying fellowship with friends from near and far. We all enjoyed the delicious food that was prepared so lovingly, especially Ms. Beck's Banana pudding and Mrs. Salder's homemade bread.

After a nice long time of fellowship we said our goodbyes and William headed to work on a cattle trailer that needed repairing and Wyatt and I headed south to Lowrys to help a 4-H'er shear her two lambs for an upcoming show.

I am always delighted to help a new exhibitor prepare for their first show but this little girl is special. Court, is a freshman in high school, and showing comes as easy for her as talking. She is a natural in the showring however she needed a little encouragement to really feel comfortable. I think she will do a wonderful job next weekend and can't wait to let you know the outcome.

I even got to spend a little time with Rachel today just shooting the breeze and discussing school, life, and of course boys (what else does a 15 year old girl talk about). I am happy to hear that it seems she is learning more about herself and what is important to her. She understands she doesn't need a boyfriend to be popular or happy. She is also learning some hard lessons as well about friendship, trust and honesty. It amazes me that she is still willing to open up and discuss her life with me, I know one day this might pass so I soak it all up while I can.

As another day draws to a close I am thankful for what God has provided for my family and I. Tomorrow we are headed to Newberry for a Jersey sale to help raise money for the Skill-a-thon team to go to nationals. I am hoping to get the little man down and out for the count shortly so I can organize my living room, grade a few hundred papers (no that is not an exaggeration) and possibly get a few items pieced together so I can sew tomorrow evening.

Until next time...have a wonderful evening and thank the Lord for the blessings in your life,

The Farm Wife

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Fall is here...for today anyways

Today has been the coolest day in months.  It was comfy all day long and to be even better its suppose to get into the 50's tonight!  I might stay up all night just to get to wear a sweatshirt...a Georgia one that is because with the start of fall begins the start of the greatest time of year...College football and show season. 

I realize for most of the country that show season is winding down however for us in the Southeast we are just getting started good.  We are gearing up for our county livestock show which is the biggest South Carolina youth only livestock show in the state.  (Our state fair allows youth from other states to exhibit in our junior show.)  We are recounting ribbons, entries, and awards to ensure that we are ready but don't worry we are!  And are setup to have the best show ever! 

I am still finalizing some of the setup details but come Thursday we will be ready for the trailers to begin rolling in.  Stay tune for updates. 

On the farm front we have been busy chopping silage and beginning calving season.  We had 17 cows due in 5 days, needless to say it was a little hectic.  In the mist of all that I began a new job teaching 7th grade science at the local middle school.  I can't say it has gone off without a hitch but it has been good.  We also held the 2nd South Carolina Beef Ambassador contest and awarded the 2011 winners, I am proud to say that William's youngest sister Rachel will be serving as SC Jr. Beef Ambassador for the upcoming year.  We are winding things up with our current ambassador and will be heading to South Dakota at the end of the month to compete in nationals. 

I have taken a break from sewing lately with everything going on.  But I realized that sewing was my release.  I have very stressed lately and finally figured out it was because I haven't been doing anything for myself.  So the sewing will begin again maybe as early as tonight if I can get everything sorted out and cleaned up. 

Speaking of cleaning...I have set a new declutter and organize my home by December 31, 2010.  In short that means I will be clearing out all the JUNK that clutters our home and finding new ways to corral all those items we plan to keep.  Any suggestions???

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

as i wait

I am sitting at the airport and listening to others as I wait to board my flight. as i sip my starbucks i wonder how many of these people know the true story of agriculture and family farming.

i hear them butcher South Carolina low country names, and giggle about the rural ways. do they know that i just drove 30 minutes from my family farm and they are insulting all rural Americans with their mockery?

at this point in life i still feel like i am 16 even though i havent seen that as an age in over a decade. that feeling prevents me from confronting groups like the above mentioned ones. how would you approach such a group?

i hope at the end of this trip i will possess more confidence and be able to approach groups and enlighten them about the role of agriculture and family farms in America.

Monday, July 26, 2010

New ideas...change is a good thing

Ok after my last post I realized that I was WRONG!!! Can we say dead wrong?  I don't have enough time to manage two personal blogs plus blogs for the pageant, the SC Beef Ambassador Program and the 4-H club so I have decided at long last I will be combining my 2 personal blogs.  So you will now find entries on sewing, photography, scrapbooking, calving season, upcoming livestock events, issues in agriculture and much more right here on the new blog.  Please bear with me as I move post and make site changes. 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Blogging changes

I have been struggling for a while on what do do with my blog.  I also have a crafting blog and considered combining the two however I felt that each blog needs it own attention and mission.  So I have set up a plan that will work for me. 

Meaty featuring meats that are easily found...also discussing food origin and labeling...and many other hot button issues facing the meat industry.

Tack Box Tuesday...this will include items used around the farm and on the show livestock...why we use them...what works for us and what doesn' to groom you animals...what tack is necessary and what isn't and product reviews

WATCH OUT Wednesday...this feature will include a variety of safety...important agricultural headlines...upcoming events...and MUCH MUCH MORE

Friday and commentary of what is happening in our fields...this won't be limited to our grain and forage crops but also what's happening in cattle and sheep fields.

I hope everyone enjoys our new setup.  I think it will be useful for you and I to know what is next...So all the excitement begins on Monday!  See you then!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Farm Bureau Women's Communication Boot Camp!!!

Good afternoon everyone!  I have some exciting news to share....I have been selected as one of the 15 people in the nation to attend the FB Women's Communication Boot Camp in Washington, D.C. this July!!!  I am super excited about the trip, the camp, and just the fact I get to meet other women in agriculture.  I know that it will be intense but I am so excited to go!  I can't wait...well yes I can...because I have to and because it means I'll be leaving my family for 4 days!! 

I am also very lucky that one of my favorite GAPSO's lives in the D.C. area and I WILL get to see her!  BTW GAPSO simply means Georgia Past State FFA officer.  I can't wait for this wonderful opportunity!  Hopefully it will help me become a much better blogger. 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

New Shock and Awe Video Released

Many of you may already know that a new video of animal abuse has been released.  I am outraged that this type of abuse was allowed on a dairy farm.  I am even more outraged that people video taped the abuse but did nothing to stop it!  Umm...makes me wonder where they involved? 

I know this is not the norm for the dairy industry.  Producers care about and protect their stock because that is their income.  Farmers and Ranchers choose their profession because it is what they love not that they are going to make millions.  This video is obviously of an employee that was out of control and had anger/violence issues.  Never has a cow been treated in such a matter on our farm.

My husband began a dairy farm 1,509 days ago because that was the job he loved.  Raising before dawn, milking, cutting hay, fixing fences...its hard work... hard back breaking work, that is and has been a constant job since day 1.  He doesn't make millions or get any fame.  He gets frustrated, tired and mad but he never abuses an animal.   Society sees mass media's version of a dairy farm and immediately begin judging him based on his profession.  I encourage each of you to take a moment to meet a farmer, visit them at their farm and find out what our lives are about.  You will soon learn that we value our animals...we care for them.  Each day, twice a day 115 cows walk through our barn, my hubby can tell you what their number is, what the last calf they had was, how many pounds per day she is milking, when her last heat was, and even if she is staying after this lactation.  This job is not one you can go to and do nothing, you must have a heart for the industry. 

It is obvious that what was happening in the above mentioned video did not give you a realistic view of the dairy industry.  We care for our animals and their health.  I wonder why the media never shows a farm without a sensational story??? We take our job seriously, don't judge our actions by someone else.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bloggers need to be informed

I love LOVE LOVE crafting and sewing blogs.  I follow many of them.  Today I ran across one that needed a little more informing.  Project: Project stepped into my lion's den with today's post.  Jumping on the same bandwagon with Michael Pollan isn't a good thing for me at all.  So just take a few moments and defend American agriculture and those of us who produce it! 


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

It's Lambing season

I have been meaning to get this post up for a while however life seems to take over a good bit. Lambing season around here begins late always after the 15th of February, and this year was no exception. We had our first set of lambs February 22nd. A set of twin Suffolk lambs out of one of our favorite ewes. She had a ewe and a ram. They were born without any assistance, dried off and walking before we found them. It was a great way to begin lambing season.

Our next lambs didn’t hit the ground until March but once they did it felt like everyday there were more lambs. One of the crossbred yearling ewes threw a great ¾ Cheviot ewe lamb that is nice and thick thanks to the Lawter buck we used. Later that same week we had another single ewe this time a full-blooded Cheviot that excelled in thickness and breed character from the same buck. Not long after we had two more ewes lamb one Cheviot having a set of twin ewes and a Suffolk having a single ewe lamb (she’s stylish). We also had one of our oldest Suffolk ewes have a solid little ewe lamb and another Cheviot throw as set of twins one ram and ewe.

Once they were done there was about a week lull in the baby boom before “Carolina” a show ewe from last dropped a purebred buck lamb. Jacob, “Carolina’s” handler was excited about the new arrival. He and his family stopped by to see it on Sunday afternoon. He enjoyed being able to see what a nice little lamb she had.

Right now we have slowed down immensely on the lambing but still have 3 more that will be lambing soon of course as soon as I wrote that and saved the draft what happened all 3 ewes lambed but one more we weren't expecting so soon!  4 or 5 more that could lamb as late as the first of June. So we sit and wait, watch and wait, and wait some more. A few of the ewes still to lamb concern us as they are first time lambers and we would like to be there with them, especially “Ms. B,” as this is Wyatt's ewe and he has plans to show her in the fall.

Even though we haven’t finished lambing yet we will turn our Cheviot buck out later this month to try for a few fall lambs (again). As ewes wean lambs they will be returned to their respective breed pens and stay with the bucks until later in the fall. We haven’t decided yet on when to remove the bucks but time will tell.

As always I hope you have a wonderful day!


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Animal Factories?!?!?

I live in a relatively small town (about 7,000 in town; 218,000 in the county) in South Carolina along the North Carolina state line. Agriculture is a big part of our area, however this week I discovered something unnerving at our local library. I visit the library about once a week; this week’s visit was different and really opened my eyes to the reach of radical groups in our country, attempting to abolish modern production agriculture.

On display in this one horse town library was a copy of Animal Factory written by New York Times bestselling author, David Kirby. I quickly snatched the book of the shelf and thumbed through it, reading pieces here and there. I knew I must do something…but what?

Into my mind enters Kevin Bacon…and a scene from Footloose (one of my favorite movies). The people of the small town in the movie are burning books they deem unfit for their children to read-there’s an idea…burn every copy of the book…wait I momentarily forgot I am a dairy farmer’s wife…we don’t have the income for that. Then another thought enters my mind…Freedom. America was founded on the basic principle of freedom-freedom to choose our religion, freedom to bear arms, and free speech. So maybe book burning isn’t an option after all.

I could check this book out though and for at least 14 days (probably more because I ALWAYS forget to return them on time) no one else would be subject to this pack of deceitful lies about the industry I so dearly love. So that’s what I did- I checked out the book (and quickly slip it into my bag so no one would see it)-as I got into my car I realized there must be something more I could do…

After fretting all the way home about how people have a negative connotation about what my family does for a living, some going as far as putting our way of life in the same category as child abusers, I thumbed through the book again…realizing a few months ago I spoke out against people in my industry jumping to conclusions, judging books (and movies) by their cover, speaking from emotions not facts….well I couldn’t do that…I had to know the facts (thanks to everyone who encourage me to be a school teacher!).

So what am I going to do…I am going to read the book, cover to cover! And I invite you to do the same. As I read I am going to blog, discuss, research and share with everyone this book that threatens the very makeup of American agriculture. I will help to shed a light on true modern production agriculture and…TELL MY STORY. Please follow along, join the discussion and keep checking for updates. I will begin the discussion later this week so please be sure to keep reading about what’s happening at Will-C Nance Farm. Until next time have a wonderful day…and if you get a chance thank a farmer!


Monday, March 22, 2010

National Ag Day

Saturday was the first day of spring for the majority of the country and in South Carolina we enjoyed a beautiful day.  For those of us involved in agriculture and for those of you who are not but enjoy 3 square meals a day, it was also National AG Day.  National AG Day is a day we celebrate those who till the soil, feed the livestock and help provide us with the safest, most abundant and affordable food supply in the world.  For those of you who think that agriculture doesn't affect your life...let's look at some facts.

World Population Growth Is Creating Needs For Food And Fiber

  • World population is at 6.2 billion today, and is expected to reach 7.5 billion by the year 2020.
  • There will be millions of new mouths to feed, many of whom rely on United States food production to meet this need.

The United States Is Best Positioned To Meet This Growing Need

  •  Agriculture is America's #1 export.
  • About 17% of raw U.S. agriculture products are exported yearly.
  • The United States is out front in technological advances.
  • U.S. farmers and ranchers produce more than 200 raw commodities yearly for domestic and export markets.
  • In 1999, one farmer produced enough food to feed about 144 people each day.
  • Agriculture generates 20% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product.
  • One-fourth of the world's beef and nearly one-fifth of the world's grain, milk and eggs are produced in the U.S.
  • The United States exports $43.5 billion in agriculture products and important $26.4 billion in farm products, equaling a positive net trade balance of $17.1 billion.
  • One in three U.S. farm acres is planted for export, and 25 percent of gross farm income comes directly from exports.
  • Through research and changes in production practices, today's food producers are providing Americans with the widest variety of foods ever.
  • Research and advancements in biotechnology are now in the marketplace with tastier fruits and vegetables that stay fresh longer and are not damaged by insects.
  • Consumers derive health benefits from changes in farm production including less fat in meat and longer lasting fresh fruits and vegetables. As well, tofu, a soybean product, has been shown to reduce the risk of some cancer and heart disease.
  • For every hour, the U.S. exports $6 million worth of agricultural products.

 Technology Leads The Way In Today's Agricultural Production

  • Precision farming boosts crop yields and reduces waste by using satellite maps and computers to match seed, fertilizer and crop protection applications to local soil conditions.
  • Sophisticated Global Positioning Systems can be specifically designed for spraying herbicides and pesticides. A weed detector equipped with infrared light identifies specific plants by the different rates of light they reflect and then sends a signal to a pump to spray a preset amount of herbicide onto the weed.
  • Biogenetics is another technology that is being utilized in crop production. A particular trait is implanted directly into the seed to protect the seed against certain pests.
  • Artificial insemination of livestock is producing more and better meat supplies.
  • Farmers are utilizing 4-wheel drive tractors with up to 300 horsepower requiring fewer passes across fields - saving energy and time.
  • Huge combines are speeding the time it takes to harvest crops.
  • With modern methods, one acre of land in the U.S. (about the size of a football field) can produce: 42,000 lbs. of strawberries, 11,000 heads of lettuce, 25,400 lbs. of potatoes, 8,900 lbs. of sweet corn, or 640 lbs. of cotton lint.

 America is Producing Not Only More Food, but Higher Quality and Lower Cost

  • Two out of every three bushels of corn in the world originate in the United States.
  • In 2001, 45% of the world's soybeans were grown in the United States.
  • American consumers spend the lowest percentage of their annual income on food - just 9.3 percent.
  • Nearly 19 billion pounds of pork - the most widely eaten meat - were processed in 2001.
  • Cotton is by the far the most dominant fiber produced in the United States and is used for apparel, home fabrics as well as industrial uses.

 Fertilizers and Pesticides Contribute to Increases in Production

  • Crop protection products have tripled the output of resource-intensive food, like cooking oil, meat, fruits and vegetables.
  • Crop protection products have doubled the production of world food calories since 1960.
  • Without synthetic crop production chemicals, American farmers cannot feed the world.

 Farmers are Good Stewards of the Land and Environment

  • Farmers and ranchers are the first environmentalists, maintaining and improving the soil and natural resources to pass on to future generations.
  • Farmers use reduced tillage practices on more than 72 million acres to prevent erosion.
  • Farmers maintain over 1.3 million acres of grass waterways, allowing water to flow naturally from crops without eroding soil.
  • Countour farming, planting crops on hillsides instead of up and down, keeps soil from washing away. About 26 million acres in the United States are managed this way.
  • Cattle ranchers and others control water run-off with sod waterways and diversions, erosion control structures and catch basins.
  • Just as urban families recycle grass, newspaper and aluminum, farm families have practiced recycling for a long time by applying manure to fields to replace nutrients in the soil.
  • Food service food scraps are used to make animal feed.
  • Agricultural land provides habitat for 75 percent of the nation's wildlife.
Now National AG day has passed for 2010 however each day you still enjoy the fruits of the labor and love that each America farmer has given.  So please take a moment and tell a farmer thank you!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Congressman Spratt

For all you SC followers I thought you might like to know that one of our Congressmen is being honored this month by the Humane Society of the United States. (read article here)

As most production animal agriculturist know HSUS is not affiliated with your local humane society. If you are not familiar with HSUS, check out this link

I will be kind and say that perhaps Spratt doesn't know all the details about HSUS and their mission to abolish animal agriculture.  I feel that each of us should contact Spratt and express our deep concern over this matter.  Please remember to express yourself in a professional manner and respond using facts not emotions.  This is your chance to tell your personal story.  Please remember to ask him to support family farms in SC and across the country.  At one time he too was part of our industry. 

Remember this is our chance to help speak out against HSUS and their mission.  Let's help to educate the Congressman. 

Please click here to email Congressman Spratt and tell YOUR farm story!!!

YF&R Conference Part III

Enter & Win It!!!!

Please accept my deepest heartfelt apologizes for the untimely posting of this blog. I realize that over a month has passed since I updated and finished my recap. However I promised that I would do this so here we go!!!!

The main session of the conference on Saturday was the Enter & Win It!!!! Session. In this session multiple people spoke on how to enter the three YF&R Achievement Award areas and WIN them. I loved this session. It gave great insight on the award areas and we heard from people who had successfully completed each area.

We will begin with the Young Farmer and Rancher Achievement Award. This award is designed for those individuals who receive most of their income from traditional production agriculture. The coolest thing about this award is if you win on the state level you win a TRUCK, plus a trip to represent SC at the American Farm Bureau Convention!! Kevin Satterwhite and Bo Norris spoke on the process. The first step is filling out the paperwork. The application can be tedious however if you work on it throughout your application year and conquer one section at a time then you will be more confident in your answers. Also make sure everything on your application is true. Remember the judges are looking for what you have done and your future plans. Once you have submitted your application it will be reviewed by a panel of judges and three finalists will be selected. If you are one of the three finalists then a photographer and judges will come out to visit your farm. This will be your opportunity for the pavement (application) to meet the road (your operation). Both Kevin and Bo suggest that you not get caught up in the fact that someone is coming to visit. Do clean up around the place but you don’t have to drop a ton of money on new landscaping and such. It is also key for everyone interested in applying to know that neither of these guys won on their first try. If make take you a few years to win but each time you gain some more knowledge about the process. Bo stated that he had been trying to win for a while and that each year he gained more knowledge however he didn’t give up. You might need to take a break and reevaluate your application but you don’t give up.

Next Carrie and Brian Dalton spoke on the Excellence in Agriculture Award. Carrie and Brian won the state competition a few years back and went on to win the national competition. This award is designed for participants who do not earn the majority of their income from an owned agricultural operation. Contestants will be judged on their involvement in agriculture, leadership ability, involvement and participation in Farm Bureau and other organizations (i.e., civic, service and community).

The top three state winners will be selected from the written applications as state finalists. The finalists will then be required to present an oral presentation during the SCFB Annual Meeting in Myrtle Beach during December. The application and presentation scores of the three finalists will be combined and the highest total score will determine the state winner. Carrie gave us a humorous insight to how they won the EA award. Her suggestions include keeping copies of the application in various locations and jotting information down as it occurs to you. She also encouraged us to sit down as a family and go over the application and goals with one another. Brian prepared all the spouses in the room that doing such can become an addiction and soon you might be tired of the process but he promised the rewards are worth the hard work. Carrie suggested not applying until you felt you had a top notch application.

We ended the session with the discussion meet competition. I spoke on this event. I have a few suggestions that I feel are at the heart of winning this competition…

1) Get a copy of the questions well in advance
2) Read articles, blogs, and websites for news
3) Discuss the questions with trusted and knowledgeable family and friends
4) Prepare your opening and closing statements prior to the competition
       a. These should be PERFECT
5) Read over and understand the scoring rubric
       a. Know where the majority of the points are given
6) Remember this is a DISCUSSION NOT A DEBATE!!!
7) Tell your story…this is your industry and you have a different idea from the next so make sure that you are expressing yourself and all will flow

Overall the theme was to keep trying even if you don’t win the first time out. I personally competed in discussion meet contest 5 times prior to winning. If you have any questions please feel free to contact any of the above mentioned individuals. We are all happy to help you out. I hope to see every area jam packed full of contestants and GOOD LUCK!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

South Carolina YF&R Conference, part 2

Good Morning Everyone!

It has been a while since the SC YF&R conference and I have yet to update you on the whole thing. I am sorry! So here we go.

Saturday was a great day for expanding your horizons and digging into the meat of our daily lives. We began the morning with a delicious breakfast and concurrent workshops. William and I attended the Pesticide Credits with Jay while many of the wives attend the Spouses Workshop. Jay’s Workshop focused on resistant weeds across our state. Many benefited from the ability to renew their certifications.

I must say that I should have attended the Spouses Workshop. They made Cookies on a Stick! Which yes men I realize that may not sound exciting but they were SUPER cute. Basically you mix up some cookie dough (or use pre-made), cut them to the shape you would like, insert a sucker stick and bake. Then decorate however you would like. After the decorations have dried you arrange them as you would a flower vase. Super cute idea and everyone seemed to have LOTs of fun!

The next two workshops were about Economic Development for Rural America with Greg White and Beef Cattle Profits with Brian Bolt. These workshops were also concurrent so William and I attend the Beef Workshop.

Brian gave many great ideas about better management practices and finding that niche market in the beef industry. He also brought out some good points about selecting bulls for your herd. For example if you are a commercial cattlemen marketing your calves at weaning to the local sale barn then why are you worried about carcass data??? Weaning Weights and birth weights are all that you will deal with. As a trained livestock judge I had never streamlined EPD’s that way but it makes sense. Thanks Brian for such a great session.

After a quick coffee break we attended the Enter & Win contest workshop. Former winners from each of the three YF & R contest spoke about how and why you should enter those contests. My next post will detail that workshops event so that everyone can benefit from the great resources that were provided.

After finishing up the contest workshop we had a wonderful luncheon with guest speaker Trent Loos. Trent is a rancher from Nebraska who spends 200 days a year on the road advocating for agriculture in America. Trent gave us some great tips on spreading our message while reminding us we need to ensure that it is a message filled with facts and the truth. Again the take home message was TELL YOUR FARM STORY, whether on a plane trip across the country, in the grocery store or through social media put a face on American Agriculture.

The afternoon continued with more concurrent sessions on CAMM Credits and Grain Market updates. I hate to admit it however we did not attend those sessions. We took that opportunity to nap and do a little shopping since we didn’t bring the little man along on the trip.

That evening kicked off with an Awards Banquet honoring the Photo Contest winners and the state YF & R committee. Reggie Hall gave us a report on the wonderful happenings within SC FB Promotion and Education department and Gary Spires gave us an update on legislative happenings. It was a great way to get updated and stay on top of concerning agricultural issues. Our conference ended with a Dessert cruise on the Spirit of Charleston. The food of course was wonderful and plentiful.

I encourage each of you to pack your bags and get ready for the 2011 SCFB YF&R Conference at the Westin Resort on Hilton Head Island January 28-30, 2011! I hope to see you there!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

SC Farm Bureau YF&R Conference 2010

With over 180 people registered this was the largest YF & R Conference on record!  Newberry County led the pack with 14 participates.  We began the weekend on Friday with a welcome reception.  The food was great and the opportunity to network was wonderful.  Catching up with old friends and meeting new ones was a great way to begin the conference. 

SCFB President David Winkles addressed the crowd and the opening session and opened the floor for questions.  It was an intereactive session allowing members to air concerns about upcoming legislative activities and media attacks.  President Winkles address each question individually.   It was refreshing to see that even though we are young we were respected enough to recieve answers that were straight-foward.  The evening ended with various groups heading out to enjoy the Charleston night life.  Stay tuned and learn about Saturday's happenings!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

South Carolina YF&R Conference

This weekend has been jam packed full of ideas, information, and fellowship!  WIlliam and I have had a wonderful time at the 2010 SC YF&R conference.  We are inspired now more than ever to go home and get involved in our community and our local Farm Bureau.  Over the next week I will update you on each session we attended and the information we gained about news in the agriculture industry, Tales from Trent Loos, and how and why you should compete in the YF&R programs and achievement awards!  Stay tune!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snow in South Carolina

Last night the weatherman said that we might get some freezing rain and snow.  As usual I disregarded the forecast because they never seem to get it right.  This morning we woke up to a snow covered yard and more snow falling.  It was a lovely feature.  It is not often that we see snow here in SC, however when we do most everything shuts down.  The roads are covered in ice and crazy people are trying to drive when they don't have too. 

William left this morning around 4 headed to the barn.  It normally takes 20 minutes MAX this morning was doubled.  He began his day like all others milking.  The cows were a little slower than normal due to the weather.  It took longer to milk but nothing terrible. 

Once milking was over he headed to his parents.  The tracks into the barn were already recovered in snow and freezing rain.  He ate breakfast there and got warmed up before heading back out in the cold.  This time to feed up beef cows.  He and Rach rode the 4-wheeler down to Ray Brown's (a pasture about 4 miles away).  They check on those cows and then headed across to the Love place (another pasture about 3 miles away).  The ride was cold but the only option since once you got off road trucks weren't an option.  It took a couple of hours and they enjoyed themselves throwing snow balls and such.  Around 10 they were headed back to Nana & Pop's to warm-up.  Today's weather gave William a break.  He was able to take a nap which he really needed.

Wyatt and I had other plans.  Since Wyatt woke up around 3 and didn't really go back to sleep until almost 5 he didn't really get up until 9 (this is unheard of in our house).  We checked some ewes that are close to lambing and fed square bales to all the sheep in the barn. 

 The we took off across the road to visit with Grandma & PawPaw.  The main road wasn't terrible but Flatrock was mainly covered in snow since few if any people had used it.  We made it there uneventfully, (Thank the Lord).  PawPaw had already fed all the cows, so we visited for a while.  PawPaw updated me on the health of all the cows and new calves.  PawPaw discussed purchasing a new tractor, that would be nice however the want for one probably doesn't mean we need one! 

Not long after arriving Wyatt requested a gator ride.  We headed to check on the cow especially PawPaw's favorite calf.  Wyatt also got to ride the Farmall whick he loves.  The new bull purchased at the Yon Sale seemed to be doing well.  All the calves were with their mamas keeping warm.  A few even gathered in the barn.   
 We also tried sledding again with Wyatt.  He loved it!  The snow was hard enough to make it worth while.  The hill next to the house made a great place to slide and it wasn't too long to climb back up.  PawPaw and Wyatt went down the hill 10 times before either showed signs of slowing down.  After all that sledding we had all worked up some hunger.  Grandma, of course had lunch waiting.  

After lunch we headed back to our house.  Wyatt played outside some more and then we headed in.  I was hoping he would nap but as we know 2 year olds have their own ideas.  He played for a while and finally passed out to the sound of my sister's voice (take it as soothing or boring, whatever suits you)!  LOL!   

When Wyatt finally woke up it was time to feed up at the barn again.  We took the sled down to the barn and fed all the sheep.  Nothing looked close to lambing but who knows (full moon tonight).  Everything was fairly warm and content.  Wyatt rode the sled back up to the calf field with a bucket of feed and the cat!  The calves were happy to see us but that's anytime you have a bucket in hand.  We fed up and Wyatt played outside until William made it home from the barn.  Once William made it home they played for a few more minutes and then we headed inside to warm potato soup. 

They are calling for a little more snow tonight and then again possibly on Tuesday and Thursday.  Church has been cancelled for tomorrow so I am sure that we will again spend our time enjoying this weather.  Keep warm and stay safe!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

ABC News

I heard about this terrible video on ABC last night.  I have to say after watching the video I agree media again has not given the farmers a chance to speak out against these false truths.  No matter what you believe about tail docking we, as farmers, should have been given the chance to speak.  Chris Chinn did a great blog on the American FB blog.  Check it out

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

SC Agriculture Conference

Today was the South Carolina Agriculture Conference in Ridge Spring, SC.  We started the day with a Keynote address titled "Successful Marketing on the Family Farm".  Diane Green from Greentree Naturals in Idaho told us how she and her husband have made a living off 2 acres.

Diane's tips included:
Direct Market to consumers
  • Use talking points about what you are selling
    • How you like the product prepared
    • How to store the product
  • Include recipe cards with farm logo and contact info
  • Educate consumers using brochures, newsletters, articles and more
  • If you sell at a farmer's market take photos of the farm
  • Label everything...product, handouts, cars, tent, yourself
  • Give gifts to repeat customers
  • Sponsor community events to raise farm awareness
Selling to Resturants
  • take a basket of samples when "courting" new establishments
  • have a set time to contact about and/or deliver products
  • be sure to put products in proper places
  • be polite and socialable but don't overstay your welcome
We continued our day with SC examples of Successful family farms
Jason Rodgers, Farm Manager with Titan Farms the largest peach producer east of the Mississippi, shared how a small family farm grew to over 4,000 acres. 

Eric McClam, Farm Manager with City Roots shared how his family began a farm in July 2009 on 3 arces in Columbia, SC.  The vision is to produce clean, healthy, sustainably grown products while enhancing and educating their community about the benefits of locally grown food, composting, vermicomposting and other environmentally friendly farming practices.

Lydia Yon, co-owner of Yon Family Farms shared how they produce seedstock Angus bulls, sweet corn and sell freezer beef.  The farm host two sales each year along with hosting interns.  They have made a name for themselves in the industry by providing high quality products. 

Ansley Rast with SC Department of Ag spoke about all the SC Grown program has to offer during lunch which featured SC Grown products prepared by Juniper Resturant. 

Keely Saye spoke about marketing in 2010 using Social Networking.  You can check out her presentation at here.  She also mentioned a You Tube video called Socionomics

We ended the day with three breakout sessions and a roundtable discussion.   Overall it was a very educational day with a lot of resources.   I encourage all farmers in SC to attend the next conference in 2012 in the Low Country. 

Monday, January 18, 2010

AFBF Convention-Seattle

I returned early last week from the American Farm Buereau Convention in Seattle Washington.  It was great getting to see a different part of the country and learn about their agriculture.  We visited the trade show and got lots of interesting articles and some great ideas for things to do back home.  We also got wonderful prizes...everything from cow stress balls to a Washington Women's Committee Cookbook (which I love).  I also participated in the Discussion meet where I advanced to the semifinals.  It was a wonderful experience that has provided great insight into agriculture across the county.  I am also proud to say that South Carolina had one of the Top 10 farmers in the nation and even though he didn't win overall he was an excellent represnetative SC agriculture.  I was pleased that if SC couldn't win a dairy farmer from Kentucky took home top honors.  Overall it was a wonderful experience and I can't wait to attend again in the future. 

While I was there I got to visit the famous Pike Place Market which was a joy to see.  Flying fish, interesting little shops and the sign that boils it all down...Meet the Producer!  It was also disheartening.  As we where leaving the market we spied a little book shop that in the window had numerous pins and signs shedding a negative light on animal agriculture.  We were prelexed as to what to do about this...would explaining the sign and the negative light they were shedding on our industry be enough to get the shop owner to take them down?  In the end we decided not to take action and that has bothered me since that time.  We must speak up and spread the true story of agriculture.  I have said it many time we are the experts and we have to take a stand.  So even after my new year's goals I have had to update them to include Take a Stand.  I can't let people attempt to destory our industry without a fight.  So let the fight begin!!!!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Hello From Seattle

Good Morning/Afternoon from Seattle, WA. 

I hope that everyone is doing well.  I flew out yesterday to attend the American Farm Bureau Convention.  There are farmers and ranchers from across the U.S. to discuss important topics and learn how to make their local FB better and serve more.  I can't wait to take all the information I gather here back home to help improve our YF&R program. 

I left the boys at home to tend to the daily operations of the farm.  It was difficult to get on the plane without them but I did it!  I left home with temps in the low 20's and arrived in Seattle with temps in the low 40's.  Today its sunny and I can't wait to explore the city a little.  Hopefully Pike Place Market will be on the list!