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! 

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year from SC!

I hope everyone has had a wonderful Christmas and wish you all a very blessed New Year.  The new year has started off very COLD.  The little man and I have stayed close to the house however the hubby has been facing the blistering cold for days.  Now yes I realize that those of you living in places like South Dakota think we are wimps but its all about what you are climatized too and we are use to 40's and 50's at this time of year instead when we woke up this morning it was 12 not factoring in the windchill!   I do believe our cows were giving ice cream this morning!

On the 2nd day of the year Hubby took Little Man and Reba (our new Texas heeler) and fed cows in various pastures across 2 counties.  This is pretty much an all day process leaving just enough time to milk twice!  Upon arriving home we still had to put out hay here and feed up our calves and sheep..not too bad of a job but it was a cold job. 

On the 3rd day of the year Hubby milked in the coldest temps of the season! As he tried to wash up he discovered that the water was freezing in the pipes and just to add insult to injury he learned the hot water heater was broken!  I don't know about your part of the world but on Sundays in the South there aren't many places open that carry a dairy sized water heater!  Hopefully all will be fixed in the next 30 minutes but you never know whats gonna happen next. 

The Little Man and I are getting ready to attempt to water all of the stock here.  The pasture calves are out completely so its either the waterhoses work our we are hauling buckets!  We have a busy week ahead of us as I go back to work, Hubby goes back to the Stockyard on Tuesday, Little man gets back on his calf feeding routine and I head for the American Farm Buereau Federation Convention in Seattle on Friday! 

We have laid out some New Year's Resolutions for this year and the farm...
1.  Design a new farm plan that includes a processing component
2.  Finally have the much needed discussion on generational transfers
3.  Expand our feeder calf enterprise
4. Learn to make Artisan Cheese to sell at local markets

And last but not least utilize our blog more efficiently in the future! 

Again we wish you and your family a Blessed New Year!

The Nance's