The reason we do this

The reason we do this
A walk with the Coys

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Occupy Cooperation, lets be "We the People"

It doesn't matter if you are in the coffee shop, at the "water cooler", in the grocery store... wherever you might find yourself.. you will hear people.  People echoing the same concerns, the same struggles and the same frustrations with the way things "are".  So many people can tell you exactly what is wrong with the current government, educational system, job market and moral compass of America.  Who can tell me what is right?  Who can tell me what we should do about the problems that I face as a young farmer?  As a land owner?  As a consumer?  

The issues that we are facing right now are not unique to this time or this place.  These are issues that have existed for as long as we have cared about bettering ourselves as a society.  So how did we rise above them and accomplish things in the " Good 'ol days?" How did we, as farmers, come together in a multi-partisan fashion, and help one another out?

An excerpt from :Built on Belief: Remembering why Farm Bureau was created , which can be found in its entirety at stated that:

“Most of us are born individualists,” author Alice Sturgis said in her 1958 analysis of Farm Bureau. “We have to learn to exercise self-discipline before we can work cooperatively with a group.”

This concept was grounded in belief that governance should be by the many rather than the few, that those in power held a sacred trust of the community and “discussion is good when it throws light on all sides of a question and brings out the truth….vigorous and spirited debate on a question is one way of bringing out the facts.”
When farmers arrived at solutions that harmonized differing viewpoints, they overcame the fact that “no one listens to a babble of conflicting voices.”

That is one of the reasons the creation of the Farm Bureau advisory councils is such a unique and wonderful idea.  Normal, everyday people coming together each month to study the issues that are effecting us right now.  Then proposing suggestions, even plausible solutions to the problems at hand.  In our county we have a handful of these active advisory councils, however we have seen the slow disbanding of such wonderful groups due to schedule conflicts.  We are the busy bees, who are so busy making the honey, that we are not taking time to talk to each other about the lawn mower cutting down our favorite patch of clover.   There are real and serious threats out there to our way of life. We need to take the time, we need to keep talking to one another. 

Seth Teter, from the Our Ohio magazine,, shared this quote: ‎"Let's just get them to talk about their problems. Let them talk about the problems of the world. In those discussions they are bound to come to the assumption that they need to work together in an organization. And when they're looking about for an organization to work in, I hope they choose the farm bureau. Because if they don't choose the farm bureau then there's something wrong with us. And if there's something wrong with us, I want to know about it." - Murray Lincoln on his proposal to develop advisory councils.  Murray Lincoln was a visionary whose wisdom is very relevant in today's society.  

He also stated:  "Today I consider the 1600 advisory councils set up by the ohio farm bureau the most significant contribution ever made by a farm group to the salvation of our country and of the world."

You can be a part of something that can continue to contribute to the salvation of Ohio, America and beyond.  I am strongly encouraging you to take a moment and ponder this thought.  There is so much "noise" out there.  So many things pulling our attention away from our families, our farms, our faith and the issues at hand.   I understand these demands, but I ask that you take a moment and read the very relevant articles in the Buckeye Farm News,,  a wonderful publication that is put out monthly by The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.  Within this periodical, there is a section for advisory council to speak out.. to share their thought and ideas.  If you are a part of an advisory council, then you do this. You meet with your group, you share your ideas, and then those ideas get submitted.  This is a great format.  But what if we could continue the conversation? What if members of advisory councils from across the state could participate?  What if individuals who are not a part of an advisory council could contribute?  Can you imagine the possibilities? 

There is now a new group on Facebook called, Ohio's Advisory Council. Ohio's Advisory Council  This group is "Closed" but I encourage you to go to the link, and select "request to join".  I encourage you to participate in a conversation, that I believe, could fundamentally change the landscape of the conversations that we have regarding Ohio agriculture.  Lets come together to change our world!

Murray Lincoln ended with a simple statement of conviction and a plea: “I believe we can make this world over through cooperation – that is why I am thrilled to be in the movement. The people are hungry for it – it will succeed. So let’s go out together and preach cooperation.”

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mama always told me, "Trash in- Trash out"

This is the truth!  My mom has always told me that "trash in means your gonna get trash out".  Now this usually was referring to my latest taste in music as a teen, but these words have been a guiding compass for me even in my adult years.  Today I found my self feeling tired, unmotivated and down right distracted.  While this may be explained by the fact that I work full time, have three small children and farm... this is not my norm.  I started to wonder.. why am I feeling this way, and then it dawned on me " I have been eating trash" for the last week!  I have been eating foods in high sugar, fat, salt and chemical content.  I have not been eating the wholesome foods that I would expect my children to be eating.

Wait a minute.. do I pack them lunch?  Not today.. I didn't have time ( like most days it seems)Because if I haven't been then the likelihood that they are getting food that is fresh, and lack all of the preservatives that add to the list of things my children's bodies have to filter, is pretty slim.  I want a revolution in the cafeteria.. I was to get rid of all of the "heat and serve meals".  I am actually not speaking of my daughter's school directly.  The little school where my daughter attends prepares lovely meals.  However the school where I teach, like most of America's schools, is held hostage to the unmaginable budget and employee desires. (Not desire to eat, but desire of cooking.. or lack of desire).  So what are other states doing about it?  What can we do about it?  The link below addresses what is being done if Florida.

rAgriculural comissioner and the school lunch!

I didn't even realize that the Dep of ed, not the Dep of agriculture is in charge of something as significant to agriculture, like feeding our children.  Lets not put trash in, we'll only be getting trash out.  Lets put good, wholesome food in. (potatoes are good.. just don't fry them please)  We are bound to get GOOD OUT! Lets try to teach our children to be healthy, because at the rate that they are going, the will on the fast track to UNHEALTHY, SHORTENED living soon.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Telling our Story

Why do we farm?  Why do we work hard?  Why do we loose sleep over animals who reside on our farm?  Why do we put in the extra hours? 

These are complicated questions, and consumers want to know.  It is like asking a teach (of which I am one) why do you like to teach?  I certainly wouldn't say its for the money.  Its more of an internal reason, a drive to better the world in which we live.  And that is how it is with farming.  There is so much I would like to tell people about what I do.  What satisfaction I get from working hard, from spending time with the animals on my farm, from having the entire family fall asleep before we hit our pillows.. because we have put our all into what we do.  The time has come for us to tell these little parts of our lives to those who want to hear.  The world is asking.. who is telling our story? 

The Ohio Farm bureau federation has begun its annual video contest, and I would like to encourage all of you to think about participating.  Its a great chance to make a short video, and possibly even earn money from it.  Jim and I made a video and you can view it here.  Its a quick story about why we do what we do.  How we tell the story of agriculture wherever we go.  I have two things I like to ask people.. do you know Jesus?  Have you ever met a farmer?  Hopefully I can't point them in the direction for "true" answers for both of those! 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hard Decision Time...

We are new to farming, I have owned this fact and have embraced it.  Until today.  We are being faced with a difficult decision that I would prefer to not make.  It has to do with my first, and favorite cow... "Big Mama". 

Jim and I started our farm in 2004 and made the decision to get into cattle.  We opened up our local paper the "Farm and Dairy" and found an add for replacement heifers.  It was God's intervention that lead us to call this particular number.  Through that number, we became acquainted with the farmer which would ultimately become a friend, mentor and Jim's boss.  We purchased our first three heifers, and our love of cattle began.

Six years later.. much sooner then I anticipated being in this situation.  About a month and a half ago "Big Mama" one of our original three became lame.  We called our trusted vet immediately.  He assessed her and could find nothing wrong with her.  We trimmed up her hoof that seemed to be bothering her, and we rested her.  We have kept a close eye on her, and have noticed much more restricted movement and weight loss.   Her legs appear fine, to injury, no infection.. nothing.. just lame.

Now its the age old question, when do we remove her from the herd.  The Bull is here now and will not be visiting her.  She also did not catch last year.  This complicates the decision that needs to be made.  I think many people have been in my boots.  A good cow, great disposition and emotionally connected.  She is a leader in the herd, and now I think her time has come to leave the herd.  It is a hard, hard decision.  And that is where I am right now.. hard decision time.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Meeting Consumer needs while avoiding submissive yielding

I feel that the delicate balance between meeting consumer expectations in animal agriculture while still protecting practical farming techniques is an issue that takes a great deal of due diligence.  In a day and age where public perception is perceived as reality, it is often very easy to over compensate to appease the ever growing need for information that consumers require.  I believe that having a positive and active role in education on the practices that animal agriculture uses in conjunction with scientific research has helped and will continue to help the maintenance of this delicate balance.  However, I also feel that the extreme submissive and yielding  approach to consumer outreach does more damage in the long run.  I recently watched a couple of "test messages" from a representative of agriculture.  The consumer ratings were the highest on the ones where he sounded incredibly apologetic, much like a kicked puppy wanting to have his ear scratched.  To combat this attitude of surrender, I feel all sects of agriculture (animal,row crop and unconventional production) need to continue to train spokespersons, create positive media opportunities, and have a very active presence through social media.   I do agree that some admission of past mistakes, like all humility, can go a long way.  But this is such a fine line! So how do we do all of this?  I think we are doing it through our tweets, face book posts, and you tube videos.  But we need to add a little humor, wit and joy for people to actually want to view our messages. (That being said this post has absolutely not humor in it.. ironic? )  Any thoughts?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Thoughts on the growing world population

As I sit and ponder new reports on out estimated population growth....

The world population grows by an estimated 77 million people per year (U.S. Census Bureau) , and is expected to do so for the foreseeable future. American farmers find themselves in a unique position of having their products be in high demand world wide. To accommodate, farmers productivity has continued to rise to make the supply needed for the current demand. For Instance, in 1910 the average acre of corn produced 27 bushels, and in 2009 the average ohio acre of corn produced 165 bushels (United States Department of Agriculture).  This is quite an increase and was sufficient for the 6.8 billion people in 2009.  However we are looking at an estimated 9 billion people by 2042 (earlier than originally predicted).  Therefore to prevent food shortages, in the next 5 years agriculture needs to be activity supporting and implementing best practices.  This situation then sets up for agriculture and interesting situation with aspect to caring for our environment at the same time.  However agriculture has historically risen to this challenge, and by addressing this proactively, together we will be able to accomplish this goal.

Links that tie into this topic:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

National Ag Day

I am so excited to be able to say that I am a part of the agricultural community!  It gives me great satisfaction and pride!  I made a wordle with some of the words that I think of when I think of farming, agriculture and the Ohio Farm Bureau. 

Farm Bureau Wordle

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What is right amount of government?

What is government's role in agriculture?

It is easy to consider government a hindrance to our industry.   Especially when we read blogs like  that discuss how much of our budget is monopolized by regulation. I cannot even begin to fathom how much a trillion dollars is (or 1.75 for that matter), but putting it into perspective that the entire farm bill was projected to have cost $286 Billion for a 4 year period,  helps a little.  (Although I am sure that the farm bill then also has its fair share of regulations as well).  Bottom line: That is a tremendous amount of money. 

On the other side of the coin, (especially since I did just bring up the farm bill) I have been the recipient of a grant (EQIP) which has made it possible for me and my husband to position ourselves to be far more profitable then before (while not eroding soil).  As a new farming couple, it is so very cost prohibitive to say " I want to be a farmer".  The start up costs are astronomical!  So in this case government involvement or accessibility is a great thing!

Keeping this in mind, I also have experiences positive government involvement in Ohio through our CAUV program (land tax breaks for farmers in Ohio) and even though our taxes are set to go up an undetermined amount of money, it is still a huge cost savings for us, the farmers of Ohio.

So how much government involvement is a benefit?  I think the answer lies in how involved we are involved in the government.  Ideally the government is of the people, by the people and for the people.  The theme there is people.  Not just the people who really like reading about themselves, and not just the people who were born into a family with gobs of money.. but everyday people like you and me (unless you are reading this and you have gobs of money :)- sorry ).  We need to be active in the legislative process to ensure that our rights are protected and our way of life is preserved.  The Ohio Farm Bureau does a great job of allowing me to learn about that process, and I am forever thankful for that.  But what if you are not involved in FB or some other group?

I suggest you figure out where your interests are, and get involved... and as time progresses the opportunity will arise where you can get involved.  Do it!  Get involved, and keep the level of government just right, because it will be filled with people who are just right! Just like me and just like you.  I love agriculture and I love this country, and those two facts will never change.