Friday, December 7, 2012

Gimme an L..

So I've decided to do something new that will be an ongoing process for the next couple of years (hopefully!).

                                          Meet my new baby girl, we'll call her BG for now!  

She was born on Thanksgiving day right before we were supposed to go in and eat (typical dairy farmer luck). She was probably about 50 lbs when she was born, a normal calf being about 70-90 lbs. But she was from a first calf heifer so it was not a surprise that she was that little. Her mom, Lacey, has been one of my siblings show heifers for the past two years and is also owned by non other than ME!

Vin showed Lacey as a yearling heifer this summer at the county fair

So needless to say I was really excited when I found her with her calf in the dry lot that morning, especially with it being a heifer. ( The dry lot is the pen where all heifers/cows that are going to calve in the next two months are, it's their vacation spot) . So right when she was born she had her naval dipped with an iodine dip to ensure that it didn't get infected and she was also orally given a immune booster to help jump start her immune system.

This last weekend when I went home I of course went to check on her right away, she was doing great! She had probably gained 10+ lbs in a little over a week and she was  a feisty one. It was a little unusual though because both her and Lacey were still in the maternity/hospital pen. I asked dad about it, usually cow and calf are seperated after 3 days so that the cow can have unlimited water,  feed, and more space also so that the calf can be moved outside for individual care. Dad said that Lacey had gotten really really sick in about the middle of the week so he kept her in the pen to watch her and be able to treat her with some antibiotics.
This was taken when Lacey was recovering from her sickness.

Lacey was treated with antibiotics and within a matter of days was feeling better and turned back out with the cows. We can tell she's feeling better by how much of her feed she eats and how much water she drinks. Also if you notice on her back feet there is a red band, she has one on each back foot. Those bands are put on cows who have either been treated with antibiotics or are 'fresh' (just had a calf within the last 5 days), we use them to let the milk help know that that cow's milk can NOT be put in with the milk for human consumption.

But glad to report that both are doing good, we just have one problem left, BG needs a real name that starts with the letter L for her registration with the American Guernsey Association. They don't always have to have the same first letter as their dam (mother) but on our farm we do it that way so it is a little bit easier to keep family lines in order. Being able to track cows back to numerous generations is incredibly important to all dairy farmers. On our farm we have a record of every cow that has ever been on our farm, when they were born, died, had a calf, and even how much milk they gave.

She's quite popular because she's so little and loves to cuddle!

So I'm going to keep track of what happens with little BG but for now I need suggestions for a name that starts with L?!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

This is a short video I put together at the Corn Board from our Crop Progress pictures we had.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Follow Passion, Take Action

So weird thing about myself: I love conferences! ESPECIALLY Ag conferences. I love meeting new people! I love learning about Agriculture in different parts of the country. This past weekend I got the chance to attend one of the best ones I've ever been to.. Agriculture Future of America (AFA) Leadership conference and boy was there lots to be learned.

Thanks to the Nebraska Corn Board for letting us drive
the Corn Van to Kansas City!
The conference was a four day long adventure where we spent our time interacting with industry professionals,listening to speakers,and attending a career fair among many other things. There were 500+ college aged students attending this conference which was broken up into 4 tracts. Each tract is based on your year in college, each focusing on a different part of becoming a young professional in the Ag industry.We talked about everything from how to plan for your financial future, how to approach entrepreneurship, becoming a leader, and even the importance of farm families.

The Corn Van even unpacks itself, pretty neat...

I think my favorite part of the whole thing though was just meeting other kids from across the nation! It was great seeing so many other kids there representing their respective universities but all still had a common goal: find passion, take action.

It was great just talking to kids about what Ag looks like in their area; how to grow peanuts and cotton in South Carolina or how they feed leftover potatoes to their dairy cows in Idaho (shockingly dairy being their #1 industry, not potatoes) Another great thing to see is these kids starting to take action in their communities and campuses; Purdue University started a SWAG (See What Ag Gives) program to try to teach kids about agriculture at their school. Lastly it was great to see so many African American's and women getting involved in Ag.

I got the opportunity to have a few discussions with two awesome African American young ladies with no background in Ag (although one did have a pet chicken she kept in her basement named Lunch Meat haha)but who had found a passion for it! Firstly I firmly believe there is no room for discrimination in Ag or anywhere if we want to be successful. Secondly, to me this is a reassurance that we are getting our message across to some people. They are seeing the importance and good things we're doing and want to be involved. Lastly one of the things I was most proud of was packing over 28,000 packets of soup to send oversea's to those in hunger. In lieu of speaker gifts, AFA choose to take the money to buy products to make these packets then having the students take time to assemble them, it was awesome!!

Just a few of us Nebraska students who attended AFA.

I encourage any college kid with an interest in Ag to attend this conference, there are so many things that you can take away from this conference that you will find almost nowhere else! If you want to know what some of the delegates were learning/tweeting about, just check out the #AFALC12 hashtag. To see pictures from the event you can check out the Agriculture Future of America Facebook page or the AFA website!
So I'm gonna leave you with a few quotes I got from this year's conference;

-No one remembers boring

- "Two best days of your life; the day you were born and the day you figured out why you were" ~ Mark Twain

- "People don't care what you know until they know what you care"

- "Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want"

- "Passion gives us confidence to move through things and the ability to inspire"

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pork Mentor Extraordinaire..

There are a few purely amazing things in this life, one being bacon! Haha I really love bacon, I mean seriously who doesn’t? We live in time though where consumers have no idea how that bacon on our plate got there? Did it come from the secret meat place in the back of the grocery store? Or maybe it came from those white feathered things that cluck? I’m not ashamed to say that I really didn’t have much of a clue about where the sausage and bacon I had on my plate came from. I knew that they came from a pig but not much more. So instead of doing what most consumers these days do, turn to animal “rights” groups, I decided to get myself involved with some of Nebraska’s finest and well informed, our pork producers!

My roommate Shannon has a love for pigs that rivals my love for cows, we’re a couple of Ag crazies for sure (our only Christmas tree decorations were a pig and cow ornament). She convinced me to join the Nebraska Pork Producers Pork Mentors program. It’s a year long program that emerges students into pork production across the state and country. So I figured if I got real lost she could just drag me along and it would be fine. So I applied and made it, shockingly, and hit the ground running. It was one of the best things I’ve EVER DONE! There were 11 of us mentee's that year, we had a list of things that we had to have done by the following year and then we would receive a $500 scholarship. They included:

-Attend the Pork Expo in Iowa assisting with quality assurance training, talked with the National Pork Board, ate about all the free pork a person could possibly wish to ever eat.

-Volunteer for 10 hours at a child community center here in Lincoln.

-Four professional shadowing experiences

- Four promotional activities, these were super easy and a lot of fun. I was by no means an expert on pork production, in fact I think I met quite a few producers at these events and ended up asking them questions, but they were always more than willing to answer them and just chat.

- There were a few other small requirements for the program but nothing too taxing.

The one thing I regret is that I didn’t take full advantage of the situation. I hate making excuses but I know I didn’t put all my effort into it due to some other committments and wish everyday that I had. But I learned so much and am so thankful for the opportunity. I think my favorite part of the program was all the great people I met. I had a great class of fellow mentee’s and we got to know each other pretty well by the end. One unfortunate mentee decided to make fun of Shannon and I’s love for Justin Bieber leaving him with the nickname ‘Biebs’, yep sucked for him.
A few fellow mentors (green shirts) talk about how
farmers care for their pigs

Our super sweet hats we got at World Pork Expo!

A mentor explaining to a kid how come we have to use
fans on pigs!

A few of the mentors talking about the pork industry.

I got to use my new found pork genius at our Husker Food Connection. 

 So if you know any college aged student interested in pigs or with a possible interest in pigs please tell them to look into the program. It really does a lot of great things for the industry in this state.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

All in a Days Work

It seems like every couple of months I tell myself that things will slow down soon at the farm so that we can have a somewhat life outside of the farm. Unfortunately time off and dairy farming aren't two words that usually go together.

There are always cows to be checked

And of course milking 2 times a day

Andi prefers to chase cows in her flip flops, you would
think she would've learned by now..
 People will ask me if it's a lot of work to live on a dairy farm, well umm yes it is!  I think one week working on a dairy farm would pretty much make you appreciate whatever job it is you have! Some days it really just makes me appreciate school, hard to believe I'd even say that. But if it's something you love then it doesn't seem like a job, just a really intense hobby. But I think it's great because there are never 2 days that are the same, and as a person who hates repetition it's something i appreciate a lot.

For example right now most people in Nebraska are harvesting, nearly67 % of the states corn is already harvested. Well my dad has just started harvest, partially because he planted late (we're Konecky's we're usually always late) but mostly because he's been busy doing other stuff.

We're just finished putting up our fourth cutting of alfalfa, there isn't much to put up because it has been so incredibly dry but the alfalfa flowered (sprouts little purple flowers) so we have to put it up anyway. So I would guess that so far this year we've put up probably close to 1,500 to 2,000 small square bales and 50 round bales of alfalfa, along with 450 small squares and 25 round bales of brome. Now I don't know about you but I still think that's an awful lot of hay!

Mowing (swathing) hay is a common summer activity
A couple of weeks ago I was sent out to mow the fourth cutting
of alfalfa, it was pretty thin.
After we mow the hay then we run it through the
small square baler (above).

Plus for about 3 weeks in July and August we've been putting up corn silage for ourselves and the neighbors. Because of the drought many neighbors were worried about what they are going to feed their cattle this winter because there wasn't going to be enough hay and there sure wasn't much corn. So because dad has a chopper and a bagger, he basically rented them out to his neighbors to help them put up silage. As one would imagine in 3 weeks of straight corn silage chopping there were a fair share of problems, mechanical or otherwise, but everyone got enough up to last them through winter, hopefully!

We store all of our silage in those long white bags, silage bags

So needless to say it's been a pretty busy summer/fall and doesn't look to slow down anytime soon! I guess it's all in a day in the life of a farmer.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Have a Glass of Chocolate Milk Today

Seems like these days almost everything has been studied and proven to be bad for you. Studied again and turns out it might actually be good for you, then studied some more with no actual real answers to be shown. So a while ago one of my favorite drinks came under extreme scrutiny; Chocolate milk!! I think it's ridiculous, common sense tells us that chocolate milk is just plain milk with chocolate in it.. duh! Sure there are probably some chocolate milks with a higher sugar content than some but still MILK IS MILK!

So in honor of National Chocolate milk day I'm going to reblog a post I wrote for AFAN in June. So remember to enjoy a nice glass of chocolate milk today!

Recently, there has been a lot of talk from school officials and different groups trying to pull chocolate milk from schools. They say that it has too much sugar to be a healthy and good choice for school kids. This idea came from Jamie Oliver. He filled up a school bus with sand to represent the amount of sugar that schools in the Los Angeles Unified School Disctrict have in their milk per week. I had to admit that at first to me that seemed like a lot of sugar!

However, some key facts were being left out. For example, that District serves close to 700,000 students and 45,000 teachers. It’s the second largest district in the nation! But seriously 700,00 students and a bus full of sugar, that’s barely enough for a spoonful of sugar per day! But it’s not just a situation in the L.A. area. There are schools all across the nation comparing chocolate milk to pop. Is it fair to only compare the two on sugar content alone? Even though milk offers so many other health benefits?!

Flavored milk has the same nine essential nutrients as white milk- calcium, vitamin D, riboflavin, phosphorus, protein, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin B12, and niacin. For me this is incredibly important because all my life I have been drinking milk. Whole milk, chocolate milk, if there was a milk option I usually chose it. I have made it through 20 years of my life without a broken or fractured bone, which I consider a bit of a miracle. Now that may not impress many people but then I look at my siblings. Between the four of us not one broken or fractured body part! We all were very active whether it be in sports or working on the farm. Now this may not all be because of my love for milk, but I believe my family has stronger bones because we drink milk frequently.

I encourage you to drink milk and/or flavored milk, so your body is strong and healthy. So YES, drinking flavored milk is healthy!

Fast Facts about flavored milk:

-Flavored milk accounts for less than 3.5% of added sugar intake in children ages 6-12. The percentage decreases with age.

-According to a recent study in 7 school districts across the US, overall milk consumption drops 35% when flavored milk is not offered at lunch.

To learn more facts about flavored milk and its nutrional benefits, check out this Midwest Dairy article.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Actions speak louder than words

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” - John Quincy Adams

This post is going to be about one of the few people in the world who don't want to be on the world wide web, my dad (TK)! Anytime I mention to dad that he's on Facebook or I tweeted about him, he mutters/curses and rolls his eyeballs at me (I totally understand why adults think that is annoying!). So he's gonna be REAL mad when he hears about this, even more mad than the whole tattoo incident.

TK and his team won the men's hay hauling competition this year!
Someone forgets that he's not 19 any more..

Today is TK's birthday.

Ohh he'll be real mad when he sees I put this one on here

When I called to tell him happy birthday this morning he told me he doesn't celebrate those because he says he can't/refuses to count over 50, (there's that dairy farmer optimism). And that all he wanted for his birthday was to go to the local small town bar.

Typical family vacation, dad sick of the 'fighting'
So after our scintillating conversation I started thinking about this man I call dad and how much I've learned from him in my short 20 years. There are the real obvious things like my night-owl tendencies and my sense of sarcasm, some days I think we are wayyy too alike. But then there are the things that take some serious thought and require expressing feelings (gross, I got my lack of that from him too!).

The one thing I've always been grateful for my entire life is my upbringing and my parents. My dad has always been super busy with the farm, he has been the owner/operator/manager/hired hand/book keeper most of these years by himself but it never stopped him from being there if us kids needed something. He wasn't there for everything, but he was for the important stuff. We knew that if we wanted to hang out with him we had to go to the farm, simple as that. It was there that we learned a lot from him about growing up, hard work, compassion, patience, and care.

I don't even think I could count the number of times I've seen my dad bust his butt to take care of his cows and his neighbors and friends. I've worked along side him numerous nights until close to midnight taking care of a cow with a bad leg, hauling water and feed, or fixing something. I can't count the number of times he was late or missed a game or recital because of a cow, we don't get upset about it because that was his job and our livlihood, it wasn't anything personal. Dad still believed in being a good neighbor and friend though too.  My dad is always one of the first to offer to help or donate something for a good cause or will be over pushing snow off of the neighbors driveways before he's even had breakfast.

TK loading silage for his cows

The greatest thing I've learned from my dad is don't ever be afraid to try! This was never something dad said out loud but something he showed us by example. Growing up my dad would always let us kids learn for ourselves, give us a little advice and leave us to it. If we screwed up, he would give some pointers, make fun of us for about a week and then move on to the next stupid thing one of us did! When we used to go to big shows there would be lots of parents and adults leading around calves and then there were my siblings and I working and fitting our own calves. He was never hesitant to let us learn for ourselves; he taught me that you may not be the best but if you put in the effort and at least tried there is nothing to be ashamed of!

Best dad an #agnerd could wish for!

He taught us to forgive and forget, work hard, stay out of trouble, use our brains to figure out a problem, don't take life too seriously, that actions can speak louder than words, it's ok to be an #Agnerd, and take the time to talk to people and care (even if it being stuck in a car with your 21 year old daughter for 2 hours answering questions about corn).

So this was supposed to be a short and sweet post but haha guess not! So the only thing left to say is HAPPY BIRTHDAY TK!!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Once an #Agnerd....

Holy Cow, there hasn't been a new post on this blog for almost two weeks.

These last couple weeks have been super busy and pretty exciting if I may say so. Not to make excuses or anything but last Thursday, the 23rd, was my 21st birthday so needless to say there was no blogging  (or really anything) done this weekend.

Last Monday was the first day of my senior year of college, I can't believe how fast time has flown. Seems like yesterday I was starting my freshman year, all dazed and confused about college life with my bag all packed 3 days before class even started. Us seniors laugh now because most of us don't even hardly know our schedules a day before class let alone have our schools supplies (maybe that's just me).

One of the biggest changes I've noticed is that I've become a complete and total #Agnerd!

Super cute agnerd me getting ready to go help dad with chores
Looking back to freshman year there is no way I would've thought that I would be where I am. I was sitting in a Cultural Diversity and Leadership class today and we had to pinpoint some important events and moments in our lives and share them with the class. Not even kidding, probably 7 out of the 8 had something to do with growing up on a farm and being part of the great industry that is agriculture. This is a class full of Hospitality, tourism, and restaurant management majors, basically they're all from city campus. Some may not know what that means, here at the University of Nebraska Lincoln there are two campus's; East and City. East is the Ag campus while city is pretty much everything else. So some of the kids looked at me really funny but after class a couple kids stopped me and thanked me for talking about it. They said that they didn't really know anything bout Ag let alone a real life farmer.

 I knew hardly anything about pigs before college but I got involved
with the Nebraska Pork Producers Mentoring program and learned so much

Thanks to that program I was able to talk to City campus kids about modern pork
production at our 'Husker Food Connection' Ag event

So I'm making it my goal this semester to bring up and discuss Ag any time I can in this class. I'm pretty excited.

The #agnerd in me started just by talking about what I knew, Dairy

I always encourage other farmers kids to talk about what they and their parents do! You don't have to be some great speaker, lord nows I'm not, just talk about what you do during the summer and on the weekends. It really helps if you know some of the great things that are going on in the industry, whether it be that 95% of all farms in the U.S. are family owned, or corn farmers have cut soil erosion by nearly 44% thanks to new inovations and technologies, or even 1 in 3 jobs are related to Agriculture.

But that wasn't what I was gonna talk about in this blog, I'm saving that stuff for another time! I just needed to get back in the blog saddle.

 This is my friend Roco (yes he's real), pretty neat right?!

What's even more exciting... only 2 more days til HUSKER FOOTBALL!!  WOOHOO

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pride and Passion

I am a firm believer that when oppurtunities are presented to you that you take them and run with them! You never know where you could end up, what you'll learn, or who you'll meet along the way! One of the oppurtunies I am talking about that really impacted my life is 4-H. My family has been involved in 4-h for YEARS! For the most part we have been involved in dairy showing but also some other static exhibits such as cooking, sewing, woodworking etc. 4-H is a program that really allows today's youth to find something they love and are good at and really just practice and learn! Now I am a little biased because when I think 4-H I automatically think animal exhibits, which actually is a very small part of 4-H now. But non the less I see the importance it has with today's future farmers and consumers and it gives me hope.

Trent is pretty excited to show a dairy calf next year but
he's learning that it takes some hard work !

Alex loves to help us with our 4-H heifers

(l -r) Nate, Andi, and Vin with their Dairy heifers. They're old pros at this.

This last week and a half was our County fair which of course my siblings exhibited dairy and beef (our first year with this crazy idea). Last summer I worked at our counties extension office helping with fair preparations and really got to see some of the really cool stuff that 4-H can offer kids; classes on almost everything, really fun camps about any and everything (I went to a few in my younger years and had an absolute blast, met some of my good friends I have today). But sitting at the fair I really noticed something; in order for 4-h to really inspire kids you really have to let them be in charge, let them learn! The reason I'm mentioning is that while sitting at the fair I noticed how many parents were out there working with their kids projects; fitting them, watering them, some did pretty much everything! While some of the kids just sat around looking bored. Some parents were so obssessed with perfection and winning that they wouldn't let their kids even touch the animal until they went into the ring, yeah I would be bored too!

Right after we brought the beefies home, they
 were just little guys

Now my parents have always been busy with the dairy and other jobs so they would always try to help out with our projects and fitting and such but were always so willing and encouraging to have us be in charge of our 4-H projects. They always were willing to teach us and then let us take the reigns, even if that meant a few screw ups. I can proudly say that me and my siblings did absolutely everything for the fair ( I did help even though I am technically not in 4-H anymore, I'm 4-h support staff at my house!). We got the calves to the fair, groomed them, and got them into the ring. My parents showed up on show day to watch and that's about it which is perfect (it's not their projects). But dairy isn't really a big deal because we've been doing it for years, numerous times a year. Don't get me wrong we love our dairy cows but there is just so little competition in this state that sometimes gets unchallenging and boring so this year we decided to do a new project; Market beef steers,it was a way to be competitive and a lot of family friends showed beef.

First time we took them out on a walk

But boy were we about as clueless as they come. But I am so proud of my brothers, they did their research, sought some advice from fellow 4-Hers and our extension agent. They did really well at the show with the older one getting a blue in showmanship while the little one finished with a purple and was one minor screw-up away from placing. But it was through this project that I noticed my brothers really did like their beef cows, they loved working with them and watching how fast they grow (how fat they get compared to our lean dairy cows). What is really cool is how many questions we got after the show was over about how we got our cows so tame or how many new people were asking about our projects because they were considering doing it next year! People noticed that my brothers really had fun showing their calves, yeah they worked really hard and although beef wasn't normal for us that it is possible to do something that you've never done before and be successful.

We bought the steers from my uncle, we literally took home
 the first two we could catch. 
Nate and Yancy, they finished second in their class.. not bad!
Vin and Wego (yes he was named after a beer commercial)
Both boys finished in the top 5 in Rate of Gain. Pretty cool!

Point of this post is that if we want our 4-Hers loving what they're doing we've got to give them the freedom to do it themselves and choose! 4-H is not about perfection or winning, it's about learning and exploring. Finding something that you didn't know existed and learning about it. Whether that be rockets, woodworking or livestock, allowing a kid to have a little pride in what their doing will go a long way in helpig them find a passion! I know that without 4-H I wouldn't have my found my passion for dairy and agriculture. It helped me understand the role of what my family does on my community, my country, and my world.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

White Cheddar Chicken Pasta

So this week I was feeling creative so I decided to try a new recipe from Pinterest (yay!).    I am a huge pasta and chicken fan so decided to go with a White Cheddar Chicken Pasta and I really liked it. It wasn't hard to make it just has a few more indgredients than I'm used to! (Hello broke college kid here) And for that reason about 2 or 3 of the ingredients didn't make it in, I'm sure if I had used them it would've been even MORE DELICIOUS.

But the Dairy farmer in my LOVVVEEDDDD this recipe; milk, butter, and cheese, I mean that's like my version of heaven!

The only problem with my batch was that it could have been more runny, it was  tad dry but that's because I used whole milk instead of skim or 1% . Next time I plan on using some whole milk but also some 1% to fix this.

So here it is.. Hope you enjoy

White Cheddar Chicken Pasta

For the chicken:
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tsp dry mustard
1 T fresh thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 T olive oil

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Mix together mustard, thyme, salt and pepper and sprinkle over chicken pieces. When pan is hot, add chicken and brown about 3 minutes per side until cooked through. Remove to a plate and cover with foil.

For the pasta:
1 pound rotini or other short cut pasta
2 T butter
2 T flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, finely diced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 T Dijon mustard
8 oz sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
2 cups milk (the dairy farmer in me MADE me use whole milk but any kind would work)
1 T fresh thyme
1 T fresh oregano
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
Parmesan cheese to taste

Heat water to boil in a large stock pot for pasta, add salt and pasta and cook to al dente and drain according to directions. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add flour and whisk to combine. Add wine, garlic, onions, and mustard. Cook about 5 minutes, until onions are translucent. Reduce heat to low and slowly add milk, stirring to combine. Cook about 5-7 minutes more until mixture begins to thicken. Add cheese and stir to melt. Add chicken and pasta and toss to incorporate sauce. Add thyme and oregano and serve topped with crushed red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

It Just Comes Naturally

This past weekend when I was home we did one of my favorite things; Preg checking cows! Saying that out loud doesn’t seem nearly as cool as I think it does I’m sure. But it’s so exciting waiting for the vet to confirm pregnancies, all us kids stand around and bet on which cows are bred, hoping that our personal cows are on that list! As I was standing around I thought about something I once read on Ellen DeGeneres’ website. Now I absolutely love Ellen (so does my 16 year old brother, his favorite afterschool TV show) and I loved watching her do crazy fun things with her audience and the people that were on her show. But I recently found this on part of her website. It was a page dedicated to going Vegan, which if that’s what you want to do great but don’t do it for the wrong or untrue reasons! There is one paragraph that says “Dairy cows are considered the most cruelly treated animals in factory farms. They are kept constantly pregnant, and their calves, considered byproducts, are put to death almost instantly.”

Ohh those two lines just burn me up! So I’m just going to give you  a few thoughts that I have about that!

Our cows will have their first calf a little after they are 2 years old (after a 9 month gestation period), it’s then that we can first start milking them. After about 3 to 4 months we will breed them back. If a cow isn’t fully healthy then she won’t breed back, simple as that, if there is even the slightest problem or she hasn’t fully bounced back from calving then we won’t even try to breed her until she is healthy! A unhealthy cow is going to give you unhealthy calves which is not good for anyone! Every year after that we want to make sure that our cows get bred back and have a calf in about 1 year and every year after that. To me that’s not cruel, it's natural, because if these cows were out in the ‘wild’ they would have calves every year, just like lots of other animals that live in the wild. Another great thing about cows having calves every year is that about 2 months before they calve they get dried up (stopped milked) and go on a vacation of sorts. They spend their days lying around and eating, pretty tough life.

There is a couple other reasons we want our cows to have calves every year: one reason is that if they don’t have a calf every year then their milk production will drop drastically! A cow will be milking about 70-90 lbs during her peak lactation (60 -90 days after calving) and after about 10 months will drop to about 20 lbs a day. Having a calf is a way to rest then jump start her lactation cycle! Secondly it allows the farmer to way to get replacement heifers or build his herd.

A brand new mom with her twins, trying to beat the summer heat 

As for putting  calves to death right away why would any farmer do that? That farmer spent a lot of money, time, and feed (9 months worth of feed for two, semen straws run $5 - $50 per straw, etc). And these calves are the future of their operation, the heifers will be replacement cows and the bulls will either be kept for breeding or sold for beef. So to say that a calf is an unwanted byproduct is untrue, they are the most important part of dairy farming. These calves will receive the best care to ensure that they are healthy successful cows and mothers.
Alex LOVES helping me take care of the babies

So needless to say I'm not a big fan of Ellen anymore, and I have shown her webpage to numerous friends,  farmers or not, and they are not impressed. I just tell them that it's time to tell their story!