Greetings from Minnesota! The temperature? I think it’s about 5 degrees out, give or take.
I feel like I haven’t shared as many details about our cows lately, and a big reason is that I like to share pictures of the farm to help describe what’s going on. The poor lighting and early darkness makes my average pictures downright bad, but I guess that’s no reason to neglect my chief subject matter (cows)!
Here’s a current look at cows relaxing in Pen 8 – the maternity pen. It looks pretty much the same all year, except you can see the curtains on the left are rolled up all the way at this particular moment. We do open and close the curtains to different levels even in winter based on the weather. We strive to get the best ventilation and temperature control we can.
We have expectant mother cows in this pen all the time, and I think the cows surely prefer calving in the cold of December to the heat of July! If you want to read more about our maternity pen, check out this post. And if you want to know how we keep new baby calves warm when the temps are chilly, you can read about the calf warmer we use. (it’s toward the end of the post.)
At our farm we work everyday to take good care of our cows and give them quality feed, bedding, and care. When I was little I remember hearing old farmers say, “You take care of the cows and they’ll take care of you.” It’s a strong relationship because cows are our livelihood. Even more than that, we want to keep our cows healthy and happy because it’s the right thing to do. Why would we want to do anything else?
Because we put so much of our lives into the farm, it hurts deeply when activists groups, the media, or others accuse modern farms of not caring about their animals or being unethical.
Some people just don’t understand today’s larger farms, and when I meet somebody in this category I can usually have a great conversation and clear up their questions. On the other hand, some groups have hidden agendas and want to take things out of context, show the worst examples they can find, and distort the truth about agriculture. If a farmer is in the wrong I think the problem absolutely needs to be looked into and fixed, but I also know that farmers, as a whole, strive to do the best job they can.
I believe I’ve said this before, but it’s very important for you to do your own research about food and agriculture. Don’t get all your facts from one place or perspective, and always look at what the motives of the information-giver are.
I recently read a great blog post on Gate to Plate Blog that talks about this whole topic. I think Michele says it better than I do, so check out her thoughts. It’s a quick read, and the connections she makes are pretty powerful. (hence, my post title.)
What are some of your thoughts and questions about farms today?