Finally, we get a decent snow on the ground here in Helena. There’s been a good 12-18″ of snow during the past week, most of it still on the ground, what hasn’t blown off. We’re supposed to reach close to freezing tomorrow before another 6-10″ hits us with temps dropping 20-25 below zero. And oddly enough, I guess it’s still novel enough to me that I’m just fine with having the snow and cold around!
Not everything is ugly in the snow. Just don’t walk under the roof eaves on days like these.
And yes, Arkansas family, we still go to work in Montana with a fresh 8 inches of snow on the ground.
Many roads in town haven’t seen a plow. This is one of the main roads. Just fine to drive on when you take your time.
This winter has had far more sunny and clear days compared to back home in the South. And I am alright with that! It spurred a little Spring cleaning in the office yesterday. These three items ended up on my desk and there’s a story behind them all.
The award is from my trip to D.C. last December. The buckle is a recent award from the ‘I Love Farmers’ advocacy award earlier this month. But the duck call. I’ll let you stew on that to figure out the story behind it. I’ll give you a hint though. Instead of staying “Duck Commander” on it, the print says “Beef Commander”. That story coming up soon.
Winter does not necessarily mean time off for farmers and ranchers across the country. Although, I do take advantage of the longer hours of dark to catch up on some of my favorite reading.
The hay may be in the barn and the crops may be out of the fields, but there are still plenty of chores to be done after harvest and in preparation for the 2013 growing season. For livestock farmers, the winter may even mean a busier time of work as animals never take a day off and newborns may be arriving any day.
Here is a collection of blog posts from farmers, ranchers, and members of the agriculture community from across the country describing their winter month activities.
Winter Chores for Farmers
- Debbie Blythe, Kansas – This Kansas Flint Hills Cattlewoman does a great job of sharing her regular tasks and new events from the ranch. Be sure to check out her great images of Calving, and how she puts her kids to work on a Snow Day home from school.
- Matthew Boucher, Illinois – Matthew shares with readers more about how farmers are working to repair and maintain their equipment during the winter months.
- Marie Bowers, Oregon – Marie is a grass farmer in Oregon and the winter months are busy for this farm gal. Her family is busy making repairs to equipment, adding new features to a tractor, and checking fields for needed attention.
- Trent Bown, Utah – Trent Bown provides a regular Farm Report on the activities around his family dairy farm, including the arrival of newborns, cleaning up after the cows, making sure everyone is fed, and showing us more about the steps of delivering a safe milk supply.
- Ryan Bright, Tennessee – His kids are excited to see snow, but this dairy farmer realizes the extra work that comes along with it. Ryan even has a video included of feeding hay.
- Anne Burkholder, Nebraska – Anne, her family, and employees are busy every day making sure the cattle in her feedlot are comfortable, healthy, and eating well.
- Bill and Judi Graff, Illinois - Judi and her family spend the winter months feeding and caring for their Simmental cattle.
- Patricia Grotenhuis, Ontario – This wife of a Canadian dairy farmer shares a look at the work to care for their cows and prepare for Spring planting.
- David and Jennifer Heim, Kansas – The work doesn’t stop for this young couple on their dairy farm. In all types of weather, the Heim’s work hard to take care of the needs of their cows.
- Jan Hoadley, Alabama – Jan is busy as always taking care of her animals, protecting them from the weather elements, and working to cater to her direct market customers.
- Erika Holm, Wisconsin – Cows really do get stuck in the snow. A few years back, Erika caught a quick video of these dairy cows as the farmer was trying to dig them a path to the barn.
- Carrie Mess, Wisconsin – Actually made time to get away on vacation, but that doesn’t mean she left the dairy with someone to take care of and milk the cows.
- Greg, Nathan, and Kendall Peterson, Kansas – The Peterson Brothers take every opportunity to help the family on the farm when they are home from school. This year they have started documenting what life is like on the farm with a monthly video update.
- Nicole Small, Kansas – Nicole’s family is busy catching up from the harvest season, hunting for food, and getting more involved in the community.
- Val Wagner, North Dakota – A few years ago, Val described what it’s like to endure a blizzard in the middle of calving season. They are being hit by another large storm again this season. Val included a video of checking cows in the blizzard.
- Suzie Wilde, Texas – Suzie’s husband is busy on the cotton farm repairing fields from heavy autumn rains and making preparations to harvest Spring rainfall.
- Tim and Emily Zweber, Minnesota – Emily is looking for her husband Tim. He is busy during the winter months and keeps a full schedule on their Organic Dairy farm.
Winter Agriculture Industry Meetings
Many in the agriculture community attend educational and industry-wide meetings. Some of these are in warmer parts of the country, while others are just down the road in the same state. Here’s a list of blogs that feature winter-season Agriculture meetings. If you are close to one of the meetings coming up, try to attend and meet hundreds of farmers.
I hope you’re having an awesome Wednesday and that the coffee has warmed you well. I’ve been out in the pastures much of the past week as calving season has launched in a quick start. The calves are loving this crisp, cool weather. Here’s 30 seconds of joy with one. Happy Hump Day!
I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas this week with lots of food, family, and friends! I traveled home to Arkansas to spend the week with family and ended up seeing a VERY White Christmas. We had about a foot of snow at the house and 6-8 inches of snow with quite a bit of sleet and ice on our farms.
A White Christmas is a pretty big deal here in Arkansas. To put it in perspective, this was only the 4th White Christmas for Little Rock since record keeping began in 1875 and the 8th snowiest month ever with 10.3″ of snow at the official recording site. We were actually under a Blizzard Warning – the 1st ever issued by the National Weather Service in Little Rock. We were pretty excited to see the white stuff start falling even though it cut our day at the grandparents’ house a little short.
I spent Wednesday helping my dad and brother feed cattle. We have several different farms across town so it takes a little while longer to feed everything. It takes even longer when we get one of the trucks stuck in the first pasture then have to push trees out of the way on the road in the holler to one of the pastures. But we made it home by the time the sun set and all of the cattle were fed.
Trees loaded down with snow/ice
All is quite on the Delta
Gotta love the home pastures