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What does $5000 buy??

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Right now, we are in the process of building a new calf barn.  Many times it is easier to just keep doing things on dairy the way they have always been done.  A calf is born, fed milk for 2-3 months, weaned, and then finally enters the milking herd at about 24 months.  It has been happening this way for a long time on our dairy.  But, the time has come to innovate and build a more efficient barn to care for our calves.  We plan to use curtains for ventilation, Calf-Tel for our individual calf pens, group pens of 5 animals, and finally a flush system for cleaning.  We are incorporating many new and efficient features for this new calf barn.  But, at the end of the day it still comes down to the basics:  1 – Clean pens, 2 – Preventing illness, and 3 – Good quality colostrom.

ImageImage$5000 only buys this piece of concrete.  We have a ways to go but it will definitely be worth it.  Stay Tuned!!

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To eat Butter or not…..

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My 9 year old son is diagnosed with autism.  When he was 3 1/2 years old I made the choice to put him on a Gluten free, Soy free, and Dairy free diet.  As an organic dairy farmer, it was a difficult choice to remove butter from my son’s diet. But if it was going to help treat his autism I was willing to try anything.  I was shocked at the improvement in his autism.  We saw immediate results and we were convinced this was the right choice for our family. 

The one problem I had was the no butter part of his diet.  I stood in the imitation butter part of the dairy section and was not impressed with the selections.  I chose one of the brands I had heard advertised quite a bit and figured it would well received by my 4 year old.  Needless to say he was not at all tricked by this “fake” butter.  It was not until I attended a seminar about Butter and its hidden benefits that I was able to reintroduce butter to my son’s diet.  At this seminar I learned the CLA component of butter has amazing benefits for the brain.  Someone with autism definitely needs this.  When I asked if a “Casein” free diet could consume butter I was so happy to hear yes.  Apparently there almost no traceable amounts of casein in butter.  We immediately switched him back to butter.

Now I am not going to say I have noticed any benefit from switching him to butter.  But, the days of imitation butter products are over for this dairy farmer’s wife.  As for me and my family (including my autistic son) we will always enjoy 100% real butter.

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The Year of the Family Farm

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The headline of the article was “The UN has declared 2014 the year of the Family Farm”.  Kind of exciting to see this kind of publicity or recognition for a farmer.  Our family farm is a 3rd or 4th generation dairy (depends on who is answering the question).  My husband and I operate an organic dairy in partnership with my in-laws.  They started the dairy over 40 years ago in Enumclaw, Washington.  Many things have changed over the years but one thing is constant.  A family farm represents a piece of history.  Fewer and fewer families are farming, but the ones that remain have struggled through some pretty difficult circumstances. (Just ask your local politician why there has not been a renewal of the Farm Bill?)

As we begin 2014, remember to say thank you to those friends you know that run a family farm.  It is not the easiest way to make a living or raise a family.  Holidays, birthdays, and vacations always seem to take a “backseat” to the farm.  In the end it is the farm that keeps many family members connected.  In this era of cell phones, youtube, and instragram it is a nice break to feed a new born calf or chase some heifers that busted through your neighbor’s fence.  Brings you back to what is important – hard work and perseverance.  Qualities we all need to cherish in this crazy overstimulated world we have created.  Image

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