A Feed Yard Update…

It’s been six months since we shipped the last of our cattle to the packing plant and I shut down the feed yard. I remember someone saying to me last winter, “Anne, it’s going to be so depressing to look at an empty feed yard and think about what it used to be.”

I am a person that always looks forward — reaching toward what will be rather than looking back on what used to be. As a result of that, as soon as the cattle left the feed yard we began to build a plan for what Will Feed would be in the future. That meant tearing out the home pens to convert the facility into a combination crop farm and cattle receiving area to serve as our grass pasture headquarters.

Above: An aerial view of the feed yard. Below: the same land a few days before Matt planted the cover crop…

I am pleased to report that we have been very successful in this effort. My foreman and my cowboy worked all winter to make this conversion possible.

  • Feed bunks and water tanks were sold to neighbors to be used for other local cattle operations.
  • All of the left over concrete was recycled to be used to help maintain local irrigation canals.
  • Fences were reconstructed to fit the needs of our grass cattle operation.
  • Manure was hauled out by my favorite farmer to be used as fertilizer to maintain soil health on his crop fields.

On the 1st of July, my favorite farmer planted a cover crop where the home pens of the feed yard used to be. My original plan was to have this completed by the first of June, but we were slowed down by the weather and the final dirt work on the project. Matt has a solid plan for building soil health over the next several years and we are excited about the farm transition.

Photo credits to Katie Arndt Photography

I have learned many lessons in the past two decades living on a farm; but I think perhaps the most important one is the critical importance of having resilience. Change can be difficult, but packing your FAITH (fortitude, attitude, integrity, trust, and hope) allows for a successful journey.

I saw a t-shirt last weekend that read “Don’t limit your challenges, challenge your limits.”Β I think that this provides good food for thought as we make our way into a new week πŸ™‚

 

4 Comments

Filed under Chronicles of a Retiring Feed Yard Boss Lady, Farming, General

4 responses to “A Feed Yard Update…

  1. Sue Fan Ferguson

    A good blog, Anne, and I love the photo of your precious family!

  2. Roger Hunt

    Thanks for the update on the feedyard conversion, Anne. Would be interested in knowing more details of Matt’s seed mixture and schedule. How was germination? Are you able to put water on it? Your posts are always both interesting and motivational. 😊

    • Unfortunately, I have not yet received my water rights back from the NRD. Until I get them, I cannot irrigate where we planted the cover crop. I am going through all of the steps to be released from my NPDES permit (Environmental Permit from the EPA). We are making good progress there, but I will not get my water rights until it is all completed. I hope to be able to irrigate next year’s crop. We did just receive a half inch rain last week so I am hoping that will help germination — up until now, we have only had a few plants come up. This is “uncharted territory” for us, but we are determined to be respectful toward the land throughout the process.

      I hope that all is well in Iowa — stay cool πŸ™‚
      Anne

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