Tag Archives: harmony

A Capacity to Care…

I remember twenty years ago when a mentor told me, “Anne — your animals don’t care how much you know until they understand how much you care.” While cattle are unable to think like humans, they do have the capacity to learn and I believe that they also have an innate sense which helps them to figure out when a caregiver can be trusted.

The capacity to care is what sets an excellent caregiver apart from everyone else. This person not only provides feed, water and basic daily care to his/her animals; but also brings a sense of security to the animal. While survival provides the innate goal for the animal, the ability to thrive is what creates a higher quality of life that results in an increased ability to convert resources into food.

The secret to thriving finds its root in a caregiver’s capacity to care.

We moved the Lazy YN yearling steers off of grass this week. Having gained 135# and weighing in at 785#, the cattle were ready to move into the feed yard for the final phase of the growth cycle. As we gathered them and then waited in the corral for the trucks to arrive to load, I watched my favorite blonde cowgirl interact with the cattle and I just had to smile. Not only does she get it, calf #963 gets it too. How else can you explain this video demonstrating the bovine boogie?

While I am certainly not proclaiming that everyone needs to teach their cattle to dance, I do think that Megan does a nice job demonstrating that bovine curiosity and the capacity to learn finds its root in the ability of the leader to create trust through a high level of understanding and care.

The main video for Feed Yard Foodie this week appears on the Innovative Livestock Services, Inc. facebook page and twitter feed; so you all will have to head on over there to check it out as it gives a comprehensive look at the Lazy YN cattle — where they came from, how we cared for them on our farm, and where they head to next 🙂

In the meantime, take a few minutes this week to think about how you can increase your capacity to care. Whether it is in your relationships with animals or with humans, the more you care — the better the quality of life.

 

 

 

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Filed under General, Video Fun on the Farm

Blending Dreams With Reality Leads To Harmony…

For every little girl that dreams of a life in rural America being a cowgirl, there are many others whose dreams take them to beaches, cities, and a diversity of other places.   What each little girl holds close to her heart is unique and personal—changing over time to meet her maturing perspective.

I now have three girls with big dreams of their own!

When I had grandiose visions of being a cowgirl as a child, I thought of tall grass and beautiful wild flowers with cattle munching as they moved from one mountain meadow to another.   The scene was peaceful and picturesque with a rider on horseback guiding and caring for the cattle.

She’s found the grass and the wild flowers, now she heads off in search of the cattle!

My childhood dreams came back to me last week as Megan and I moved our grazing cattle.  The grass was a lush vibrant green, the cattle moved peacefully from one pasture to another, and I had the company of my daughter as we experienced the beauty together.

Found them!

The cattle ranching component of our farm is the only one that resembles my childhood dreams, however, there are many other parts to our farm that help to make it more viable and sustainable.  For us, a diverse farm is what happens when dreams are blended with reality. 

Our land and our cattle blend together in harmony to make our farm sustainable…

This week marks our 15thanniversary on the farm.  As I look back, I can see how our dreams and ideas have blended with reality to create innovation and harmony.   Our farm evolves and changes daily as Matt and I become better and more experienced caregivers for our land and our cattle.  I am confident that 15 years from now, our farm will be even better than it is today.

What are the biggest changes that we have made on our farm over the past 15 years?

Our cattle…

  1. The purchasing and selling of our cattle has become vertically collaborative as I realize my dream of tracing cattle from birth to harvest in order to improve the health and care of our animals and the quality and safety of the beef that they produce.
  2. With each day that passes, I place an ever increasing importance on animal psychology and holistic care that has a basis in Beef Quality Assurance and low stress cattle handling.
  3. The ethanol industry brings the feed product of wet distillers grains to our cattle farm which has improved the nutritional care that I offer to my animals.  Wet distillers grains is what is left after the ethanol has been extracted from the corn kernel, and it makes a fabulously rumen friendly feed for my cattle.  We blend the wet distillers grains with alfalfa and corn stalks / wheat stubble to create a blended feed of grains and forages.

    Our crops and alfalfa dehydration plant…

  1. The capitol purchase of a saw dust burner allows the alfalfa dehydration plant to be fueled by recycled materials instead of natural gas.  This reduces the environmental footprint of Matt’s alfalfa business.
  2. The capitol purchase of a Claas Jaguer chopper (pictured above) allows Matt to harvest more alfalfa using fewer pieces of equipment, fewer man-hours, and fewer amounts of diesel fuel—this makes his crop farm more efficient.
  3.  The production of a blend of traditional crops and organically certified crops gives our farm diversity in sales and products which helps to keep our farm economically viable despite the current volatile markets.

I am very proud of what Matt and I have built over the last 15 years.  Our hard work and innovative ideas have allowed the farm to prosper.   We have also been blessed to add three new dreamers to the family with the birth of our girls–it’s been a busy 15 years–I wonder what the next 15 will look like?

 

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Filed under CAFO, Farming, General