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Month: September 2018

Building this farm, growing my dream – part 1

Previous post // The Biggest Risk Applying for assistance through the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been the heartbeat behind our dairy dreams. In 2007 we began the paperwork to start our dairy business and a few times over the years it has continued as we have relocated, made improvements, purchased more cattle and built new structures. Without the FSA our farm wouldn’t be here, during these low and unfortunate milk prices the FSA has allowed us to continue business. FSA loans are… Well, the loans from the FSA are… The Farm Service Agency and their beginning farmers loans can…

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Farm details

A few facts about our small dairy farm 💗   What is the name of your farm?  Wren Dairy Farm.   Where is your farm located?  North-eastern part of lower Michigan.   When was your farm established? In October of 2008, during a difficult time for many dairies but starting out we didn’t really understand the impact of low milk prices.   What generation is your farm?  First generation.  Neither my husband nor I grew up on any type of farm, although he worked on a dairy farm for 6 years prior to our farm.   Do you sell your milk directly to the public? …

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Welcome to the herd

There is always something new I am learning about farming, sometimes from my husband and sometimes from other dairy farms and research. Caring for a calf was definitely not something I grew up with; it’s a very important part of my life now and one of my main jobs on the farm, the growth of our herd depends on it and I’m always clicking on links to educate myself. A lot of thought and care goes into how we care for the animals on our farm, it’s like being the mom to a whole group of four month olds –…

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Girl’s didn’t shovel

I wanted to help my grandpa shovel dirt, I was around 8 years old and he wouldn’t let me. He said girls didn’t shovel. I remember accepting that and storing it away as jobs meant for men. When I was 18 I worked for my uncle who owned a convenience store, it was snowing and he told me to shovel the sidewalk. I didn’t know exactly how and I didn’t think it was my responsibility. I felt very small asking him to show me how to do it, but he did and he didn’t tease me about it. My children…

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Homemade cinnamon rolls

We’ve been riding the struggle bus each morning; balancing chores and getting ready for school during the week has taken some serious effort. This weekend I went back to my recipe book to organize the weekly menu and pulled out my ratty, frayed, and butter smudged recipe of our homemade cinnamon rolls. This recipe has directions aimed at using a bread machine, but the ingredients all work well with mixing and kneading by hand. Make this batch the day before and finish it off with an irresistible cream cheese frosting and you’ve got 16 yummy cinnamon rolls for an easy,…

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The biggest risk

Complete the sentence, I’m really good at _________________. It’s suppose to be a moment to compliment yourself, but the only words I could come up with were raw and honest and sad. Because hard as it is to acknowledge, it has been the truth. I am a VERY good cheerleader for other people’s dreams, and yet I allow myself to give up. When milk prices headed south and my husband looked for an outlet for his stress as a volunteer firefighter, I said “ok”. And when the farm was taking away from our savings account and my husband said he…

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49 Reasons to love the farm life

Fourty-nine. Really? Right, well then — you must be asking yourself two questions: 1) why 49 and not 50? 2) will there be a quiz at the end? The answer to the first question is because cow #49 on my farm is my favorite so it seemed fitting. To answer the next question, you’ll need to read through the post Sunrises so beautiful they literally stop you Calf cuddles A full kitchen table with laughter and planning Working with family, the bond becomes quite unique You fall asleep easily after a long days work We never say no to ice…

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When cows don’t get pregnant

As a dairy farm the success of our business depends on selling milk. Cows need to produce milk to secure a place in our barn. This is that line that as a farmer I hoover over; to one side I make business decisions because my livelihood depends on it, to the other side I let my heart fall in love with each of my cows and treat them as such. It can be a very real struggle to not consider these cows my pets. When all is good — a cow will calve, she will enter her natural heat cycle,…

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Mental Health: my story

How would you feel if every day you went to work you were losing instead of gaining? How would it feel to know that if you walked away from your career you might have absolutely nothing to show for years of dedication? For many american farmers these are questions they have been dealing with and processing, month after month after month.  It is heart breaking that the very people who provide food for us are filing for assistance, because they cannot afford their own groceries. It has been years of low income for agriculture; watching friends and acquaintances hang up…

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