Category Archives: How-To

When the Premier Comes to Visit

Posted on Tuesday, August 20, 2013 by Steph N

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_2066.JPGOn August 6 the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) put on an Eastern Ontario farm tour for Premier Kathleen Wynne, who on that day was acting in her second role as Ontario Agriculture Minister. This tour acted as a way not only for farmers to tell the Government of Ontario what is happening in agriculture, but also allowed many farmers in the region to showcase their amazing farms and hard-working families. Over the course of the day Premier Wynne visited beef, dairy, swine, vegetable and crop farms, and the Canadian Co-operative Wool Growers before finishing the tour at my family’s egg and crop farm.

During her stop at my farm, my family was able to give a tour of our egg room where we gather our eggs, and even had Premier Wynne gathering a few on her own. This means that the dozen eggs you just bought last week may have been gathered by the Premier! Even though we had a few important people in our barn and got to showcase our facility, we still strictly followed bio-security practices as all farmers must to ensure the safety and the health of our animals. This meant that the press, the staff from the Premiers office, and the Premier had to put on plastic boots to avoid any contamination or bacteria coming into our barn from their shoes. It made for a great opportunity for learning, but not great for talking – plastic boots make lots of noise when walking!

We also had the opportunity to show the tour a few of the crops we grow including soybeans, an important crop for farmers in Ontario. I even taught the Premier how to check if the nodules on the roots (formed by a nitrogen fixing bacteria that can provide nitrogen to the plant) were still healthy by breaking them open to see the colour was a fleshy pink like it should be. As an agronomist as well as an egg farmer, it was great being able to teach people about both. 

The last part of the tour on our farm was an exciting opportunity for a few young farmers and myself to meet with the Premier. We were able to share the successes and struggles that young farmers experience in today’s changing agriculture industry. We are very optimistic about where agriculture is going and where it will take us, but are also cautious because of the challenges that lie ahead of us – including financials, societal perceptions, and labour availability. We want to ensure that consumers know that we have their and our animal’s best interests in mind and hope to have the chance to educate them more about what we do. It is a daunting but exciting job to farm and while there are many differences between farmers from beef to dairy to eggs to strawberries, the sentiment between us is the same – we all farm because we love it.

 

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Showing the Premier/Ag Minister a soybean plant

Show Time Part 2: Bath Time & Hair Cuts!

Posted on Monday, August 19, 2013 by Sarah

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Now that the sheep are halter trained and used to people working around them, we take some time to make them pretty! 

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Step one: Hair cuts.

We want our sheep to look their best since we’re traveling across the country to show them off. We start off with a haircut. To do this we use special shears that can cut through their wool. The wool is denser than human hair and also contains a special oil called “Lanolin”, so the shears are more heavy duty. Lanolin is actually used in almost all lotions and beauty products!

We like our sheep to have only a little bit of wool on them when they go to the fair. This makes it easier to wash and helps to keep them cleaner between when we wash them and when they are shown.

Step two: Bath time.

Now that all their wool is gone, its easy to wash them. We use a big tank that is filled with water and that allows us to dunk their bodies in and out of the water so we can soap them up.  This is usually done the week before the show so it doesn’t give them much time to get dirty. Once they’re washed, we do a few final touchups with hand shears and make sure that they are all clean with there still is a little bit of wool left. Different breeds can have more wool on their faces and legs than others do.

Some of the sheep even get blowouts!

Step 3: Keep them clean!

With all the work that has gone into making these guys pretty for the show, we want them to stay that way. We do that by putting blankets & hoods

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 on them. It definitely makes them look a little funny, but it keeps them much cleaner during the trip and before the show.

How Can a Farmer Keep Your Milk Cold?

Posted on Monday, August 19, 2013 by Andrew

     It is hard to find something that goes better with warm cookies than cold milk. Same with your cereal, a sandwich piled high, or even just as an afternoon thirst quencher. Really, it is hard to find something as good as that glass of cold, fresh milk. But have you ever thought about how it comes to be so cold and stay so fresh?

 

 

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     It starts at the cow – where it certainly doesn’t come cold. Our milking machines checks the temperature of the milk ion an ongoing basis as it gently milks the cow. Not only does it ensure quality milk, but it can be an early sign of an unhealthy cow when the milk is too hot or too cold. We look for 37.5-39.5 degrees Celsius. Talk about fresh! (Also recorded is how much milk the cow has given and how long it has taken. It even draws a graph to compare how many kilograms are given per minute)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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     Next step is a cooler that immediately cuts the temperature of the milk in half.  It has thin plates (which is why it is called a plate cooler or heat exchanger) where the milk runs through. On the other side of each plate runs cold water, straight from our ground well. That cold water is warmed from the milk and sent to the water troughs for the cows to drink. The warm milk is cooled and sent to the bulk tank for storage and further cooling. This plate cooler saves a lot of electricity – since the electric cooler is only bringing the milk down from about 18C instead of 39C.  (The MilkGuard unit shows the temperature of the milk as the bulk tank begins to fill up)

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     The bulk tank is where the milk is stored until it is ready for to be picked up (which happens every other day). Sensors in the tank keep the milk between 2C and 4C. There is also a large paddle that spins a few minutes every hour to keep the milk from separating. 

 

 

 

 

 

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     When the milk truck comes for pick-up, the temperature is recorded down to a tenth of a degree. Nice and cold every time!

 

 

 

 

 

     So now when you pull that milk out of the fridge, you know it has been cold all-along!

‘Tis the Season…and So Harvest Begins!

Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 by Scott

Besides first and second cut of hay, our first harvest of the year comes with wheat. This is the first of the grain crops to mature and warrant harvesting! We harvest, haul, dry (if necessary), and store/sell all of our wheat that we harvest, plus for customers of ours who pay to have any parts of those done for their fields because they don’t have the equipment needed. Once the conditions are right, and we’re busy monitoring our fields, getting antsy to harvest…the farmers start calling. So, as a rule our customers come first. They let us know when they want us to harvest based on the development of their crop, and the weather forecast. At the same time, we have to use all of the time between customers to do our own if the time is right. However…this usually doesn’t happen until near the end. So two weeks ago we started harvesting for a customer, so naturally I called my dad to get the plan of attack, and headed to the field after work. Here my uncle Graham was running the combine, and my job was to “catch loads” from it, and transfer them into our Freightliner truck as well as a transport truck that the customer owned. The purpose of this is to keep the combine moving as much as possible, enabling him to constantly harvest without stopping to dump off grain when the holding tank is full. This can be tricky at times, catching all of the grain that comes out of the auger while the combine is moving side to side, changing speeds based on how wet/dry the field is and how thick the wheat is in that spot. To illustrate this, I took a video. My apologies it isn’t the smoothest, but if I had held it the whole time, I would have had to sacrifice some steering concentration…and for this job, you need all you can get! Check out the video!

After the combine is empty and refilling, the transferring takes place. I also took a quick video of this part!

The last video I took of this is of my uncle turning around at the end of one of his passes through the field. It still impresses me every time I see how quickly the combine can turn around! What lets it accomplish this is the design of it: the tiny back set of wheels are the ones that turn!

So how did the wheat do this year? Well, depending on location, this may be a sore subject. Unique weather facilitated a growth of certain diseases which are not usually seen to this degree. The main disease was “Fusarium”. The moisture and temperature levels were perfect to promote fusarium growth around the time that much of the wheat in Southwestern Ontario was flowering. Areas like Oxford County were included, and by far and large if wheat in this area was flowering in this period, and they did not put a fungicide on the crop, their wheat went from a potential of grade 2, all the way down to feed grade, or possibly wasn’t even taken based on the fusarium levels. Looking at areas such as Kinkardine though, where the moisture levels are not nearly that of around here, they had little to no problem with fusarium. Normally farmers have a very high concern with the moisture level when they harvest, because they’ll get docked pay to dry it from a higher moisture content to that of what elevators they sell it to want to store it at. However, this year it seems that moisture was at the back of farmers minds, mostly concerned with what grade it received in regards to fusarium. In our case, we got off pretty lucky this year, but a lot of customers we harvested for had a range of grades and moisture content. We ran what we could of our own through our dryer in order to bring the moisture down before we sold it, but not everyone cares to grow that route!

Below is a disease profile from a third year plant pathology class I completed last year.

 

 

Fusarium Head Blight

 

Host: Triticum aestivum, also known as wheat, is part of the Poaceae family.  In Canada, wheat is a very widely grown crop, and can be used and are used for human consumption (durum = pasta, non-durum = milling), as well as animal feed (USDA, 2004). Globally, Canada is a major exporter of wheat (USDA, 2004).

 

Disease: Fusarium head blight overwinters in perithecia in crop residue, as well as on seeds themselves. This means that wheat can be infected as soon as it germinates, or infected later on by ascospores or conidia, from the disease present in the residue, at flowering (Schmale, 2003). The symptoms of fusarium head blight include a spreading bleaching effect on the spikelets (Schmale, 2003). Once this occurs, in moist environments, the head turns slightly pink/red, and later black due to the perithecia being formed (Schmale, 2003). The seeds can be unmarketable, being dry and bleached, and referred to as tombstones.

 

Pathogen: Fusarium graminearum is the fungal pathogen that causes fusarium head blight. This disease overwinters in the crop debris, or on the seed.

 

Method of Diagnosis: An unconfirmed diagnosis was reached by researching common wheat diseases in Canada from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (2005).  It was confirmed that this exists in Ontario by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (2005). Confirmed diagnosis was not gained, however characteristics unique to this disease were visually present, these being that seeds possessed the tombstone figure, being shrivelled, chalky.

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Figure 1 Demonstrates a significantly infected specimen.

 

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Figure 2: Left: Infected seeds, “tombstones”
                Right: Infected vs healthy colouring (Schmale, 2003).

Literature Cited:
Canada. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Crop Profile for Wheat in Canada. Apr. 2005. Web. 30 Nov. 2011. <http://dsp-psd.pwgsc.gc.ca/collection_2009/agr/A118-10-16-2005E.pdf>.


Canada. Government of Manitoba. Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives. Province of Manitoba – Province Du Manitoba. Web. 30 Nov. 2011. <http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/crops/diseases/fac12s00.html>.

Schmale, D. G., and G. C. Bergstrom. “Fusarium Head Blight.” The Plant Health Instructor 10.1094 (2003). Welcome to APSnet. 2003. Web. 30 Nov. 2011. <http://www.apsnet.org/edcenter/intropp/lessons/fungi/ascomycetes/Pages/Fusarium.aspx>.

United States of America. USDA. Foreign Agricultural Service. USDA. 4 Oct. 2004. Web. 30 Nov. 2011. <http://www.fas.usda.gov/remote/canada/can_wha.htm>.

Double the Yolk, Double the Fun!

Posted on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 by Steph N

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Have you ever cracked open an egg and found not one, but two yolks? Don’t worry, the chicken that laid it is a-okay, she’s likely just fairly young. 

At 25 weeks of age, my flock is still fairly new. When we get our hens at 19 weeks of age, they are just starting to lay, and although our chickens are currently laying mostly small and medium sized eggs, many of the large and extra- large eggs that are laid are double-yolks. The reason this happens is because as a chicken is starting to lay, she still has irregularities in her reproductive system just like any other animal as they move into full maturity. So, a double-yolk egg simply occurs when two yolks rather than one are released in her cycle and then the membrane and shell form around both, giving you an egg with two yolks.

On my farm, we grade and sell some of our eggs to neighbours, and nearby stores and restaurants (the rest go to a large grading station about an hour away), and our customers LOVE double yolks. Not only does it provide more yolky flavour for breakfast and can make for fluffier pancakes, but it’s also a pretty cool way to impress and amaze breakfast guests. In my family we also love double yolks. My mom’s famous cookie recipe requires one double yolk egg and one large egg (please don’t tell her I told!) which makes the cookies a bit more moist and tasty. But unfortunately for my mom’s cookies, as our chickens get a little older and wiser, the amount of double-yolk eggs will begin to decrease as the hen’s reproductive system becomes more regular, but some still will be laid. As a hen ages, her egg size naturally increases as well, meaning that the doubles that are laid later on in her life are typically bigger. These eggs are usually called Jumbo size, which is any egg that is greater than 70 g (for more information on how eggs are sized, check out the DinnerStartsHere YouTube Channel). 

So next time you are in the grocery store and see Jumbo eggs, or crack open an egg and find two yolks, you now know how it got there. And you perhaps now also have my family’s secret to moist baking – sorry mom!

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Show Time! Part 1: Prep

Posted on Tuesday, June 18, 2013 by Sarah

If you’ve ever talked to anyone in 4-H, it’s very likely they’ve mentioned one of their favourite times of year: Show Season! For farms kids like me, it’s like Christmas spread over a few months. It is those few months when you and your ‘cream of the crop’ animals get to travel around the countryside competing for those beautiful red ribbons.

Luckily for me – my show season is starting a bit earlier than usual this year, and is a bit more western than we’re used to. It begins June 27th, in Barriere, British Columbia, the home of the 2013 All Canada Sheep Classic (from here on out, I will refer to it as “The Classic”). I plan on chronicling the processes that are involved with getting the sheep (and our family) ready to go, so hopefully it feels like you’re coming too!

Part 1: Halter Breaking

So the first thing you have to know is, our sheep, while not completely wild, are not usually tamed. They know when we come to the barn that we are going feed them but that process doesn’t involve us catching them, touching them, and even in some cases getting into the pens with them. So getting them used to human contact is a fairly important and time-consuming job.

No one likes to be scared, so we try to get the sheep as accustomes to human contact as we can while they are comfortable in their own pens. One of the ways we do this is called “halter breaking”, which is essentially the same thing as getting a dog used to walking on a leash. If a sheep is halter-broke it is a lot easier to manage when moving and once we get them to the fair.

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Brien Sheep will be exhibiting 10 sheep at The Classic. That’s 10 sheep that need to be worked with and trained and requires a lot of hours on my part to do it. To begin, we simply put the halter on and tie them up. This way they get used to the feeling of the rope on their face. Once they are used to that, then we begin walking them around, which doesn’t often start well. But always improves. Throughout all of the training we are continuously touching their backs, feet, legs, stomach, standing up and crouching beside them to get them used to what will be happening in the show ring.

While they usually start off scared and trying to get away, they learn that we aren’t hurting them and they get used to being touched and having people move around them. They get so used to me being around them that I can literally walk circles around them by the end of it without them moving. Those silly sheep.

But that’s halter breaking – keep your eyes open for my next post. WASHING!

Berry Beginnings

Posted on Wednesday, May 22, 2013 by Erin M

How to plant strawberries (No words! Just video! And an awesome song! Okay fine. A few words..but hardly any!) :

How to plant strawberries – the detailed version (No cool music…BUT…with cool words and stuff!) : 

Step One: Figure out your field plans and make sure your soil is healthy. These are done depending on what was planted where in previous years, in addition to soil samples/soil health, crop rotations and various other factors. We typically leave four years in between planting strawberries in the same fields because that’s what our crop rotation and arable land allows..but five years would be even better. We only keep the plants in the ground three years – one of which there is no production of fruit. Field plans should be done YEARS in advance of the planting year to ensure that the soil is healthy, rich and the plants will have the best chance at thriving. Different crops leech or add different nutrients from the soil so it’s important to keep track of what is planted both before and after strawberries to keep the soil healthiest and plan accordingly so that your soil has what it needs to grow what you’re planting in it. 

Step Two: Order your plantsDuring the winter we’ll order thousands of strawberry plants from a couple of different strawberry propagators (people who start plants from runners or cuttings)  in Canada. What we order will depend on how many fields we need to plant, what varieties we’re looking to grow and which berries are best suited for our soil, weather conditions, as well as other factors. 

Step Three: Get the fields ready. This is done as soon as the fields begin to dry up enough for the tractors to move around on them easily, and the guys are able to work up the fields and make sure that the soil is broken down and loose so it can be easily planted. We go over it at least a few different times…making sure that it’s worked up and ready to be planted with young new plants.

Step Four: Pick rocks. Rocks are going to be a huge pain if you try to plant with them in there – we pick rocks at least a few times before we start planting as well as after we plant!

Step Five: Monitor the weather. We can’t plant when it’s still really cold out because the small plants can be damaged easily in cold weather…but you don’t want to wait too long either. You ideally want to plant when the weather gets warm, on days that aren’t too warm so that the plants roots aren’t exposed to the sun too long as well as when there is a minimal risk of frost and cold temperatures at night.

Step Six: PLANT PLANT PLANT! We use a planter to help speed up the planting process because we’re planting thousands and thousands of plants each spring. To use our planter effectively we need seven people working in constant harmony. One to drive the tractor making straight rows, four to sit on the back of the planter placing plants into the feeders as they go ground and are placed into the ground and covered up by dirt and two to follow the planter – one for each row that is being planted to ensure that the plants are properly covered with soil and that no plants were missed or fell out.  For us, this process takes days, up to a week to get all of the plants we want to grow into the ground. On a good day where nothing breaks down, is damaged or we don’t run into other typical planting problems we can plant up to 35 000 plants in a (very long!) day of planting. On average though, we usually plant around 20 000-25 000 plants in a day.

Step Seven: Give ’em a drink! As the plants are fed into the ground they’re given a brief watering from the planter because they’ve been without water for so long, but after we’re done planting for the day we still have to set up irrigation pipes in order to give them a good long drink that they haven’t had in a while so that they can soak their roots into the soil and perk up their leaves to a nice healthy green!

…And that’s how it’s done.

Well. The strawberry *planting* anyway.

Those are just the steps to get them into the ground safe and sound. We’ve still got more than another year of work ahead of us before these plants can and will produce any fruit.

Yep. You read that right. More than twelve whole months and LOTS of more hard work before the first sweet and juicy berries are ready…but that’s another story for another time!

The calm during the Storm

Posted on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 by Erin L

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The past few weeks in eastern Ontario, tractors and all kinds of farm equipment have been in full force along the country roads and in all fields completing the most important task for grain farmers, planting their crops.  I deem it our most important task because if the crop is not planted just right into the best conditions, it will impact the remainder of the growing season.

In our grain operation we spend significant time planning which seed will go in what field – each variety of corn seed has its optimal soil type and environment where it will succeed best, planting rate and fertility level.  What we will use to feed our crop will be dependent on the  soil tests we took the previous fall.  We will review our analysis to see what is deficient and then furthermore what we will need to produce a 200 bushel crop of corn or a 50 bushel crop of soybeans. How we intend to feed our crop – we generally break up our fertilizer applications into several stages in order to better use our fertilizer and feed the crop as it needs the nutrients.  What tools and equipment we will need to complete the job in the quickest and most efficient manner.

This planning and preparation takes several months on our farm.  From finalizing our planting decisions  to the constant ebb and flow of equpiment maintenance and daily inspections it all manages to wrap up in time. 

The next challenge for us will be Mother Nature.  As always, she dictates how quickly we will get into the field.  This year proved to be a slow start.  By the end of April we were able to start cleaning up our fields, picking stones, spreading manure and fertilizer and preparing our seed bed for when the weather would warm up. 

May 1st – now it’s go time! Weather is cooperating and our fields are starting to become ready to work up then plant. Great, right?  Think again. Technology distractions (initially thought to be resolved) slowed down our 24 row planter. Add to that an unfortunate faulty engine in one of our crucial tillage tractors has delayed us and we were thrown off what was a perfect start considering the 15 day forecast shows sun and heat!

 May 3rd – tractor is replaced and 24 row going in full force minus a few more setbacks that come with new equipment.  The following week and a half is somewhat of a blur of long hours, the roaring of tractor mufflers,  the refilling of planters, rolling, spraying  and disking.

May 11th RAIN DAY—Our calm during the storm and chaos of planting season.  We all get a day to reflect on all the accomplishments of the week, clean up the yard, our houses, plan the next moves on how we intend to finish planting and eat a home cooked meal or two!

This week we are working on completing our soybeans and by the week’s end weather permitting 90% of them will be in the ground.  Corn planting will be complete once the remaining of the land has been tiled and this sums up planting season 2013 at Wanna Make It Farm.  

Here are a few pictures from the past few weeks of our planting season.

Brad rolling soybeans

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Pat planting corn

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Al planting the Mycogen corn seeds plot

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Farming Futures

Posted on Wednesday, May 1, 2013 by Erin M

In my previous life, before farming full time, I took a year off of school and every day life to dive into the lifestyles of rich and famous. Okay – so not EXACTLY – but I was the nanny for an affluent Swiss family. There I met a lovely girl who lit up a room when she walked inside and everyone clamoured to be around her. Rebecca smiled the biggest smile, laughed until the wee hours of the morning while dissecting life and was the life of the party with her adorable Australian accent.

 

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Myself & Rebecca – Zurich, Switzerland – Spring 2009

She moved home to Australia and I back to Canada but thanks to the powers of social media and long distance phone cards, we’ve stayed in touch. We sent messages, texts and phone calls when the time differences would allow as we went through various stages of our lives. Friends getting married, travel, boys and the like. I’ll never forget the phone call where she told me that she was pregnant and moving onto a dairy farm though – shocked doesn’t even begin to cover it. She may have grown up on a large beef farm but I knew her as a city girl who loved the latest fashion and going out on the town and being surrounded by people. I’d never really thought about her becoming a farmer…but there she was, eventually marrying her dairy farmer love and a couple of years later welcoming a baby boy to join their first born baby girl.

Our conversations became fewer and further between. She’s raising two young toddlers while working, being a wife and helping out on their dairy farm. I’m helping to run our farm, stores and grow and sell fruits and vegetables – so managing our busy schedules – let alone the time differences becomes rather difficult. Despite the different worlds that we live in – it’s almost laughable how similar our lives have once again become.

I missed a call from her the other morning and I wish more than ever that I’d been able to get it and chat because she later posted an article on facebook and my heart sunk. Their beautiful dairy farm is caught in a crossfire and no one knows what the future holds. Australia’s dairy industry lies in a delicate balance…in large part because people aren’t connected to the farm, their food or making connections between the price they pay for the food they buy and the survival of the farms around them. Due to milk prices of imported milk and large chains selling milk for drastically low prices, it is now costing them huge amount of money to operate, produce and sell milk from their cows instead of being able to make any money farming – let alone pay their bills. 

Like most farmers around the world….I don’t think Rebecca and Jason farm for the money. If they were in it for the money – they’d be doing something else. They do it because they love it. They do it because it’s a part of their soul that makes them happy. They do it because they love being able to put healthy food on someones table, in someones glass. 

Though this story seems a world away, and Canada is lucky to have measures in place to protect our dairy farmers from being taken advantage of or having to sell their product for less than they can produce it for thanks to regulations, quota and the like – it’s still a terrifyingly real prospect for many farmers in all different farming sectors throughout both Canada and the world. With the more and more imports appearing on grocery store shelves we see many cheaper imports from countries around the world where cost of production is much lower than we’re able to do it here. Farmers are being forced to try and compete with these prices – while constantly facing quickly rising production costs ourselves. I will sometimes hear grumbles around farmers markets that someone could get something cheaper on sale at a grocery store or that farmers are making lots of money, and I shake my head because I know the likelihood that the quality they’ll be getting from their local farm is far superior to that of something imported from half a world away. I also have to shake my head because I have an idea of how much work, time and money it took for each and every farmer to get their product from their farm to your table and why they have to charge the prices they charge. 

Farmers don’t charge prices to get rich. They charge the prices they charge to pay their mortgage. To pay for their harvesting and producing costs. Their electricity bills. Their seed bills. Their grocery bills. For their kids to go to the dentist, take piano lessons, or for new soccer cleats. They don’t want an extravagant life filled with the biggest and the best things – they want to be able to have the things they need, and if they’re lucky and work hard – maybe a few well deserved and well earned treats. They’re not trying to charge outrageous prices, nor do they want your grocery bills to be unaffordable – they’re just trying to make an honest to goodness living doing something they love while putting the best possible product on your table.

That’s why farmers farm, and that’s why it’s so important to understand the value behind our food and why we’ve got to pay the prices we pay. In order for the farming industry to survive and better yet thrive – we have to make sure farmers can pay their bills. In order for farmers to pay their bills – we have to pay fair prices for the food they grow and produce – there’s just no other way about it.

We need to learn from stories around the world like my heartbroken friends in Australia who are on the verge of losing their farm because of drastically low milk prices that don’t even begin to cover production cost, let alone all of the other costs associated with farming to let them survive as farmers. We need to better understand our food prices and why they are what they are so that our agricultural industry can survive. So that we, our friends and family and all of the future generations that follow us all have access to healthy, local and nutritious food.. 

So the next time you’re at the super market, or a farmers market or you’re eating a meal – please try to take a moment to remember. Remember the costs of caring for an animal that gave you that creamy milk. The cost to put up and keep a barn in good working condition. The cost of staffed hired to have someone to milk the animal. The cost to feed the cow and pay for their bedding. Not only when they’re producing but the other months of the year as well. Remember that a strawberry farmer’s plants sit in the ground for over a year before they’re able to start covering the costs of planting those plants – which range from the seed/plant costs, planting costs, preparing the fields for planting (which can take years) and that’s before upkeep, harvesting, selling and packaging costs are ever taken into consideration. Then try to remember the families working so hard to put meals on your table and remember why it’s worth it to keep those farms alive and thriving through paying fair prices for the food we eat.

Because they’re worth it – trust me.

 

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Gretta (2.5years) helps her Dad, Jason, working in the fields on the “tak-tar” on their farm in South Australia.  

 

 

Spring-time Means Tractor-time!

Posted on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 by Stephanie K

It’s that time of the year again. Spring! Spring means it is time for farmers to get out on the land and start planting. This also means more equipment on the roadways when we go from field to field. It is important for everyone to be alert and safe around this equipment on the road. Here are some tips for drivers when they come across a tractor on the road.

– If you are following the equipment, keep a safe distance back- if you can’t see the operator, chances are they can’t see you!

– Watch for the lights near the top and sides of the tractor for turn signals- they are just like cars and have blinkers too.

– Most tractors have a top speed around 25-30 mph (~40 km/h) so be sure to slow down when approaching equipment.That is why farmers are required to have ‘slow moving vehicle’ signs on the back of their equipment (the orange triangle).

– It may be intimidating but there is lots of room on the road for both vehicles! Be courteous and move over safely when possible because the equipment operator is doing the same for you. 

– Be patient and think safely 🙂