For the first time since 1917, it snowed in Bates County…in May! The snow came down last Thursday, May 6th, into Friday morning. It is said that the last significant snow in the Kansas City area was in 1907. That is a long time ago! This is not exactly good news for farmers in the area. It damaged wheat in certain areas. I was in Springfield when it snowed, and when I came home I had no idea why some of the wheat was laying like it was. In Springfield it only snowed enough to be annoying and cover vehicles so you have to scrape it off. There must have been more at home. Weather this year has been a big topic. One day it is cold. The next it rains. Then the day after it’s hot and you put shorts on. The next morning it’s snowing and you’re grabbing your winter coat. Got to love Missouri! The cattle are okay, but there has been so much moisture and not enough sun that the grass is mostly just water, and it is also slow to grow because of the cold weather. So, they could use some sunshine. Crops are also late getting in. There hasn’t been a long enough break between rains to get any in. It is ideal to get corn planted April through May, and to plant beans middle May through June. We are yet to start either, and the farmers are getting a little antsy. While waiting for planting time back home, cattle are being worked, thistles are getting sprayed, and machinery is being worked on to be ready to go to the field. There have also been some mushrooms being found. My dad and his friend Paul found about 541 mushrooms! This was right after my dad and sister found 60 just days before. All this wet weather has made for a good mushroom year!
Last Wednesday we had a guest speaker in our agricultural communications class. His name is Chuck Zimmerman, and he and his wife are partners in business. They are the founders of agwired.com. They both graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in Broadcasting. They are very popular agricultural journalists who have won many awards throughout the Southeast and the Midwest for agricultural radio networks. Their career brought them to Missouri, where they started a blog to tell about agriculture. This turned into agwired.com, and today it is much more than a blog. AgWired is owned and published by ZimmComm New Media, LLC. ZimmComm blogs, podcasts, and manages RSS feeds for companies and organizations within the agriculture and renewable energy industries. This helps agriculture businesses promote their selves online. Every time you go to agwired.com there is something new to read or watch. They do a lot of on-location event blogging. They go to all the major agriculture events around the country and post things as they are happening. They use Facebook, Twitter, and Flikr. AgWired is also used as an online outlet where people can get copies of photos or interviews to post on their own website or use. All in all, they offer something that you can’t really get anywhere else right now. Throughout Chuck’s career, agriculture communications and journalism has definitely changed. In the past 9 years, social media has become a huge deal in our society, and as each type of media became popular, they had to educate themselves and learn how to utilize it to their business’s advantage. He embraced all the changes as they came and used it to create new agriculture business. Things such as Flikr, Facebook, and Twitter were all things that came about that he took benefit of to spread the word of agriculture even more. Looking into the future, I do see the role of agriculture communications and journalism changing even more. It seems like they come up with new ideas all the time, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.
This weekend we had beautiful weather in Bates County, so we took advantage of it. We got a couple groups of cows and calves worked. As I talk to people, I realize that not everyone knows what the ends and outs of working cattle consist of, so I thought I’d talk about it. To start out, we gather all the cows and their babies from the pastures. We call them in with the truck that they are used to seeing when they get fed and checked every day. My dad also rides his dirt bike to help direct them to where we want them to go. Once we get them in the lot, we sort the cows from the calves and they are put in separate pins. Then we begin running the cows through the chute. We give them vaccinations to keep them from getting sick or any kind of disease and poor them for worms, lice, and ticks. We also make sure they each have a tag in their ear. The other day someone asked what the point of putting the tags in the cattle’s ear is? The answer to this is identification. Without this tag that says the cow’s number we wouldn’t be able to tell them apart. We need to know who needs what, who has had a baby, and so on. Also, if they get out of the fence, there is no question that it is our cow because they have a tag that says M&W Farms. After we are done with the cows, we start running the babies through the ally. We give them their vaccinations, and they also get their first ear tag. The bulls have to be cut so they are steers. After all of them are done, we let the babies back with their moms and move them to a new pasture. We switch them to a new pasture because there is greener grass, and we won’t have to feed as much hay. This is where they will stay for the summer.
The winter months on the farm brings cold weather, and long days of choring to keep all of the cows and calves fed. It is also a farmer’s “down time” though. This consists of evenings at home eating supper around the table, or maybe at a school activity. There is much more time during the winter season for a farmer. It is a much more flexible schedule. Then here comes spring. Things take a fast turnaround. The farm life starts to get more hectic. This consists of things from rushing to finish up getting equipment ready, to getting fertilizer and anhydrous in the fields, to the start of planting season. It will make for longer days and shorter nights for a farmer. Everyone will be tired, but it is the good kind of tired. It’s the “work got done today” kind of tired.
So far, here in Bates County it has been raining quite a bit. This puts a stop to getting things planted and sprayed. The rain is always a good thing though. It’s great to see everything so green now and days. Especially from the summer we recently experienced. Nobody around here will forget about the summer of 2012. It was a very long, hot, and dry summer. Did I mention that it was incredibly dry? This killed a lot of the crops and grass, and led to a major shortage of hay for this past winter for many farmers. It will be a summer that we talk about for years to come, and we hope that this coming summer won’t be the same. Things are turning around now though. We are blessed for the precipitation we have recently been getting. We just mowed the lawn for the second time already for the year, and as soon as everything dries up from the rain, we will be heading to the field!
I was looking through an old photo album the other day, and an article that my mom cut out and saved fell out of it. I thought it was fun so I thought I’d share it.
If A Woman Were A Combine
by Dody Linin
If a woman were a combine, she’d get more attention than she could stand,
From that wonderful farmer, who in marriage took her hand.
But the affair begins, before the ink dries on the bill-of-sale,
And it’s an affair, I assure you, that will never grow stale.
Why weeks before harvest, when he won’t speak to anyone else,
He walks round and round that combine, just tightening her belts.
And those days before harvest, when he won’t even look at you,
He drives her out in the bright sunlight, just to see what else he can do.
Now don’t get me wrong, she works hard without complaint,
But during harvest, I’d have to die to get that attention from my mate.
Aw… they just drove by, and what a lovely pair,
I’m bakin’ in this hot wheat truck and he’s got her air-conditioned ait.
Finally harvest is over, and you catch that quick shower,
And where is your husband?
Washin’ and waxin’ that combine for hours.
Then he drives her inside and sweetly said, “I’ll see you,
when the last of my field work this fall is through.
Now that first romantic snow falls, and the field work’s far behind,
He jumps out of bed, runs out the door and hollers, “I’m gonna work on my combine.”
And while bolt by bolt he tears into that machine,
I’m lying here in my pink nightie thinking it should be John Deere green.
Yes, if a woman were a combine, what delight would be at hand,
Can you imagine being as captivating to that big hunk of a man?
I hope everyone had a great Easter! With Easter brings the hope of spring, and every spring brings the hope of rain. Yesterday on Easter morning, we had rain, and some experienced farmers will tell you that “if it rains on Easter Sunday, then it will rain for the next 7 Sundays.” As everyone remembers the drought last year, we will hold on to the hope of 7 Sundays of rain. This is only one of many sayings that I have grown up listening to my family say.
I came up with a list of others that I thought would be fun to tell with the help of my Aunt Gail.
“Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.”
“Frogs have to look through ice three times before spring actually comes.”
“Stick to your winter flannels until they stick to you.”
“If February gives much snow, a fine summer it doth foreshow.”
“Between the hours of ten and two will show what the day will do.”
“Rain before seven, rain all day.”
“In March much snow, to plants and trees much woe.”
“When sheep collect and huddle, tomorrow will be a puddle.”
“Thunder in February, frost in May.”
“When everything is eaten at the table, it indicates continued clear weather.”
“If the bees get out in February, the next day will be windy and rainy.”
“Many stars in winter indicate frost.”
When you poor a cup of coffee in the morning and it bubbles at the top, it will rain. If it doesn’t bubble then it won’t rain.
My Uncle Roberts contribution is “All signs fail in dry weather.” This one holds to be true!
These are a few good sayings to pass on, or to start up a conversation. Right now we are thankful for the moisture that we have been getting through the snow and rain, and happy to see the ponds are full!
This week we had a guest speaker in my Agriculture Public Relation Class. Her name is Judi Graff. She is well known for her blog called http://farmnwife.com/. She talked to our class about why blogs are important, and why you should have one for your business. I am going to list the top 3 things I learned from her visit.
First, I learned the five items that she thinks all websites should have: A tagline, about areas, a contact page, call to action, and a fast load time.
Secondly, I learned a few blog post ideas that you can use. Some of her ideas were to blog about ten frequently asked questions, local issues, best/worst of, or ___ vs. ___. These are all good guidelines you can go by. You want to be sure to blog consistently to keep up your “traffic” so when it comes time to blog, and you don’t have an idea right off the top of your head, these are great starting points.
The third and most important thing I learned is that if you want your business to be found, you need to have a blog. A website alone isn’t going to cut it sometimes. So, without a blog alongside your business’s website, it is just kind of like an online brochure. Having a blog with your website is going to benefit you because you are constantly updating the blog and this is going to cause more interest. Because you are constantly updating, Google will recognize it, and your website and blog will become better searchable to others. Statistics show that companies that blog have 55% more visitors. B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month, and B2C companies that blog generate 88% more leads per month.
Judging by these facts, I think it is easy to say that it is worth having a blog alongside your website. Now, on a side note from the business side of it for all of you wanting to do it for fun, this is great too! One reason for blogging that Judi brought to my attention is if we don’t write things down, then we aren’t always going to remember it like we would like to. A blog can simply be a journal of written history that someday your children and your children’s children can look at. Your story and the major events taking place that year will go down in history, and your family on down the line will really appreciate having that. Whether you are blogging for yourself or for your business, you should keep on blogging!