Minnesota Farmer


Waiting

I’ve been waiting for the township plow to go by and open my road.  It’s not as if I am stuck at home.  I was out moving snow before the sun came up.  I had removed snow for three farm sites and a hog barn site before 9:30.  We’re waiting for a feed delivery, and there are pigs to load for market.  The job had to be done early.

The thing is that the state plows may be out, but township plows that have to remove snow from all of those rural gravel roads are having a tougher time of it every time it snow, and they have limited resources.  images-2Every time you push snow off a road with that wing you just make a higher snow fence for the wind to drift snow into.  Soon the road looks like this.images

I do help them out when I can.  I always push the snow back in the ditch much further than they do to keep my corner open.  I had to open the road to get out to the hog barn this morning.  If you live on a farm in snow country and you have livestock you need to be able to move lots of snow.  Keeping the animals from freezing can be an all night job.

Check out what has been happening on the Larson Hereford farm in the midst of the blizzard.

1506638_611640032239843_587503158_n“Please forgive my need to vent. Feel free to let Chipotle know your thoughts on their latest attack on modern agriculture.

To the marketing team and Steve Ells,
My name is Fred Larson. I represent the fourth generation of my family to continue to raise livestock (beef cattle) on our farm. It’s 3:40 am. Let me recap my last twelve hours. After preparing all day long for an oncoming winter storm/blizzard, at 5:00 pm my 75 year old father, 13 yr. old neighbor boy and I assisted a cow having difficulty giving birth. The process took an hour and resulted in a thriving calf and a happy mother cow. We then went on to finish our evening chores, making sure all our animals were fed and cared for and weathering the early part of the storm. At 9:00 pm, I took our four wheel drive tractor out (the roads were impassable by pickup truck by now) to check on the cows for any signs of calving in the middle of the storm. Luckily, there were none. At 1:30 am, I, once again went out with the tractor, for another check. First I had to shovel the deep snow away from the shed door, just to get it open and get the tractor out. After making the rounds and checking on the well-being of our animals, I rebedded them (spreading straw out for them to lay on) because the previous day’s bedding was now covered by 8” of wet snow. That brings me to 3:20 am, when I returned to the warmth of our house.
My family and I do this because we love it. It’s our pride & joy, our way of living and yes, our source of income. At one point, while driving the tractor from one pasture to the next, in the darkness, deep snow and driving winds, I wondered how some “twenty-something year old” with a degree in marketing has the temerity to question my integrity. Who are you to call into question my judgement on the use of scientifically tested antibiotics and my right to use the latest in proven technology to benefit my animals well-being and grow the crops that feed them. “Farmed and Dangerous” may be a funny, little throw away line to you, but to me and others who practice modern agriculture and animal husbandry, it is extremely offensive. All this artificial controversy generated by your company is being used to scare people into buying a few more burritos from your corporation. I wouldn’t trade my job for yours for a million dollars, even on a night like this! How’s that for integrity?”

This is what farmers do.

Michael

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