I am SO excited to be your pen pal and more importantly your connection to farming and agriculture. I look forward to meeting you in a few short weeks at AgXperience. You will meet me at the beef station. My husband, son and I live on a farm in Coal Valley, IL. I am a 4th generation farmer; this means that I am a farmer, my dad is a farmer, my grandfather was a farmer and my great-grandfather was a farmer. My husband, Todd, also comes from a long line of farmers. Like 95% of all farms in the United States, our farm is family owned. However, our farm isn’t big enough to provide income for multiple generations so Todd and I also have jobs outside of the farm. On our farm we grow corn (but not the kind you buy at the farmers market or get in a can), soybeans, oats, alfalfa and we raise beef cattle. Even though our farm is diverse, I will only be talking to you about our cows. Some other great farmers and agvocates will be telling you more about other crops and animals.
Farming today isn’t like it used to be. If you saw a farmer today, you probably wouldn’t even know it! We dress a lot like you and have iPhones and iPads. Education is also very important to farmers. I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Agricultural Studies and Agronomy. Math, science and technology are three main things I use every day. My iPad keeps maps and records of the crops we grow and the history of our cows. Of course I also use it for online shopping, playing games and taking pictures.
August and September are usually slow months when it comes to raising cattle. Right now the calves (babies) and cows (moms) are out on pasture, large areas of grass. Our daily activities are making sure they all have plenty of water, that there is plenty of grass to eat, making sure all animals are accounted for and making sure the flies aren’t bothering them too much. On our farm, calves are born beginning in April. Like a human, cows are pregnant for 9 months. We have 60 cows on our farm (and 60 calves) as well as 3 bulls.
The calves will spend their first 9 months with their moms eating grass, running, playing and just being bovine (scientific word cows). Then we let the cows have 3 month vacation before having another baby. The calves then spend the next 9-11 months in a group together eating hay, corn and corn silage again just enjoying being cows. They are then fully grown and ready to be harvested for lots of great things we enjoy. If you want to know more you’ll have to show up ready to listen at the 2014 AgXperience Beef & Dairy station.
I look forward to seeing you soon!
One final fun fact since we are getting closer to Halloween. Agriculture is very important to not only the United States but also Illinois. Illinois is the #2 producing state of corn and soybeans but it is the #1 pumpkin producing state!!
Check out The Beef Lifecycle: From Farm to Fork