It's a little hard to say what my favorite part of farming is. It is a lifestyle that is deeply etched into the foundation of my soul. So much so that I can't imagine being happy doing anything else. I am a livestock guy, so when baby animals are born on the farm is one of my favorite things. I also like the smell of fresh tilled ground, and the way fresh cut hay has a specific fragrance that lingers in the air on a summer evening. Oh Yeah, the crisp air and pure quiet of the night as we make our way to the back pasture to bring the dairy cows in for the early morning milking. I guess all of these are some of my favorite things, and I could go on and on.
Somewhere near the top of the list, however, is an interesting favorite: Farm Projects. As a farmer, we are tasked with orchestrating the process of bringing food from its most infantile form to its finished destination (your kitchen table). In order to direct this orchestra, we move animals from place to place, organize a grazing system, ensure that food and water are efficiently delivered, monitor health, protect from predators, and create a comfortable environment. There is a highly efficient system in place for those that raised animals in total confinement. We raise all of our animals on pasture, so most times we need to orchestrate this process using much different means than what is commercially available. This is where my love of farm projects kicks in. My very favorite thing to do is watch what's going on in one of our systems, and use some creative thinking to design a tool or a process that improves the life of the livestock, while at the same time increases the effectiveness of the farmer. You can become more efficient and still maintain integrity in your food production system. It requires respect for the animal, respect for the chosen production method, and a healthy dose of creativity.