Dirt Road Charm

Motherhood, Agriculture, and everything in between

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I don't know a more passionate industry than agriculture

I have had the pleasure to have some great jobs in agriculture since graduating college. After graduating I accepted a position with ABS Global selling bull semen and breeding cows. I met some pretty amazing beef and dairy producers that treated me like I was one of their own children. These people care for their animals like they care for their families. Heck most of them feel these animals ARE part of the family. I recently accepted a new position as the district sales manager for Stewart Seeds. While I still get to visit with my old customers I have gained a new customer base.

While out prospecting (stopping in to visit with people that do not currently purchase my brand of seed) this past week I stumbled upon a very nice and well kept grain facility. I was pretty excited because I actually saw someone around to talk with! This time of year it is hard to find people because when the weather is nice most people are out in the fields harvesting their crops. I walked up to the nice older gentleman that was hooking up his tractor to a mower and introduced myself. It took but only a few seconds for the man to start telling me his life story.

One of the things I quickly learned from being in sales is that farmers and ranchers LOVE telling you their story and why they do what they do. It wasn't long before I saw tears rolling down this man's cheeks. He has been farming for 56 years. Recently he has been having heart trouble and had to make the hard decision to retire. As of December 1 he will no longer be farming and auctioning off everything. If he still had his health he said he would continue until he died. He started farming at 15 years old when his father passed away. He said he left school one day, went to the local equipment dealer and purchased his first one row corn picker. And that is where his passion and career began.

It was hard to not tear up myself listening to his story. This is the most frustrating part when you hear these stories and then read rude and heartless comments on stories saying farmers and ranchers only do things because of the money. I would challenge anyone that has that opinion to talk to a farmer or rancher. You will learn quite quickly it isn't just a job. It's a passion and a way of life. That was shown to me that day as I stood there listening to a 70 yr old man tell his story in tears and be literally heartbroken for having to retire due to health reasons.

I was reassured that day that the agriculture industry has to be one of the most passionate and fulfilling industries out there. I truly believe that.

Monday, October 22, 2012

From a traveling duo to the pitter patter of baby feet

College is probably for some the most memorable years of their life.  I for one am very grateful for my college years for many reasons.  Obviously we are all grateful for the great education we received....right?  Maybe not that so much as the amazing friendships we made along the way.  I have Michigan State University to thank for some of the greatest friendships I could have ever imagined.  This blog post goes out to my dear friend Lisa Mitchell who just had a milestone event happen (you will learn later on in the post).  First off lets relive some great moments in this friendship........

It all started with this little activity one would call Crew (aka rowing). Now if you have never heard of crew let me give you a little insight.....it is the most physically demanding thing I have ever done in my life! 

Here is a pic to help you understand.  They are 8 or 4 person boats normally and you race down a river.  Well this is where it all started.  We met during this little sport and began a friendship that was bound to be inseparable.  Little did we know that we had the same interests and were connected by mutual friends....Agriculture, Barkow, and Potter
This was the gang....we spent most of our time and money at Leo's Lodge.  (I suggest anyone that travels to the Lansing area you eat there.....best food ever!!!!)  You tend to form a family while in college.  The people that you can always lean on and run to.  These were my people.   While we slaved away at college we got the bright idea to take spring break to Vegas....and that is when the traveling duo began!
In Vegas in front of Bellagio
In Chicago
We went from Vegas to Texas.  Then decided to try out Miami and many trips to Chicago.  Even took sailing lessons in Chicago.  It is the type of friendship that one calls the other and says lets go on vacation, we look online, find what we want, book it, inform the significant others, and off we go.  We also got on a groupon kick....anything that looked interesting we tried from sailing lessons to horseback riding lessons....why not?
Celebrating graduation together
The best part about our friendship is that we maintain it states away.  We can go weeks even months without talking and then when we meet up or call it is like we pick up where we left off.  Sometimes you never know if people realize how much they mean to you so that is why I writing this post.  I am so blessed to have such a great friend!!!
This dear friend of mine also just had an amazing event happen....SHE HAD A BABY!!!

I'm not going to lie...when she first told me she was pregnant I was extremely happy for her yet sad all at the same time.  It felt like my little compadre was gone.  Like I was now a lone ranger.  However thankfully that was not the case.  We still had adventures together and it was like nothing had changed.  Now she is a mother.  It is incredible how proud and excited and amazed you can be with someone!  Friend you amaze me everyday and I am so happy to be able to call you a friend!  I look forward to many more adventures together....with the little nugget too!
I guess this is what growing up is all about!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dr. Oz...You're just as uninformed as the rest

I don't know if many of you had heard about GMO's (genetically modified organisms) recently but it is all over the news.  And when I say all over I mean ALL over....from your television to newspaper to every social media outlet out there.  It has gotten quite the buzz lately due to Prop 37 out in California that would like all GMO products to be labeled. 

I have a lot of thoughts on this subject but I feel if I start ranting I may go on longer than you would like to read.  So to get to the point of this blog post:  I watched the episode of Dr Oz on GMO's......wow.  He starts off by telling how they are bad and we are making "frankenfoods" with no proof to back up his scare tactics and then so graciously takes a poll on who would buy GMO's if they were labeled.  Well of course 80% said no.  Thats like taking a group of people to a swamp and telling them that there MAY be gators in the water but we have never seen any...but they MAY be in there....who wants to jump in? Duh!  After that his wonderful powerpoint goes on to blame Monsanto...naturally.  I mean Syngenta and Dupont are also using GMO technology but that must be ok right?  Only Monsanto is evil?  This just proves that your need to do your own research instead of listening to a "celebrity" doctor who doesn't even have his own facts straight.

Here is a letter to the Dr. Oz show from a professor from the University of Ilinois that was asked to be on the show but was not able to attend.....check it out here

Ellen Malloy is a very outspoken anti GMO person who recently toured Monsanto and wrote a very eye opening post about her visit.  I encourage you all to check it out at One Hundred Meals.  She pretty much nails it.  They are creating a product that the consumer wants because the consumer is buying it.  Monsanto labels their seeds for the farmer.  The farmer delivers the product to the elevator labeled.  It is then purchased by a company to create yummy foods for you which is where the label is lost.  Now who's to blame?

Bottom line to my rant is that I feel we all should have choices and you need to be educated about your choices.  this means find real evidence and not what some uninformed celebrity doctor has to say.  there is no need to try to force everyone to think the same and agree on everything.  It just won't happen.  If you feel strongly about something then influence it with your purchasing power.  Demand speaks volumes.

End rant-good day!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mr Roboto....The theme song for the Dairy Industry!!

I had the great opportunity to attend World Dairy Expo last week in Madison, WI for the first time.  It is pretty amazing to see the technology that the dairy industry is implementing these days.  It appears that everything is going robotic or automated.  From robotic milkers to automatic calf feeders to robotic feed pushers.  It is pretty amazing to see all these technologies in use and working.  I had the opportunity to visit a couple working robots and all I can say is AMAZING.

These robots pretty much do it all.  They clean and dip the teats then with a laser they are able to find the teats and attach the milkers.  After milking they dip again and send the cow on their way.  It is pretty neat to watch. You can just sense the calmness in the cattle compared to having to be pushed to the parlor multiple times a day.  These cows have the luxury of going to the parlor as they please.  Now not all cows are as cooperative as others.  There is still the potential to have to go and get cows to the milker

It appears that these little robots are saving dairies as well.  One of the diaries that I visited told me that they were to the point of either getting out of the business or going robotic.  They were at this point of decision making due to lack of help and needing a new facility.  They decided to go with the robotic milkers and he said he couldn't be happier with his decision.  Here are some pics of these cool little contraptions:

If you get a chance to check out any of these robotic milkers I really suggest you do so!  You will pretty amazed at how they work.  I hope that you all have a great week!