Friday, May 22, 2015

Hey, Hey, Hey, It's Haylage Time!

It's that time again! Time for us to begin chopping hay that we will feed to our dairy cows. I shared this post with you last summer, and after a few minor updates, I thought the haylage process was worth sharing again. 
Haylage is green, freshly cut alfalfa that is cut a few days earlier, then chopped to be served to our cows later.  This is a good alternative to baling hay which requires that the alfalfa be drier. This video shows the chopping process.

Once the haylage leaves the field it is stored in a concrete bunker until it is fed to our cows. The haylage is  tightly packed, using a tractor, or, in this video, a payloader. This reduces the air from causing the haylage to rot. The end of this video shows unloading the wagon that just came from the field. After it is unloaded, the payloader adds the haylage to the pile which is being packed.

  Usually we use a blower to unload the wagons, and our tractor to pack the haylage tightly in the bunker. This video was shot when we had our neighbors help, and equipment, so unloading was done slightly different.
The final step is to cover the fresh haylage with a plastic sheet, weighed down with discarded tires. This is again to keep the haylage from rotting. We only serve healthy food for our cows!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Coming Soon...Princess Kay Of The Milky Way!

This is a fun, exciting and nail-biting weekend for dozens of young ladies from Minnesota. May 15-17 is the Dairy Princess Promotion Workshop in St. Cloud, MN. It is a weekend devoted to skill-building to share the message of dairy farmers commitment to providing safe, high-quality milk and dairy foods, including taking good care of our cows and the land. 

But how are these young women chosen to attend this workshop? 

Jeni Haler, 2014-2015 Princess Kay of the Milky Way 
Each of them are from a dairy farm family, or they, or their parents or guardian are employed by a dairy farm. They are selected as their county's dairy ambassadors, and then move on to the May Event in St. Cloud. This is also where the 12 finalists are selected  for the Minnesota dairy industry's goodwill ambassador, Princess Kay of the Milky Way. Candidates are judged on a written application, a short speech, a professional interview, and a mock media interview. Live updates of the finalist announcements will be posted to Princess Kay’s Facebook page during the luncheon held on Sunday, May 17th. On Twitter, updates can be obtained by following the hashtag #MNPrincessKay.

After a busy summer of June Dairy Month promotions, parades, and County Fairs, the 12 finalists come together again in August for more judging. Princess Kay is then crowned the night before the Minnesota State Fair opens and serves as the dairy industry’s goodwill ambassador for a year, helping people understand the dedication of dairy farmers to wholesome and nutritious food, and the way milk is produced. Dairy farmers sponsor the dairy princess program through Midwest Dairy Association.

Jeni Haler, 2014-2015 Princess Kay of the Milky Way 
All 12 of the Princess Kay finalists have their likeness carved in butter during the Minnesota State Fair and make public appearances during the Fair’s 12-day run.

Princess Kay, Jeni Haler and her butterhead

Exhausting? You bet! Worth it? Absolutely!
We at Bremer Farms are proud to support this program and anxiously look forward to the announcement of the finalists, and the crowning of our 62nd Princess Kay of the Milky Way. 


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Best And Wisest Mom

 My Mom is the strongest, most giving woman I know. She is a farmers daughter, a farmers wife and a farm mom too. 

 The past year and a half have not been easy for her, but with God's guidance she has continued to be strong. She has come face-to-face with a stroke, infections, a mild heart attack, bypass surgery, the loss of  her right leg, colon cancer, and the loss of my dad, her farmer husband. 

Through all this, our mother-daughter roles have become somewhat reversed. It is now time for her to do the receiving, and not all the giving. But no matter what our family does for mom, we can never repay her for what she gave all of us. Thank you God, for my strong, giving Mom.

Best and Wisest Mom
By Joanna Fuchs
  Mom, I wish I had words to tell
How much you mean to me.
I am the person I am today,
Because you let me be.
 Your unconditional love
Made me happy, strong, secure.
Your teaching and example
Made me confident, mature.
  In all the world, there is no mother
Better than my own.
You're the best and wisest person, Mom
I have ever known.

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 1, 2015

May Country Fair Blog Party

It's time for the May addition of the

Each month I am invited to share some of my favorite past posts. The theme for May is "Celebrations."
I shared
Now I know you're thinking, "OK, I understand why Jan posted the Mother's Day stories since the theme is Celebrations, but why the post about waiting to plant"? Believe me if you are a farmer, Spring and beginning to plant our crops is definitely a celebration!

Farmer John, one of the many hard working farmers 
during the busy planting season.

Thanks also to the hosts of this months Blog Party.
Please pay them a visit to see what other bloggers have shared.

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Zit On Our Farm

Do you remember as a teen when you got a blemish on your face? You know what I mean... a pimple... a zit. And didn't it feel like it encompassed your entire face, and everyone was staring at it? 
Meet the "zit" on our farm - our barn.

Don't misunderstand - I love our "zit". I mean, aren't these old hip roofed barns part of scenic rural living? Plus we are all about preserving the history of our farm, and this is one of the few original buildings we have left.

But how can we repair this blemish on the face of our farm?

After years of repeatedly scraping and painting, it was time for a real facelift. After much research we finally found the right guys to do the job.

The building supplies were delivered and the heavy equipment rolled into Bremer Farms in October. The project was taking shape, but then winter began and cold, snow, and ice halted the progress. Oh, pooh!

Our blemish started to fade again in March when the crew returned and within a few weeks our project was complete!

We are thrilled with how our "new" old barn looks!

The cows like it too. Our "zit" is gone!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Waiting But Not Resting

A half inch of rain was just enough to keep Farmer John from Spring planting yesterday and again today. We are not complaining about this delay however, since the moisture is necessary as our area of Minnesota is still in a moderate drought.

When the weather is right it will be business as usual and John, and nearly every farmer, will be back in the tractor seat. Chances are John will be back at planting tomorrow right after church.

Our barley, peas, and oats have already been planted and now we move on to the corn. Last Spring I shared with you about how Farmer John was Waiting To Get His Hands Dirty. You can read about Johns anticipation and the dollars and cents that go into planting our corn crop each year. 

So what happens when we can't plant today?
There are still calves to feed,

 and cows to feed,

and pens to clean...

 and cows to milk,

so that we can continue to provide you with milk for tomorrow mornings cereal.

Fun Farm Fact:
It takes less than 48 hours for milk to get from the farm to your grocery store.
Isn't that amazing?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day Is Every Day On The Farm

Happy Earth Day!

My family and I live by the motto, “Leave this world a little better than you found it”. We became farmers because of our love for our land and animals. What better way to show this love than to respect our natural resources? 

We pride ourselves on making the best decisions we can to preserve our land to keep it beautiful, productive and sustainable. 

I invite you to read an article I wrote for The Food Journal and Food, Nutrition & Science to learn more about what we do on Bremer Farms to make everyday Earth Day.  

What are you doing to celebrate Earth Day?