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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Pass The Peas, Please

Farmer John spent much of this past week working in the "kitchen." No, he wasn't preparing our family breakfast, or lunch, or dinner either. 
He was making meals for our cows.
The oats, peas, and barley that were planted in early May are now 
ready to be made into "meals."

Oats ready to be cut.

The oats are cut into rows and ready to be chopped.

This is what the oats look like when cut down, waiting to be chopped.

The barley and peas are planted together, and are cut into rows also.
Now in rows, the barley and peas are waiting to be chopped.
The oats, barley, and peas are all chopped and blown into a wagon like this which is pulled behind the forage chopper.
You can watch a video of chopping haylage here. It is the same procedure as the oats, barley and peas chopping, only done with alfalfa hay. It will help you get the idea though.

And lastly it is stored in our bunker (kind of a cow-food pantry) until it is time to be served.

We have two 24' x 75' concrete bunkers to store our haylage, oats, barley, and peas.
After several days (and nights) of Farmer John's meal preps, there are many meals prepared. So ring the dinner bell. Let's get another meal on the table.

We take meal prep very seriously, since dairy cows must be healthy and well cared for in order to produce high-quality milk.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Sweet Gig

My life is hard.
I HAD to eat that cupcake. I mean it. I HAD to eat that cupcake!

And not just one cupcake, but nine cupcakes! 
Okay, that's a slight exaggeration. 
I didn't eat nine cupcakes. I ate part of nine cupcakes.

I was asked to be part of a panel of judges for the 1st Annual Cupcake Competition held at our local hospital and retirement home. Talk about a sweet gig! Why wouldn't I say yes? I have 30+ years of County and State Fair judging experience, plus, come on, it's CUPCAKES, for Pete's sake! I'm not going to turn down that offer.

We judges took our job very seriously, as we savored every bite. 
Lemon, pineapple upside-down cupcakes, fudge, root beer, strawberry- 
each one...de-li-cious!

As we sampled cupcakes, in preparation for crowning the winner; 
a very successful bake sale was also being held. 
All this to support  Alzheimer's Disease research, 
a condition I am much too familiar with since my Grandma had it.

I am so proud to be a part of an amazing community that cares for the health and well-being of its residents. 
And the cupcakes were pretty amazing too!
What a sweet gig!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Cows! Gotta Love 'Em

Today is Cow Appreciation Day!

Son Michael appreciates our cows every day.
Cow Appreciation Day may not mean much to you...but it should. Thanks to cows you can have milk on your cereal, cream in your coffee, ice cream with your birthday cake, cheese on your pizza, sour cream with your baked potato, and on, and on, and on. Thanks to cows and their gift of milk we can have our 3 servings of dairy every day. 

Hey! What about us calves?

 Michael, (and all of us at Bremer Farms) appreciate our cows,  
and our calves every day. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

TV Comes To Our Farm

I'm on television! I'm a star...a dairy star! 
Well, perhaps I am exaggerating a bit.
But I am On TV!

This week I was visited by Mary O'Brien, our local Community Education Director. I was the featured guest on her monthly television show "Unity Through Community." Mary is an avid follower of my blog, and her goal was to share a glimpse of dairy farming with her viewers. 
We talked about the cows, and milking, and caring for our calves. All this , and a farm tour too! We also spoke about my blog and how it all got started. Why do I spend my free time writing this blog? Take a look and you'll find out. 

Thank you Mary, for visiting Bremer Farms. And thanks for the kind words about my blog being an informative, honest, and open resource for consumers. I consider that a huge compliment! 

Stop by Dairy Makes Sense  for more dairy news and recipes too.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

X, Y, And Zzzzzz

  June Dairy Month is coming to a close! But the barn doors are still open, 
so join me on my daily A to Z journey 
to learn more about dairy. 
  X, Y, And Z

Since this is my final blog post for June Dairy Month- 2014, I thought it would be a great time to answer some reader questions 
that I have received recently. So today, 

X Is For eXtra Information

Cindy, from Omaha, Nebraska wants to know-

Why do farmers get paid for their milk by the pound, when consumers buy it by the gallon?

Google image
Interesting question. I never thought about that! My guess would be that farmers are paid by the pound because many years ago milk was put in milk cans to be delivered to the creamery (milk plant). These cans of milk were then weighed and the farmer was paid for the milk by weight. Thus, paying by weight continues today. This is just a guess however, and after much "googleing" I couldn't come up with the answer. Does anyone else know the answer to Cindy's question?

Anna, from Rosemount, Minnesota asks-

Why does whole milk cost more than 2%, 1% or skim?

When the fat is taken out of the milk, that fat is worth something.  It is used for butter, for example, and so the whole milk costs more because they haven't removed any of its fat to sell in other products. Therefore the only income from that gallon of milk has to come from only that gallon, not any additional products that use the fat. However, many stores do charge the same price for all milk, no matter what the fat content. 

Lynn, from Chicago, Illinois inquires-

Is there a difference between store-brand milk and "name-brand" milk? 

Funny you should ask that question.  Each milk jug is stamped with the "use by" date and a 4 or 5 digit code which identifies what milk plant that jug was packaged in. It looks like this...

Land O'Lakes ($4.88/gallon) 27-180

Walmart brand, Great Value ($3.09/gallon) 27-180

You can go to the website Where Is My Milk From and type in this code, and you will find where this milk is bottled. Interesting isn't it, that these two jugs of milk are from the same plant? What is different other than the price? Probably nothing.

 Y Is For YouTube

Did you know I have a YouTube channel?  You can find it by searching MyBarnyardView or clicking HERE. This past week I appeared on a local television show which came and toured our farm for June Dairy Month. This video will be on my channel very soon. I'll let you know when it happens! If there is something you are curious about on our farm, just ask! Perhaps I can answer your question in a video!

And lastly,

Z Is For Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....

Thanks for following along on my A to Z journey through June Dairy Month.

Monday, June 30, 2014

W Is For Wee Ones

It's June dairy Month! The barn doors are open, 
so join me on my daily A to Z journey 
to learn more about dairy. 
  W Is For Wee Ones

Wee ones, as in children, (not Leprechauns),  came to visit Bremer Farms. It is always enjoyable to have visitors and share what it is like to be dairy farmers, but there is nothing more fun than hosting wee visitors, many who have never been on a farm.

Picture first, then cows.

 Our first stop was the cows. As you can see they were a bit shy this morning. Was it the sounds of the children, or the fact that the cows were eating after being milked? I'm thinking it was a combination. They did finally show up.

After touring the milking barn, explaining how cows are milked, and where the milk goes after leaving the cow, and leaving our farm, 
it was off to see the calves.

This is always the favorite stop on the tour. Is it because the kiddos can see eye-to-eye with the calves, or because the calves are so gosh darn cute? 
You decide...

It's always fun to pet a calf...

scratch the itch a calf can't reach...
name a calf (Licky)...

or let a calf nibble on your shirt.

And then, of course there are the kittens. No one could resist 
cuddling with a kitty. Ten kittens...

but they all took turns holding the gray one...

a very patient kitten!

After a glass of chocolate milk (to refuel from the exhausting tour) and an ice cream sandwich (just because) it was time for Nanette's wee ones to head off. Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

V Is For Video

It's June dairy Month! The barn doors are open, 
so join me on my daily A to Z journey 
to learn more about dairy. 

  V Is For Video
"Hi Janet!
Congrats on your nomination for the 2014 Social Media Farmer of the Year award. My name is Allison B. and for the past seven years I have interviewed farmers in our Q&A series for Food Nutrition & Science from the Lempert Report. We also do a video series that shows our readers a day in the life of a farmer."

 What's this? I believe I owe my readers an explanation. This spring I was notified by Midwest Dairy that they were nominating me for Social Media Farmer of the Year.  This is a nation-wide, first annual recognition of farmers and ranchers who promote their industry using social media in an effective way. I just received an email last week letting me know that I was not the winner (insert sad face here) and that the winner would be announced in August. If I were a highly paid Hollywood actor, this would be the time to smile politely and say, "It was an honor just to be nominated." I may not be a movie star, but I do agree with the sentiment, it really is an honor to even be mentioned. 

Back to V Is For Video...
Since telling my dairy farming story is the goal of my blog, I jumped at the opportunity to share a video with the Lempert Report. But who is Phil Lempert?

"Known as The Supermarket Guru ® , Lempert is a distinguished author and speaker who alerts customers and business leaders to impending corporate and consumer trends, and empowers them to make educated purchasing and marketing decisions. For twenty plus years Phil has served as food trends editor and correspondent for NBC News’ Today show, reporting on consumer trends, food safety and money-saving tips, as well as showcasing new products, as well as regular appearances on ABC’s The View , The Oprah Winfrey Show, 20/20, CNN, CNBC, FOX , as well as on local television morning and news programs throughout the country."

And now I am proud to present "Bremer Farms" a video
 produced by my son Michael.

You can also view the video by visiting these sites...

Food, Nuitrition & Science from the Lempert Report.


My Farmer spotlight "Q and A" will be in an upcoming Food, Nutrition & Science posting. I'll let you know when that happens. 

Until then, please share my video of Bremer farms. I want everyone to see how much we dairy farmers care about that glass of cold milk you enjoy!