Thursday, February 15, 2018

Writing About Dairy: Moos and News

I love to write. Throughout grade school and middle school, when writing a story was our assignment, I was the kid that smiled from ear to ear. High school and college writing assignments sent up a silent cheer inside me. When Progressive Dairyman Magazine  asked me to submit articles for their magazine, there was no holding me back. I have been writing for their publications for nearly four years now. Today I thought I would share the two most recent submissions.

My articles appear in the Progressive Dairyman magazine as well as on their website.  Click on the title below to read the article.

Do you follow My Barnyard View on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest?

Wishing you a "well-written" kind of day!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Dairy Farmers and the Super Bowl

Are you ready for some football?
As the Super Bowl drew near, football seemed to be on most every Minnesotans mind. As Minnesota welcomed the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles for the Big Game, dairy farmers were gearing up for the Super Bowl as well.

Having never attended a Super Bowl, I had no idea all the surrounding activities that happen in the host city. For one week prior to the game, there were events, parties, displays, and concerts. Many of these included the Fuel Up to Play 60 program. If you haven't heard of this program, it is a school nutrition and exercise program launched by National Dairy Council and the National football League in collabaration with the USDA to improve health and wellness for kids. The key to Fuel Up to Play 60's success is having a strong student foundation, a team of committed educators and community engagement, with the goal of building a healthy, high-achieving generation of youth.

Dairy farmers participated at several  FUTP60 events during Super Bowl week. Daughter Sara and I were involved in the "Super Bowl Experience" which is sort-of a fair with displays and activities around anything and everything football. Attendees could view past Super Bowl rings, get up close to the Lombardi trophy, observe NFL broadcasts in the making, and even do the combine drills. It was a huge week-long celebration, but the part I enjoyed the most was assisting with the Fuel Up to Play 60 area in the kids zone.
Dairy farmers manned a booth which gave football fans the opportunity to visit a dairy farm (and NFL locker room) through a virtual reality game. Here's Sara helping a fan get ready to play the VR game.

As with any big, well attended event, fans waited in long lines. This gave us a great opportunity to speak about our farm, dairy foods, the importance of eating right, and also explain the FUTP60 program. It was a fun time to answer questions and even teach through the trivia we shared. My favorite questions was, "I didn't know you had to milk cows every day. When do you go on vacation?" Here Sara is explaining what happens in each of the buildings on a dairy farm.

The cheese samples we handed out were a big score too!

I also had the opportunity to be the "special guest" as school age children were invited to the skills and drills field. Students were welcomed by a dairy farmer and an NFL player to get in their 60 minutes of physical activity by participating in on-field drills. I was paired with Kareem Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs.

We began by sharing about ourselves so I got to tell about my dairy farm, what we do each day on the farm, and what happens to the milk when it leaves the farm. After Kareem shared about being a pro football player, and also telling us that chocolate milk is the BEST, we led the kids through the activities. Below is a relay showing the importance of eating right every single day!

I am proud to be a part of the dairy community that puts a strong emphasis on the health of our youth. I appreciate that dairy farmers have the chance to collaborate with the National Football League to encourage exercise and good nutrition.

After the group picture, the students pledged to continue to lead a healthy lifestyle by eating right and getting their 60 minutes of activity each day.

Being a part of the Super Bowl Experience was great, and rubbing elbows with NFL players wasn't too bad either   ; )

Saturday, February 3, 2018

The Commercial I Still Love

Super Bowl Sunday is Tomorrow!
 Even if my Minnesota Vikings are not playing in the Big Game, I will be watching. I will be watching because I like football. I will be watching because I like Justin Timberlake. I will be watching because Minnesota is this year's host. I will be watching because I like the commercials.

I have posted this commercial each year since 2013 when this commercial was first broadcast during the Super Bowl. It brings tears to my eyes each time I view it. It makes me cry knowing I am a sixth generation farmer, and I think back to the hardships my ancestors have endured as farmers. 

But this year it makes me especially sad knowing so many of my fellow farmers have had to leave farming because the struggles of farming are too great. Low prices for our goods have caused many farmers to leave the career they love. Many farm families have taken jobs off the farm to supplement their income, hoping to hang on to their farms. Some farmers are discouraging their sons and daughters from farming, knowing that it is a tough way to support a family.

I am not writing this to complain. I don't want sympathy. I am writing this to make you aware of the situation farmers are facing. It is real. It is serious. It affects all of us. Yes, you too, the consumer.

Thank you are purchasing milk. Thanks for stocking your refrigerator with yogurt and cheese. Thanks for buying that ice cream you love. Thanks for your support of the farming community.

So God made a farmer. Thank God he made us resilient.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Seven Middle Schoolers and the Super Bowl Experience

Strap in folks, you've got a new set of hands on the keyboard.  My mom asked if I'd be willing to talk about what happened to me, her daughter Sara, today.  I work at our middle school in town.  This year I was lucky enough to get to start a Fuel Up to Play 60 group with another teacher in my building.  The kids have been fantastic this year.  They have learned a lot about healthy eating and how to get 60 minutes of physical activity into their lives.

With all this hard work, there have also come some great rewards.  Today I got a chance to take seven students to the Super Bowl Experience.  This travels around the United States following the Super Bowl.  With Minnesota hosting this year, it was right in our own backyard.  I had no idea what to expect, but I can tell you one thing for sure.  We were not disappointed.

Midwest Dairy offered 500 students a chance to go and experience various skill drills they would find on the NFL combine.  There were touchdown passes, field goal kicks, and just about any other play you'd see watching the big game this Sunday.

Testing out our vertical jumps

Field Goal Kick Drills
There was also a chance to see the perspective of the players through a virtual reality experience.  It was also fun to see items from the Football Hall of Fame.  My favorite was getting the chance to see last year's Super Bowl ring.  As you can see below, my hand is pretty darn small in comparison.

After lunch they also had the chance to see a secret concert hosted by the cheerleaders and mascots of the Vikings, Patriots, and Eagles.  They can look forward to seeing it replayed this Sunday.  Who knows maybe one of them might be on national tv this weekend.

The kids had a wonderful time and they were pretty sleepy on the ride home.  It has been fantastic being part of the Fuel Up to Play 60 program.  If your school has this group, get your kids involved.  Any time we have an activity at my school parents, teachers, and students get excited to see what our school might be participating in next.
I will never be this close to the Lombardi trophy ever again.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

2017 Top Five

2017 Top Five Most Viewed Blog Posts
My Barnyard View

Click on the blog post titles and you can read what you missed.

5. Harvest17 Is In The Books Like every job, there are good days and bad days. I love driving the combine, but some days can be a bit trying. Read about our successful harvest and the bumps along the way.

4. Flavor Of The Fair Each year you get to help decide what the new malt flavor is at the Minnesota State Fair. In this blog post, I got to be one of the first to taste and see the unveiling of the top three flavors. Dill pickles in a malt?

3. I Won! Even though my parents, all of my grandparents, and all of my aunts and uncles were dairy farmers (yes, everyone of them were farmers) we also have a commitment to being involved in our communities. Read about my latest involvement off the farm.

2. Super Bowl and Super School Breakfast Dairy farming, sharing my dairy story, and my love for football are all combined in this blog post as I had the opportunity to visit a local school. See what dairy farming and the Super Bowl have to do with each other. And yes, with the Big Game only a few weeks away, I am still praying the Minnesota Vikings will be playing that day!

1. Santa On Bremer Farms Our first attempt at a Christmas event at Bremer Farms was a huge success. This blog post recaps our first Santa on the Farm in 2016. It went well, but 2017 Santa on the Farm grew by leaps and bounds! With 2017's Santa On The Farm already in the books, we have been discussing what new things 2018's event will bring. Watching cows being milked from the warmth of your car... a new light show synced to music...

Thank you for joining my family and I as we continue our journey as proud and passionate dairy farmers. Let me know if you have questions or a topic you want to know about.
Have you "liked" My Barnyard View on Facebook? I'm always sharing something, including photos from the farm, when my latest blog post is up, and even giveaways!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

What Happens To All That Butter?

Flashback to late August 2017 at the Minnesota State Fair. 
If you were one of the thousands of people who stopped by the Dairy Building to see the butter sculptures, you probably asked this question, "What happens to all that butter after the Fair?" 

2017 Butter Sculptures of Princess Kay and the finalists
M.A. Rosko of Fox9 Television has wanted that answer for years, so this week she met up with Princess Kay of the Milky Way finalist Margaret Socha, to get an answer to her question. 

Margaret and M.A.
Margaret began by explaining that after sharing 1 pound packages of her sculpture with supportive friends and family, much of the 90 pound butter sculpture was donated to her local FFA chapter for their annual sweet corn feed. The hardest part was making the first cut, and Margaret admits that it may be a long time before the face will be used.

Making the first cut was the hardest.
In the meantime, much of the butter is finding its way into baked items including the cookies that Margaret will be sending to her cousin in the Army, to share with his unit when deployed.

Warm cookies and cold milk. Who can resist?
You can view the "What happens to all that butter" episode at the link below. And Margaret was willing to share her cookie recipe too! So preheat the oven,  pour a  cold  glass of  milk and enjoy the show!

Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/4 cup  flour
1  tsp baking soda
1 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 3.4 ounce package instant vanilla pudding mix
2 eggs
1 12 ounce bag chocolate chips

Cream butter. Add  sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, pudding mix, and eggs. Mix flour and baking soda and add to above ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips. Bake on parchment paper for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

It's A Country Christmas Connection

How cute is this? 

For the fourth year, I participated in The Country Christmas Connection, a fun Christmas gift exchange among agriculture advocates who are active in social media. It's a unique way for agvocates to get to know each other and spread a bit of Christmas cheer. After signing up for this adventure, I was asked to tell a little about my hobbies and likes and dislikes to help my "Secret Santa" shop. My Secret Santa is Trish Hutchins of Coulee Creek Jerseys in Washington. 

Speaking of cute is this?
These dairy cows make their home with Trish and her family at Coulee Creek Jerseys. 

Photo credit to Trish Hutchins

You can find photos of her farm and follow her passion for her farm and animals on her Facebook page, Trish Hutchins. 

Photo credit to Trish Hutchins
Thanks Trish, for the darling sign. It looks great hanging in my kitchen! 

I was Secret Santa to Linda Craun Leech, who dairy farms in the state of Virginia at Ingleside Dairy Farm, along with her hubby and two grown children. (Hey...that sounds a lot like me. The hubby and  kid part, anyway.) Since we are both Holstein dairy farmers, I sent a pair of cow kitchen towels with one of my favorite family recipes- Mint Brownies, a cow Christmas ornament because I add a new one to our tree each year, I re-gifted a T-shirt from the MN State Fair where we volunteer each year, and...

finally a pair of Super Bowl mittens since I love that Minnesota gets to host the BIG GAME this year, and I see the mittens are getting put to good use!

Photo credit to Linda Craun Leech
Thanks to Darleen of Guernsey Dairy Mama and Jenny from Keeping Ag Real for hosting this fun gift exchange!