Thursday, May 17, 2018

#Plant18

Three weeks behind. If it were a typical spring, there would be more empty corn seed bags than full ones by now.


Farmers in our area of Minnesota are about three weeks behind where we normally are with planting. Our last big snowfall came much later than usual, delaying the beginning of planting season. So now we are playing catch-up.


The oats, peas, and barley have been planted and are starting to pop their heads through the soil. Today Farmer John was preparing the soil for corn planting in one field while...


Grandpa Roy was planting corn in another field. I am writing this blog post at 10:49 p.m. and Farmer John is still in the field. It's a crazy planting season!

Friday, May 4, 2018

Royalty Visits Bremer Farms and Aprons Optional


Daughter Sara's TV show, Aprons Optional had a special guest at last weeks filming. Princess Kay of the Milky Way (Minnesota's official goodwill ambassador for the dairy community), Emily Annexstad stopped by to share her recipe for Creamy Cheesecake. 


The show will air on Hastings Community TV as well as Youtube for June Dairy Month, but I couldn't wait until June to let you try this yummy cheesecake recipe.


Creamy Cheesecake
Crumb Crust:
  • 11 whole graham crackers (22 squares)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
Filling:
  • 5 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Topping:
  • 2 pints strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
Directions:
1. Crush the cracker crumbs. Add butter and sugar and mix. Press onto the base of a 9-inch springform pan. Chill. Beat cream cheese on medium-high for 2 minutes. Blend in sugar. 
2. Add the flour and beat until combined. ON low speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time, just until blended, scraping the sides of bowl often. Add the sour cream, lemon peel, and vailla and beat just until blended. Pour over crust in pan.
3. Bake at 325F for 1 1/4 hours. Turn the oven off and place a wooden spoon in oven door to keep it open. Let cheesecake sit one hour. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Run a knife around sides. Cover; chill for 6 hours or overnight.
4. Remove the pan sides. Slide the cheesecake onto a serving plate. For the topping, overlap the strawberries in circles on the cheesecake. Fill the center with raspberries.

Secrets of success:
  • Let the cream cheese soften on the counter for 2 hours or unwrap and microwave each package 15 seconds.
  • Don't over bake. The cheesecake will firm as it cools.
  • A sudden change in temperature can cause a cheesecake to crack. Let it sit in a turned-off oven to cool gradually.
  • Cheesecakes are ideal make-ahead desserts. Wrap the undecorated cake in foil and refrigerate for up to 4 days, or double wrap in plastic and foil and freeze for up to 2 months.
Source: Great American Home Cooking Made Easy


Sara and Emily tried out some other dairy good recipes too. You can find them at Midwest Dairy


Saturday, April 21, 2018

Future Veterinary Technicians Learn On Bremer Farms

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. 
~ Confucius


 The vet tech students from  Dakota County Technical College paid Bremer Farms a visit to get some hands-on experience. We were happy to be a part of these future Veterinary Technicians "doing and understanding." None of these students had worked with cows or calves before.


After a short farm tour, Farmer John demonstrated how to put a halter on a calf and spoke about proper handling of the animals. Our future Vet Techs then had the opportunity to do a subcutaneous injection (an injection in which a needle is inserted just under the skin) of saline on the calves. Then it was on to checking temperatures. The student in the picture above is checking the temperature rectally. 


After each student took temperatures and did the injections, it was on to blood draws. Blood draws were taken from the tail as well as the neck. As you can see, there was a great feeling of accomplishment when there was success. Thumbs up!


Lastly, after a lot of lovin' and attention, the calves were treated to an oral injection...of applesauce! The calves loved it!


We are grateful for these young adults who plan to become veterinary technicians. Dairy farmers rely on veterinarians and vet techs to assist in keeping our animals healthy, and also helping if they become sick or need help when birthing a calf. They are part of our team!

A special thank you to Mikayla and Nicole, the instructors, for sharing the class with us. We look forward to another visit from your next class of future veterinary technicians.

Visit  DCTC Veterinary Technician Program to learn more.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

River Valley Chapter 35 Visits Bremer Farms

Do you wonder where your food comes from? River Valley Chapter 35 got answers to their questions about dairy farming yesterday when they visited our farm.

River Valley Chapter 35
River Valley Chapter 35 is  a part of MSNA  (Minnesota State Nutrition Association), a state organization of school nutrition professionals committed to advancing school meal programs through education and advocacy. I love their mission statement- Our Mission is to provide our members opportunities for professional development and to build relationships that make a difference in the lives of children. 

After a short video of our farm  it was time for the tour... but not today. Since we have been blessed  with lots of unseasonable snow, which now has become mud, our tour could not include showing where the feed is prepared and served, but we were able to head to my You Tube channel again to watch our cows food prep and eating. Thank goodness for technology!

Getting a good look at the milking machines.
The milking barn was next. After explaining the milking procedure, it was time for additional questions, and Farmer John and I got some great ones. Do cows enjoy being milked?   Where do our replacement cows come from? Do you ever go on vacation? What is your milk used for? It was exciting to share that milk is never touched by human hands and that it only takes two days to get from our farm to their school or grocery store!

Learning about the youngest calves.
We spoke a lot about sustainability and that there is no such thing as waste on a farm. Our corn stalks are used as bedding, and when the barn is cleaned- the manure and bedding is brought back to the fields to rebuild the organic matter. Our visitors also learned that water is run through pipes to cool the milk and is then used as drinking water for the cows.

Our calf barn.
While visiting the youngest members of our herd, we shared about the care the calves received, and how we believe in being proactive in giving good care to all our animals. 



And of course a trip to our dairy farm is never complete without a treat. Bring on the ice cream!
Thank you River Valley Chapter 35 for swinging by Bremer Farms and learning about where your food comes from, and thanks for what you do to provide healthy meals for the students to fuel their day!






Monday, April 2, 2018

Mac and Cheese, Please


I admit that macaroni and cheese typically comes from a blue box when served at our house. Quite some time ago I saved a recipe that I wanted to try, from a magazine (a hobby I inherited from my mom). I always have good intentions to cook up every recipe I save, but the delicious sounding dishes don't always make it to the table- but this one did. Victory! Give it a try, and let me know what you think. Is it thumbs up, or thumbs down? Is it worth the effort, or back to the blue box?

Tiffany's Mac and Cheese With Bacon
Recipe from HGTV magazine

8 strips bacon
8 ounces elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk 
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
8 ounces grated monterey jack cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
ground white pepper (optional)

In the works.
  • Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until crisp and browned, about 8 minutes. Drain on paper towel until cool, then crumble.
  • Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as directed on the label. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the butter to the cooked pasta and stir to melt.
  • Heat the evaporated milk in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until just simmering. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cheddar and monterey cheeses until melted. Remove the pan from the heat, then add the reserved cooking water. Season with the white pepper to taste. Add the cooked pasta to the cheese sauce, and stir to coat.
  • Position a rack in the upper third of the oven, and turn on the broiler. Sprinkle the bacon and parmesan cheese on top. Broil; until the top is golden and bubbly, about 2 minutes.
Ready for the oven.

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   ; )