March 27, 2017

Bike Bribery

I bribed Copeland to ride the strider bike. But I ran out of bribes when it came to taking a picture and smiling . I can’t get him to smile in any pictures now since he’s almost two.

It might not look like it but we sure are enjoying the spring weather and counting down the days till seeding starts (40 to be exact hehe).

Hope you had a fabulous Monday!!! Cheers from Copeland and I

 

 

March 21, 2017

Texas Wildfires: Shark Farmer Podcast

Please listen to the interview below and share with your family and friends.

Texas Rancher, Trent Candra was interviewed on Rob Sharkey‘s podcast (aka – The Shark Farmer) about the wildfires in the US and he explains his firsthand account of what he and his family have gone through.

“There are no words that can be put together to explain what it’s like to see a 30 foot wall of flames moving at 40 miles per hour towards you and your land. There are no words to describe the emotion of what’s going through your mind, the feelings, the questions if you did the right thing, to move your cattle here or there, the choices you made to prepare when you are facing a disaster like this and it’s moving towards you.

This disaster has no mercy. It shows no preferences. It is consuming everything in it’s path and there is no way for anyone to understand that unless you can see it firsthand.”

Listening to this interview gave me the shivers and tears. It’s heartwrenching, unimaginable and also heart warming. Even in a disaster, Trent’s compassion for others and his humblness is inspiring.

Disasters have no boundaries and no borders. Our ag community is small and when this happens, we are all neighbours.

Please listen to the interview here (Episode 44) and share: http://www.sharkfarmer.com/episodes.html

Please help:
http://okcattlemen.org/firerelieffund–donateorapply.aspx

http://www.kla.org/donationform.aspx

http://texasfarmbureau.org/panhandle-wildfire-relief-fund/

March 12, 2017

What I know now: Advice to my younger self (Ag Edition)

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self?

Over the last couple of years, I’ve read a few books and articles about what that one piece of advice would be for others, and it got me thinking. What would those in our industry have to say?

I asked and never thought that I would receive over 140 responses (5 pages worth actually) that varied from continual learning, business management, relationships, taking risks, confidence and so much more. It was so hard to choose but I narrowed down the tweets and compiled a list of my favorites…and added my advice as well. Please click here to see the list of all the great responses.

Thank you to everyone who replied to my question. There is so much wealth of knowledge and experience in our industry and it’s humbling to be able to share this advice with you.

My Favorites

-Play the hand you were dealt with like it was the hand you wanted @rjohnson7707

-It’s ok to say no, sometimes, learn how to say no without feeling like you need to explain why. Easy to get stretched thin! @StaceySagon

-Never assume you know how anything is going to go. @GoddessofGrain

-Just relax… crops will get in… crops will get harvested. Just friggin relax @sf28430

-Make that phone call…@ButterfieldBeef

-Go for it. It’s a great career, don’t dwell on mistakes you make along the way. Enjoy the ride. Be positive. @gmjochum

-The most successful people know how to implement Plan B @Sask_Mover

-Spend lots of time cultivating business relationships where both people can benefit. @RonKrahn

-Not only know your numbers but know what lender expects, so you can see warning signs early. @MaxROIfarmer

-Make people earn loyalty. Just because your family dealt with a physical location means little for your business success. @rgstone1

-Know your numbers. Understand the basics of financial management. @JoanneLidback

-Ensure everyone in your operation has the same vision and goal. @WadeMcNeil

-Not everything can go off gut instinct and not everything has to be penciled out to death; has to be a mixture of both. @Vranschau

-Don’t just work towards goals. Have some fun along the way. Also, eat more bacon. @WDSchumm

-Have confidence & conviction while taking the road less traveled. @JenSchweigert

-There is more to gain in a tough year than a perfect year, so don’t give up on a crop. Reduced tillage shines in adversity. @JerryKreuziger

-Develop strong relationships with industry people. There is a wealth of knowledge out there. @Chad_ChadRoss

-Trust yourself. Your path will be different from their’s. If you continue to learn you will be successful on your own terms. @TimHammerich

-Keep open mind about where you may end up. May not end up in area of your degree, etc. Don’t pass up an opportunity without looking at it! @Brian_Voth

-Take more Agronomy courses in college. Buy that land that you thought was too expensive… cause it won’t get cheaper!! @KowalchukFarms

-Don’t compare your farm to your neighbors. @OwenEDennis

-Stay in school, the farm isn’t going anywhere @bradproud

-Make money when you can, not when you have to. @ebenkampfarms

-Professional development is important, and the relationships you make at conferences will pay you back fast! #ageducation @KoreyPeters

-Make some time every day to learn something new, on and away from the farm. @hort4cy

-Use a dust mask in the bins, wear hearing protection and lift with your legs. @chrichtonhotel

-Get involved. If you don’t speak up someone will speak for you. @GustGD

-Find someone who is an industry leader or innovator and go work for them for awhile #learnfromthebest @BrentDouglas88

-The things you think may be impossible usually are not. And when you’re up shit creek don’t stop paddling @LMcLachlan60

-Don’t let farming take over every aspect of your life. Make some time for friends & other interests. It’ll keep you sane. @Willpenrievans

-Be a “student of agriculture.” Understand the areas where you lacking knowledge/ experience, and get the training you need. @FrmerAtHerTable

Mine would be:

When purpose, passion and skill collide, bliss happens. Be kind and smile. It’s good for the soul, it’s contagious and it attracts. And have fun! When you have fun, you can do amazing things.

What would be your one piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?

Cheers,

Lesley

February 27, 2017

We all should be done with The Food Babe and her Fake News

No one is going to stand up for us. Our story doesn’t exist if we don’t tell it.

As an agriculture industry, it’s all of us standing up for science and agriculture and having a voice. It’s all of us sharing what we do, why we do it and how we care for the land and animals. It’s sharing the love and pride that goes into producing food that our families eat. It’s debunking myths and sharing the truth. It’s understanding when fake news is no longer news and is detrimental to our industry. It’s putting an end to those who spread fear and lies and who are not the experts.

The Food Babe, you are not an expert in science or chemistry. You are not an expert in food or in agriculture, and you most definitely are not an expert in changing the world.

However, you are an expert in taking advantage of people and I’m done.

I’m done sitting back and watching you spread lies and erode the trust we have in our food system. I’m done with you harassing scientists, bullying companies and silencing those who express a different opinion than yours and state the truth. I’m fed up with you using the legal system in the way it wasn’t intended for to cherry pick e-mails that would cause harm to others while costing taxpayers thousands of dollars. I’m fed up you with you using buzzwords as click-bait headlines and false information disguised as news so you can attract attention and make a quick buck. I’m done with you spreading fear that causes others to think that farmers don’t produce safe, healthy food and we don’t care about the environment, animals and families who buy the food we grow and raise.

However, I am not done with standing up for science.

The science that brought insulin to save those with Type 1 Diabetes. The science that saved the papaya and is reducing food waste. The science that helps my farm produce more food with less resources and helps us be better environmental stewards. The science that is helping my land be in better condition when we pass it on to my children. The science that is trying to save the citrus industry and thousands of children from Vitamin A deficiency that causes blindness and death.

Standing up for science is more than marching for it on one day of the year with a sign. It’s more than myself making a comment on your Facebook page about actual scientific evidence or information as to what happens on our farm that contradicts your claim, only to get blocked seconds later and find out that you banned ten thousand others who also disagree with you. It’s more than watching those who do such great things in our food industry get drug through the mud time and time again. It’s more than turning a blind eye, scrolling past and letting a few do this on their own.

I’m putting my money where my mouth is and standing up for science, food and my farm.

I’m calling bullshit on these scare tactics, bullying and constant attacks of agriculture, science and the food chain as a whole.

Stand up for the truth. All of us. Everyday.

Must read articles:

#1 – http://kfolta.blogspot.ca/#!/2017/02/food-babe-vani-hari-attacking-public.html

#2 – http://gawker.com/the-food-babe-blogger-is-full-of-shit-1694902226

#3 – https://www.realagriculture.com/2016/12/fake-news-also-plagues-ag-and-food/

February 15, 2017

What Does Agriculture Mean to Me?

It’s dirt. It’s blood. It’s tears and sweat. It’s dirty hands and long days and nights. It’s disease. It’s death and then it’s life. It’s beautiful. It’s the feel of crisp air in the morning, the smell of fresh dirt in the spring and canola blooms in the summer. It’s driving down the road in the truck with the windows rolled down. It’s a two-finger wave.

It’s walking through your crops and checking your animals every day. It’s packing a basket with treats and wine to go on a date night in the combine. It’s stopping your harvest to help a neighbour in need to finish their’s. It’s rides in the tractor with your kids that turn into sleepy eyes and long naps on the cab floor. It’s everyone gathered in a circle, enjoying a harvest supper in the field. It’s watching the sunrise and sunsets from inside the cab. It’s that long hug when harvest is over. It’s that gut feeling when you sell your first crop to the market.

It’s food. It’s that long conversation with a stranger on an airplane about all the food our crops make. It’s that smile you get when you drop off a casserole. It’s passing plates around the dinner table with family and friends during the holidays. It’s that glass of wine or beer at the end of a long day.

It’s love. It’s fate. It’s passion. It’s what some of us live and breathe every second of our lives.

To me, if I had to sum up what agriculture means to me based on all the things above, it’s family, pride, life, hard work and resiliency, innovation and love.

Family – It’s about my great, great grandparents and my children’s children. It’s working so hard to continue the tradition and provide opportunities for the future. Some of the fondest memories I have are growing up with my grandparents, parents and siblings on the farm, eating suppers in the field, hoeing miles of potato hills, crop checking on the back of the quad, the numerous trips into town to get parts, and so much more. It’s watching my children learn values that can’t be taught in school, that will last a lifetime. With my family around, I feel supported, encouraged, and loved. I feel at home, part of a team and working towards something bigger than myself. Farming creates close family ties that make our lives rich in so many ways.

Pride – It’s about caring for the land because we want our kids to farm it. It’s about being good stewards and protecting our natural resources. We take great pride in giving back to Mother Nature as we are thankful for what she gives us. It’s that feeling you get when you grow food that my kids eat and others put in their grocery cart and serve at their dinner table. It’s about doing the right thing, making a difference and the feeling that comes with it.

Life – It’s about the life we see every spring and harvest that teaches us so much about birth, growth and maturity. How we watch the land and dirt we care for provide a crop for us and food for others and their families, that in return puts a roof over our heads and food on our table. It’s also about seeing my babies change and grow so much every year; from being in a baby wrap with me on the combine, to holding them on my knee, to not needing me to go with them. It’s watching how tall they get when they stand in a wheat field. It’s knowing I’m measuring my life by not how much I have, but what I’m accomplishing for those around me.

Hard work and resiliency – I’ve seen tears stream down my dad’s face when we lost our crop one year. I’ve seen him not eat and not sleep. I’ve felt his quietness and stress. I’ve also seen him move forward, small steps at a time to overcome challenges we didn’t think we could get through. I’ve seen him brainstorm ideas and be on the phone for hours to think of different ways of doing things. I’ve seen the long days and even longer nights that he worked to save our farm during the bad times. I’ve felt his perseverance and seen his light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve seen the smile and heard the laugh which meant we’re okay. I’ve felt the hug that knows, with or without the farm, everything was going to be alright.

Innovation – It’s about the possibilities and opportunities that are endless in agriculture. It’s about being one of the most adaptive and innovative industries in the world. It’s about working amongst the best and brightest. It’s about learning from the challenges and always growing. It’s about being able to grow crops through a drought and developing new markets to sell food to. It’s about creating new techniques for using less resources on more land. It’s implementing better precision equipment and creating new seed genetics and technology that results in added nutritional benefits, reductions in food waste and life-saving medicine.

Love – Agriculture is about love. If we didn’t do what we loved every day, we wouldn’t be here. Some days and years are hard but we are surrounded by those we love. It’s the feeling when the year was great and saying “maybe next year” on the tough ones. It’s the love of what we do and who we do it with. It’s in our blood and what we were meant to do and I am where I am supposed to be. Farming has made everything possible for me.

That is what agriculture means to me.

I’d love to know, what does agriculture mean to you?

October 28, 2016

An Open Letter to my Future Farmers About How to Treat Women

An open letter to my future farmers, Jennings (4) and Copeland (1),

I know you want to be farmers or a part of this industry when you grow up so I’d like to share with you a bit about my story and that you can make a big difference. I love you too much to let these things be unsaid.

I want to tell you about girls. You see, things are a bit different for us, especially in a male-dominated industry. Being a girl has been the greatest honour but also the biggest challenge. There are times when I’ve been scared and ashamed for being me. I’ve been teased in front of others about my body, been touched when it hasn’t been wanted, and made fun of on social media for my appearance. I’ve been called a number of harsh, derogatory names for things like smiling too much, walking by, standing up for myself and saying no.

Some of these happened in settings that were meant to be fun, light hearted or a joke. Others, not so much. But that doesn’t make any of these situations right.

This isn’t just me that it’s happened to either. Almost every girl has gone through this at some point in her life.

I’m trying to raise you as best as I can. I know I am going to screw up and I have. I’m new to this parenting gig. I’ve cried on my bathroom floor knowing that I could have said or done a few things differently. So that is why I am writing you. I can’t change the past. I can’t change the things that were said and done and how others have acted towards women. But I can help change the future, and it starts with you.

So here goes:

We are valuable members of this industry. Just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean my opinions and ideas don’t matter. It shouldn’t mean that when a salesperson comes to the yard that they immediately dismiss me and ask if they can speak to one of the guys instead. It shouldn’t mean that I’m ignored at farm shows and meetings, not taken seriously and not worth their time. We can fill any role on farms, in our industry and in society, whether in the field or board room. Agriculture is about growth and it takes all of us, women and men to make that happen. See us in the same light as yourself – powerful, strong and independent.

You represent more than yourself. You represent your family, friends, company, industry and so much more. Understand that your actions have consequences and before you act, ensure you are prepared for them. And social media never forgets.

Be a good guy. At the end of the day, be proud of not what you’ve accomplished but how you made others feel. I know they say nice guys finish last, but that is just plain wrong. Your worth is not about what you do or what you have, but about who you are.

Be kind. It doesn’t take much to smile, say please and thank you, and show gratitude, but it may mean the world to someone else. There will be times when being kind might not feel like an option but you will always be the bigger person at the end of the day.

Stand up for yourself and others. When you see things being said or done to a woman, a friend or even a stranger that isn’t cool, stick up for them. Don’t follow the crowd. It’s easy to follow and stand with the crowd but great, courageous people don’t follow, they lead and even stand alone sometimes. You might lose friends along the way, but you may also gain new ones that share your same values. The friends you lost may never have been your true friends to begin with.

A girl’s body is no one’s possession and should never be shamed or judged. I have curves and scars. I’ve earned them and am so grateful to wear them because they mean I brought one of the greatest gifts, you, into this world.

How you look at a girl matters. Look her in the eyes. Take the time to really see her, and her heart, not her clothes or body. She is more than that. Respect her as an individual with hopes, dreams, experiences, and emotions. Let her be confident. Encourage it.

When you eventually fall in love, be her rock. Make her feel safe and protected, but also be gentle and strong. The sure sign of a man’s strength is how deep he loves and how gentle he treats his girl.

One day, I hope you are the reason a girl believes in love and not the reason she falls apart, feels used or her reputation is scarred. I hope you respect women because at some point, I have been that girl too.

I love you now, forever and always. But if I ever hear or see you disrespecting women, I will find you.

That’s a promise.

Love,
Mom

 

September 14, 2016

Natural Doesn’t Mean Better

We may mistakenly think “natural” is good, safer, healthier and will pay a premium for it. Companies know that. Heck, I gravitate to those products because they make me feel like I am doing the right thing by buying their product.

But just because there is a label on your food, doesn’t necessarily make it better than the alternative. Chemicals are in everything. Even water is a chemical 😉

“Those who prefer natural products often put honey in their tea instead of dreadful processed sugar. Sugar is white death, apparently, but honey is full of natural goodness. What these people might not know is that honey also contains small amounts of hydroxymethylfurfural. I don’t know what hydroxymethylfurfural is, but if it was in white sugar, the all-natural crowd would condemn it as toxic.”

My friend who shared this article said her motto is: Everything in moderation, and that includes moderation. As a mom, I don’t have time to research all the ingredients on a food package. But our food system is one of the safest, most regulated in the world. So I don’t feel guilty when I put that frozen pizza in my cart once a week and buy that shampoo that doesn’t have a natural label on it.

Article: http://thestarphoenix.com/opinion/columnists/no-one-ever-died-from-eating-highly-processed-cheez-whiz

September 10, 2016

It’s More Than a Shirt

Originally posted on Facebook

I have been so excited to get this shirt!!!

My friend and fellow Saskatchewanian, Cam of Houle & Sons Dairy got over 1000 retweets with this message about farming which resonated with so many of us.

He was angry and bitter about how farmers were being taken for granted and went to Twitter to voice his frustration. It went viral almost instantly. He shares his story in more detail about what led to his frustrations and what he’s learnt from it all: https://www.realagriculture.com/2016/04/frustrated-consumers-story-behind-viral-venting/

“Here’s the bottom line: Farmers know how hard we work to produce our goods, and how hard our lives are, but it’s still the life we choose. We choose it and we love it and if we don’t, then for God’s sake, get out. If you don’t live for what you do and love it, then please stop doing it.

What we do not know as farmers is how hard it is to live in urban areas and survive that life. If people are not from farms and don’t spend time on farms, it’s hardly their fault if they do not understand how our farms, our families and our lives work. Our job now is to show them, and to help them understand. And to give them the opportunity to accept or reject what we show them.”

Since then, many other people are trying to take advantage from this tweet’s popularity and started to sell merchandise. If you are interested in purchasing this shirt, please go here and not the other sites who stole Cam’s tweet: https://shop.spreadshirt.com/1130714/definition+of+farming+by+cam+houle+in+black-A57b359d0f6c60d7f645d862a-1130714-288

Please give Cam a follow. I’ve learned so much from him over the last year. He’s real, candid, funny, honest and gives it his all every day, no matter what.

 

September 8, 2016

We Call Her Gus

Let me introduce one of the members of our team. We call her Gus. She’s named after her previous owner.

She isn’t pretty but she helps get the job done, for the last 20 or so harvests. You can tell which field is ours when you drive by because she’ll be there. She’s reliable. She’s only left us stranded when we (and it’s our fault) forgot to fill her up with gas. She’s part of some of my fondest memories growing up on the farm and has seen and heard it all. I remember learning to drive and having to take a pillow to prop under my butt so I could see over her steering wheel. She’s been part of suppers in the field and long talks standing up against her in the yard. She’s helped deliver meals, get parts from town, and been the best crop tour host out there.

Every piece on our farm has a name and every piece has a story. The story of where we’ve been and what we’ve gone through.

Because you can’t understand where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve come from.

Gus helps make that happen for us.

 

September 4, 2016

Move Aside: It’s My Turn To Drive

I always put my kids first. As a mom, it’s what we do without even thinking. They’ll be dressed like they should be going to church and I’ll have barely brushed my teeth. They’ll have ate and had their nightly bath and I’ll forget if I even had breakfast. They’ll be in every picture and video and I hope I’ve made it into that annual family selfie ☺️

But there is one thing where I do put myself first. And that’s the combine.

I know it’s also high on everyone else’s list. The season is short and we are only at the farm a couple days a week. It’s the highlight of the season and their year. The boys live and dream for the combine.

But not this time. I only get a few chances so I run with them. Even if they might cause a lil’ pout.

Move aside please…it’s my turn to drive this thing.

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