I’m pretty new to blogging and just getting into the swing of things but I’ve been following quite a few blogs for a while now and this week as I was catching up on some reading I happened upon 13 Thursday-My Answers from Megan over at The Beef Jar and then I came upon Jenny’s post 13 Questions from a Butcher’s Daughter. Both of these posts stem from Ian’s (An Irish Male in America) call to farmers/ranchers/ag people to answer 13 questions. Well I work off-farm but my hubby works for his family on the farm so I thought he could answer these questions. Mind you, my hubby wasn’t all that excited about me blogging so I had to be sneaky. I got through the first 4 questions before he caught on and then we were too far along to quit!
Answers from my crop and pig raising hubby:
1: What is the worst time of year for you? Fall is the busiest time of year with harvest, field work, manure hauling on top of the normal day to day work the days are extra long, sometimes working 16-18 hours a day. Winter can also be a bad time of year here in Minnesota because of the weather. Days where it is snowing, blowing, and extremely cold are dangerous not only for the people but also for the animals. So we spend time blowing snow so we can get to the barns and making sure the barns are sealed up tight so the heat stays in and the cold stays out. Those cold days are when things are most likely not going to work properly, so we make sure the heaters and make sure the generator is working, just in case.
2: What is your favorite farm job? One of my favorite farm jobs is hauling manure. Ya, its smelly but I get to utilize all the up-to-date technology; GPS, AutoSteer, flow meters and its an important job that needs to be done. Bonus: I use my head set and spend a bunch of time catching up with my farming friends who are also out doing some sort of field work. On the livestock side, I really enjoy working in the farrowing barn (with the sows giving birth) because its a challenge and its where everything starts.
3: What is your least favorite farm job? Power washing the barns because its a dirty, wet, and tedious job. Euthanizing animals is another job that I don’t enjoy but if the choice is between euthanasia or to let the animal suffer then it needs to be euthanized.
4: What type of truck do you drive (on the job) and why did you choose it? (this one is a must know, not only do I find American trucks awesome to look at, but with all the truck companies trying to advertise themselves as the “biggest toughest” truck out there, I think it’s about time we round out the truth from the people that put them to use!) I drive all sorts of trucks for my job; Ford/Dodge 4WD running around the farm, Freightliner feed truck, Ford diesel trucks for hauling pigs, International Semi for hauling grain in the fall. I went through the process of getting my CDL this past fall so I can drive just about anything!
5: What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned in your line of work? There are some things you just cannot control, and no matter how much you want to you can’t. Moving pigs (they’ll always want to do it their way), disease challenges, weather; Murphy’s law: what can go wrong, will go wrong.
6: What do you think is the most valuable tool you have, the one you probably couldn’t live without? Environment controlled barns. In Minnesota, the temperature variations are so great that having humidistats and cool cells (think evaporative cooling) and heaters provide a more stable environment that induces less stress on the animals.
7: What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your business/what you do? The biggest misconception is that we do not care about the animals and only do what is best for our pocketbook/bottom line. Actually, it’s quite the opposite, we are very concerned about treating our animals well; treating them well helps them performs better which is better for our bottom line.
8: If you could invest in a new piece of farm equipment tomorrow, what would it be?(and I mean it, just one! let’s not get greedy!) 475 horsepower quad track tractor. (I asked my hubby why he wanted this and his response was “Why not, beings we’re dreaming. Have you seen what I drive?”)
9: What was the most serious injury you ever suffered in the line of work? Well so far I’ve been pretty lucky but I did have an incident last spring…I tripped out of the skid loader and fell face first into the ground with one leg catching the loader bucket. At any rate, I had the biggest goose egg on my shin for 3 months and it hurt so bad I thought I had broken it at first.
10: Least favorite animal to deal with? Cats and horses…I just don’t like them. (note these are my FAVORITE animals)
11: (excluding all of the above) What’s the dumbest question you’ve ever been asked? No such thing as a dumb question, please ask away!
12: Favorite beer? (come on, out with it!)(I’ve seen people take their beer pretty seriously, and it’s time to know what a real working persons beer of choice is!) Coors Light, especially after a long day at work.
13: Thing you’d most like the public to know about what you do! (I admit you do this every day on your blogs no doubt, but was looking for something addressing maybe a misconception you hear the most about your business!)
So what do you say folks, who wants to take that challenge? That farmers work really hard to produce a safe, quality product for you to eat and that we care about our animals. Please ask me questions about farming!
And then read the answers from these wonderful Ag folks: