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Where does your food come from? If you are like several Americans you would answer-the grocery store. The grocery store plays a vital role in getting your food to you, but they are the distributor, not the producer.

On our farm we are small enough that we market our animals directly to the consumer, so the meat we produce doesn't go to the grocery store. After it is butchered it goes directly to the consumer. For example, this month we had four hogs butchered and we sold that meat to 12 different families to enjoy. I cannot even tell you how great that feels, knowing that local families are benefiting from our love of farming and producing a product for them to purchase.

The same process is used for the beef that we raise, we market the beef directly to the consumer, the animal is delivered to the locker, butchered, and the consumer works with the butcher to choose how they want their meat cut. Some people choose to make dried beef or beef sticks, while others just choose to get roasts, ground beef, and steak.

From beef and pork to corn and soybeans, farmers are working hard to produce a great product for their own families and yours.

It is extremely important to us that our children are involved in our operation and can help share the message about where their food comes from. I will never forget a perfect example of this, at the age of 4, Ellie was standing at the fair watching the animals be weighed in for the auction. A woman walking by asked what was happening. Our 4 year old explained the entire process to the woman right down to that fact that it is hard to let some animals go, but it is important that we have food. I am not going to lie, the woman had to pick her jaw up off of the ground and if you know our Ellie she didn't keep the conversation real short. She provided the woman everything she needed to know about producing beef for a consumer.

So, the next time you sit down with your family or guests, I ask you to please make sure your children (and adults) know where that meal on their plate came from. While the grocery store is a vital piece of the agriculture industry chain, please make sure they know ALL of the parts of that chain, especially the producer that put their heart and soul into the product.

Happy National Ag Day!

From the Gravel Road-

Jen

My chore helper didn't want to pose for a picture.

I have had a few people reach out and ask how our livestock handled the blizzard conditions the last few days, so thought I would give you an update. We truly prepared the same way we would have for the Polar Vortex. Dry bedding, lots of water, and plenty of feed/hay for them to eat to stay nourished.

They didn't really want to go out and play in the snow.

Livestock are smart and they will do what they need to do when they know a storm is coming, watch cattle in the summer when a big rain or thunderstorm is predicted for that night. They will move to higher ground (most of the time) to keep themselves and their calves safe from flood waters. In this case of these current high winds, they are so smart that they will position their babies on the side of them where they will be the warmest and out of the wind that may be blowing through the cracks of the barn.

Charlotte and her husband, Walter, are safe and snuggled in the straw that blankets their pen in the barn. I did give the wonder pig a little extra feed this morning to spoil her a little extra. 🙂

Charlotte's litter of babies that were born right after Christmas are in a new building where they have plenty of straw to dig down in to stay warm and the building keeps the wind from them.

This piglet did not feel like coming out to play. 🙂

Charlotte's first litter of babies (born in August) are now all at the Elma locker. While it is a little hard to seem them go, it is very rewarding to know that our hard work and the gift Charlotte gave us with her piglets are going to go on to nourish another family. This time we decided to have some of the pork made into bundles (pork chops, sausage, etc.) and inspected to sell. We also sold some 1/2 hogs out of this batch. If you want to purchase some, shoot me an email and we will hook you up!

Were you impacted by the blizzard? If you have animals at home, what do you do to prepare and keep them safe?

From the "blown in, impassable" Gravel Road-

Jen

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