Last September, I had the opportunity to spend three days on the road in Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana, touring farms with the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance’s® (USFRA®) for a video series they were producing called “How To Farm”.
Okay, the word “spend” is a little misleading. I actually got to be part of the videos and “spend” time with four diverse and well-operated family farms that turned into these four short video clips.
The HOW TO FARM Videos
How To Milk 1,200 Cows (filmed with Brian Rexing at New Generation Dairy in Indiana)
Video Fun Fact: 1. It was BITTER COLD that day, like a high of 36 degrees, and I was without a coat for the shoot. So I was thankful when… 2. I’m in a cow suit at the end of the video, so you can all get a chuckle. I’ve been around cows (my in-laws are Black Angus Bull breeders) before, but I still couldn’t get over how quiet it was at Brian’s facility. If the saying is true, happy cows are quiet cows, then these cows are “walking on sunshine” everyday because the “moos” were to a minimum.
How To Gather 50,000 Eggs A Day (filmed with Ron Campbell at Opal Foods in Missouri)
Video Fun Fact: I loved spending the early morning with Ron and Ryan (he is Ron’s son) at their farm. They are fourth (and soon to be fifth) generation farmers. Ryan put me to shame with his egg sorting ability and Ron’s wife made us homemade biscuits with jam. While they gather close to 50,000 eggs a day, it still felt like a very traditional family farm.
How To Care For 7,000 Pigs (filmed with Art Braundmeier at The Maschhoffs in Illinois)
Video Fun Fact: Thank GOODNESS for Art. I didn’t let the crew know this is advance, but pigs scare me. It’s weird. I get it. Even though these pigs were inquisitive and not threatening, I was shaking like a leaf during the whole shoot (I’m sure Art’s arm had a bruise because I was grabbing it so hard.)
How To Use Trash To Help Crops Grow (filmed on Len Corzine’s farm in Illinois)
Video Fun Fact: I know there is a picture of Len’s combine in the video, but let’s just put the size of said combine into perspective.
It was HUGE people. Like bigger than a Transformer you see on a movie screen and probably twice as expensive as my house. My favorite memory however, was eating at the little diner in Len’s town. They didn’t accept credit cards. They didn’t accept checks unless they knew you (and believe me, they all looked at our film crew like we were aliens). And my bill for biscuits and gravy, eggs and toast, coffee and a cinnamon roll was $7.50.
What Do I Think About Chickens, Cows, Pigs & Tractors?
Those that have followed me for a long time know that I’m a FRIEND to ALL FARMERS. Period.
And you also know that I’m a proponent of UNDERSTANDING WHERE FOOD COMES FROM. Period.
Finally, without our local farmers (regardless of the size of their farm) we would NOT HAVE THE FOOD we put on our tables.
I love farmers. I love hearing about their love of the land, many are fourth or fifth generation farmers. I love hearing about their dedication – from having cell phones attached to them 24-hours a day, to not taking long vacations, and their philosophies on training their “hired men”.
But most of all, I love the homemade biscuits and jam their wives make.
Disclosure: USFRA compensated me for staring in their video series. However, the written remarks and opinions about farms, pigs, biscuits, and cows are entirely my own. Want more information – check out my full disclosure statement.