Sunday, March 26, 2017

What does it feel like to face foot-and-mouth disease? What does it feel like to have your farm quarantined? To have an entire geographic region closed to animal movement? To lose generations of livestock genetics in the blink of an eye? To receive little compensation for dumped milk or for meat? For all we know about farming here in the United States, we know little about the terror, the frustrations, of farming in the midst of a major animal disease outbreak.

I passed the heavy "Cast Only" doors and muted harmony drifted from behind them, voices warming up. In the theater's darkened balcony, I sat down beside my spotlight.

Last week, I talked with a wise fellow who has witnessed many changing seasons. We discussed how unseasonably hot it has been for October as he wiped the sweat from his brow.

Maybe the unseasonably hot temperatures that blistered the Midwest most of September can be traced to global warming, solar flares or the high volume of hot air blowing westward from Washington.

Corn silage is in and combines are running everywhere. When corn and beans are dry and the ground is fit to drive over, a good manager knows it is time to attend to these tasks.

They are to stand in three (almost) straight lines on the shiny wooden floor. Tennis shoes screech loudly in that nails-on-chalkboard yet oddly satisfying way that they sometimes do on gymnasium floors, as 46 feet swivel into position.

Even above the 6 o'clock newscast I could hear an insistent voice - that of a chickadee calling over and over, and loudly, from the back porch.

When a Kentucky reader stopped by Farm and Dairy's booth at Farm Science Review, we chatted a bit about the extreme dry conditions down there, and the lack of pasture and feed for livestock.

My friend Judi and I discussed plans for our club: delegating, decorating, and, of course, our talks almost always lead to food.

As the leaves start turning and the nights get colder, our usual crops of orchardgrass, ryegrass and alfalfa begin to winterize.
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