Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Our Own Parade for Ag Day 2013

 I'll be celebrating National Ag Day and Kansas Ag Day today like I spent yesterday.
We have our own little parade planned on this special day, but there won't be a marching band. The parade will be single file through the calf cradle chute on our South Central Kansas farm.
The guests of honor don't get ribbon rosettes or badges, but bright yellow eartags.
There's no ticker tape. There is music - of sorts. You don't have to be fluent in "cow" to know that the mamas are singing the blues in double forte as they end up on one side of the pen and their babies are on the other during the calves' spring "doctor's" appointment.
We will celebrate Ag Day right where it ought to be celebrated - getting our feet and our hands dirty and being stewards of the animals and the land in which we have been entrusted. Randy is the fourth generation to be an owner/operator of a farm in his family.
My Kansas farming legacy goes back five generations on the Moore side and four on the Neelly lineage. Randy and I have been farming together now for nearly 32 years.
It doesn't take a special day for us to be thankful for the privilege of living and working together on a Kansas family farm. Still, I think it's good to recognize a National Ag Day. I joined a Facebook group, I Am Agriculture Proud, earlier this month. Organizers there posed this observation:
Journalists, TV personalities, TV chefs and CEOs were all perceived as more influential on food than farmers, who come in at No. 50 on a list generated of The 50 Most Powerful People in Food on The Daily Meal.com.  And that was likely an arbitrary inclusion as a collective group. What's it gonna take for farmers to move up that list?
It's up to us - farmers and ranchers - to tell the story. As I've said before, I don't want to leave it to PETA or HSUS to tell the story of farming today. It's one of the reasons I began Kim's County Line three years ago. The true story is being written each and every day by people just like us, who spend spring break riding a 4-wheeler instead of an amusement ride at Disney World.
The best part about working cattle during spring break? I don't have to stop and clean up to run to town for my middle school accompanist gig. The cows don't care what I'm wearing or whether I have make-up on. Randy doesn't care either ... or he wisely keeps his opinion to himself.

It's just another reason to celebrate on this Ag Day. We got 27 baby calves worked yesterday. We plan an all-day marathon session today. Let the parade begin. (Hopefully, those involved will stay on the parade route!)


  1. I can't believe you are working calves today! We have 2 Heifers left to calve and the cows will start in a few weeks.

    Hope all goes well working claves.

    1. We aren't totally done, but just have a few stragglers left. About to head out for the afternoon session, and then we'll work some more tomorrow AM. So far, so good.

  2. Oh..that universal cry for your baby! Today FI age two pointed to me and said MY MILK...then to her tummy MY TUMMY! the bond between mom and her baby is understandable in toddler-speak and calf bawling.

    1. We tried something different today. We drove the cows and calves a half mile to work them. Then, after we were done, we loaded the babies into a trailer and the mamas followed them back to the pasture to reunite. There is definitely a bond! We didn't have much trouble getting the moms to follow.